NIDA Open Art Smart Forum – the importance of storytelling
Recently, NIDA Open held our biannual Art Smart Forum where parents of NIDA Open students can participate in an active conversation with staff and guest artists around performing arts experiences for children and young people.
This event featured NIDA Open Guest Artist and playwright, Donna Abela and Course Manager for Children and Young People, Tricia Ryan who led a fascinating discussion about the role of storytelling and how it is changing for children and young people.
The forum kicked off with both speakers reflecting on their recent experience and observations of the Performance Lab – a year-long NIDA Open course of focused, practical performing arts training for young artists.
One of the key ideas to come out of the discussion was the observation that young people today have better knowledge of storytelling and how to construct a narrative than previous generations as changing technology and social media provides more opportunities than ever for them to practise telling a story.
However, this shift in platforms has also shifted the mode of telling and receiving stories. The imagined narrative is becoming redundant in the face of the ‘reality story’, which has seen a rise in popularity through reality television and social media. Young people are relying less on their imagination for storytelling and more on recounting their real-life experiences as their stories, and in-turn are more hesitant around engaging in the fantasy world.
Donna, who has worked extensively with children of all ages, has noticed that younger performers are much more accepting of imagined concepts and willing to engage in creative play. Older children tend to be more focused on questioning what is real and what is not and the more immediate short-form storytelling structure, ‘the three second meme’.
The ability to engage in fictional storytelling is very important in a child’s development, helping them build the long-life skills of being able to give perspective to situations and examine one’s own life from a distance. By creating a safe and encouraging environment, NIDA Open focusses on this skill-set for all age groups, inviting students to freely explore their creativity and expand their imagination.
The Art Smart Forums have gained significant momentum since their launch last year. This latest event was a great reminder of the importance of creative play at any age and we look forward to the opportunity to explore other areas of performing arts education with our parent community.
To find out more or to register for upcoming forums visit open.nida.edu.au.
Photography by Maja Baska.