Watch the video below, produced by Lab member Tiffany Hill, to learn more about the RbD Lab and our creative process! If this sparks your interest, don’t forget to visit the ResiliencebyDesign Lab’s Exhibit running in the Royal Roads University Library until June, 2018.
Tiffany Hill, MA student in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Graduate Research Assistant of the ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab (www.commons.royalroads.ca/resiliencebydesign), recently presented at the Association of Death Education and Counselling (ADEC) conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ADEC is the premiere educational, interdisciplinary meeting for professionals working in the field of death, dying, and bereavement (www.adec.org).
While Tiffany holds her roles as student and researcher when describing herself she prefers storyteller, sister, and owner of big feelings and many tattoos. These elements of her identity greatly influence her research, which she spoke about at ADEC over the April 25th weekend in her presentation titled, “Exploring Childhood Sibling Bereavement Through Arts-Based Methods.”
Supervised by Dr. Cheryl Heykoop, Tiffany’s Master’s thesis work, “An Autoethnography on Sibling Bereavement: Navigating the Complexities of Dying, Death, and Grief,” aims to explore her lived experiences of the dying and death of her brother, Theodore, and her grief in the recent six months following his death. Further, she will be reflecting on her use of creative arts-based methods to help cultivate an understanding of grief as a process to be honored rather than a problem to mitigate. This exploration will inform policies and practices to support siblings who are bereaved.
As Frankl (2006) who when describing suffering, states; “for what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement” (p. 112). Therefore, the impetus to conduct this specific research comes form the confidence that by understanding her own grief, Tiffany may offer support and insights to those who have or will experience grief or loss in their lifetime.
Tiffany’s journey has been greatly influenced by creative arts-based methods, as highlighted in her two paintings, done after her brother’s death, titled, “Heart of the Storm” and “Embers”. These methods have the potential to support grieving processes, which Tiffany discussed at the ADEC conference. She explains that children who have experienced the death of a sibling need support. Of the limited existing research on sibling bereavement, most is largely focused on emotional, behavioural, and social signs of grief and conducted using interviews supplemented with external observations. Tiffany has recognized these patterns and believes there may be value in identifying the limitations of generalizing or categorizing these reactions to grief. In her talk at ADEC, she discussed how creative arts-based methods have the potential to encourage children to express themselves and result in more ethical and accurate research. The talk included influences and narratives from her own experience in grief and preliminary findings of her Master’s thesis.
As Tiffany shows through her experience and research, grief is a complex journey and expressing this through art-based means can provide an important outlet. A quote that greatly influences her work captures this process well;
“Grief, I’ve learned is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” (Anderson, n.d.).
To learn more about Tiffany’s work or her role in the RbD Lab, visit the RbD Library Showcase located in the Royal Roads Library, running until June 8th.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the ResiliencebyDesign Lab held our Open House event at the Royal Roads University Library. THANK YOU to everyone who came and helped make the event such a success! The event kicked off the ResiliencebyDesign Lab exhibit ,which will run in the Library until June 8th.
People attending the ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Open House were able to explore the creative and impactful research the RbD team has been engaged in – reading the panel displays hung around the room describing each of the RbD’s projects as well as exploring the research student associates of the lab have undertaken. The RbD team were on hand, and guests were able to chat with them about their experiences working with youth affected by disasters and climate change, and working to enhance the resilience of their communities.
Guests were treated to live music from Willi and Genoveve Whiston of Fort McMurray. Willi worked with the RbD on their Youth Voices Rising project, which is focusing on how youth can contribute to the rebuilding of the Wood Buffalo community after the devastating forest fire in 2016. Willi, as the Creative Director of The District Recording Studio in Fort McMurray, worked with local youth aged 14-24, to write and produce original songs in response to the #YouthVoicesWB campaign question; What would you do to make your community a better place? Eight original songs were produced as part of this process – all of them featured on the @YouthVoicesWB social media platforms and at a #YouthVoicesWB Talent Showcase in November.
Following Dr. Cheryl Heykoop’s acknowledgment of the traditional territories on which RRU stand, Dr. Michael Young, School Director of SHS and Dr. Brigitte Harris Dean of the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences shared some words of introduction tand welcome. This was followed by a creative mettisage-style introduction of the RbD team. Kicked off by Robin Cox, the Director of the RbD Lab, with each team member celebrating what inspires them about the work of the RbD.
One of the highlights of the event was the moving performance by Willi and Genoveve’s of their original song, “Change,” (written for the #YouthVoicesWB campaign) inspired by watching the Fort McMurray community rebuild after the fire. You can hear the song here: https://youtu.be/sWbFA1M3dmE
The spirit of community was highlighted with Willi and Genoveve joining the RbD even from Wood Buffalo, and the reminder that while the Lab’s work reaches communities globally, the underlying vision of collaboration, resilience, and the importance of listening and telling our stories, connects us all and will continue to make this work so meaningful.
