What are the changes happening in Romania today and how have these changed in recent years?
As compared to last year, when I started my freelancing work, now the situation of courses, workshops for children, beginning with early age, is totally different. In Bucharest (and for sure all over the country, mainly in the cities and towns) now there is a boom of this kind of activities, many of each are organised by artists and professionals (psychologists, nursery teachers) independently, outside their working place and not as a part of an association.
They are inspired by arts, painting, drawing, creative crafts, puppets, music, dance, photography, acting/drama/Theatre, architecture. A lot of actors from the state based institutions also now organise workshops and courses for children, independent ones and with a distinct and new concept. Actors from the theatres for adults are very active in this field.
At the same time, theatres and other performing arts state based institutions tend to be not open to this kind of experiments and research, educational and creative kind of work, or do this activity on special events: festivals, projects, Christmas, 1st June, summer holidays.
However at the same time, clubs, terraces, tea houses, restaurants, party houses, hotels, parks, some museums, after school clubs and private nurseries now regularly host events for children, which didn't happen 2 or 3 years ago in so many places. Now there are many of them, in every part of the city, also in the surrounding residential areas.
What are the best projects or programmes you have experienced which enhanced creative engagement for early years children and their families in your country?
From my point of view, some of the best programmes that I experienced in Bucharest (there are much more that I heard of but I haven't attended any of their events) are those organised in museums:
- De dragul Artei - organize workshops inspired by the exhibits of all kind of museums, Fine arts Museums, Villlage Museum, Railroad Museum, combining storytelling with cultural education and creative practice engaging families (children together with their parents).
- Doina Anghel-Studio Creative also organize workshops inspired by a book or a temporary exhibition of contemporary arts, they work with museums and bookstores, although the age range is higher than 6 years old.
- Atelierul Creative of Peasant Museum in Bucharest have daily creative workshops for kindergartens and schools and families, inspired by traditional crafts and stories, also they use shadow puppet theatre as a means of telling stories. The project addresses children, but one of the trainers Beatrice Iordan, started doing freelance work for early age children in a bookstore (where I also have my workshops) and in other venues. She doesn't' have a website or Facebook special page, just her own page, she has a big success-she tells stories, sings and does modelling. She also makes shadow puppet theatre and creative activities, including materials and traditional music, offering a complex event to children and families.
What have you seen that's been of noticeable and evidenced benefit to them and the practitioners and why they were successful?
The high quality of their work, the very good relation with the audience and constant promotion is something I noticed to significantly benefit them. They are very good in what they do, updated and well informed with high level research. They are also extremely hard working and always bring something new to their venues.
In short - if you had to pick out 2 or 3 main examples with proven benefit, and strategic value, what would they be?
- Starting from a temporary exhibition and its message children were inspired to make collages used creatively in new ways with all kind of materials.
- Families re-discovered daily themes linked with the households in the Peasant Museum and played outdoors, listening to stories, playing games and discovering the sensory qualities of traditional materials like clay or wood. Which lead to a wonderful time spent playing and learning about the past and traditions.
- In a small fine arts Museum, families painted in new ways, sharing good times in an old house of a famous Romanian contemporary painter as well as stories, which produced a great relationship between kids and parents.
Daniela Miscov is the Manager of Artelier D, Proiecte, a free art and education association whose mission is to bring stories to babies and children, on the basis of all Art languages: theatre, music, fine arts, visual arts. We are close to children in all ways and this closeness is the source of our inspiration.