This year, children are at liberty for the fifth time. That much and that little. On the one hand, we are already quite aware what can happen when children's perceptions of themselves and the world around them plunge into the very centre of a public space that is usually dominated by adult formats and perspectives. On the other, we do not mind at all to look for more reasons and ways to be at liberty: to experience independence and cooperation, and to affect reality. And to be allowed, at the same time, to have fun as a child. But this year, we want something more to be allowed: to doubt and to believe, to hesitate and to not think twice, to be full of question and exclamation marks. We are casting our doubts and certainties around the square like confetti, trusting that they will inspire everyone – big or small – to ask their own questions and look for their own answers.
The heart of the Children at Liberty activities will beat invariably in the Fun Zone, designed to meet children’s various needs of fun, exploration and unrestricted creativity. The soft and fluffy objects in the zone are an invitation to snuggle, jump, roll and hide. The mobile objects are an inspiration to build and negotiate space, whilst the unobvious everyday ones are a reminder that a good place to play is the one right next to you and that anything can be a toy. The Children at Liberty zone, delimited by its wooden floor, is of course, an essential haven for children and parents, but please remember: this is only a springboard for the conquest of Liberty Square with the energy of its young patrons. We will use this space for creative and experimental activities. With courage in our hearts, we will confidently scatter around the entire available space. Artists and animators will encourage us to discover it, filling our June afternoons with a variety of workshops planned with full confidence in their own and the children’s potential. There will be sound, and there will be effort of the hands, legs and heads. There will be work with form and matter. Among numerous activities, we are looking forward to breaking impossible records, to a symphony of urban noises, to searching for boundaries using movement and to leaving traces by dancing. Equal challenges await the youngest children and their parents, who will use movement, their sense of touch and their voices to look for their own and other people’s boundaries. They will squeal, rumble and roar until their voices resound with multiple echoes.
Our faith in child power will also be fulfilled during the weekend programme featuring theatre performances that are the fruit of some young artists’ very hard work. During workshops accompanying film shows, we will look at how to overcome our own ‘impossibilities’ and we will reflect on how we know that we are ourselves. And the ultimate triumph of giving space over to children will be a collective performative action, the effect of several workshop days during which we will creatively work over the topic of doubt. Without any doubt in its importance, we will once again hand over to a crowd of kids a space in which they will be able to talk about things that matter to them in their own voice.
Maja Brzozowska and Elżbieta Niewiadomska