Childhood Undone: Four Contemporary Art Projects with Children

  • Krys Verrall
Keywords: Contemporary art, children, youth, collaborative art, intergenerational relations, intercultural relations, avant-garde


Children’s contemporary culture is a phenomenon of interest to many scholars. While most research focuses on digital media and Web 2.0, fewer studies have examined young people’s engagement with contemporary art as artists and creators. This paper introduces current research on art projects realized through collaborations between children and professional artists. It analyzes five international projects from Denmark, Canada, and the UK in order to make four points about how childhood is currently constituted in post-industrial democratic societies. On the one hand, artistic collaboration illuminates the boundary between childhood and adulthood, but on the other hand, it provides a practical and theoretical mechanism to reconceptualize children’s culture as dynamic, intercultural, and intergenerational.



DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2012.0017

Author Biography

Krys Verrall

Krys Verrall is a cultural researcher, arts producer, and educator with expertise in visual culture, the fine arts, and children and youth. She teaches in the Children’s Studies Program at York University in Toronto. She is co-founder of Big Pond Small Fish, a not-for-profit organization that produces artwork through collaborations between artists and youth. Her interdisciplinary research looks at dominant and “minoritarian” modes of cultural production defined by race and age. She has published on cultural studies, the 1960s Canadian black cultural activism and student movements, conceptual art, urban space, and music.

How to Cite
Verrall, K. (2012). Childhood Undone: Four Contemporary Art Projects with Children. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 4(2). Retrieved from