TATI is accepting applications for the Fall 2014 Graduate Diploma in Art Therapy Distance Learning Program. We will accept 12 candidates only. The program will be a full time program. Each semester students will complete the equivalent of four full time graduate level courses plus take part in practicum. The program is delivered in four semesters of four months each over sixteen consecutive months. Students beginning in the fall 2014 distance learning program will complete all coursework in at the end of 2015. Students will then have two years to complete a thesis or major project. Practicum will be arranged for students on an individual basis in the student's community. Curriculum is the same as our on site program (see www.tati.on.ca) but delivered in a distance learning modality. An undergraduate degree from a reputable university is required.
Dr. Helene Burt,
D.A., RCAT, ATR Doctorate of Arts in Art Therapy, NYU.
The Toronto Art Therapy Institute
66 Portland Street, Suite 103
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Sunday, August 3, 2014
International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP E/News, August 2014
August 2014 News Update
Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, (dist. University of Toronto Press)
The book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, edited by Cheryl McLean, a project of IJCAIP and published by Brush Education (dist. by University of Toronto Press) was released in January. We were pleased to include a foreword in the book contributed by The American Medical Students' Association. Described by Dr. Michael Gordon, Medical Program Director of Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care, Toronto, as a "must read for those responsible for medical education", the book, recently reviewed by Hektoen International, Journal of the Medical Humanities, Chicago has been well received internationally with reviews upcoming in 2014 from The Canadian Medical Association Journal CMAJ and The South African Medical Journal SAMJ. The book was recently featured in The Arts Health Institute, Australia journal/magazine, "spoonful" a leading new international magazine in the arts and health field.
Update on Keynotes 2014 Alberta Psychiatric Association, Acadia School of Education
Alberta Psychiatric Association Annual Conference 2014, Rimrock Hotel, Banff Alberta
Living Stories of Hope and Change, Role of the Creative Arts in Healthcare and Physician Wellness
How can the creative arts and story bring about change and contribute to physician wellness? How can creative arts in research and action help enhance practice offering us new ways to communicate and empathize with client experience? A recent keynote for psychiatrists sought to address these questions while demonstrating the creative arts in action in mental health. See a transcript of highlights from this keynote. Visit the Alberta Medical Association website for more information about this presentation.
School of Education, Summer Conference 2014, Acadia University, Nova Scotia
Navigating the Tides of Challenge and Change with The Creative Arts in Research and Practice
How do we engage today's teachers and educational leaders in contemporary thinking that positions creativity at the centre of curriculum? How can today's educators help offer solutions and navigate the tides of challenge and change in their own communities with creative arts in research and practice? In a keynote address July 2014 for 200 students and faculty around the topic of Creative Professionalism in Education, this keynote examined problems of local concern while proposing creative solutions for change. See complete transcript of the keynote Navigating Tides of Challenge and Change with Creative Arts in Research and Practice.
I was invited this summer to teach the course Problems in Education, Research in Creativity at Acadia University (MEd Curriculum Studies). The course was designed to introduce creative arts in research and interdisciplinary practice relating to education and social needs and change in schools and/or communities and drawing on the research texts Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change and Creative Arts in Research for Community and Cultural Change for illustrative examples in practice. Information CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com
Upcoming Issues of IJCAIP Journal
Planning for the next issue of IJCAIP Journal is underway around the topic of alternative approaches in medical education and practitioner health and wellness. Expected publication date November 2014.
For information contact: Cheryl L. McLean CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com
Publisher, International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Editor CAIP Research Series
Follow on Twitter @creativeartprac
Follow on Twitter @creativeartprac
London, Ontario, Canada.
To subscribe to IJCAIP Journal send an email to CherylMcLean@ijcaip.com "please subscribe"
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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Sharing highlights from my recent keynote, School of Education, Acadia.
Navigating the Tides of Challenge of Change
with the Creative arts in Research and Practice
A keynote address delivered at the Summer Institute, School of Education
Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
by Cheryl L. McLean, July 4, 2014
I have been a contributor to the field of the creative arts in interdisciplinary research for over ten years, as an educator and publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP and editor of the CAIP Research series and books, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change (2010), Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change (2011), Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, distributed by University of Toronto Press (2014). In the journal and research books I have featured international researchers active in creative and community based projects around issues such as poverty and homelessness, water issues, cultural issues, issues such as bullying, raising awareness about marginalized groups and many others.
