A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
I wanted to open a thread on this topic - I know many others have things to contribute. I will start with my own experience at this year's festival where I decided to organise a Kids Council.I first heard about Kids Councils via Charlie Davies, whose friend Floris Koot has experimented with it in different social settings. The idea is simple: a set of kids - in their later single digits, but pre-pubescent - give advice about the life issues of adult seekers. (It's arguably more counsel than council, but this is how it was put to me.) I read up on it, quizzed Floris, and on to Uncivilisation I went.A group of kids gathered in the kids yurt, self-selecting as the council members. I won't out them here, but if they or their parents-by-proxy would like to enter the conversation, that would be great.
So, some possibilities.
Firstly, the process as it stands seemed to work well, so at the least we may want to replicate it at the next festival, or any face-to-face event where children are present (and interested!). But I think we could be thinking wilder.
Hi Alex and Julia
Julia - I didn't know I had met your daughter as well as you at the festival.
I don't have much right now to add to what you have both said but wanted to say how important i think this is and yes! how important it is to look beyond " the structures of children's participation .. decided by adults".
I was someone who enjoyed the children's counsel/council - i'll admit to being unsure what kind of questions to ask .. I asked a very personal but fairly safe question as I was the first person to bring a question and it felt like testing the water. I've been thinking since about different questions that could be asked or that the children might want to ask themselves.. I did ask later what questions the group thought we should be asking them.. and I can't for the life of me now remember the answers! (hopefully some of the others who were there can)...
I think Julia's suggestion of adults committing in a support role is an excellent one. It's also a difficult practice, we adults find it so difficult not to assert ourselves and we do so with our bodies as much as our words and we do so within a structure where we have the power most of the time in big and tiny but meaningful ways. I have a little experience of working with young people, in their teens mostly and usually around filmmaking and storytelling and recently have been looking at some of the things that adults have been writing about children's participation - (and doing a small piece of writing about that too in the very specific context of working with and making a film with young men who are considered as having communication difficulties) - some of which might be useful to this conversation or it might just distract us and take us back into too much of an adult space - I don't know... Mostly from my reading and especially my practice I've learned what not to do and what isn't supportive ..
I also want to say that i think that young people in their teens are an absence in Dark Mountain too...
Alex - "it's time to hear from those who can see the shape and momentum of the present moment unencumbered by comparison to the past". I think this cuts to the core of what concerns me. As a parent of a six year old girl I am deeply concerned about how the next generation(s) come to terms with the legacy we are leaving them. I think for an initiative like Dark Mountain to develop it will need to somehow be communicable to those now growing into the coming crises. Without the involvement of a dynamic spectrum of young opinion (and I don't mean 20 and 30 somethings, haha), there's risk DM would just settle into being a more conventional organisation.
The Council was a good thing that worked well but I was more excited about the possibilities it opened up: the idea of DM mutating through its adoption by communities, particularly of age. The question is how can 'kids' be involved in something like this without it just being another adult imposition on their time: time they'd rather be doing other stuff in. Ideally DM would have the status of 'other stuff', not something imposed but something as attractive as other things kids like to do. As someone in his late 50s I could hardly claim to be able to offer an insight into that particular conumdrum ...