In Early 2008, Myths and Mirrors Community Arts partnered with the Centre de Santé Communautaire funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, led by Monique Beaudoin working with Céline Maltais as the resident artist, to develop community art programming with francophone youth in Azilda. In the summer of 2008, Céline worked with the youth based out of the old firehall, creating a public sculpture that is permanently installed in Rick McDonald Park, Azilda. Currently, le Centre de Santé Communautaire is working with francophone youth in Chelmsford in designing visual artworks for a mural wall installation.
Mining and the Environment
Throughout the years we have built many partnerships and relationships in the community and abroad to help guide and collectively grasp a broad understanding of the issues Sudburians face, and together create opportunities for working together in creative transformative projects based on community interest and use interesting alternative models and methods for our coming together for our participation in inclusive decision making together for our futures.
Through community consults, a main response received was that the environmental issues we face can be very sad and paralyzing for some because it is about their lives and futures, their employers, and about the future of all of our children.
Through experimenting with different mechanisms through the process of trying and doing in our collective community creation projects, the groups involved built a sense of awareness, feedback and togetherness with those who did not necessarily know the science or have the technical expertise involved with the Soil Study and Risk Assessments ongoing in our community.
Continually throughout the process, groups collectively created alternative spaces for dialogue and designed exciting ways of open participation for collective learning, participatory research, response through creation, and inclusively making decisions together about living together. We have felt it has been important that through working with the difficult theme, it was important that we embody our focus to emphasize curative notions and antidotes to despair, empowering the bringing together of communities for remedial solution building without casting blame, or cause denial and feel this is an exciting time for people to be involved in coming together to build a healthy, safe, bright community to live in.
In January 2008, a core group of young people interested in creating collective art reflecting their learnings and conversations about industrial pollution began participatory research on the Sudbury Soil Study while awaiting the release of the Human Health Risk Assessment based on the soil study’s findings, results and conclusions. Health and safety partnerships were made with expert resources for supporting the participants in the projects who did necessarily have the background in technical aspects of the study.
Earthly Matters Bookwork 2007-2008
A youth led environmental exploration and awareness bookwork entitled ‘Conversations with the Earth: Earthly Matters’ was collectively created over the winter and spring of 2008. The group work’s exploratory variety of articles and artworks came together into a creative 60-page booklet. It included a mixture of collective expressions reflecting public interests and participatory research findings about Northern Ontario’s environmental challenges. The book suggests our common generosity of spirit in our collective responsibility to the earth, offers recipes emanating hopeful change, questions and responses to a range of issues related to industrial pollution, the importance of coming together for important issues that impact and matter to us, shares values and beliefs, and offer the group’s lessons learned through their experiences. The group publicly distributed hundreds of their youthful creative work, and helped to bring community together for their involvement on local human health, cultural, community and environmental challenges.
Please feel free to view pages of the bookwork along with our other ‘Conversations with the Earth’ project photographs here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythsandmirrors/sets/72157615698261881/
Northern Landscapes: What’s the Risk?
In 2008, the Northern Landscapes photography project was led by a core group of young people on a 5-month exploration of Sudbury’s man-made landscapes through site visit photography and learn about our past and present state of our environmental landscapes after 125 years of mining and smelting in our community. The groups met weekly for the outdoor adventures and soon found themselves accompanied with collections of stories from past and present workers from industrial industries and residents, generously sharing their experiences about working in and living around the mines. Their humble enthusiasm was generously appreciated by the group and helped answer many questions about our identities and community. The photography captured raw, passionate and powerful imagery. The group met with environmentalists, environmental justice and protection organizations, scientists, health advisors, study groups, unions and health and safety experts to help shape and guide their photography project. The group was moved in their inclusion of environmentally sound decisions made in our community.
Slag Waste Jewelery Workshop
A Slag Jewelry Creation Workshop “What to do with all that Sudbury Slag?” was held at Sudbury’s Earth Day Festival engaging residents in dialogue about the safety of slag in our local environments.
The Word on the Street is Uth INK: Youth share their artistic voices with the Sudbury community
If you bring your cell phone with you when you take a walk around Sudbury, you can have a theatrical experience. Green Ear shaped signs were installed throughout neighbourhoods in Sudbury designating site specific stories told by youth in our community. The signs display a free phone number with a four-digit code – if dialed in, you can listen to a short play that is set in the exact place you’re standing written and performed by young people from the Sudbury community.
These audio installations were a part of a province-wide program entitled ‘Uth Ink: Playwrights in the Community Program.’ Using [murmur]’s internationally acclaimed oral history project as inspiration, the stories were recorded, posted online, and developed into site-specific installations for our community to enjoy. If you can’t experience the installations in person, you can listen to them online at http://www.uthinkers.ca/. The Sudbury Uth Ink project was guided by professional playwright Marjorie Chan and led by artist and youth facilitator Tina Roy.
Please feel free to visit a few photographs from the [murmur] project here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythsandmirrors/sets/72157617276905683/
The Uth Ink was created in Sudbury in 2008, a project with the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Foundation for the Recognition of Excellence in Drama, in partnership with [murmur] and Myths & Mirrors Community Arts. Uth Ink was created with generous funding from a three-year province-wide grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Laidlaw Foundation, and the Ontario Arts Council’s Arts Education Partnership Initiative.
The Kids of Shevkencho Lane Solutions for Pollution Theatre
“Environmental theatre by the children of miners from a little hockey shack in a Northern Ontario mining town neighbourhood”
During our annual pre-summer orientation, strategizing and project planning of 2008, two young student artists Josh Herd and Deanna Nebenionquit were hired under funding aid from Human Resources and Development Canada. These two Francophone and Aboriginal youths along with coordinator, Tanya Ball, created a dynamic team to lead a theatre project with a core group of young people from the Donovan neighbourhood in building strong community relationships, artistic vision and a collective creation project based on the environmental interests of our young community.
The group, most of which were growing up in the immediate neighbourhood, used theatre games to warm up and relationship-build before inputting their ideas into the creation of the summer-long environmental project. By mid summer, the group had developed a draft script for a powerfully thought-provoking, fun, silly, yet boldly realistic to our realities, environmental theatre drama. The group held workshops to help them build skills needed for the end of summer show, character built, created props and visual installation artworks that were used in the performance, then permanently installed as conversation pieces throughout their playground. ‘The Kids of Shevchenko Lane’ performed their environmental theatre performance in late August, reflecting their “dreams of solutions for pollution from their little northern mining town neighbourhood hockey shack.”
By late August, the youth-led, day-long communal art event was led in collaboration by several local youth art groups and featured the Donovan neighbourhood kids environmental theatre and installation art project. Along with seven local youth bands, a potluck and bbq fundraiser, games, chalk artworks, spoken word performances, music groups shared their songs and acoustics around the playground. The end of summer artistic youth celebration brought out over 200 residents and youth from the Sudbury area. Please feel free to visit the ‘Kids of Shevchenko Lane Solutions for Pollution Theatre’ project photographs here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mythsandmirrors/sets/72157615787842774
Community Participation in Participatory Research, Environmental Education & Awareness Public Forums
– “Sudbury Soils: What’s the Risk”
– “Toxic Trespass: A Tale of Three Cities”
– “Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk: Community and Democracy”
Public discussion groups to share experiences of Mining-Impacted Communities with the Community Committee on the Sudbury Soil Study, http://www.sudburysoils.com, and support from Northwatch, le centre de santé communautaire, Laurentian University, Mine Mill Local 598 C.A.W., Steelworkers Local 6500, The Canary Research Institute, ToxicNation and Environmental Defense.