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

In This Issue

Art for Social Change Retreat at Banff Centre
News from the Chataqua Project: AGEWELL

Theatre and Dance for All Abilities
ASC Summer Intensive Workshop
News from Judith Marcuse

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Art for Social Change News!

What a delight to report to you that the ASC! Project is galloping forward, fueled by imagination, passion, rigour and high energy! Our many initiatives are becoming richer with new information and perspectives…and new collaborations.
Now that a few weeks have passed since the rich intensity of a four-day, Art for Social Change (ASC) retreat we hosted with our new partners at the Banff Centre in late September, I am, once again, struck by the deep experience, knowledge and generosity, both of our full research team and of our dozen guests (some of Canada’s many pioneers in ASC). Reflection and candour were central qualities of the dialogues amongst the 32 of us, all inspired by the beauty of the Rockies.

Stay tuned for our brand new website, now in development, that we hope will serve as a lively and useful resource for anyone interested in art for social change.

Happy reading!

Judith Marcuse


Everything is ART. Everything is POLITICS.
A creative exchange on the role of art and artists in the 2015 federal election.

Hasn't art always represented political issues in one way or another? With our Canadian 2015 federal election on the horizon, instead of focusing on what art can show, let's focus on what art can do. Join community organizers, artists, academics, students and political leaders as we explore what art and artists can do leading up to a particularly decisive federal election. Our hope is that this is the beginning of a series of events that bring together artists with organizers in order to imagine evocative and coordinated approaches to political engagement.

Where: World Arts Centre
SFU Woodwards,
149 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, BC
When: Monday, November 24, 2014, 6 to 9 pm
This event is FREE, but REGISTRATION is required.
Questions? Contact Tara Mahoney at

The AGEWELL Chataqua Project: Dialogue Series to Start Up in January 2015

AGEWELL Chataqua ProjectWe will host a series of monthly Chataqua dialogues in Metro Vancouver focusing on seniors' wellbeing, specifically around issues of community and connection.

We will be posting information soon once the programming is completed.
Stay tuned to the AGEWELL Chataqua Project at
You can also contact us at for more information.


Art For Social Change Retreat at The Banff Centre

Art for Social Change (ASC) at Banff CentreSeptember 20 to 24, the national ASC! Project research team gathered at the beautiful Banff Centre. We were pleased and honoured to host some of the leading ASC practitioners from all over Canada and two from the United States. Now that a few weeks have passed since the rich intensity of our days together, as we move forward a number of highlights continue to resonate.
  1. the diverse, deep experience, knowledge and generosity of all of our guests, including their reflections and candour, as well as their offers of access to materials they have created;
  2. the intense pleasure we experienced while ensconced in the beauty of Banff…and the warm hospitality of the Banff Centre;
  3. the graciously-expressed (and sometimes strongly-felt!) diversity of opinion during some of our discussions, especially around issues of diversity and inclusion, and about approaches to evaluation;
  4. the enormous potential for meaningful change when creative people working in academia and in community-engaged arts share ideas, perspectives and knowledge; the great potential of the field and change making when this exchange is broadened to include people from other sectors;
  5. the importance of disseminating our research findings (and our reflections on them) to a broad range of audiences in accessible language;
  6. the consensus of the group around the principle that social justice is at the base of our ASC work.
It will take a while to tease out all of the rich material we gleaned over our four days together in Banff, an opportunity for which we are deeply grateful.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this retreat such a success and to our new partner in the project, The Banff Centre!

"Teaching and Learning" at the Art For Social Change Retreat
Art for Social Change (ASC) at Banff CentreThe ASC! Project Teaching and Learning research "pod" co-hosted the first two-days of dialogue and research with the Banff Centre for Innovation from September 20-22, 2014. The retreat objective was to gather information about teaching and learning in ASC contexts in Canada, to discuss and compare theoretical perspectives and methodologies, and to collaboratively plan directions for more research and action.
Delegates came from across Canada and the USA, including ASC! co-investigators, graduate research students, partner organizations and other representatives of community cultural development organizations. They contributed information and analysis on two broad research questions.
  1. What are the existing methods, practices and theoretical approaches in teaching/learning in art for social change work in Canada?
  2. How could ASC! advance the scholarship and the practice of teaching in arts for social change?
The retreat generated a lot of data – including audio and video-recorded one-on-one interviews, focus group sessions, and many samples of curricula and training documents generously shared by participants and their organizations. The teaching and learning research pod will be compiling, analyzing and distributing information from this retreat over the coming months.
News from the Chataqua Project: AGEWELL (Metro Vancouver)

The AGEWELL Chataqua Project exhibition, workshops, and dialogues were an amazing success!

