Acknowledgment of country

Polyglot acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and create, and we pay our respects to Elders past and present. For more than 65,000 years, children and families have created and played here, and we are grateful to make our art on this country too.


Voice Lab

A unique module for collecting the thoughts and opinions of children.

Voice Lab encourages reflective thinking and the articulation of feelings. It is curious and pays close attention to what children communicate. Voice Lab is an immersive, creative experience for children, one at a time.

In a world where the child’s voice is often unheard, Voice Lab provides a way for children to have a say about their present and their future.

 

Young boy interacting with voice lab

Voice Lab embodies Polyglot’s vision to empower children. Its purpose is to listen to children’s voices and use the information they provide to make meaningful changes that can improve their lives.

Children are often overlooked when it comes to life’s big questions and if they are asked for their true opinions, they generally give the answers they think adults want to hear. Voice Lab challenges this learned experience. It provides children with an unmediated space away from their peers, teachers, parents and carers, where they can express themselves without inhibition. Voice Lab makes the child feel comfortable, understand that they are in control, and builds rapport.

Voice Lab offers children the opportunity to:

  • Express their inner thoughts, challenges, ideas, solutions and aspirations;
  • Develop communication skills including articulating opinions and ideas while enabling self-reflection and self-awareness;
  • Develop an understanding that their ideas matter and are respected;
  • Gain an awareness of their agency and influence;
  • Contribute to programs and policies that affect their lives in their local community.

Voice Lab is designed to be used in a wide variety of contexts. The conversation frameworks can be tailored to explore children’s world views, gather specific feedback, or generate ideas for plans, projects or policies.

Polyglot is proud that so many different partners have used Voice Lab to ensure that children’s voices are heard in their local communities, and we look forward to working with many more.

Voice Lab partners

Councils

City of Booroondara
City of Darebin
City of Greater Dandenong
City of Melbourne
City of Port Phillip and RedRoad Consulting
Wyndham City Council

Schools

Mahogany Rise Primary School, Frankston North
St Joseph’s Primary School, Collingwood
Victorian College for the Deaf, Melbourne
Warringa Park Specialist School, Hoppers Crossing

Organisations

Connie Benn Centre
Melbourne Fringe
Satellite Foundation

Social Services

Connie Benn Centre
Anglicare Victoria – Communities for Children Frankston and Gandel Philanthropy
The Smith Family – Communities for Children Bankstown
Mission Australia – Communities for Children Dandenong
Mission Australia – Communities for Children, Inala to Ipswich

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Physical Mode

Children are invited one at a time into a beautifully designed, serene dome, where they are entirely alone. In this responsive, theatrical space they have a conversation with Voice Lab – an AI character voice driven by a concealed performer that asks questions, encourages opinions and regards the child as the expert. Many children ask Voice Lab questions in return, delighted to have made a new friend who is deeply interested in everything they share.

Download physical mode brochure
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Online Mode

Voice Lab online conversations take place via Zoom, with the child using a device connected to the internet. The online mode was developed in response to COVID-19, offering children the opportunity to reflect on change and uncertainty and begin to process the pandemic’s impact on their sense of the world and themselves. Voice Lab online shows children that no matter where they are or how alone they may feel, their thoughts and ideas are important and can have an effect.

Download online mode brochure
Girl in voice lab with headphones on Girl in voice lab under purple light Girl on laptop at home using voice lab

Examples of children’s responses

Voice Lab: If your voice could be heard by the whole world, what would you say?
Child: Understand that everyone around you could be a hero if they were seen in a particular light. Every single person.

Voice Lab: Do you think there is power in sharing experiences?
Child: Yes because it can help us understand each other and our differences and our similarities.

Voice Lab: Does it help to talk with others about your feelings?
Child: Yes you should always do that, because then you have someone to look after you, and you have someone who always has your back…

Voice Lab: What do you think it means for people to feel connected?
Child: It makes people feel like they have a place in this world and they are loved.

  • The material we now have because of this experience is proving invaluable in how we now shape the workshop program and demonstrate what we do… It has strongly reinforced the limitations of written feedback…

    Rose Cuff, Executive Director, Satellite Foundation

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

    Student, primary school residency

  • RedRoad does a great deal of consultation with children and young people and Voice Lab is one of the standout methods we’ve seen in engaging children in rich, thoughtful and clever conversations about their lives.

    Andrea Cook, Director, RedRoad Consulting

  • This is a really amazing experience that almost feels like it’s come to me in my dreams. It’s really cool and I think this is really important for more kids to do.

    Child, age 12

  • It was an opportunity to stop, reflect and feel like they have been heard in a way that is helpful for their own individual growth and development. For our school it is a powerful tool. We are always looking for ways in which our students are able to get in touch with their feelings and thoughts.

    John Culley, Principal, Mahogany Rise Primary School

Contact

Got a question about Voice Lab?