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'Follow the Joy'

An Artist's Residency with In Between Spaces!!

During the Spring of 2021, as we all emerged from our cocoons blinking into the sunshine, I had the opportunity to take part in an emerging Artist's residency with the fantastic early years organisation Magic Acorns.

Our aim, through a combination of play, experimentation and expertise from the lead artists, was to transform a former department store (Debenhams in Market Gates) now a gallery & creative hub called PrimeYarc into a multi-sensory environment for children under 3 and their family bubbles to explore.

Using a combination of light, shadow, sound & movement, the space was transformed and the sessions could begin. Having never experienced working with children under the age of 8 before, I was keen to understand how these mediums would translate to a non-verbal audience and what would emerge in-between the spaces!

Each session was as unique as the families who visited us, led in the most part by the children, who each found delight & joy in the simple but effective spaces that had been created for play. Games emerged through repeated sounds & rhythms, each new space containing a new opportunity for a different game to emerge.

What struck me the most, was how the adults were equally enthralled and as each session drew to a close were just as reluctant, as the children to leave.

As the residency drew to a close, I began to reflect on what I had experienced & learned. The power of sound and the effect this has on us internally & externally, the value of space and the benefits & opportunities that arise from seemingly ‘empty spaces’ but overwhelmingly the desire to play and how as we grow older we forgot to just simply ‘follow the joy’.

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