Symposium on Art and Education

On June 21st, 2024, The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation (IYMF) and MUS-E Belgium co-organised a symposium on art and education at the Bruegel cultural centre in Brussels. The day was divided in two parts.

The first part was consecrated to language in arts, kicked off by an introduction by Marianne Poncelet, Executive Vice-President of IYMF, and Tom Goris, coordinator of MUS-E Belgium, followed by the projection of a short film on the project “Ars musica” which involved newcomer children and teenagers who were invited to create instruments and who showcased the final result of their project on stage at the Brigittines Theatre of Brussels.

Keynote speaker was Hari Prasad Sacré from Ghent University who delivered a very thought-provoking speech, “Travelling fractured Multilingualism in the Arts”.

Then, Marianne Poncelet and Patries Wichers from MUS-E Belgium shared Yehudi Menuhin’s life and vision, still inspiring IYMF and MUS-E programme and network today, then gave examples of several projects where multilingualism was particularly highlighted such as Enfants d’ici, contes d’ailleurs which has created a collection of stories illustrated by primary school children from different countries, and IYOUWE share the world, a project with interactive workshops led by artists, for children in 7 European countries, emphasising storytelling, visual arts, dance, and music related to the Cosmogony of the world.

IYMF project manager Meredith Borodine introduced the documentary on the Choir for Ukraine project, which took place from January to June 2023. This choir was constituted of students aged from 11 to 17, from migrant and refugee backgrounds, who were all learning Flemish, and were able to explore many more languages through singing.

MUS-E Belgium artists Jeroen Smets, Gilles Hellemans and pedagogical councillor Christine Haelterman spoke about “Kunst-Taal project”, where Flemish artists give workshops to French speaking children in immersion, and vice-versa.

After the lunch break, the afternoon session was dedicated to MUS-E Belgium projects and best practices, focusing on the principle of “INTERCREATION” in the framework of the launch of their new Intercreation Website. Patries Wichers introduced the topic, insisting on the importance of the CAT model (horizontality between child, artist and teacher) which transpires through the MUS-E programme.

Several artists collaborating with MUS-E Belgium took the stage to explain their process of intercreation with the children. Artist Laurent Quillet went over his visual arts work with children, where he invites them to observe each other in silence for several minutes before the start of each project. Benjamin Vandewalle explained the process of a movement and video project with a class of children, reappropriating the public space after the terrorist attacks of 2016. Rasa Alksnyte showcased how simple creation can be, starting with a suitcase filled with random objects. Jan Gordts talked about a sketching and graffiti project where children were invited to decorate a wall of the Pianofabriek cultural centre, each intertwining their creative visions. Following the presentations and talks, artists and guests gathered for a guided visit to the exhibition “Intercreation: en route/onderweg” with artists Katelijne de Corte and Boris Magotteau. The day was concluded by networking drinks, which was an opportunity for artists and stakeholders to discuss their work and interests and ideas.