Curiosity: A Children's Conference - A UK First

On Friday 27th March 2015, MakeBelieve Arts held the first ever Curiosity: A Children’s Conference which is the UK’s first conference which is specifically geared towards giving children a platform to imagine, entertain and articulate their own musings and unanswerable questions.

The conference was made up of an audience of children from a range of locations and backgrounds across the country. These curious minds listened to the most interesting insights from the keynote speakers and visionaries of tomorrow; the children themselves.

The event took place at The Ironmongers’ Halls near Barbican and kicked off with a keynote inspiration from patron of the conference, Laura Dockrill, Author/Illustrator and Performance Poet. The rest of the conference was made up of ‘curiosities’ or speeches from the children of 5 primary schools from all over the UK.

Our ambition for the Curiosity Conference was to create an event that has an impact on participants and audiences that is longer lasting than just ‘doing a keynote’. We wanted to create a community of curious minds where everyone’s voice is heard.

The Ironmongers' Halls was a fantastic location, the history and beauty of the place was overwhelming. The children and teachers were all very excited when they arrived and saw where the event was being held.

In the lead up to the conference we worked with groups of children from around the UK training them with the expertise required for public speaking. These are transferable skills which can be applied in other areas of learning. The event was a fantastic celebration of all the hard work the pupils had put into their curiosities and everyone left buzzing from the day.

To give you some background as to why we decided to do the conference, a couple of years ago we came across videos from a TEDx event in Sunderland where Year 3 and 4 children were set the challenge of speaking passionately about a topic that is meaningful to them. We interviewed the creators of this event, whose evaluation on its success was that it was well received and highly publicised. However, on the negative side, they felt it was short lived and were saddened that it had not been picked up by TED or repeated in any format since. From our extensive research we have discovered that there are no other conferences for children that work in this way, where children are the keynote speakers and shape the content of the event. We were inspired by this and thought it would make a fantastic idea for a children’s conference. We were then given funding by The Ironmongers’ Foundation to hold this event.

You can watch the abridged video of the conference below: