Often there’s a disconnection between people of different generations, so the Mosman Youth Forum set about changing that at the 2015 Festival of Mosman.
Talk and Chalk was a Mosman Youth Forum initiative that aimed to encourage intergenerational conversation and create connections between Mosman’s people, regardless of age. The idea was to find a fun way for attendees of the Festival of Mosman to talk to other people of a different generation, so what better than a giant chalk colouring-in?
We got together artists both young and old from Mosman to come up with a design – a side-by-side depiction of Mosman now and 85 years ago – which celebrated our area. Small cards with questions were placed all over the chalk outline for people to pick up while they were colouring and ask someone of a different generation. Though there were Mosman-related questions – how long have you lived in Mosman? – there were also pretty random ones, too – do you prefer cats or dogs? – and Forum members were present throughout the day to help fuel the conversation. It was awesome to see that people really got talking – Mixi and myself had a great conversation with a librarian (and her adorably small dog) who was interested in youth activities like Talk and Chalk!
Though the design started out professionally enough, soon the hordes of young children created an explosion of cute chalk designs, and by the afternoon it was basically a kid’s dream scrawled across the paving. But we weren’t deterred, a) because how could you begrudge, like, seven rainbows and countless flowers, and b) because people were still talking – older generations joking about how they could barely see the outline anymore and toddlers loving the chance to get creative after a long day walking around the Festival (parents loved the break too, though one poor Dad ended up half coloured in by his two little girls!).
The perfect sunny weather reflected the great atmosphere we had created, and it was sad to have to clean it all up in the afternoon (though it was hilarious, if slightly embarrassing, when a guy walked past me sweeping the basically-non-existent chalk remnants and said “Alright, love, it’s just the floor”, thinking I was just some crazy person washing the streets for fun).
Talk and Chalk was a success – we have a canvas with participants’ autographs all over it as proof – and the people of Mosman were able to easily talk to other Festival attendees without the stigma there seems to be sometimes between young and old people.
Special thanks goes to…
On behalf of the Youth Forum, I would particularly like to extend our thanks and gratitude to Jan and Jill, our expert resident artists, who helped us bring Talk and Chalk to life. We appreciate you giving your time and making the initiative a major success. We learned a lot from you both about how Mosman used to be and all enjoyed working collaboratively with you.
Here’s a few of the photos from the day: