A new generation of young people using art to change the world

The first Kids as Catalyst Arts (KiCArts) pilot project in Victoria has been an enormous success with teachers reporting that the program had very positive impact on children.

KiCArts is an arts-based learning program, starting in the classroom and extending into the community – focusing on child-led community arts projects.

In 2017 KiCArts  partnered Grade 5/6 students from St Pius X in West Heidelberg with Kids Thrive artists and local community members to:

  • identify and embrace their personal values
  • explore community issues that concern them
  • forge community partnerships with local groups that share their concerns  or interests;
  • and create meaningful arts projects together, expressing their shared concerns.

The students partnered with local organisations doing great things – the 3081 Angels, SALT Foundation, the Friends of Darebin Creek and Darebin Water Management Committee, and Banyule City Council, Arts and Culture.

The children’s group projects were about cultural respect and sharing; recycling, reusing and re-homing waste; raising awareness of the environmental impact of plastic, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in West Heidelberg.

The children’s efforts were showcased at a community event on 21 September at Banyule Community Health.

How is this child-led social change?

KiCArts begins on the foundations of Kids as Catalyst. Children create catalyst teams to address a local issue that they feel strongly about.

The public work of art created by the children aims to educate and inspire the community to change its attitudes and behaviors to make their local community a more inclusive, healthy and happy place for all.


The evidence from our evaluation based on teacher records and observations suggests that the program has significantly improved children’s creativity, learning skills and community capacities. The project has built links between families, schools and community groups, and extended children’s safe community networks. From these results we draw the conclusion that KiCArts contributes significantly to building children’s resilience and creativity.


Child-led change brought us child-led innovation

This Kids Thrive innovation was inspired by grades 4-6 at Baringhup Primary who, in their Kids as Catalyst program created a public work of art to inspire their community to value education. The Flight Of The Fledglings included a nest with eggs inscribed with the names of the grade 4-6 children in the KiC program, an artistic representation of a local bird, and a message that education allows little people to be nurtured, crack out of their shell and take flight into the big wide world.

Thank you Baringhup Primary School. Thank you Daryl Young for your great community arts. Thank you Janette Leaver principal for your vision and daring. One creative act has given wings to a whole new idea. Here’s to those who remind us to be our best selves with and for each other.

Kids Thrive.