Scotland

Would you let a child cut your hair?

  • 26 April 2012
  • From the section Scotland
Huw Williams getting haircut from Brandon and Bobbi
Pupils Brandon and Bobbi give BBC Scotland's Huw Williams a trim

Many parents would be afraid to let their children near a pair of scissors - never mind allowing them to cut their hair.

But an event taking place in Glasgow this weekend will allow a group of 10-year-olds to try out their newly-learned skills on adult volunteers.

Haircuts By Children shifts the power from the adult and sees if we can accept children as "creative and competent individuals".

It is the idea of Canadian collective Mammalian Diving Reflex and is part of the Behaviour 2012 festival.

Associate producer Hazel Venzon said some children felt immediately "empowered" by this rare level of trust.

She said others were shocked and without confidence that they would be able to do it.

Ms Venzon said: "What we end up proving is that every kid has the sense and the maturity to do this and accomplish it and be extremely creative and have a great time.

"They are a bit scared and timid but the training allows them to transform. We encourage them to be creative because they are the artists."

Nineteen children from Oakgrove primary have been put through their paces by John Comerford, stylist at Alice Rocks in Glasgow.

One of the small snippers, Marianna, said: "They are going to ask us for trims and stuff or we can design it ourselves, like put colour in it. But it isn't real colour - you can wash it off if you don't like it.

"Usually adults are the boss of us and we don't get to do much of that kind of stuff because we are little kids and we have to wait until we are older. It is really surprising that adults will let us do that to their hair."

Ten-year-old Aiden told BBC Scotland's Culture Cafe radio programme : "The thing I am worried about is if they don't like it. We'll have to put a wig on their hair.

"I'll be looking forward to cutting people's hair but I'm not allowed to cut my own mum's hair. I have to cut someone else's."

Ms Venzon said they had taken this event around the world in an attempt to break down boundaries between groups.

She said the children were nervous when they got to cut hair, but also very focused and "in the moment".

Huw after his haircut
Huw shows off his freshly-shorn locks

"You see them tentatively comb the hair and they realise there is a human being behind it," she said.

"It is a beautiful thing to watch a child really land it and get really mature all of a sudden."

She admitted that the anxiety was not just coming from the children.

"The entire room has this electrical feeling of not knowing what is going to happen," she said.

"That's why we find this work so exciting."

However, occasionally it does not go quite to plan.

"The volunteers know they are getting their hair cut by a child. No-one has ever started to bleed. There's no body parts missing. It is always this act of fun and play.

"But I have friends who have taken part who said they had a professional standing by for afterwards."

Listen to the Culture Cafe on BBC iPlayer

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