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A year of uninhibited exploration

Posted 12 May

Kristin Alford
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Celebrating two years of exhibitions and programs with a future-focus.

MOD. turns 2 this week. We are still learning. And while in regular times we might celebrate this milestone with a gathering of community, this year we’re keeping it small and looking at the world through the eyes of a toddler.

A year of uninhibited exploration

Toddler hands with paint stains reaching up
Thinking like a 2-year old (Photo: Jonathan Musser, Flickr)


“It is a year of uninhibited exploration,” said Anna Waismeyer, who has spent years researching toddlers at the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.

In the last 6–8 weeks we found ourselves reinventing what we do and how we do it. This explosion of creativity has been incredibly rewarding and we pledge to keep exploring and dreaming up wild plans and ridiculous ideas. We will keep asking questions. Why? Why? Why?

A focus on local geographies

A small child in a aqua jumper holding a blue truck and staring out the window
Where home is the whole world (Photo: Philippe Put, Flickr)

The world of a toddler is often limited to their home, their park and other areas close around them. If there is one thing COVID-19 has brought into perspective, it is the value of keeping focused on local community. Our digital reach can be global, but by designing for young people here and proudly producing content from Kaurna lands we are distinct and our work is grounded and meaningful.

A call to nurture resilience

A small child sticking bottom lip looking sad
Acknowledging the hurt and bouncing forward (Photo: Jessica Lucia, Flickr)

This week my friend’s toddler fell over and grazed his cheek on a Cruskit. The world can be a dangerous place and the most common things turn out to be risks — like hugs and handshakes. We will fall on our butts and have bad days, and we will acknowledge the hurt, anxiety and disappointments. And we will support each other to start again with new knowledge and skills so that our challenges are what ultimately let us thrive.

An invitation to play and share

Two small children playing with a truck in a sandpit
Permission to play and to learn from play (Photo: Jay Hsu, Flickr)

Too often we reach an age where the idea of play seems frivolous and we should just get on with real work. No, just no. We all learn from play and experimentation, especially from play with others. We are lucky at MOD. that the leadership at UniSA gives us permission to play and encourages new partnerships. We value that confidence and promise to harness it for good, sharing what we learn with others.

A lifetime to strengthen foundations

Two small children sharing food and talking in amazement
Setting good foundations for life (Photo: Donnie Ray Jones, Flickr)

We all know a good start in life matters. We have had an extraordinary start, producing 4 different exhibitions across our gallery spaces, an online exhibition, programs of music and talks and workshops and engaging with more than 165,000 people. We are mindful that not everyone gets a good start, so we will ensure we maintain our focus on being accessible, inclusive and participatory so that a wide and diverse array of people are inspired by open-ended curiosity and the pursuit of lifelong learning.

This week we turn 2.

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