Let’s Create Together: Exploring the role of parents/guardians as cofacilitators in artist lead early years workshops
Participatory arts for early years children often engages not only children as participants, but also their adults (parents and guardians). This study proposes that adults taking part in sessions of this nature are oftentimes not only participants, but co-facilitators: actively working with both the artist facilitator, and with their own child. Adults taking on this role tailor the experience to their child’s individual needs and work to engage their child in the activities provided by the artist. While existing research has pointed to the involved nature of the role of adults within early years arts workshops, their role as co-facilitator is arguably undefined. Furthermore, little research exists into the experiences of adults taking on this type of role, and on any lasting outcomes. Through the delivery of practice based interdisciplinary arts workshops for early years children and their adults, conducted at the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock in June 2021, alongside interviews with participatory artists with an existing practice in work with early years children and their families, this study seeks to establish the role of cofacilitator, explore the way that artists engage with and utilise adults in their workshops, and to examine the experience of taking on this role for adults engaged in the workshops, with a particular view to assessing any benefits for adult participants, and any barriers to their participation in this manner.