Mapping. A Map on the aesthetics of performing arts for early years is a Larger scale cooperation project supported by Creative Europe, Culture sub-programme, for the four-year period 01/12/2018 – 30/11/2022.

Mapping is an artistic research project focused on creating a sensory-based relationship with very young children, from 0 to 6 years, through performing arts. In particular, it explores the idea of “children-spectators of today and not only of tomorrow”.

Children, especially the youngest ones, are “new subjects of the world”, they are still discovering it, as much as they are discovering themselves. They have not established specific classification criteria yet, but they perceive what is aesthetic at any level of representation.

By observing them, we can detect the signs, the aesthetic moments experienced by the children in contact with artistic proposals, when they are “extremely sensitive”, that means in harmony with what they perceive.

The very young children’s aesthetic moments reveal themselves through long silences, wide eyes, imperceptible sounds, sudden excitement, surprise, unexpected laughter, and stances that display the total involvement of their senses.

A process full of generative questions to start to map the aesthetic dimension of very young children, trying to detect the tracks, the many aesthetic moments, that children reveal during the artistic relationship and the underlying reasons.

Not a Manifesto on how to make theatre, dance or music for early years, nor a Charter that set of rules to create the “perfect” show, but a Map that helps to find our way, step by step, within the sensitive relationship between young child and artist (the Key Elements of this relationship: the Contact, the Proposal, the Reaction and the Balance), when we intersect them with the fundamentals of the performing arts (the Filters: Sound, Word, Image and Movement).

The research path will lead to identify the first points of a dynamic map on the aesthetics of performing arts for early childhood.

Two other researches will accompany the main one: A New Audience, the research on Audience Development, will focus on the recepients of the partners’ festivals and activities; and a research process focused on dramaturgy and direction, the Follow Up meetings.

The partnership, spread across the entire territory of the European Union, involves 18 partners from 17 European countries: theatres, institutions and artists who have established a deep relationship with early years over time, and who are willing to offer their specific know-how in developing this piece of research.