The exhibit includes 20 short videos, all produced by RbD lab team members or the youth with whom they work; some of the lab’s academic publications; , a graphic mural showcasing the Lab’s vision and values; and a weird and wonderful abstract 3D dandelion sculpture which represents the lab’s goal of seeding ideas and change through research.
During the open house, and for the duration of the exhibit, guests can join in the creative fun by responding to a question about the vision for education in the 21st Century on paper feathers that will be posted to form angel wings on the wall – an idea borrowed from the YVR project in Fort McMurray. So come and check out the exhibit, share your response (feather) and take a selfie to post on social media, using the tag: @resiliencebydesignlab.
Please visit our exhibit in the Royal Roads University Library any time during it’s opening hours until June 8th.
Partners in the RRU ResiliencebyDesign Lab’s Youth Voices Rising (YVR) (https://crossroads.royalroads.ca/news/rbd-lab-partners-give-youth-ideas-flight) project in northern Alberta recently joined together in a Creative Action Research project. Youth workers from the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation Sekweha Youth Centre and the Fort McKay First Nation Youth Centre met in Janvier (2 hours north of Fort McKay) to learn how to create an Angel Wings Art Installation in March 2018. Leading the training was Reinalie Jorolan, from Zen Touch Art Creations and the Meicholas Art Foundation, who initially designed the installation for the YVR #YouthVoicesWB campaign that focused on how to make community better from a youth perspective.
Loaded with colorful cans of paint, countless paint brushes that differed in shape and size, and cardboard that will last for days, Reinlalie woke up on a mission to teach. She brought the materials and a training manual to the workshop to show the teams how to technically create the installation. As well, together, she and the youth workers explored how the wings could be used as a Creative Action Research process (in partnership with the RbD Lab) to learn about and build on the strengths of youth in the region, and amplify their voices.
In the workshop, Reinalie explained how art can allow those who have been affected by trauma another form of expression, which is important in communities touched by the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire disaster. Working alongside the RbD Lab, she explained how guiding questions for the Angel Wing feather design can help youth identify where they can start building on their strengths.
Melissa Herman, an RbD Lab Research Assistant, supported the workshop and learned alongside the team. She said the installation was more complex than she imagined, especially cutting out the cardboard feathers with a utility knife, “To be completely honest, I have much more appreciation for each Angel Wings Art installation because cutting the detail into a feather can take a toll on your hands. But each feather is absolutely necessary. Each will eventually be painted with images that speak a thousand words; and be an image that will be shared in support of the vision of the youth.”
In the workshop, with painted, stained and dedicated hands, the group produced around 100 feathers while exploring what each centre and its staff was up to—with lots of laughter and learning along the way. The youth centres are about 200 kilometers apart, so the workshop was a great opportunity for the youth workers to meet each other. The youth workers will engage young people in the coming months to create the Angel Wing art installations in their communities.
They will come together again in late April—along with youth workers and youth leaders from the Lake Athabasca Youth Council in Fort Chipewyan—for a “Building from Strengths” workshop, rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing, to learn and explore leadership & youth resilience along a strength-based pathway. The workshop will be facilitated and hosted by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Indigenous Leadership and Management team and the RRU ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab as part of the Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross.
Article by Melissa Herman, RbD Lab Research Assistant, and Dr. Tamara Plush, RbD Lab Postdoctoral Fellow
The Lab is excited to announce our Open House event and you are warmly invited to attend!
The ResiliencebyDesign Lab’s Open House event at the Royal Roads University Library will run on April 17th, from 11:30am to 2:30pm, with opening remarks at 12:15pm. We will be showcasing the Lab’s work in areas of climate change, youth resilience and transformative learning through active displays, including a gallery walk through. The Lab’s work includes projects working with youth in crisis in communities from Wood Buffalo, Alberta to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
Faculty, staff, students, and the public are welcome. There will be snacks provided. We look forward to seeing you there!
If you cannot attend the Open House event, you can visit the exhibition at any time the library is open from April 16th to May 31st.
Mid-February, the ResiliencebyDesign Research Lab ran a one and a half day Theory of Change Workshop at Royal Roads University to launch their new project, Youth-Centric Social Innovation: Gen Z and Climate Change. The session brought together a diverse group of youth and adult movers, shakers, change makers, and innovators who are invested in imagining what enlivening, inspiring, and transformative engagement and learning with youth might look like. Participants collectively explored the vision for the project, and discussed strategies, processes and activities that would support youth engagement in Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). Desired changes (outcomes) for the project were identified and captured using the Theory of Change framework, and the project team will take these away for refinement and further development of a Theory of Change model for the project. The team intends to keep workshop participants informed about the research process as it unfolds, and hopes that many will choose to stay engaged as knowledge mobilizers, influencers, advisors, and active partners.
