In 2019, José Maria Vieira Mendes was invited by Teatro LUCA in Lisbon to give a conference for children dealing with the question “What is culture for?”. From this conference came later a book published by Planeta Tangerina, with illustrations by Madalena Matoso and with the title ‘Para que serve?’, a book that has since been translated in different countries and recently selected by the prestigious White Raven 2021 catalog, of the International Youth Library of Munich, the world’s largest international library of books for children.
This conference can be experienced with different alignments and in different formats. Either trying to deal with the broader question (“What is it for?”) or asking about the usefulness of “culture” (“What is culture for?”). Sometimes using the “conference” format, sometimes using the “conversation” format, in an informal dialogue model.
Whatever the format or the alignment, its interest will always be to introduce thought, philosophy and the idea of questioning to the younger generations, in a playful and uncomplicated way. One tries to understand where the questions come from, and for that one questions the questions. Does it make sense to ask culture what it is for? There are questions that don’t make sense. For example: How many arms does a table have? It doesn’t make sense. If we ask questions to the questions we can better understand if they make sense and it becomes easier to imagine their answers.
Age group +9
Approximate length 40 minutes
(c) Alípio Padilha