Insights and ideas – Article 31

Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states: Children have the right to relax and play and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.

Yesterday’s Insights and Ideas Cafe Event (organised by Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland) focussed on Article 31 and gave participants the opportunity to hear from excellent speakers and to join in discussions around this vital topic.

Tam Baillie, the Scottish Commisioner for Children and Young People was the first speaker. He pointed out that Article 31 is possibly neglected compared to the other articles of the Convention, and when it is highlighted it is too often narrowly defined only as the right to play, cutting out the vital requirements for access to cultural activities. He talked too about the importance of working with parents and adults who care for or work with children so that they become more confident about encouraging children to play and engage in cultural activities.

Katie Bruce of the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow outlined how the gallery works with children. The Gallery staged an exhibition ‘Blueprint for a Bogey‘ in 2011, which focussed on the children’s right to play. Children have been involved in the museum’s cultural programming.

Rhona Matheson of Starcatchers was the ext speaker. This is an innovative project that offers performance and creative activities for children under the age of five across Scotland. Starcatchers believe that:

  • Creativity has a fundamental role in supporting early child development
  • Creating performances and arts experiences for very young children is inspiring for artists
  • Creating opportunities for educators to build their confidence in using creativity in their every day practice can have a significant impact on them and the children they care for

Finally Caroline Currie of Glasgow Life, spoke about Takeover Day. This event (organised by Kids in Museums) happening 28th November, encourages museums to hand over control to children and young people for one day. Caroline talked about the Scottish pilot Takeover day that happened last year at the People’s Palace. Children from Pollockshields Primary School took over every element of the running of the museum, from authorising annual leave, to creating small exhibitions to updating the Twitter and Facebook pages. Museum staff were on hand to make sure nothing went wrong. Children who had never previously been inside a museum left the event as enthusiastic ambassadors for museums.


Following on from the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October and as part of Luminate: Scotland’s Creative Ageing Festival the next Insights and Ideas event on 3 October will focus on involving older people in cultural and creative activities.


As ever, bold text in this post contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


About julietwilson

This is my professional blogging account. My personal blog is Crafty Green Poet (

2 responses to “Insights and ideas – Article 31”

  1. Carol Steel says :

    Wow, this blog post is full of great information. I’m looking forward to the next one on older persons. Thanks so much for sharing all this good information about children.

  2. julietwilson says :

    Hi Carol, thanks for reading, unfortunately I won’t be able to be at the next meeting as I’ll be teaching, so I won’t be able to blog about it, but I’ll try to remember to link to the official feedback from the event!

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