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Opening Thoughts

Between the arts and community, between excellence and inclusion, between artist and child, between professional and vocational. These intersections are where our work exists. This is the space into which we invite and engage with our collaborators, partners and stakeholders. A place of change, exploration, and creativity.
Change is key. It is one of the fundamental conditions for creativity and the artistic process, and also lies at the heart of creative partnerships and collaborations. Change can also be an uncomfortable place as it may challenge our preconceptions, question what we believe and mark a point when control may be lost in order that a step is made to move things on, to shift thinking.
Children and young people exist in this constant state of flux, change, and exploration. They are keenly open to and indeed search out authentic collaborations and partnerships in their lives and social interactions. These same young people are highly tuned to automatically recognise where these words are lip service as opposed to reality. That is why quality arts engagement for young people can not only achieve excellence in its outputs and outcomes in both a social and artistic context, but can also lead the way in designing and developing road maps and methods to allow us look at ways of developing partnerships and collaborations within the wider arts sector.

What is most important in our work with and for young people?
Is it the engagement or the aesthetic?
This I am interested in exploring through my guest editorship over the next couple of months.
I am interested in exploring how we can create a space between participation and excellence so both can flourish, and also to highlight some of the challenges experienced in getting there, and methods of working them through.
To what do we aspire to in our practice?.
Excellence? Learning? Engagement? Participation?.
Are these aspirations mutually exclusive and how can we find a space inclusive of all.
I am interested in how we create a space to allow us aspire towards the creation of something new, clear, engaging and dynamic, that will feed all the development work, rehearsals, conversations, meetings, drafts, sketches, improvisations, that we all undertake.

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