Community Meeting (September 12, 2018): The Republic of Childhood: Learning from the Future


Presenter: Neil Wilson

Neil Wilson is the Founder of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. He has been working with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) on a number of literacy initiatives for the past 20 years working with community leaders and educators on discoversing and delivering exciting child centred initiatives that empower kids and young learners.

The Republic of Childhood was launched in the Fall of 2017 and is inspired by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Republic is partnering with the Ottawa Public Library and a number of social housing neighbourhoods as well as the OCDSB.

Neil looks forward to sharing some of his experiences and learning more from you on how we can do better creating creative spaces for kids.


  • The Republic of Childhood was started 2 years ago
    • Started from his love of children
    • Embarking on intensive writing workshops
      • includes coding, fiction, poetry, graphic novels, etc.
    • Children's concerns and culture tends to not be on the political map
    • Education tends to be huge bureaucracies
    • If we put children at every step of the way, we'd have a better safer world/community
    • They work in public school system, social housing, public library
    • Based on the UN declaration of the rights of the child (children have the same rights as adults) (
    • Landon Pearson (child advocate) at Carleton University. The name came from a book she wrote.
    • Have adopted 5 schools and library, 
      • program is 2 hours (after school hours) twice a week for 5 weeks
      • the kids are able to find a voice, one that isn't just a right/wrong answer
    • looking to start a children's history month
    • They want to give Children an equal playing field