Among my goals for my work in the creative arts in interdisciplinary practice and research has been to broaden the way we think about the arts in research and interdisciplinary practice as a transformational force for social change.
Today we will be navigating the tides of challenge and change and examining how the creative arts in research and action play a role meeting those challenges and in seeking creative solutions. We will examine illustrative research and stories of the arts at work in research and action for change. We will learn how such work could be used to address the challenges of change while also being applied in education.
There are two things that are especially important in our work as researchers and educators. The notions of place and its people. It strikes me that perhaps there is no better place to speak about arts research and change than right here in this place, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, located so close to the creative inspirations of the life giving ocean and The Bay of Fundy, a place that is witness daily to change and some of the highest tides on earth/these tides you know so well, day in, day out, regular comings and goings, like human experiences of life and living, ordinary and yet so very extraordinary.
I came here to this place because I was looking forward to speaking with you and because over the summer session I will be teaching a course called Problems in Education, Research and Creativity.
"Leaders commit many errors by not taking into account something so real as the people's view of the world...a view which contains their concerns, their doubts their hopes, their ways of seeing. " Freire
Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? Thoreau
We know it's important in our work as educators and critical for researchers or for those active in creative arts research and processes to try to know or understand people, who they are and how they live and what's happening in their day to day lives before we seek to work with them to make a difference at all in their learning. For example, before I prepared this talk I would deliver today I gave some serious thought to you my audience, particularly the graduate students seated before me.
I imagined that many of you were hard working educators teaching in public or high school all year, with active careers and busy lives and in what spare time you would have you would be runners, hikers, environmentalists, community volunteers. You would have finally paid for your last course or courses, you might have left the responsibilities of home (some of you are married with children) to find and rent a place here in Wolfville, maybe on campus, or in an apartment sublet, you would set up to read and study for just over two intensive weeks. You've come to add to your credentials or open up more opportunities or to advance toward your career goals, some of you will be heading toward administration. Many will feel the stresses and anxiety of starting a new course, with a new instructor especially and after seeing the new syllabus and the assignments and projects ahead of you. You want to know how to get things done quickly and efficiently, how things will be counted and evaluated and many of you will want to get an A average upon graduation. For a grad student all this can be quite exhausting, and then, you are asked by a new instructor, the one who handed out the syllabus, to be creative and change the world too!
Today the world itself is facing incredible pressures and stresses, critical needs with increasingly complex challenges, challenges that come home to touch us deeply and intimately every day in our homes and schools, affecting our children, and the very food they eat. There is a critical need for creative professionals working collaboratively, empathic down to earth real people for the people, educators and researchers who are problem solvers with heart. The tides have shifted today in terms of creativity. These new creatives are not content to stand on the shores and wait for change, they view creativity as necessary and fundamental and central to the educational process.
The new creatives value the flow of the collaborative circle the dynamism of human connection, over the rigidity, the comfort, and absoluteness of straight cut angles and predictable squares. They have the creative confidence to join with communities to seek to know and really hear the stories, to explore, together even further, even when navigating through stresses and uncertainty, they are the planners and designers who although they draft and carefully chart the navigational course toward hope also work as intuitives who feel and move with the currents of change.
Daniel Pink has said we require people today whose skill sets are different from those dominated by the left-hemisphere of the brain. According to Pink (2006) conceptual age workers must be able to “create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into a novel invention, to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and elicit it in others."
Along with contemporary leaders in education and creativity practice such as Ken Robinson and Daniel Pink, Robert Kelly at the University of Calgary, and editor of the book, "Educating for Creativity", also believes developing creativity should be central to the educational process. But still, as Kelly points out, the reality is creativity suffers when many students still spend much of their time in public education working for marks, gathering information and then compliantly restating it, giving the teacher what he or she wants. In terms of real creativity in education and active problem solving, new idea generation and collaborative development, believes Kelly, these are the bedrock of creative development.
So what do we mean by arts based research and how might these approaches benefit you in your work as educators?
Arts-Based Research (ABR) uses methods and artistic processes as a means of inquiry, creating various forms of art as a way to collect data, conduct analysis, and/or represent social science research. Other terms that cover similar ground include arts-influenced research, arts-based inquiry, A/R/Tography, arts informed research.
