Prior to the world going to hell, I participated in a wonderful six days of professional development put on by Thinking Rock Community Arts and Jumblies Theatre. Titled “Crafting Communities” this workshop was based on Jumblies well-known Artfare Essentials training which is focused on skill building connected to community arts facilitation.
“Crafting Communities” focused on creative facilitation approaches to community arts, with a focus on textile art/craft. The workshop covered the a range of topics including: the basics of what community arts are, different styles of arts based facilitation, how to plan a community arts project, common challenges associated with community arts projects, and potential funding for community arts.
Personally, I loved that much of this content was delivered through active art making and engagement. Instead of simply talking about facilitation techniques we participated in facilitated activities and had conversations while making art.
I also really enjoyed that this workshop helped develop a community of practitioners. It brought together fiber and textile practitioners, folks engaged in music as community arts, and others working on dance, movement, drama, and art based community projects. We had the opportunity to connect with practitioners who live in work in Northern Ontario as well as community arts folks from the Toronto region. This mixture of geographic backgrounds helped fill the workshop with a range of perspectives and experiences.
The next phase of the Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall project includes more of an art and participatory focus. It also includes the development of hands-on workshops for visitors to the site, allowing them to learn about colonization, decolonization, and Residential Schools in a more engaged manner. I’m looking forward to trying and testing out some of the facilitation techniques learned during this workshop in the Reclaiming Shingwauk space.