2017-18 Programming

For 2017-18 WIAprojects investigates "what socially-engaged community practice looks like. "How", we ask, "do we energize our research as feminists in dialogue with communities through the arts?" 

October 02, 2017 to Jan 26, 2018

"leaning in"  by the NEXTDOOR Project Group facilitated by Candace Wilkins

leaning in 
is a documentary exhibit exploring the expressive arts project, NEXTDOOR from Belleville Ontario facilitated by our 2016-17 community-based researcher Candace Wilkins. Wall work is by participants and includes documentation of this weekly drop-in’s events. 

NEXTDOOR is an inclusive arts-based group in downtown Belleville, Ontario that promotes creativity, poetry, the practice of loving kindness meditation, non-­judgment and compassion. The goal of NEXTDOOR is to support mental health by creating a safe space where individuals can come together on a weekly basis. This program is accessible with no cost to the participants.This group is for those aged 18+

February 6 - May 4, 2018
Lillian Allen & Joanna Black: Learning for Social Change

Toronto, dub poet, activist and writer Lillian Allen and Manitoba artist, researcher and educator Joanna Black, as socially engaged cultural workers, facilitate and animate artists' and educators' work in dealing with with diverse issues. Both women, while are professors at universities, value partnerships, process, and collaboration toward action in community.

Opening Feb. 5, 5.30 - 7 pm. Conversation 6 pm

Exhibition runs from Feb 6 - May 4 2018 9 AM -8 PM daily.
CWSE Hallway Gallery
OISE/UT, 252 Bloor Street West (just east of St. George & Bloor), 2nd Floor, Toronto
FREE and accessible.

Lillian Allen
 All this arts education talk is code for fermenting and nurturing a desire for personal and creative growth and affecting social change.
 Writing is such a malleable and pleasure-filled process. It creates wonder and surprises especially when peoples’ expressions are received and validated in community. It’s not just that everyone has a story, everyone is a story. Our stories are intertwined and connected; families, communities, friends, networks, histories, spiritual and psychic interconnections all are part of this web of human experience made visible when we write or make art.
 I work with OCAD U student animators and facilitators (past and potential) in building relationships, encouraging dialogue, and leveraging the resources of the North to create cross-cultural learning opportunities within various community contexts. Our intention is to enable our participants to empower their own visions as we act on our obligation to create a just and more equitable world.
 The OCAD U-Belize Project works directly with the Winsom Foundation as a key community partner. It collaborates to deliver interactive creative writing and art workshops and to assist in the development of education-oriented community art sites and events. Mentoring the mentors is how I term the activity of HYP (Hamilton Youth Poets), the brainchild of Nea Reid. Engaged with over three thousand mostly racialized students and young people in the Hamilton area, it promotes a “movement from silence to empowerment” providing a “space for young people to speak and be heard”. After year-round youth engagement and mentorship, HYP annually produces one of the largest youth poetry festivals in the world.

Joanna Black
I have been investigating the possibilities for activist pedagogy found in the intersection between human rights issues and new media through a new media art integrated venture called digiART. This has been animated over the last fifteen years as a longitudinal project originating from visual arts education at the University of Manitoba. In digiART, I have worked in cross-curricular contexts with others within the field of education. My intention has been to facilitate emergent teachers’ immersion in what is often called Intermedia. In Intermedia, traditional media limitations and restrictions no longer apply. Formal conventions shift, allowing visual and other modes of artistic expression including sound, text, still image and moving image to be part of the practice. 
Emergent teachers, mostly young adults, examine human rights issues through the creation of a variety of new media texts ranging from photographs, videos, and animations to graphic novels and performance art.  They delve into human rights issues in relation to Indigenous cultures, societal stigmas imposed on such people as the disabled and new immigrants, notions of food corporatization/starvation, and cultural genocide. Today, there is no guarantee that individual human rights will be valued or even considered. This precarious situation exists especially where political, governmental, and institutional protections are fragile.
Through digiART human rights projects, these young adults explore, grow, and creatively express – in their own voices - their personal perspectives regarding human rights issues. By doing so, not only will they motivate their own future students, but will inspire many in diverse educational communities: their digiARTworks have already been shown locally, nationally and internationally.  This activity helps to promote societal change as they activate communities-of-practice with like-minded educators and with students within schooling and learning communities. For this exhibition, I have provided digital “snapshots” of their new media works and through this, glimpses of moments-in-time in the creation of their art.  

Lillian Allen, internationally acclaimed poet/performer and language innovator, works at the intersection of dub, sound and rebel poetics. She has several award-winning recordings and books of poetry to her credit. Considered a cultural de-programmer, Lillian, as a longtime arts activist, has been a strategic initiator of programs, networks and arts organization in Toronto for several decades. Now in her sage years, Lillian is focused on mentoring the mentors and in intensifying her work to decolonize cultures as she remains an instigator of all things radical. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at OCAD University and is spearheading the establishment of a new Creative Writing BFA that focuses on creative writing as social practice.

Joanna Black is an artist who explores human rights and feminist issues working in traditional and new media specifically with video, photography, painting, blogs spaces, computerized art, and sound developing arts-informed research.  Her work has been exhibited in the United States and Canada. She has received a number of awards including ones from the Centre for Human Rights Research at the University of Manitoba, and the MERN’s Research Achievement Award. She has written books: along with Juan Carlos Castro and Ching-Chiu Ling she recently co-wrote, Youth Practices in Digital Arts and New Media: Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. Working as a Professor in Visual Art Education at the University of Manitoba, Black has spearheaded thedigiART Project since 2003 in which she has mentored emerging visual art educators in new media activist art projects in relation to human rights issues.

Link to images from the opening as photographed and reinterpreted by Miklos Legrady: http://www.mikloslegrady.com/joanna_black/social_change/index.html

May 24, 2018  - Sept. 2018
The Canadian Postcard Project: Mallory Diaczun 
Opening: May 24, 5.30-7 PM
CWSE Hallway Gallery
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West 2nd floor
Toronto, ON

Teacher and artist Mallory Diaczun will provide a retrospective on her long-running project with Toronto school children and contemporary artists. 

The Canadian Postcard Project
The Canadian Postcard Project is a research initiative designed to connect secondary students in a suburban middle school with contemporary, Canadian artists. The project invites all emerging and established professionals from across the country to participate in a simple postcard exchange. It begins with each student choosing an artist/artwork s/he admires and then s/he creates a postcard in reflection of that chosen piece. Once the student artwork is made and mailed, the Canadian artist then sends an artwork in the form of a postcard back in response. 
Through this project, Mallory facilitates cooperative learning and collaboration through an authentic dialogue between young and practicing artists. The Canadian Postcard Project brings Canadian artwork into the public school realm, and helps educate youth on different styles, mediums, and themes that are taking place countrywide. The past two years, for 2016-18, she also included developmentally delayed students.

From Mallory April 2017: “The students were asked to use your artwork to become inspired, and to respond with an artwork that would pair well with yours. I asked them to still focus on things that they like; There are three classes involved this year - Grade 11, Grade 12, and a Developmentally Delayed class. Because of this, the skill levels range, but each student put forth their best time and effort when creating their work; They are extremely excited for your responses! They have expressed to me how they are "real" artists now that they are working with other real artists. There is definitely a great buzz going around the school!”

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