Put simply, the arts in their many and varied creative forms: narrative; monologue; poetry; photography; painting; theatre; film; dance; music; collage ..have the unique ability to help us "see". Here's just a few general examples:
Based on research interviews with young people who have experienced first stage psychosis, a dancer choreographs a dance which will raise awareness about mental illness and be performed in schools, for health organizations and in the community.
After a serious bullying incident at their school, a drama teacher interviews students who have experience with bullying, based on theatre exercises and role plays a script is created to share the stories with schools and the community.
Responding to the need for sexuality education for youth, interviews are conducted with teens and focus groups are organized. Drawing on this research a participatory play is created to educate audiences and raise awareness.
If one looks back at the history of this work as it relates to education, the spawning of Arts Based Research or ABER really began in the 70's with the father of ABER, the late Elliot Eisner at Stanford. Even in these early days Eisner had the wisdom to know that arts and science disciplines could work together quite compatibly often resulting in mutual benefit and greater depth and clarity of vision for both.
"It is to the artistic to which we must turn, not as a rejection of the scientific but because with both we can achieve binocular vision. Looking out through one eye never did provide much depth of field."
And in time we saw evolutions and adaptations among them the turn to performance and performative social science articulated so well in writings by Dr. Norman K, Denzin in the book "Performance Ethnography: a Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture." Here were performance narratives, performance ethnography, ethnodrama, autobiographical poetry, the new narrative forms in qualitative research for social change and economic justice.
In addition to teaching us about ourselves, and about places and people, in terms of practice, arts processes can benefit the educator in many ways, these approaches can contribute to reflection and self learning; effective communication ; collaborating; presenting and performing, keen observation and listening; witnessing; reflecting.
But the particular goals of this talk today are for us to explore through illustrative examples and a few stories of the work and research in action, and to point to how the arts might potentially be used in relation to education and in practice and in addressing issues and social problems in the larger community. This is where the creative challenge in this work lies drawing on educators' individual cross disciplinary specialties and skills to navigate through the tides of challenge and change with creative solutions that can make a difference for educators, schools and the communities where you work and live.
Some of the research I will refer to in this talk will be drawn from the books, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change, and Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change. I will also present research authored by Acadia faculty. At the close of our talk I will refer to an example from my own ethnodrama research. Among the examples I present, I will be referring to topical issues and challenges directly affecting communities here in Nova Scotia. So, this presentation has been created for/ as well as about you, my audience. Let's begin our journey.
Knowing about research as it relates to ones own place and community challenges can help us frame the problems with existing data and research and this can be the compelling motivator to draw researchers, educators as creative professionals and others in communities together working toward viable solutions. Let's listen to the research.
Dr. Lesley Frank is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology here at Acadia University. Dr. Frank is a sociologist researching in the area of family poverty, food insecurity, and health inequity. She has also worked as a community-based researcher.
She authored the report card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia.
It is a moving report from this researcher/sociologist, who has spent ten years advocating to help address the issue of child poverty in Nova Scotia. Listen as she appeals in these heartfelt words to the public, to policy makers, to anyone with the heart to care...
"When you do something for ten years that was first motivated by a passionate concern for social justice, and no justice comes, it is hard to keep going sometimes. But then I think, I have groceries in the fridge, a job (at least for now), my kids are not hungry at school, they will have winter coats and my income allows for opportunities. So I write this report card another year for my Nova Scotia neighbors who may go without food or heat in their homes this winter in the hope that someone is listening."
The report card she issued, unfortunately was not a good one.
The House of Commons goal in Ottawa was to eliminate poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000, but, as Lesley Frank reports, rates for child poverty between 1989 and 2011 in Nova Scotia are virtually unchanged. Nova Scotians have the fifth highest provincial rate of child poverty at 17.3%.
According to another report by The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, poverty costs Nova Scotia over l billion a year. Not to over simplify the many serious complex factors that contribute to poverty in many of our Canadian provinces but could we tap the creative talent and varied experience of the educators and creative professionals in this room here today? Could we tell those stories and navigate toward new solutions through with the arts?
