We set up EMERGE(ncy) PARTY to give young people a voice in the COVID-19 crisis, to question, to share and to celebrate. It was an opportunity to imagine and explore a better future through new creative ideas. Between April 2020 and March 2021, via weekly group Zoom sessions and independent work, 45 12-19 year olds offered a series of creative responses to the situation we found ourselves in, working to bring their communities together and re-imagine a world outside of the lockdown.
The crisis radically and abruptly flipped the world's of young people. They were asked to make sense of cancelled exams, to accept that their teachers’ opinions could determine their futures, to cope with being separated from peer groups at a time in life when this is so fundamental, to live in close proximity to family at an age when independence is so important. And this was all a mere backdrop to the terrifying global battle between life and death; where parents and carers’ fears for their livelihoods and vulnerable relatives may have, understandably, taken precedence over the teenager’s stresses and anxieties.
Inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s work on the social meaning of disasters, EMERGE(ncy) PARTY put the focus on the positives that can come out of crises and asked participants to think together about the ways in which the world could change for the better.
Weekly online Zoom sessions took the form of discussion and making workshops. Each session included a check in about how participants are individually coping, a discussion around ideas for positive community action and a practical workshop on a particular art form leading to that week’s creative assignment.
Themes of these workshops included:
Personal Storytelling; Creative Limitations; Interviewing Techniques; Portraiture; Art as a Form of Protest; Community Art
Creative assignments included:
Photography, soundscapes and field recordings, making and editing short films, journaling, writing, theatre making, song writing, painting and drawing, sending artwork in the post
WITH THANKS TO