The Children’s Sensorium

27 June—4 August 2024

The Children’s Sensorium: Art, Play and Mindfulness

The Children’s Sensorium

The Children’s Sensorium, curated by Grace McQuilten is an interactive exhibition featuring light, colour, touch, sound, smell and taste to activate children’s curiosity, connect them to local Kulin country, and introduce strategies and techniques that support emotional resilience and wellbeing. With artistic direction from Boon Wurrung elder N’Arwee’t Carolyn Briggs, the exhibition connects with waterways and animal life, and occurs during the local Dja Dja Wurrung seasons of Barramul and Yulawil time, or emu and echidna time (May-June) and Wararak and Gurruk time, or silver wattle and magpie time (July-August).

Sensorium is created with leading contemporary artists Angela Clarke/Camilla Maling, Live Particle (embodiment), Heather Hesterman (planting and botanical exploration), Fiona Hillary (light), Larissa Hjorth, Playbour (play and games), Philip Samartzis (sound),   Anna Schwann (scented sculpture), Hiromi Tango with Moon Girle, Vivian Qiu and Alex Danay (colour and textile installation). It also features Yawa, an interactive arcade game by N'arwee’t Carolyn Briggs, Jarra Karalinar Steel, Narayana Johnson, Troy Innocent and Duncan Corrigan. Exhibition design and creative development by Anthony Clarke (Bloxas).    

The exhibition is designed for children aged 4-11 and includes sense-based installations that draw on touch, sound, vision, smell and taste to create an environment that is fun, engaging and activates children’s curiosity while connecting them to strategies and techniques that support resilience and wellbeing. It includes a variety of materials for play and is a space that children can spend time to explore their senses, feelings, thoughts, worries and hopes.

The word sensorium means ‘seat of sensation’ and refers to the way the body and brain receives, interprets and perceives sensory input. Sensory inputs comes from the five well-known senses of taste, smell, sound, touch, sight; as well as additional senses including the awareness of our bodies (proprioception), movement and balance (vestibular) and the internal feelings of our body (interoception).

This exhibition responds to a significant crisis in children’s wellbeing and resilience, as outlined in the Australian Government’s National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy of 2021. The exhibition aims to improve the emotional wellbeing of young children experiencing distress, building on evidence of preventative strategies to support children’s resilience and wellbeing (e.g., mindfulness or embodiment, play and emotional intelligence). The Sensorium provides practical strategies for children and their families to bring into their daily lives in order to increase mental health literacy and children’s emotional intelligence. Using a strength-based approach (shifting focus away from pathology), the Sensorium enables children to explore their senses, feelings, thoughts, worries and hopes and to cultivate emotional intelligence and resilience. Developed with advice from mental health experts led by Professor Renata Kokanovic and Dr Tamara Borovica, the Sensorium delivers practical resources through activities and workshops in the space and take-home information for parents, schools and children.

Developed and toured by RMIT Culture. Proudly supported by Mount Alexander Shire Council and VicHealth as part of the FLIP Winter Children’s Festival.

Public Programs
Free public programs, including workshops with artists, will be presented in the gallery throughout this exhibition. Please see here for details and bookings:
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RMIT Culture

Mount Alexander Shire Council

Victorian Health Promotion Foundation

Womindjika Woorineen willam bit
Willam Dja Dja Wurrung Balug
Wokuk mung gole-bo-turoi
talkoop mooroopook

Welcome to our homeland,
home of the Dja Dja Wurrung people
we offer you people good spirit.
Uncle Rick Nelson

The Jaara people of the Dja Dja Wurrung are the Custodians of the land and waters on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging. We extend these same sentiments to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations peoples.

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