John Portelli and Ann Vibert, Director of Education here at Acadia, in the article A Curriculum of Life described the 3 year pan Canadian study about student engagement in life and learning. One Nova Scotia school was cited as an example, a school where many of the students had experienced the effects of poverty and yet the approach to teaching and education was hopeful, democratic and transformative, highly creative and grounded in the immediate daily worlds of students..an arts infused curriculum where students engaged with the creative arts, visual arts, performance arts, music and craft, building programming around themes of social justice and care, common courtesy and peace and extending this creativity out to the broader community, a Town Hall where once a month students, teachers, parents and community members celebrate work, raise issues of concern to the school and community, stage performances and present arts projects.
Also known as participatory photography the method called photovoice was originally developed by Caroline Wang at The University of Michigan as a way to help rural woman in China influence the policies and programs that affected them. We have featured many photovoice projects in our research books some dealing with raising cultural awareness or documenting stories of homelessness and poverty. Here's how one school in Campbell River applied photovoice influenced processes in a class project for change around the theme of resilience.
In a multi layered community based arts research project addressing Poverty and Homelessness in Toronto Ontario, there was a pressing need to be heard and to raise awareness about the issue of poverty and homelessness and to help bring these stories to the attention of the public and change social policy. It was a collaboration of educators and creative researchers which included peer researchers, (people with lived experiences of poverty) educators, community agency staff, funders, artists, academics social workers 8 research based arts projects. In my role as editor, of the book, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change, I talked to Nancy Viva Davis Halifax the artist researcher on the project. I wanted her to share her process meeting and working with homeless persons and recording their stories and lived experiences through one of the projects, a photovoice project, which put cameras in the hands of homeless persons to document stories of a "day in the life" of people living on the streets of Toronto.
"My responsibility is to work towards social justice and equity and to teach about the circumstances through writing and arts informed research. The deaths of the most vulnerable on our streets haunt me. Every season provides new challenges. And always there is isolation, fear, shame, loneliness."
In addition to issues around poverty in Nova Scotia, there have been hard fought battles to keep schools open in villages like Petite Riviere, Maitland, River John, Wentworth, and Mill Village, people and families thrown into crisis, hundreds of rural and small town Nova Scotians have come together to support their small rural schools trying desperately to avoid more school closures.
Here at Acadia, Michael Corbett and Dennis Mulcahy, at Memorial, in their report, Education on a Human Scale, Small Rural Schools in a Modern Context" have demonstrated in their research that smaller schools in Nova Scotia can and do work and that big isn't always better.
How might we contribute creatively with arts based solutions driving innovative project ideas that could have the potential to navigate challenging issues such as these/ issues that affect the very heart of a place, your students, communities, your schools?
Environmental issues affect every province across the country and Nova Scotia is no exception. Climate change, water and the impact of sea-level rise in Atlantic Canada, /harnessing the tides for energy/ studies are underway looking at the impacts, there is a Tidal Energy Institute here at Acadia.
Carefully charting and then navigating the currents, around tricky territory such as community water issues, or the lack of water , can be, for any community, a serious question of life and survival.
Navigating their way through a critical water crisis in Texas in an arts based interdisciplinary educational project for change, Dr. Stephen Carpenter, a Professor of Arts Education at Penn State and Oscar Munoz, Deputy Director of The Colonias Program for the Centre for Housing and Urban Development faced a challenging question, How can we provide clean potable water for the people of the colonias? In research across disciplines informed by the visual arts, education, civil engineering, sociology and anthropology the project explored waters role in community health . Their solution was to create clay pots, point of use ceramic water filters. Educators worked with the community as well as school students, kilns were built and clay pot receptacles were fashioned at several public pedagogy events held with the community. Researchers and interdisciplinary team members created a travelling national exhibit of ceramic water receptacles and the exhibit toured for public galleries across the United States.
John J. Guiney Yallop is a Professor here in the School of Education. John's work as a creative teaching professional a researcher, writer and poet involves poetic inquiry, narrative inquiry, autoethnography and performative social science . His writing has drawn on place and memory and his loving accounts touch the emotions as he shares his personal experiences of life growing up in Newfoundland. In other writings the work addressed these important questions: How do we convey the experiences of four ex-prisoners attempting to find new lives outside prison? How do we raise awareness about their health and care while educating others about the issues? With colleague and researcher Liz Day, and based on interviews with four ex prisoners, John expressed through poetry and evocative writings what happens to older persons leaving prison, both socially and from a health point of view.