In the first phase, we invited diverse members in the community to share their thoughts and feelings on aging by submitting creative expressions about the topic. The response was overwhelming. We received over one hundred submissions in different forms. From poetry to puppetry, painting and performance, the pieces were diverse in form and in themes explored. Some were introspective, while others took a socio-political view of aging. Selected submissions were displayed at the Vancouver’s Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) from May 29th to June 8th. During the exhibition, art-making workshops ranged from theatre/movement, to story telling, puppetry and music, deepening the dialogues around aging and seniors' well being. 
Agewell Chataqua Project Art Exhibition Booklet
Our partner in this project, Arts Health BC, created an online booklet featuring all of the exhibited art work and the artists' statements. Follow this link, Agewell Chataqua Project booklet, to see these amazing creative expressions. 

In the second phase, which kicks off in January 2015, we will conduct cross-sector, arts-based, Chataqua dialogues on key themes that emerged during the exhibition in the first phase of the project. Our goal is to imaginatively nurture understanding and collaboration across professional silos and to contribute to the creation of innovative and concrete solutions to complex issues that affect the lives of our elders.

>> Stay tuned to the AGEWELL Chataqua Project at
>> For a great take on the Agewell exhibition, read Nicole Armos' reflections in our Art for Social Change blog.
Theatre and Dance for All Abilities: Production Development (Lethbridge)

This fall marked the beginning of another new course connected to the ASC! research project that will provide great opportunities for research on teaching art for social change and community/artist/university collaborations. Theatre and Dance for All Abilities: Production Development is led by ASC! Co-Investigator Lisa Doolittle and brings people living with developmental disabilities into the university environment to work with university students to create dance and theatre pieces together. The project has required a great deal of community/university negotiation and interaction in order to make participation for people with developmental disabilities possible but our arts-based inclusion work is continuing to grow and thrive. The student projects we create will be showcased on Wednesday, Nov 26th at 10 am and at 7 pm in the David Spinks Theatre at the University of Lethbridge.
Upstart Program in Lethbridge
The community partner organization, Lethbridge Association for Community Living, has been fundraising to provide scholarships for prospective students with disabilities who are on social assistance. The team held a great “Zoolander"-style event and bingos to raise some extra cash, and then out of the blue, an anonymous donor contributed four full scholarships. This means that the “all abilities” class actually contains learners with many different levels of experience and abilities. Hooray!

The all abilities course is one outcome of last years’ Upstart Self-Advocacy Project.

>> See a video of Upstart's participants here:
>> Read the Art for Social Change blog for more on the Upstart Project.
ASC! Field Study: The Encounters Project (Montreal)

The Encounters Project is an ensemble of theatre artists who come together from vastly different life experiences and value systems to share personal stories and, through the act of performing another person across “differences,” build a performance. These investigations into identity and interaction place the performer's personal stories into the larger cultural context of present-day Montreal.
 Encounters, Art for Social Change using theatre, Montreal
Encounters works in collaboration with grassroots organizations promoting intercultural exchange and social equality across differences of racialization, immigration, gender, sexuality, age and other common marked and unmarked differences. Through workshops and residencies we will share our performance-based tools towards intercultural cross-fertilization and communication. Encounters relies on video documentation of conversations and creation sessions to build verbatim scripts and weave real-time footage into onstage action. Interactive projections and montage scripts are built into the work to highlight individual identities as “fractured multi-selves” in relation to each other. Encounters'  work is in the longer term, thus promoting meaningful social engagement among people who would ordinarily have few chances to meet, and who may hold assumptions about others from different communities.
Watch for public performances of Tracks/Des Traces, our first full-length work, in November 2015!
>> For more on how Encounters works through conversationally-built staged theatre, read Kellen Jackson's blog about Encounters' MAP project.

