One of the toughests aspects of organizing this and Haircuts by Children is managing to achieve some level of diversity. In Toronto we’ve managed to cultivate a great relationship with Parkdale Public School, getting to know a lot of the students and their families, so that we can call up kids and find a good mix of collaborators. We’ve put a lot of effort into this, picking kids up at their homes, dropping them off, inviting whole families over for dinner, taking them out on trips to the Science Centre, the Island and a zombie movie – a bad idea, btw, don’t ever do that. Zombie movies are FOR ADULTS. We also took a bunch to Misha Glouberman’s participatory sound performances. That was funny. The kids were so embarrassed to see a group of adults making random screeching noises that they were physically unable to stay in the room. Even little Sanath, clocking in at 8-years-old, declared the event to be ‘gay.’ And we understood him to mean the bad kind of gay, not the good kind and not the happy kind, which is more like the bad kind.
Here the festival hooked us up with the very mixed neighborhood of Footscray but, for some reason, it didn’t yield a diversity of participants. It’s hard to say why but, likely, the typical challenges confronting recent immigrants precluded a broad participation: over-worked parents, unfamiliarity with Australian cultural activities, language barriers etc.