These writings, this research, gives voice to those stories, ...stories that are not often heard.
Following this presentation Michael Corbett and Martin Morrison will be presenting a workshop about the importance of inclusive educational practices as well as addressing the need for cross cultural understandings in Nova Scotia. In an article in the book Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change, discussing The Art of Migrant Lives, Bicultural Identities and the Arts, Wakholi and Wright discuss a project called The African Cultural Memory Youth Arts Festival which took place in Western Australia. They too asked an important question that inspired the idea for their project. How can we use performance to educate in Australia about Bicultural Identities? Arts based educational research along with African centered pedagogical approaches provided the framework for new understandings. The arts were used to explore identity while sharing experiences and stories with others through singing, dancing, drumming, storytelling, script writing, painting and cooking. They reported African Australian young people, between two worlds, performed embodied knowledge about bicultural identities and educated others about their lives and cultural experiences.
So, navigating my own educational journey, like many of you I too had to shift with the tides to attend graduate school, say good-bye to my two teenage children and my husband in London, Ontario, and set up a second residence in another city, Montreal, Quebec, travelling the distance between home and school, over two years to complete my studies.
I began my graduate work at Concordia University. My interests were in arts research and drama at the time with a focus on gerontology and mental health. I worked for two years as a therapist with older persons in mental health in low income residential homes, and, at the same time studied Stanislavski acting methods with Dr. Muriel Gold, formerly the Artistic Director of the Saidye Bronfman Theatre. All of my clients were Jewish and among them were Holocaust survivors. My research too began with a question, How could a performance about aging, autonomy and mental health educate health care providers about depression in older persons and help bring about change? Drawing on my writing, acting and therapeutic experience with older persons I believed the best way to foster empathy, bring about change and educate about aging and mental health was to research, write and act in an ethnodrama (defined by Johnny Saldana, an ethnodrama is a written play script consisting of dramatized significant selections of narrative collected from interview transcripts, participant observations, field notes, journal entries, personal memories, experiences and or print and media artifacts...this is dramatizing the data.")
In my research I sought to learn as much about my clients as possible, compiling detailed field notes, conducting one on one interviews, recording oral histories, listening to my clients' stories of struggle and survival.
My audience was comprised of health educators, geriatricians, nurses, social workers, counselors, people highly experienced in the field. The ethnodrama was based on the true stories of their clients. The stories they would witness in this drama would be the same stories they experienced day in and day out with older persons in their care.
I will now introduce you to Mary, who shares her memories about life in the children's home and her love of her teacher and her excitement about learning how to read.
(reading from ethnodrama script monologue Birds/Mary)
"There is a paternalism with regard to the elderly. this often results in their autonomy being assumed to be less than it is or taken away against their will. I learned I am inappropriately detached from people. I came. I attended because I was curious and I am glad I came. I learned about others but it (the ethnodrama) taught me about myself." Elder abuse researcher
We set out on this journey today to navigate our way together through the tides of challenge and change with the creative arts in research and practice, and so now we turn toward home. Creativity and change begins with recognizing the force that has been since the beginning, the universal human need for love and community, to connect together around a cause bigger than ourselves, to launch toward hope and to make a difference. And it is in this creative force, and in the always returning to it, that the tides may hold their greatest promise.
The late Alex Colville, former Chancellor of Acadia University, and one of Canada's most respected and influential contemporary artists, who died nearly a year ago on July 16 of last year, a long time resident of Wolfville, described the creative journey and how the arts bring us back to those things we may have always known, the soul's longing for purpose, he writes, "The creative process consists of the unconscious activation of an archetypal image and in elaborating and shaping this image in the finished work. By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present and so makes it possible to find our way back to the deepest springs of life."
It has been an honour and a pleasure speaking to you today, thank you,
Cheryl L. McLean.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Press Release, May 20, 2014
Cheryl L. McLean invited to deliver keynote address for Acadia University Summer Institute Conference
Navigating Tides of Challenge and Change
with Creative Arts in Research and Practice
July 4, 2014 at Acadia University, Cheryl L. McLean will challenge educators to navigate the tides of challenge and change through creativity, research and arts based approaches.
