Telling Our Stories is a project to train and support artists and artist educators in engaging community members, particularly youth. Eight artists/arts educators representing a diversity of production mediums (dance, singing, spoken word and theatre), their skills as artists, their desire or willingness to pursue arts education / community arts / popular education, and their membership in under-served or under-resourced communities (people of colour, unique artistic approaches, etc) to part.
These artists and artist educators participated in a train-the-trainer workshop to learn how to design and facilitate arts education workshops using popular, community arts approaches that was a collaborative, hands-on process to develop analysis, share creative processes and equip the artists/educators with tools to engage others in this work. This training specifically focused on new ways to engage communities in using collective arts production processes to facilitate the melding of art and social justice (talking about racism, violence, personal empowerment, while learning song, dance, writing, etc) using the theory and practice of popular education.
The artists and artist educators then practiced what they have learned through a community placement, delivering workshops they designed based on what they learned. This highlighted certain tensions in mediating popular culture as the starting point of youths experience, while at the same time working to deconstruct the messages this dominant media promotes.
At the completions of the placement all project participants come together, including the community learners, to share/perform with/for one another at a community event.