Polyglot Theatre Voice Lab e-news

“Voice Lab is the best thing I have ever done, it made me feel like I was being heard.”

Welcome to the Voice Lab e-news! We hope that you’ll enjoy reading about the myriad ways Voice Lab is being used by our partners in local government and the social services sector to listen to children and effect positive change.

What is Voice Lab?

Voice Lab is Polyglot’s creative installation module for listening to the thoughts and opinions of children. One at a time, children are invited into a beautifully designed, serene dome where they have a conversation with Voice Lab — a voice driven by a concealed live performer who elicits detailed responses, gives time for thought and regards the child as the expert. Voice Lab encourages reflective thinking and the articulation of opinions and feelings. The discussion can be completely tailored to explore children’s world views, curriculum themes, or to gather feedback on their experiences at school or in their community.

“Our experience using Voice Lab for the first time was just amazing. The material we now have because of this experience is proving invaluable in how we shape the workshop program and demonstrate what we do… Questionnaires and surveys do not adequately capture the essence of their experiences as they don’t put children at ease. In fact, the opposite occurs and they can feel tested, examined, scrutinized… It has strongly reinforced the limitations of written feedback and we are now working on ways we can continue to work with Voice Lab and Polyglot Theatre.” Rose Cuff, Executive Director, Satellite Foundation

Voice Lab in action

In March, Voice Lab worked with Bankstown Communities for Children on its Children’s Voices Out Loud project. The aim was to discover what children thought about life in Bankstown and to use their voices to help shape the development of Bankstown as a child-friendly community. Many of the children thanked Voice Lab for providing a space to talk about their thoughts and feelings, with one child saying, “Thank you for giving me this opportunity, I will remember this for the rest of my life.”

In May and June, Voice Lab worked with the City of Melbourne to speak to children about their experience of living and attending school in the area. When asked what adults can learn from children, one child replied, “That we’re all the same. I get emotional, adults get emotional… kids fall down and adults fall down… everyone’s the same – it’s just that you get older.”

In May 2018, Voice Lab conducted the final round of interviews for its pilot program The Voices of Children on Transition, which was developed in partnership with Anglicare Victoria – Communities for Children Frankston and Gandel Philanthropy. The major objective of this partnership was to gain a deeper understanding of school transition experiences, and to improve processes around transition and children’s services as a result of listening to children’s thoughts and ideas. To watch the video outcome from this project, click here.

Voice Lab also gathered feedback for Satellite Foundation, an organisation that runs programs for children of parents with a mental illness, and for the Connie Benn Centre in Fitzroy. On International Children’s Day, Voice Lab worked with the City of Greater Dandenong to ask local children about their views on living in the area. Voice Lab was also used by RedRoad Consulting for City of Port Phillip’s Adventure Playground upgrade consultation.

Interested in knowing more?

Polyglot has created a prospectus which outlines how Voice Lab works and why it’s a distinctive, impactful tool for consulting with children. You can download this here or contact us if you’d like a hard copy to share with your networks.

If you are interested in discussing how you could use Voice Lab in your organisation, school, consultation or program, please contact:

Viv Rosman, Executive Director         

Lexie Wood, Project Manager

T: 03 9826 3301