Several key questions will be addressed in this presentation:
How do we engage today's teachers and educational leaders in contemporary thinking that positions creativity at the centre of curriculum? How can today's educators help offer solutions and navigate the tides of challenge and change with creative arts in research and practice? What are topical examples of the creative arts in interdisciplinary research and practice currently making a difference in education and in programmes for community change?
Cheryl L. McLean is a leading contributor to the field of the creative arts in interdisciplinary research and practice, an educator, publisher, author and speaker, publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP and editor of the CAIP Research series and books, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change (2010), Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change (2011), Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, distributed by University of Toronto Press (2014). Her journal and books feature international contributors exploring the intersections of the arts across disciplines in research in education, for social change and in healthcare transforming and broadening the way we think about the arts and creativity in education and practice for community and cultural change and in enhancing quality of life. She is also a trained actor and ethnodramatist. Cheryl McLean will be teaching the course Problems in Education, Research in Creativity for the M.Ed Curriculum Studies Program summer, 2014 at Acadia University.
She has been a featured keynote speaker, performer and facilitator for diverse groups among them The University of British Columbia/Okanagan Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, The Alberta Psychiatric Association, McGill Medical School, American Medical Students' Association, Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, Congress of the Humanities and has taught the course Creative Responses to Death and Bereavement at The University of Western Ontario, London. Among her esteemed colleagues are leaders in creativity and education in Canada such as Dr. Robert Kelly, University of Calgary and Associate Editor of the first two books in the CAIP Research Series. She is honoured to return to Acadia University, once again to teach and present the keynote address for the Acadia University Summer Institute. In October 2012 she delivered the keynote address for the emerging Arts Based Research Network at Acadia made up of the Faculties of Arts, Professional Studies and Science.
More information http://www.CherylMcLean.com
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Below I have posted a proposal called "VOICE" I submitted to The London Community Foundation in 2011. The community concept sought to mobilize the community around arts and stories of lived experience to help raise awareness about poverty and homelessness in our city. I thought the information may benefit others seeking to use the arts for change in their own communities across Canada.
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE CREATIVE ARTS IN INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE
Cheryl L. McLean, Publisher, Executive Editor
VOICE is a year long pilot programme (consisting of numerous community art projects) leading to a main culminating event for London, Ontario which will focus on raising awareness through arts about the human stories of those who are often marginalized or unheard in our community. This will be a unique and community supported opportunity to raise awareness but also a place for inclusivity..for Londoner’s to come together to celebrate the considerable creativity, diversity and talents of all of the citizens living in and around the City of London. The projects and main event/s will help create a place to voice stories about:
- poverty, unemployed
- mental health
- Aboriginal life
- Environmental issues
- aging/Alzheimer’s, dementia
- immigrant communities
- needs of caregivers/professional healthcare workers
London, Ontario, is currently experiencing growth and change with an emphasis on development in our city core. Considering the opportunities and challenges in times of increased urban development and the possible consequences such as displacement, lack of affordable housing, homelessness and poverty, as well as the critical needs for mental health services, VOICE is a well timed event which would help serve vital needs in our city.
The purpose of VOICE will be to use the arts in many forms to help bring about transformational change, to tell and present stories for public witness, to help foster public empathy and understanding, to raise awareness, gather support and to ultimately improve quality of life for our citizens. In terms of action the event will raise awareness, foster empowerment and act as a catalyst to help raise critical funds for affordable and accessible housing for those in need in our city.
It is envisioned VOICE act as an “umbrella” programme (featuring many arts for change projects developed and prepared over a year) removing barriers and breaking down prohibitive “special interest” silos while uniting the London community its citizens and organizations around positive community change. A number of local organizations are already currently active in highly successful events that help support local citizens and offer places for self expression (examples: CMHA “Framing the Phoenix” (mental health/arts) , “Grit Uplifted” London Intercommunity Health (writing/homelessness), Poetry Slam and others…VOICE will help profile these projects and initiate new projects through story, drama, poetry, art, photography, visual art, music, dance and film in a unified effort to educate the community and profile persons and issues while working to validate individuals, provide a space and place for creativity and purpose, community connectedness, and foster hope for change.
