Judith Marcuse Projects (JMP) / International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC) Spring 2014 Newsletter
Art for Social Change: ASC!
Spring 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue

Upcoming Events
ASC! Project Highlights
News from the Chataqua Project: AGEWELL

And More

Social Inclusion and Cultural Democracy with Montreal’s Cirque Hors Piste
Dancing/Parkinson's: The Calgary Project
News from Judith Marcuse

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Greetings friends and colleagues!

It has been a very long winter for many of us in Canada. But, as I look out the window here in Vancouver, the signs of new growth are everywhere – a great metaphor for the burgeoning field of community-engaged arts around the world.
In many different sectors, I see new doors opening to arts-infused approaches for positive change. Organizations and individuals increasingly recognize that engagement with the arts makes possible effective forms of dialogue, the creation of new understandings and relationships.  These processes can lead to actions that are nurtured by a renewed sense of the possible. 
In a time of urgent, complex and often overwhelming challenges, I believe that this is a unique moment for artists, activists, scholars, educators, and changemakers around the globe to reach out beyond their usual boundaries, connect with each other and share perspectives, knowledge and strategies. We all have great resources to offer.

May the change of seasons renew our energy for collaboration and creation.
With best wishes,

Judith Marcuse


ASC! Project Vancouver Launch Party!
Join artists, social entrepreneurs, innovators, and creative people from all walks of life to celebrate the Vancouver launch of the ASC! Project. There will be music, dancing, and surprise events throughout the evening that will challenge your creative spirit!

When: 8 pm (doors open at 7:30) to 11 pm, Friday, April 25, 2014
Where: The Dance Centre, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver
Cost: FREE

We acknowledge and thank our partner, The Dance Centre, for their generous support.

The AGEWELL Chataqua Project: Call for Creative Expressions

The Agewell Chataqua Project
invites you to create and submit small-scale artwork that is an expression of your thoughts and feelings on aging: what it means to you; how that meaning is shaped and influenced by your external environment and society; how you are impacted by it, your hopes, worries, and struggles with it; and how the inevitability of it shapes your decisions and actions.

Creative expressions can be in a wide range of media, including paintings, graphics, textile art, installations (which can be interactive), photography, poetry, narrative, and performance work in music, theatre and dance.

This invitation is open to everyone, and all are encouraged to submit. We are hoping for reflective work that is thought-provoking and can be used as a starting point for further dialogue on the topic of aging and seniors’ health and wellbeing. We will aim to include as many of the submissions as possible in the exhibit, but due to space limitations, submissions will be gently juried.
The criteria for the jury will include (but not necessarily be restricted to):
  • How the creative expression relates to the theme of aging
  • Diversity of themes related to aging
  • Representation from different sectors of the community
  • Clarity of the message of the work    
The art exhibition will be the launch event for the Agewell Chataqua research project ( Selected works will be exhibited in the Performing Arts Lodge Theatre, 581 Cardero Street, Vancouver, BC, ( from May 29 to June 7, 2014 (EXCLUDING Monday, June 2; exhibition is closed) during which time there will be two public dialogues that will use the exhibited art as a starting point for discussion on aging.

During the exhibition period, we will be offering four free workshops in storytelling, puppetry, theatre/movement, and visual arts that enable members of the public to further explore their relationship with and understanding of aging.

For how, where, and when to submit your art and for more information on the AGEWELL Chataqua Project go to


The AGEWELL Chataqua Project Exhibition, Dialogues, and Workshops
Thursday, May 29 to Saturday, June 7, 2014

What are your thoughts and feelings about aging and the wellbeing
of seniors in our communities?

Arts Health BC (, Judith Marcuse Projects, the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC), the ASC! Project, and the City of Vancouver invite you to join us in the Studio Theatre of Vancouver’s Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) for a series of events designed to explore aging and the wellbeing of seniors in our communities. All events are free!

Visual and performing arts creations made by diverse participants from across the Lower Mainland will be on display, enriched by two public dialogues and four arts workshops.

Location: PAL Vancouver Studio Theatre,
581 Cardero Street,
Vancouver, BC   V6G 3L3        Map:

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 29, 6 pm to 9 pm  
Please RSVP for the opening reception at
Exhibition Hours: 11 am to 7 pm, from Friday, May 30 to Saturday, June 7, 2014 (EXCEPT Monday, June 2, exhibition is closed)
Two Public Dialogues: Sunday, June 1 from 2:30 to 4 pm; Saturday, June 7, from 2:30 to 4pm                    
Four Art-making Workshops:  Facilitated by senior community artists, 90 minutes each
    Two workshops on Sunday, June 1
  1. Puppetry: 11 am to 12:30 pm
  2. Music: 12:45 pm to 2:15 pm
    Two workshops on Saturday, June 7
  1. Visual arts: 11 am to 12:30 pm
  2. Theatre/movement: 12:45 pm to 2:15 pm
Workshop facilitators and their bio's will be posted at

As part of the five-year ASC! Project (, exhibition visitors, dialogue and workshop participants will be invited to answer short research questions about their perspectives on the topic of aging, inspired by the artwork, participation in the dialogues, and by their experiences in the hands-on, art-making workshops.  

