Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts hosts conversations on early childhood, culture and arts

Published November 19, 2019

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) last month organised a two-day series of conversations on early childhood development, culture and arts, bringing together cultural professionals from Turkey, Albania, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK to talk about how art can transform childhood. More than 70 people took part in these conversations, which were part of the 16th Istanbul Biennial, organised by the İKSV from 14 September to 10 November 2019. The conversations ranged across issues such as child-friendly design, festivals, music and visual culture, sharing research and examples of successful models in using the arts and culture to promote child development.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation has been working with İKSV over the last two years, including on a policy paper on early childhood, arts and culture published by the İKSV earlier this year. As part of this ongoing programme, a new children’s book – Optigull and Pessigull: A World for All of Us – was published with the Foundation’s support to coincide with the Biennial.

Written by Yekta Kopan, illustrated by Gökçe Akgül and edited by Burcu Ural Kopan, the book tells of the adventure of two seagulls – Optigull and Pessigull – and their new friend, Greta Pigeon. The story ties into the theme of the Biennial, tackling plastic waste in the seas. Biennial venues and bookstores distributed 17,000 copies of the book, free of charge, in Turkish, English and Arabic. More than 50 children aged between 3 and 8 participated in storytelling events and drawing workshops with the book’s author and illustrator.

Elsewhere at the Biennial, İKSV organised “baby morning” guided tours specially for babies and caregivers. Almost 100 people came to these events, which were inspired by a similar initiative supported by the Foundation at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial in 2018.