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Explora- The Children’s Museum of Rome- a case study

Rome, Italy

Author Sara Borelli

  • Explora
  • Liberty Art

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Between February and May 2021, Explora’s Liberty Art Festival – part of the LIBERTY EU programme — attracted 8,000 audiences.  Family workshops engaged 1,660 members of the public as participants, and in addition, a podcast series, with 6,000 viewers to date, was launched to ensure those apprehensive about returning to live in-person events could access high quality art in their own time and space.

To produce the Festival, Explora commissioned 11 artists (five Italian artists and six international artists), all under the age of 30, and enabled cross-border artistic collaborations and support to young and emerging artists against the backdrop of a pandemic when physical borders were closed.

This case study explores the inspiration behind the Liberty Art Festival, comprising a public exhibition, workshops and podcasts, and the important steps that Explora took to breakdown barriers for both audiences and young artists.

The inspiration behind Explora’s Liberty Art Festival

Explora’s Liberty Art Festival centred on one of the most powerful pieces of legislation for children – the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children. The Convention’s messages are crucial for society, and is the most widely-ratified human rights treaty in history, reaching out to the vast majority of the world, be that children or adults, and across many cultural backgrounds, genders and belief systems. With children and families its core audience, it was natural that Explora’s project would see children’s rights at the heart of this work.

It was also important for Explora’s Liberty Art Festival to be accessible to all. The Rights of Children were explored and represented in a number of creative formats to engage audiences.

Explora invited artists to turn the ‘Rights of a Child’ into 12 beautiful artworks, which were exhibited in free-to-access areas in the museum, including the gardens and the restaurant and bar area. Workshops were also delivered by the Museum on the artworks exhibited and the topics covered in the festival, which invited children and families to respond creatively in their own way to the Rights of Children.

In addition, Explora needed to think ‘outside the box’ and consider how audiences could engage with this work digitally – especially as many local audiences are apprehensive about returning to live in-person events following the impact of Covid-19.

Explora created a series of podcasts entitled “Words for the Rights of the Child”. Each episode explored a specific children’s right and were promoted by the illustrations that make up the Liberty Festival’s art exhibition at Explora. Each podcast contained an interview with experts in education and children’s rights.

The series of podcasts created for the LIBERTY EU programme intend to open up an international conversation on the fundamentals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and this has been complemented by Explora who involved the most significant education institutions and professors in Italy to enhance their project.

The topics of these podcasts were:

The Right to Learn
The Right to have Secrets
The Right to be Special
The Right to Play

These podcasts can be heard on a range of digital platforms, including- Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcast, Deezer and Apple Podcast.

  • 7930

    LIBERTY EU Audiences

European Artists Exhibition at Explora, the Children's Museum of Rome.

 

Artist engagement and supporting emerging artists

The 11 artists involved in Explora’s Liberty Featival were selected based on a number of requirements; from their artistic backgrounds, styles, techniques and education, in order to diversify the cultural offer and to promote the exchange between all of the artists involved.

Enabling artistic collaborations across borders has been an important element of the entire LIBERTY EU programme, alongside a focus on supporting young and emerging artists. In addition to the opportunities afforded to the 11 artists that presented work in the Liberty Art Festival, Explora has put forward a further 19 young, European, visual, digital and performing artists, all under the age of 30, to be part of the LIBERTY EU Artist Portfolio.

The LIBERTY EU Artist Portfolio aims to enable young artists and curators to meet, collaborate and share inspiration at local, national and international level: this is a platform and springboard into future European-wide artistic collaborations and opportunities.

Included in this group of young artists is Benedetta Fasson, who has gone on to become involved in a collective artwork with two artists working in the UK- Akiem Toussaint Buck and mandla rae.

The success of the project against the backdrop of a pandemic

Explora’s LIBERTY EU activities represent a great new opportunity to be innovative and to be able to ‘think outside the box’, and in turn this has led to the engagement of new audiences. Due to Covid 19, staff at the museum have had to focus on how to implement their project, thinking of some valuable alternatives to normal day-to-day activities. How Explora achieved this was two-fold. It needed to find ways of keeping an open dialogue with existing and committed audiences, (children under the age of 11 and their parents) and find ways to engage with a new online audience.

It is evident that Explora has gone to great lengths to deliver on their LIBERTY EU programme in difficult times, as Italy – like many countries – has faced a range of lockdowns and social distancing measures in 2020 and 2021.

Explora promoted both Italian and European artworks to expand the museum’s offer at a local, regional and national level. It offered a wide range of educational opportunities connected to the exhibition (both online and face to face workshops and podcasts) and these reached out to multiple audiences, from children and parents to illustrators and teachers.

  • 1660

    LIBERTY EU Participants

Liberty EU Art Exhibition at Explora, The Children's Museum of Rome.

Profile-raising and visibility

The LIBERTY EU programme has helped Explora to offer visibility and profile to-

4 Italian illustrators
6 European young artists
1 Italian filmmaker

(All under the age of 30).

Liberty has proved to be a platform that facilitates profile and collaboration of young artists, and for Explora, the Liberty Art Festival at the museum has contributed towards the integration of communities, mainly thanks to the powerful messages launched by the artworks themselves. In particular the 12 Children’s Rights, set out by the United Nations, as mentioned earlier.

Explora firmly believes that such content will pave the way to not only educate future generations, (in order to create greater social cohesion), but also to lead adults reflecting on the crucial issues we face in modern society.

  • 25

    LIBERTY EU Artist Engagements

Italian artists prepare for the LIBERTY EU Exhibition with Explora, The Children's Museum of Rome.

The engagement of young people and young artists

According to Explora, the Liberty Art Festival has also given a voice and a sense of empowerment to young people in society.

Underpinning this ethos was the direction of Explora in asking the young artists involved to turn the ‘Rights of a Child’, into artwork, and allowing them full artistic freedom to create personal work that has a wider message and impact, taking an artistic approach to a world-wide system of protecting children.

Explora believes that its exhibition for the LIBERTY EU programme will inspire and encourage other young artists to follow their dreams, despite the health, social and economic crisis that we are currently experiencing.

And that, is a powerful legacy…

 

 

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