ASSITEJ 2019 - Artistic Gathering
I was invited to do my Workshop
"From Bully to Ally
Theatrical techniques to heal difficult children"
On Assitej Artistic Gathering in Kristiansand, Norway, 2-7 Sept. 2019
This was part of the professional program of the event, so the participants were adults related to teaching and theater. The workshop was about how to use what we teach in Theater classes to heal children with conduct problems. We have tools and offer a space that no other class is giving to them, so why not use that? We have the chance to teach children how to recognize and control their emotions, to use their bodies to express their ideas, how to gain self confidence, how to respond quick, how to speak loud and clear, how to creatively solve mistakes and turn them into something funny, to laugh freely, to share and bond with their mates, to be silly and playful in a safe environment, and so much more. So I feel like it is our duty to help them to apply all these things into solving the problems they have on their other classes or social spaces, specially if they are engaging in bullying activity or witnessing this around them.
Bullies, bullied and bystanders are roles that are flexible during life. Bullying activity is a vicious circle that can (and must) be stopped. Children have huge hearts, and with an opportune intervention, compassion and time, those who used to be hurting each other can stop, change, and heal. Some can even become friends. All of this started with my own investigation in classes. Later I started to find theories that supported my findings, particularly investigations from fields such as neurology, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, which are on their way pointing into that direction.
It really breaks my heart when school programs, even gubernamental programs declare some sort of "war" into bullying, dividing things into "good and bad", and worst of all, starting some sort of witch-hunt to bullies. Even in some countries there are legal consequences for them, forgetting that the bully is a child too. Research show that in most cases children with conduct problems are suffering from violence or neglection and their conduct is a cry for help. If you care about the bullied because is a child, think that the bully it is also an endangered child. It is our duty as adults to help and save them both.
So yes. This was a 2 hour workshop, so it is a little long to explain it all here (though I am thinking about writing a paper about it - is that a good idea?). Either way, it was amazing. People from ASSITEJ were really kind.
The Conference was great, well organized, the venues were pretty stunning and I learned a lot from the workshops I took and the plays I saw. Specially Baba Yaga from Windmill Theater Co, a very exciting play based on a real Russian myth, adapted to current days and incorporating mapping and very exciting visuals and sound design, loved it. Also a pretty amazing thing was the Youth commission, formed by teenagers from different parts of the world who are committed in theatrical activities, and if you were lucky you will have one or two of them in your group during the activities. Their opinion was always so on point, refreshing and woke. I have high expectations on the new generation of artists that are coming.
I am very thankful for this experience :)
Kristiansand is a small city, very similar to the south of Chile, so it gave me a little feeling of being back home. The accommodation provided by the conference in Clarion Hotel was... well, way more luxurious than home xD which is always really nice.
Here are some pics. Mines were took by Hanna Holloway and the rest are just from my phone :)