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The educational program “Let’s take a walk in the city!” was implemented at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, Greece, during the year 2016-7 and involved 5-8-year-old children as participants, along with their parents. The aim of the workshop was to bring out children’s perspectives on the city in which they live, and encourage them to approach the city through their own eyes. Two workshops were held for two Athenian neighborhoods (Koukaki, Acropolis), and each workshop involved two two-hour long meetings. In this way, they interacted with public urban space and approached it as a life experience.
The purpose of the second meeting was to elaborate on the material that the children had collected during the walks and to reflect on it. With our encouragement children depicted the routes they had followed, creating visual group compositions for each route (mental maps, maquettes).
We believe that through this experience children had the opportunity to observe and experience city space differently than in their everyday lives. They took pictures of building details (patterns, colors, textures), played games with city streets and made up stories about them, recorded city sounds and collected plants characteristic of each area. In addition, they had the opportunity to experience places in the city as playgrounds, even if their daily use was different. Through this process, children recorded their own relationship with public spaces, as well as relations among spaces.
In sum, we realised through this intervention that activities such as these bring out children’s creative expression in relation to public space, while they confront adults with the open-ended question of how to utilise such multimedia tools and practices in order to give prominence to children’s voices regarding public space.
This article belongs to a series of stories about the city at eye level for kids! You can access the full book online in PDF or pre-order your hardcopy to be delivered to your home.Get your book here