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CCENA, McMaster’s Centre for Community Engaged Narrative Arts, invites you to a very special afternoon panel discussion with the directors of three of Canada’s most remarkable social innovation action and research groups, Nadia Duguay and Maxime Goulet-Langlois (Exeko, Montreal), Gord Tulloch (possAbilities, Vancouver), and Sarah Schulman (Inwithforward, Burnaby, B.C.), speaking on the role of the arts in generating social inclusion, intellectual emancipation, and grounded change.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear people in front line social services and action reflecting on the importance of the arts and humanities in generating social change and innovation.

Tuesday, March 6, 3:30-5:30 pm;

at McMaster’s Centre for Continuing Education, 1 James St. North, Room 213

Exeko, based in Montreal and represented by Nadia Duguay and Maxime Goutlet-Langlois, believes that encouraging artistic and intellectual creativity is an important part of an inclusive and emancipatory social transformation. They support this process through many initiatives, including an “intellectual food truck” that has criss-crossed Montreal for five years, delivering books and art material and promoting discussions. They also run critical-thinking workshops at homeless centres and programs for artists-in-residence to co-create artwork with citizens in the streets, such as murals, choreography, and poetry. They pursue research on exclusion and marginalization in which excluded citizens are co-researchers and not subjects. They have created three social innovation labs: the Inclusive Culture Lab, the Inclusive Knowledge Lab, and the Inclusive Speech Lab. They operate the “Libre-Library,” which offers a network of permanent libraries and mobile micro-libraries to hundreds of people experiencing homelessness. They also run two mobile libraries: Bibliocyclette and the idAction Van. All of these activities are based on the belief that encouraging artistic and intellectual creativity is an important part of an inclusive and emancipatory social transformation.

PossAbilities, based in Vancouver and represented by Gord Tulloch, works to increasingly move away from a services approach to facilitating the good life for persons with disabilities, and to find and promote reciprocal relationships within communities. PossAbilities is increasingly exploring community development, employment, social enterprise, and other vehicles that more holistically and comprehensively deliver upon the promise of “good lives in welcoming communities.” PossAbilities focuses its activities through the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) framework which focuses on the gifts or assets that are inherent in every person and in every neighbourhood. Together with partner organizations, they created Building Caring Communities, which foster relationships and partnerships amongst citizens, businesses, faith groups, neighbourhoods and community associations to create art, carry out social research, and build new forms of community belonging.

InWithForward (represented by Sarah Schulman), which originated in the Netherlands, and now works in six countries around the world, including Burnaby, B.C., basis its work with families in crisis, isolated older adults and troubled teenagers on what they call Grounded Change. That means flipping the order in which most social policies & services are made. Rather than start at the top, in boardrooms, we start at the bottom, in living rooms. Drawing on multiple ways of knowing and acting, they work with people experiencing the realities of poverty and social isolation to reframe outcomes and co-develop interventions. Everything from new volunteer platforms to family networks to frontline tools. Only once they have found practice that works for people and practitioners do they embed new kinds of HR routines, data systems, and funding protocols. Among their many programs, Kudos in Burnaby, B.C. pairs up people with cognitive disabilities with community hosts who can facilitate experiential learning, so that people can learn directly in an environment that builds social networking, skills, and well-being.