The Age of Innocence?

This class has passed
This class has passed

What’s it all about?

How would you define the nature of childhood and its boundaries? The answer may not be as easy as it looks but it can have very real consequences to children’s daily lives.

In the last 200 years, the definition and the discourse on childhood has evolved considerably, sometimes in very contradictory directions. We’re going to try to unpack some of these ideas to understand more about what that means to children alive today.

What will we cover?

‘Childhood’ is a complex notion. It goes beyond biological criteria and covers a kaleidoscope of meanings, continually under social scrutiny. But these abstract ideas have very concrete consequences in the daily life of children, affecting everything from legal standing, education and even coercive implications.

An equal challenge to defining childhood is to show it visually! We’re going to examine a corpus of Western works of art, historical documents and popular culture images that depict various facets of childhood throughout time: from the Victorian era and its romantic ideal to contemporary society’s new challenges.

We will investigate what lies behind the images by analysing their conditions of production and consumption through a historical and social lens.

Come to envision childhood, but also adulthood, through an all-new light!

Who will be teaching?

Elodie Silberstein is an installation artist and director. Her practice explores the dynamics of power embedded in familial and by extension, social, political and economic spheres. Elodie has undertaken a research Masters through the University Paul Valéry (Montpellier, France) to investigate the evolution of the representation of childhood. She has exhibited locally and internationally (Japan, France, UK, Honduras and Spain) and now shares her time between Paris and lovely Melbourne that she now calls home. You can see some of her work here and here.