What Does He Need? 8 week programme for children/young people

The second creative research process is an eight week programme developed by Fiona Whelan in partnership with Rialto Youth Project. The programme is designed for small groups of (maximum 10) children or young people, who work together once a week to create and develop a boy. In each case, the boy is from their area so the group can bring their lived knowledge to bear on his life. The group are first tasked with naming the boy and then invited to develop him in response to a series of prompts and creative exercises, leading to description, conversation and visual imagery, which offers insights into the world the boy lives in, how he interacts with it, how it shapes him and how he shapes it. A core feature of this programme is the translation of the weekly conversations into creative writing by the lead artist/writer, who each week develops a creative response to the material. Similarly, visual references are collated and sent to one of a support team of visual artists, who draws images of the boy based on a group’s descriptions.

Between March 2019 and Feb 2020, five boys have been created by five different groups connected to Rialto Youth Project, the process led by a team of staff and Fiona Whelan. These boys are called Stevie, Conor-George, Cali, Kroose and Gareth-Fred. In late 2020, Fiona will start the programme with groups attached to the Children and Youth Action Group of the North West Inner City Network.

Typically after the eight week programme, and following a period of reflection and analysis, ideas will have emerged from the process that indicate a direction and form for a creative response to the research that involves engaging with specific publics. In each case, further funding is required to develop an artistic and/or educational response to the boys’ stories.