Designed with children and young people, for children and young people— launching our new-look office

24 May 2017

A close-up of some of the new art in our office.

Yesterday, we invited children and young people from Edinburgh and Blantyre to the opening of the Commissioner's new-look office.

We want the Commissioner’s office to be a place that children and young people feel comfortable in. When we first moved here, however, it wasn’t the most child-friendly place to be.

To help fix this, we asked Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCPs) to help us create a welcoming and comfortable space for anyone visiting the Commissioner.

We also asked young people from The Art Room in Wester Hailes to create an art installation for our big meeting room.

Both creatives and artists were present at yesterday's launch, where we served them cake and gave them the chance to meet new Commissioner Bruce.

Involving children and young people

The creatives

In May 2016, we asked MCPs to give us recommendations around how to make our office a more welcoming place to be.

The MCPs were all children and young people aged 10 to 16, who came from Auchinraith Primary and Calderside Academy in Blantyre.

Over two days in May 2016, they looked at welcoming spaces in Edinburgh and made suggestions about how our office space could improve. We documented their experiences in this video:

Please accept marketing-cookies to watch this video.

The MCPs then worked with Children's Parliament to produce a report with a list of key recommendations around what needed to change in our office. These recommendations were:

  1. that our office should be less dull, and have more colour,
  2. that our logo should be more clearly visible in our office,
  3. that key rooms and areas in our office should be clearly signposted,
  4. that we should have a staff wall with the photos and names of the people who work for the Commissioner,
  5. that we should have a timeline showing the history of the Commissioner,
  6. that we should have an interactive wall of rights so that visitors of all ages could learn about children's rights,
  7. that signs should be translated into languages other than English,
  8. that artwork by Scotland's children and young people should be displayed throughout our office,
  9. that there should be plants in our office,
  10. that our office should use softer lighting, and
  11. that there should be space for family and friends to wait.

We're acting on all these recommendations. The Wall of Rights and Commissioner’s timeline were combined into one timeline to include both ideas, and we're installing our staff wall soon.

The artists

Young people from The Art Room in Wester Hailes created an art installation for our big meeting room.

We chose this space for them as it's the most prominent and well-used part of our office. It’s a space where visitors spend time and a place that art has the opportunity to inspire and get people thinking.

We delivered children’s rights workshops at The Art Room, then had the young people come to our offices to see the space and work up some initial ideas.

The young people's art has come from them. We didn’t direct them as to the specific content: we went to a session recently and saw that the art is very personal to the individual.

What the day involved

On the day, the visiting children and young people were welcomed to our office by the Commissioner before being shown a film to remind them how our office looked before they helped to improve it.

After this, the children and young people looked at what had changed in our office, and the creatives reflected on the process that had led them to recommend these changes. The children and young people were then introduced to the art installation, with the artists saying a few words about their work. Finally, all the children and young people cut a ribbon to declare our new-look office open, and the children and young people celebrated with a well-earned slice of cake.

Visiting our office

Children, young people and adults sometimes visit our office to talk about issues around the rights of children and young people. We also talk to them by email, text and over the phone. If there's something you'd like to talk to us about, you can get in touch by using the information at the bottom of this website.