Using the ARTCO iPods children create multimedia content, upload it wirelessly to the website and explore the media that the other children have made.
ARTCO uses a horizontal process designed to evolve. Workshop artists are not teachers but rather a different type of participants. They are invited to explore different ways of sharing their artistic practice, to learn from the other disciplines by going through the ARTCO experience themselves and, to work together to mix their different art forms in a meaningful way for the children.
Each workshop artist works daily with two separate groups of children: one from each of the community’s school. Each group is therefore made up of mostly Inuit or Cree children.
New Media Workshop
Each participating child receives an iPod and learns how to shoot videos, take photos, record audio and upload these different media files to ARTCO’s website.
ARTCO explores daily life as an expression of cultural values, an approach easier for children to follow when working with delicate subjects like historical violence and conflict resolution which was the case in the community of Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui (read more at the About section).
Through the process, the children upload the photos and videos they chose to the ARTCO website, with the option of giving the upload a descriptive title, to share their work with the other children.
The murals are designed to explore what each group of children have been making and sharing, up until this point, through electronic images, and to go from the virtual to the physical world: where the children can feel, smell, touch, appreciate the colors and play with the image dimensions.
This interaction starts by printing the pictures and stills from the videos shot by the children and laying out on the table with the other painting materials. The children are naturally curious to look through the photographs take by the other group. It is very different for them to look at these pictures and videos through the iPods, than to look at them printed in 8x10 format. Children start to ask questions like “Who is this?” “Where is that?” “Who took that picture?”, as they get, little by little, they familiarize themselves with the other children while interacting with the same media as before but through a different medium.
The murals created by the Cree and Inuit children and the one created by the workshop artists were then exposed at the community gym, which, to this day, is one of the few spaces Inuit and Cree share in Kuujjuarapik-Whapmagoostui. They were left there after the project closure. The other shared facilities include the airport, the restaurant the grocery store and the bar.
At this time we also confirm the importance of working with local teachers throughout the project, because they have daily contact with the children, and are easily able followed up with them.
Communicating through ARTCO
During this period, children started to communicate with the workshop artists through videos, pictures and audio recordings that they uploaded to the web. Sometimes children ask for specific things, such as to be shown certain parts of Montreal. Artists reply back in the same way by using the ARTCO platform.
Throughout the workshop children also learn how to lead a team. They experience how to be in command and guide the others. By playing instruments, each child learns how to make eye contact before making a sound with an instrument and to make sure the rest will follow.
Exhibition at Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui
The ARTCO exhibition booklet is precious to them. Some children of seven or eight years old cover their booklets with their t-shirt, very carefully putting them inside their jackets to protect them before going outside into the snow storm. No adult suggests this. Somehow these booklets are treated as if they are sacred. We expect to see a lot of booklets in the gym, on the floor, just left behind. Yet we see not one single booklet left behind. Even children who are not ARTCO participants come and ask for a booklet and then for a t-shirt. They love looking at the pictures the others kids have made.
Collaboration with ‘Healing through Art’ project
After the workshops first organized by ARTCO and the exhibition, our first partnership is with Patricia Falope who organized a series of workshops in the Inuit school of Kuujjuarapik - Whapmagoostui.
The objective of Healing Through Art was to help children adopt positives outlets for coping with stress and difficult life situations including through acting, music and laughter and to teach them positive avenues for self-expression. Inuit children receive workshops in Hip-Hop, DJ mixing and Egyptian dance.
Children who had previously participated in ARTCO record the workshops and upload the videos to the ARTCO platform. Glen Tookalook, a child who participated actively in ARTCO, is of great help to make this possible, by helping other children to record and upload their videos and photos.
Hip Hop Workshop
Today – expanding the model
Based on our experience in Kuujjuarapik – Whapmagoostui and following our internal evaluation, we designed a new and better website and an iPod application that are better adapted to the ARTCO objectives and the children’s needs.