This Blog reads like a travel journal, documenting my adventure day by day.
Sharing my skills:
At Antyx HQ I ran a two-hour workshop sharing the theatre facilitation methods I have used, to instigate conversations and generate theatre work. This was an example of how I work with young people at Doorstep Youth Theatre and Saturday Drop-in session.
It was an opportunity for me to share exercises that I use and my facilitation styles with the team who are Visual Artists, Dancers and spoken word artists. We explored the question ‘What are you fighting for?’ using simple, but effective exercises like Yes, No Maybe and Pair share – sharing stories about a time when you fought for something you believed in (I stole this game form my colleague Erin and my old lecturer Fiona Macbeth).
Then we created a podcast, listen here:
We discussed our views on the process versus end product when working and co-creating with young people, why we choose to work with them and how we keep our own practice fresh.
Meeting the Youth:
Finally, in the early evening, I visited the The Alex Community Food Centre. Artists from Antyx meet with a group of young people on a weekly basis for their Youth Hub, where youth Learn to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food while discussing social justice issues, making art, and hanging out in a safe and welcoming space. Every week they end with a freshly prepared meal together as a group. This group is a collaboration between The Alex Community Food Centre, Antyx Community Arts, Globalfest, And Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary.
It was great to meet with the young people who will be doing the exchange with DYT. I facilitated the same workshop with them as I had with the staff earlier in the day. The young people responded well to the questions and it stimulated very insightful dialogue around what we choose to fight for.
The amazing Kitchen Space that the community can use to cook up delicious fresh food
The main, multi-purpose space where people can eat or move the tables back and get creative!
Tea/coffee refreshment area
It was interesting to note many similarities in the discussion and questions that arose from staff with the youth and young people at DYT when engaged with the same questions. We ended the day with a meal together and what astounded me was how invested youth were in clearing up and making the space ready for the next group.
They thoroughly enjoyed showing me around THEIR space and teaching me where things live.
Such an exciting and inspiring day!
The Genesis Centre
A mural created by Youth at The Genesis Centre with artists from Antyx.
Alia and Noor invited me to meet them in the afternoon to show me around The Genesis Centre, a community centre based in the North McKnight area of the city. I want to provide you with a bit of context about this space because I was overwhelmed by it. This place is an incredible space for the whole community and their strapline is Inspiring community wellness.
Within it is a YMCA gym including a climbing wall and swimming pool, a library, café’s, a gathering area with tables, chairs and more. It was set up my small number of community volunteers who felt passionate about creating a space for everyone to feel welcome, come together and live in harmony and it took them over 15 years to make the dream a reality. The community raised $40 million dollars and the whole complex cost a total of $120 million. There are community rooms, a space to pray, get married in, be educated and perform in and that it can happen altogether in one space. For context The McKnight area is the most diverse quadrant in Calgary, 61% of the people in this area of the city would be classed as a minority and 52% are not born in Canada. There have been problems with social isolation and the Genesis Centre is there to remedy that, it is a place to belong and form links. They have the ‘1000 Voices’ area, which includes fifty human services/orgs under one roof. Where people can get support in how to enrol in school, buy a home and get a job.
Antyx were invited to work with youth in that area to create murals and other art installations.
They also currently run two groups and after my tour, I met the Youth Arts Action Group with Alia and Noor. The group is a program for youth (ages 14-19) who want to be part of a team of creative leaders who work together to encourage positive social change through fun and engaging community arts projects.
The space in the ‘1000 Voices’ area of the Centre and where the Antyx Groups meet.
The youth were choosing topics that they wanted to discuss about issues that effect them most directly.
The young people were so engaged and I was able to take a few photos of the kinds of issues that affect them when we asked them what they were fighting for.
what struck me was the fact that the issues that are facing them as young people are exactly the same as the issues affecting young people that I work with at DYT. The issues that stood out were mental health difficulties, Instagram and seeking the perfect image, family and school work pressures.
These issues cut through cultural, class and geographical divides. We are all affected by these things, some more than others, but they are universal.