Connect with Encounters on social media:
Community-University Dance Field Study: Dance/Parkinson’s Initiative (Calgary)

ASC! Co-Investigator Anne Flynn’s Dancing Parkinson’s initiative has experienced some exciting developments! With continuing financial support from the Rozsa Foundation, Anne, Vicki Adams Willis and five new teachers in training are offering another season of dance classes at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, expanding the program from 18 weeks in 2013-14 to a total of 28 weeks in 2014-15.  Dr. Oury Monchi, newly recruited Professor and Tourmaline Chair in Parkinson’s Disease at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary has attended the program and is interested in formal collaborations.
Dance/Parkinson's with Anne Flynn
CJSW radio interviewed Anne about the program for their show “Ivory Tower” which aired in September and is available on podcast (30 minutes):

In other news, High Performance Rodeo will be presenting a 40 minute production about the Dancing Parksinon’s research program for their 2015 Festival, providing a wonderful opportunity to disseminate some of the research within a theatrical setting, involving researchers and participants. The show is called “I Always Look Forward to Tuesdays”, and will be performed on January 21, 2015 co-sponsored by Pro-Arts Society.
Arts-based Facilitation: ASC Summer Intensive Workshop (Vancouver)

In late August, ASC! Program Director Judith Marcuse conducted a six-day intensive in Art for Social Change processes. It turned out that the participants were all facilitators working in a variety of professional sectors and so, after the first day, the focus became oriented to communication/facilitation approaches that integrate arts-infused processes with more traditional dialogue.
Art for Social Change Summer Intensive Workshop
Participants experienced first-hand a variety of arts-based approaches to explore social and environmental issues including movement and rhythm exercises, games, and visual art and theatre activities. Participants discussed facilitation skills, principles and ethics of art for social change work, and explored processes that are key for development of projects in their own communities. 

Guest facilitators who provided additional workshops were: Flick Harrison (video,; Maggie Winston (puppeteer and artistic director of Lost & Found Puppet Co.); and Laura Barron (musician and Director of Instruments of Change,

Feedback we received from participants was very positive and clearly demonstrated their desire for more in-depth knowledge and experience in ASC work.
The ASC! research project is made possible by funding from the Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Partners in this project are: Simon Fraser University (host institution); Arts Network for Children and Youth (ANCY); Ashoka Canada; Calgary Arts Development; Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC; Cirque du Monde (Cirque du Soleil); Concordia University; Decidedly Jazz Danceworks; Hospital for Sick Children; Judith Marcuse Projects; J.W. McConnell Foundation; The Alex Senior's Health Centre; The Banff Centre; University of British Columbia; University of Calgary; University of Lethbridge; University of Toronto.


Simon Fraser University's Public Square Features Judith Marcuse in Innovation Series

"What matters to you? What are the changes you want to help create? What would the world be like if empathy and creativity were harnessed as core forces to create a more just and sustainable world?"

These were the questions asked by Judith Marcuse at SFU Public Square's Innovation: The Shock of the Possible 2014 Community Summit. Marcuse, an SFU Faculty of Education adjunct professor and founder and co-director of the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC) was chosen at the Community Summit as one of seven innovators in Vancouver who are making a difference.

>> View Judith's Innovator video at

Teaching ASC Course at Quest University

Judith will be teaching Arts for Social Change (HUM 3380) this January 2015 at Quest University.
>> To see the course calendar and description, go to

Judith recently provided a three-day arts facilitation workshop in Montreal for the managers of ONE DROP (established by Guy Laliberté of Cirque du Soleil), that supplies resources for water-based projects in the Global South. In October, she attended an international gathering in London, England as a guest of the British Council. This fall, she also presented at the Social Theory, Politics and the Arts Conference and at the Power of the Arts conference, both in Ottawa. She is also working as a consultant with arts advocates in Vancouver’s West End to draft a strategic arts plan for that community.
Busy time!
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We would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) 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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