DIY 15: 2018 - Nigel Barrett & Louise Mari: Tiny Revolutions

How to make a working political theme park for babies and early years

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Mon 18 June
This DIY is supported by Folkestone Fringe

Project summary

Every weekend, throughout Britain, families visit theme parks, museums, National Trust houses, cinemas, shopping centres and generic, branded, money-making ‘experiences’ to have “something to do with the kids”. These are perceived as politically “neutral” and are unquestioning of ideology, our colonial legacy, gender politics and global concerns - such as climate change. 

We will explore the ethics, process and possibilities of making politically engaged work for early years children and their families.

We want to visit two popular attractions - at either end of physical scale - to consider the question of whether a live art alternative space could be made that would be equally as exciting for early years but also engage them politically.

  • Day 1: We will visit Bekonscot Model Village in Buckinghamshire and ride on the miniature railway.
  • Day 2: We will visit Diggerland in Kent and participate in the JCB dumper truck racing competition.
  • Day 3: We will prepare a Teddy Bears picnic in Folkestone and ask the participants to bring in an object they find comforting and reassuring. And we will present, discuss and interrogate our ideas for potentially exciting politically engaged projects for babies and small children.

Is it possible to make a live art attraction for families, that in its very nature questions the society we live in, whilst giving the children, parents and carers a wonderful day out that is sought every weekend by people in pursuit of a lovely time?

How to apply

There are 10 places on this DIY, and participants can be anyone with an interest in making work for early years. 

The online application asks for a CV and a short statement of interest in this DIY. If more than 10 applications are received, names will be picked out of a hat.


Dates, times and location

Dates: 27-29 Jul 2018
Location: Buckinghamshire and Kent

The cost of entry for attractions and activities is covered for participants.

The artists

We are Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari. Our work encompasses Live Art, experimental performance and site responsive practice. We are passionate about political engagement, making work accessible to new audiences, experimenting with new hybrid forms and putting the audience at the centre of the questions we are exploring. We make work for adults, families and children of all ages. Nigel is an associate artist of SABAB, making radical work that straddles the cultural divide between the Arab and Western World. Louise co-founded pioneering cult performance collective shunt, in 1998. We have been working in partnership for the last 12 years, since working together as members of shunt and founding, running and curating radical art bar and club - the shunt lounge. We are winners of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2015 with "The Body' at the Barbican, and our last major work was Party Skills For The End Of The World for the Manchester International Festival 2017 and Shoreditch Town Hall in February 2018.

For questions about this DIY, please contact Louise.

Part of DIY 15: 2018 - Call for Participants