MindBurst has worked with the refugee children of Three2Six to produce two stop frame animations, Precieuse – a refugee’s story in 2011, and a precious life in a scary world (2017).

Working on projects like this with children between the ages of 6 and 11 is a revelation. We do not editorialise. In other words the storyline is what the children want it to be. They write the script, create the puppets and the sets. They even do the sound effects and voice-overs. They also have to work with recycled materials to make everything.

We provide a template for the puppets, which consists of a small rod attached to a base with wires threaded through it for arms and legs. This structure works quite well as the puppet always stands up and you can move it easily on set. We help to structure the production process for the children, source materials, and take the photographs that will be woven together into the final film. During editing we invite the children to come and see exactly how the process works.

We cannot do this kind of work without the support of Sacred Heart College, the commitment of the Three2Six staff, and the many local high school volunteers, practicing artists and international volunteers. We are always grateful to them for being willing to work within our methodology, offering minimal instruction, huge amounts of encouragement and helping us create a space for creativity to thrive.

When the children see what they have achieved in the form of a film, that is screened to appreciative audiences (that include their family members, caregivers and friends) and goes online, their sense of achievement is extraordinary.

Precieuse – a refugee’s story (2011) was quite clunky and makeshift as we were all still learning. You can really see the children’s hands in it.

The second stop frame animation project, a precious life in a scary world (2017), a sequel to the story of the first, was much more sophisticated in technique.

Projects like this ask refugee children to dig deep and relive traumatic experiences, so they cannot be done without paying constant attention to the emotional needs of the children. These are their stories and they are not necessarily expressed with ease. We are privileged that they have trusted us with what are often the wounded parts of themselves, and we are overjoyed to have glimpsed their dreams.

To read more about MindBurst’s work with Three2Six click here.