It is envisioned that organizationally, members of varied communities (see para. 2 list above) will lend a participatory voice in helping to shape the year long projects and main event (providing input, leadership, volunteers, etc.)
It is conceived VOICE might also link to our London educational communities…research and social service community and feature research/dissemination (such as photovoice/performance and narrative projects etc. ) at our local art galleries and other venues. Projects will seek to raise awareness about issues of marginalization. Public and secondary schools would be active in projects linked to the theme as well as the idea of working together for hope and change.
It is expected the pilot programme would require at least one year in terms of preparatory lead up programmes and the main event. Groups will be active over the year in creating art in many forms which will be featured at the main event. Lead up projects would involve groups working with trained facilitators/directors who will guide them in creating their own exhibits/written contributions/ special performances/music (instrumental/choir etc.) /video/dance/films /digital etc. for VOICE. This initiative may also involve facilitation and working with homeless persons and other participants over the year to help create other forms of craft (which could potentially be marketable) …carpentry projects for example, quilting and projects related to fashion, digital technologies etc. These projects could help provide creative and purposeful activities while fostering empowerment, agency and self sufficiency.
VOICE will be designed to be a prototype project which could be an exemplar for cities and an example for positive community change… the London VOICE project becoming the model for similar events across Canada. There are plans to formally study this project as it unfolds in order to create a VOICE document/report which could be consulted by other municipalities who would wish to institute a similar programme.
In terms of dissemination, The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP available and accessible worldwide (http://www.ijcaip.com) will feature several articles about VOICE in upcoming journal issues accessible worldwide and the third text in the CAIP (Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice) Series, also titled “VOICE” will feature an article in the book about the story of the London project as it unfolded… a model and an inspiration for other communities active in work for community change.
Although it is very early to speculate as to which London organizations may be potentially interested in some form of involvement in this event, the following is proposed as a list of possibles:
International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice IJCAIP
London Food Bank
London Intercommunity Health Centre
London Community Foundation
Canadian Mental Health Association
London Intercommunity Health
London Health Sciences Centre
University of Western Ontario
East London Business Association
Community Care Access
The Arts Project
My Sister’s Place
Lawyers Feed the Hungry, London, Ont.
Hunger Relief Action Coalition
London Coffee House
Unity Project/Up with Art
London Dental Community Cares
London Fire Department
London Police Department
Habitat for Humanity
Old East Village Business Improvement
London Free Press
There have been programmes and initiatives related to marginalization and homelessness in London, however, the human issues are still not well understood by the public at large. This creates a knowledge gap which continues to impede efforts for change in our city and in other urban centres. There is a growing body of research that substantiates the use of the *creative arts for community and cultural change. VOICE is a community based process and awareness raising initiative , an exemplar for other cities, that uses the arts in action to foster participative citizen engagement, build community vitality and foster transformative change focusing public attention on stories and lived experiences of marginalization, homelessness and related issues. The initiative will offer an inclusive opportunity to connect around the creativity, diversity and talents of all London’s citizens with arts opportunities for youth to senior citizen with a goal to close the gap between rich and poor and bring about attitudinal change.
VOICE consists of of facilitated and participative arts for change projects (visual arts, storytelling, writing, performance, choral music, other) leading to a culminating event October 2012. There will be opportunities for research and exhibits in galleries and public spaces to encourage reflection, public dialogue and discussion. A summary report would be completed 2013 with follow up articles in *IJCAIP Journal and upcoming book *VOICE! Transforming Cities through Citizen Stories and the Arts in Action
VOICE could potentially build on work of London CAReS and Strengthening Community and Neighbourhoods, London Community Housing Strategy and The Cultural Prosperity Plan. There was a suggestion a presentation about the new initiative might be scheduled at the Culture Days event and National Housing Day. (list of 30 other potential city collaborations was included in draft submission to LCF).
Leverage may include in kind donations, city venues, community volunteers, IJCAIP donated publishing support, academic expertise, etc.
Executive Editor, Publisher, International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice Journal
Editor, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice CAIP Research Series
Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change
Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change, Detselig Temeron Press, Calgary.
Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, dist. University of Toronto Press, 2014
Creative Arts in Humane Medicine, Brush Education, dist. University of Toronto Press, 2014