For further information and to keep up to date, go to
You can also contact us at


The ASC! Project WebsiteThe ASC! Project has a new website!
Now you can keep up to date on the ASC! Project and other art for social change news on our new website at
News from the Chataqua Project: AGEWELL

The AGEWELL Chataqua Project in Metro Vancouver (a field study on arts-based facilitation in the ASC! Project) is gaining great momentum. We have been receiving lots of enthusiastic responses to our Call for Creative Expressions for the art exhibition that will launch the AGEWELL Chataqua Project! We have already received some great contributions and are really looking forward to seeing all of the creative work still to come in.

We would like to give special thanks to our wonderful AGEWELL Chataqua Project advisory committee. Our advisory members come from many varied backgrounds and community organisations that work with seniors: artists, academics, careworkers, lawyers, researchers, CARP, HEU, SFU, Vancouver Bienale, and more.

We are also glad to announce that the City of Vancouver is now our partner in the art exhibition!
ASC! Case Study: Social Inclusion and Cultural Democracy with Montreal’s Cirque Hors Piste
Article by Dr. Jennifer Spiegel (designated Postdoc), Leader of the ASC! Project Social Circus Field Study

In February of 2014 I began working with Montreal’s Cirque Hors Piste as an embedded researcher, investigating the processes and impact of their work in promoting social inclusion and cultural democracy. Cirque Hors Piste was founded 2011 and grew out of the long standing social circus Cirque du Monde program, run by Cirque du Soleil, offering circus workshops to youth under 30, living through various challenges. While still receiving much of its financing from Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Hors Piste is now partnered with a range of community and social service organizations, whose social and community workers offer support to youth while instructors teach a range of circus skills such as clowning, juggling, trapeze and acrobatics.

This winter, the program has seen unprecedented attendance levels in their open, drop-in sessions, and the team has been creatively innovating to ensure that the program continues to reach those most in need and to provide a playful, creative and accepting space for youth to work through their challenges and develop stronger life skills. Participants were invited to confidentially identify the main social goals that they seek to address and that circus is helping them with. Common responses included substance abuse, mental health, teamwork and communication. 

I have enjoyed being able to support the team in their regular activities, and offering technical circus pointers while getting to know participants. I look forward to beginning in depth interviews with participants and social workers this week, and to following their “creation intensive” pre-employability projects in the coming months.
ASC! Case Study: Dancing/Parkinson’s: The Calgary Project

Dr. Anne Flynn, ASC! Researcher and Professor of Dance in the Faculty of Kinesiology & School of Creative and Performing Arts (at the University of Calgary), has been leading an exciting multi-disciplinary dance study examining both the quantitative and qualitative effects of dancing on people with Parkinson’s disease. Integrating a series of motor tasks applied in clinical and research settings with qualitative reports from the participants, Flynn and her research partner, neuroscientist Dr. Afra Foroud, are conducting a six-month study that started in October 2013.
Dancing Parkinson's
With community partner Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Dancing/Parkinson’s: The Calgary Project is a dance program that uses body awareness exercises along with basic dance skills that emphasize rhythm and musicality to stimulate the motor and cognitive areas of the brain, while allowing for expression and building social relationships. The 40 Dancing/Parkinson’s participants began dancing on Oct. 29, 2013, and have continued with weekly classes that end in April 2014. Research participants will who include a control group of dancers who do not have Parkinson’s disease, will undergo post-assessments when classes are over. The research program, which is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Rozsa Foundation and Parkinson Alberta, builds on a successful pilot project held last winter.
For further information:
News from Judith Marcuse

We have had a flurry of activities over the winter with extensive work on the ASC! Project taking place all across the country. Here are a few more personal highlights.

I was delighted to present, teach, and consult in a wide variety of settings in Canada and overseas. These included a keynote and panel for the Canadian Dance Alliance; a presentation for Ashoka’s excellent Changemakers program at Quest University in BC and in Toronto; a Pecha Kucha presentation in Vancouver; and consulting for a Toronto foundation with a wonderful group of community organizers from across Canada who are all working in progressive forms of adult education. We all have much in common!

Extensive conversations with several national arts institutions, including collaborations with the Banff Centre, are pointing the way to future partnerships and collaborations. More to come!

In February, I made the long journey to Melbourne (where it was over 40 degrees every day!) for meetings and a conference on evaluation (Spectres of Evaluation) hosted by the Victoria College of Art at the University of Melbourne. The VCA has pioneered programs and research in art for social change and it was a pleasure to renew friendships, explore ideas and collaboration, and to meet a wide variety of new colleagues working in our field.

And looking forward: a UNESCO book on arts education (INRAE Yearbook, 2014) for which I have contributed a personal essay, will be launched at a research symposium during the International Arts for Peace Festival in Hong Kong in May of 2014.

It has been an intense and hugely stimulating winter; I hope that, in the months to come, our work will continue to blossom and produce new, nourishing fruit for all our heads and hearts.
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We would like to thank Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the City of Vancouver and Simon Fraser University for their support.
Copyright © 2014 Judith Marcuse Projects / Int'l Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC), All rights reserved.
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