Through exhibitions, publications, events, research, and direct support to artists, scientists, philosophers, politicians, and others ages 0-12, the purpose of the project is to be sure that the wisdom of children is amply represented in our cultural world.
"Ada and Rachel Make Treats," by Nat Soti and inPOINTS
SEEN + HEARD is comprised of a series of individual projects advocating for children's rights to cultural representation, with the aim of increasing the artistic complexity, and efficacy of research and advocacy with each new project.
2015 /// SEEN + HEARD founded by Rachel Harper in Chicago.
2016 /// Treats, an exhibition curated by Ada Grey and Rachel Harper, opened at Chicago Art Department
2016 /// The Archive Project, a research residence at the Art Institute of Chicago Museum was funded by 3Arts and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and sought to establish the first living repository of cultural works of people ages 0-12. The archive was created with Brandon Gilbert and Sandro Murillo, and will open in Chicago in the Spring of 2018.
2017 /// PUBLIC SCHOOL, created with Jim Duignan of Stockyard Institute, opened at the Hyde Park Art Center.
2017- present /// SEEN + HEARD is establishing a permanent research studio inside a Chicago Public School, Bernhard Moos Elementary School in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, where Rachel Harper works amongst c. 600 child colleagues.
Children represent about 25% of the U.S. population, and are widely recognized to be prolific cultural workers when allowed to play freely and create. Further, the personal educator-practices of all of the researchers working in this space are driven by meaningful collaboration and brilliant dialogue with thousands of child artists and philosophers. And yet, the works of children’s own invention are rarely treated as serious contributions to the mainstream arts landscape, and our greatest museums, libraries, and textbooks all leave out the powerful knowledge that children produce. Why does this happen? How can we correct these practices?
What is worth knowing or doing? Who gets to say? For whose benefit?
Without children’s knowledge, we as a global society of knowers only ever hold a partial image of our existence, our communities, our problems, and our world. Further, that partial image only reflects the perspectives of people who have outgrown the important wisdom that is unique to childhood. And so, the purpose of these projects is to establish a platform that reveals the wisdom of children’s self-motivated works in many fields. Instead of further relegating children’s work to separate sites, my intention is to advocate for their inclusion by amplifying proof that children have as many rights to cultural validity as any non-child enjoys without question.
SEEN + HEARD came about in my 30th year of work in the arts, a career that began when I was a 6-year-old child trying to be heard. To learn more about my professional biography, visit here.