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3,900 young artists worldwide draw future at Sharjah Children Biennial workshops

Major groundwork for the upcoming edition of Sharjah Children Biennial (SCB), an artistic platform to promote creativity and innovation among children aged 6-18 around the world, is now complete. SCB has engaged 3,900 children in a variety of workshops for its sixth edition, under the theme ‘A World as Big as Your Imagination’.

In collaboration with UK-based global art project Little Inventors, SCB hosted these workshops in schools, museums, community and youth centres, bookshops, universities and malls in the UK, China, Lebanon, Argentina, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates over a period of three months.

The workshops focused on three themes ‘Helping Others, the Environment, and Entertainment and Creativity’, and engaged participants in a series of fun exercises and activities to help them explore how they would tackle a future challenge by drawing/designing an invention using their creative imaginations.

In the UK, 1,143 children and young adults across eight cities in London, Essex, Newcastle, Tamworth, Cambridge, and Belfast in Northern Ireland, participated in these workshops held at 12 schools, in addition to the Design Museum in London, National Saturday Club, Heath Robinson Museum, The Nerve Centre, the Science Museum, the Apple Store – Regent Street, the Northern Children Book Festival, and other public venues.

In China, 2,198 young participants across 10 cities and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Zhejiang, and Suzhou, which were held in 19 schools, three universities and design centres, and community places.

In Lebanon, 40 young artists took part in a workshop held in the capital Beirut to become the inventors of tomorrow, by drawing invention ideas by imagining what the world might look like in future; and in Argentina, the workshop engaged about 166 children in Buenos Aires.

In Bangladesh, 14 young recruits of the Girl Ambassadors for Peace Programme launched by the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment last November successfully completed a workshop, after which they were encouraged to reflect on the usefulness of their inventions within the context of their chosen challenge and establish the strengths of their idea.

Nashwa Al Ghassani, Vice President of the sixth SCB, said, “Even though children were free to choose any of the three workshop themes, the majority went with developing and drawing inventions to fit into the ‘Helping Others’ theme. It was astounding to see may children opt to invent for the benefit of others and gave us an insight into the beliefs and values held by children and youth around the world.”

In the Gulf, SCB conducted artistic workshops in Saudi Arabi in October during ‘Creativity Season’ (Tanween) Festival, engaging 40 children aged 6–12; as well as several locations in the UAE, engaging over 300 children and youth across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.

Ghassani added, “Not only are we extremely pleased to have reached out to so many young creators through our wide network of partners around the world, the Sharjah Children Biennial and Little Inventors online resource pack on the website has been downloaded over 750 times in Arabic and English. It is very encouraging to see so many children and their parents coming forward and taking interest in an activity that is dedicated to challenging young imaginations and help them express themselves creatively.”

The project is now in the selection phase, where the best ideas submitted by children from around the world are being assessed and handpicked to be turned into real inventions by a host of key designers and artists. The finished works will then be displayed at SCB’s sixth exhibition to take place next year.

Sharjah Children Biennial is an international artistic and cultural platform for children around the world, organised by ‘Sharjah Children’, a subsidiary of Rubu’ Qarn for Creating Leaders and Innovators, in Sharjah, UAE, and held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Chairperson of Rubu’ Qarn.