Haircuts by Children


On Sunday I took advantage of a free designer haircut at Sak’s Hair Salon Newcastle – this terrific opportunity went under the title ‘Haircuts by Children.’

This ACTION / ACTIVITY / ARTWORK arrived courtesy of Artist Collective Mammalian Diving Reflex and was presented as part of Wunderbar and Juice festivals.

Professional stylists took the young people through a week of intensive training: examining hairstyles and approaches and growing in confidence.  Then, over the weekend (Nov 7th & 8th) they were ‘set loose’ – styling, shaving, cutting and colouring the hair, of a steady stream of adult clients.

Mammalian’s West Coast Operative – Hazel Venson – explained that, as well as the hair training, the young people had spent time examining the various roles assigned to children and to adults in our society. (The children discovered these roles to be both strange and unfair in many instances!) Further work in the classroom examined different approaches and interpretations of art-making and creativity.

Being new to Newcastle, I was attracted to take part because ‘Haircuts by Children’ offered an opportunity to feel really involved in Wunderbar – and, I badly needed a haircut…

At my 1pm appointment I asked to see the top stylists and was soon sat in the barbers chair for a consultation with Marni and Shada.  After some initial discussion about the fuzziness of my hair, they decided to ‘do half each.’  Cue much careful buzzing with the clippers, removing the excess from the back and sides – “We’re thinking to leave the front long” they offered – who am I to argue?

My unique style, which I am calling the ‘proto-punk-teddy’ was elegantly finished with a bright blue Newcastle star at my left temple – perfect!’Haircuts by Children’ is a truly inspiring work – and an urgent antidote to the pervasive ‘LOOK, BUT DON’T TOUCH” culture we inhabit.