The workshop was opened on February 22nd with a welcome and prayer from Elder Shirley Alphonse from the T’Sou-ke Nation. Participants then began getting to know each other with an an affiliation exercise, where they gathered in designated areas of the room according to criteria they most identify with (i.e. the primary context you work and play in – youth engagement/ climate change/ transformative learning/technology and innovation), and had a conversation with others who identify similarly. Afterwards, pairs engaged in dyad conversations about why youth engagement and transformative learning are important, and what inspires them to contribute. The group then reconvened in a circle and introduced their partner and shared highlights from their conversations.
Following this, Robin Cox the Director of the RbD Lab and Cheryl Heykoop, an Assistant Professor in School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University and RbD Lab member, gave an overview of the ResiliencebyDesign Lab approach. Then Brian Belcher, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Research Effectiveness, introduced the Theory of Change process and outcome mapping framework, which will be used to design the project.
Later that day, participants were asked to reflect on what the future of youth engagement and transformative learning means to them, and choose an image (from a selection of visual cards laid out in the adjoining room) that represented the future they were envisioning. In breakout groups they had conversations about the images, and created posters that reflected this future. Each table then described their vision to the larger group with poster presentations.
Day two of the workshop commenced with a moment of silence for Tina Fontaine and her family, in recognition of the not guilty verdict delivered the previous day in her murder trial. Elder Shirley Alphonse then welcomed participants and shared a prayer that was filled with appreciation for the connection between the land and people. Participants were then invited to share their overnight reflections by creating a story at their table, inspired by Story Cubes. A gallery walk of the graphic recordings followed, which prompted a meaningful discussion about the importance of emphasizing ancestral knowledge and communicating with youth on their own terms when designing project activities.
Next, Brian presented the emerging Theory of Change for the project, with potential project outcomes in the model under Sphere of Control (the operational environment), Sphere of Influence (people the project works with and through) or Sphere of Interest (social, economic and environmental benefits). He also outlined the emerging impact pathways for the project:
- Direct Engagement;
- Research/Learning from Experience;
With the information about the emerging Theory of Change for the project in mind, participants broke out into groups, based on the impact pathways, to discuss what types of activities the project can do, who we should involve, and what knowledge and relationships can be fostered through the project.
In closing the workshop Robin invited participants to write an action they are committed to taking on a postcard, which will be mailed to them in a few months as a way of connecting them back to the inspiration they felt in the session. Robin discussed the steps to follow the workshop, then the group gathered together in a circle. Tossing a ball of yarn from person to person, a web was created as everyone shared their parting thoughts, and appreciation for the significant connection and learning that had taken place in their time together.
The RbD Lab worked with Get the Picture and specifically, Visual Map Maker/Graphic Recorder Lisa Edward to create the powerful visual maps throughout the workshop. Get The Picture is a leading visual facilitation and recording consultancy that partners with organizations around the world to help them visualize and launch into their desired futures. The rich, engaging communication experiences Get The Picture provides result in highly productive dialogue, shared understanding, alignment and high-quality decisions. Learn more about them here: http://getthepicture.ca/
The ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab at Royal Roads University launched the #YouthVoicesWB (https://resiliencebydesign.com/youthvoiceswb/) social media campaign Sept. 2017 in northern Alberta to champion youth ideas for a better community after the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire disaster. The campaign applied creative arts and action research as part of the “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo” project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross. The research specifically explores how youth voice can be strengthened during and after disaster in recovery response and planning (https://crossroads.royalroads.ca/news/rbd-lab-partners-give-youth-ideas-flight)
The RbD Lab strategically used #YouthVoiceWB as a process to explore, amplify and promote youth voice in the community through creative arts. For instance, the campaign asked youth age 14-24: “What would you do to make your community better?” Nearly 400 youth responded to the question through song, surveys, sticky notes, photography, poetry, art and more. The RbD Lab team is now analyzing the findings and connecting youth and their ideas to local decision-makers. The researchers also hoped the campaign could ignite ways to sustain youth voice and support their recovery needs in Wood Buffalo beyond the project timeline, and explored possibilities.
“In the campaign, young people said they wanted own digital space to not only know what’s happening in the community for youth, but as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to find extra support for drug abuse and domestic violence or to respond to suicidal thoughts,” said Dr. Tamara Plush, Lead YVR Researcher at the RbD Lab. “In support, we were fortunate to connect with Some Other Solutions in Fort McMurray to take over #YouthVoicesWB in February; and they are now developing their own strategy of how they will operate it as a Social Media Hub for youth.”
#YouthVoicesWB is currently active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Some Other Solutions (SOS) plans to tie #YouthVoicesWB into their youth programs and mentorships in schools, as well as connect to schools and other youth-serving social profits and organizations in the region. They also have plans to work with youth to build an app for youth events and access to crisis resources.
According to Tamara, the shift of #YouthVoicesWB as a research project to that of a community-based Social Media Hub is both exciting and essential. “We are thrilled the brand will continue with SOS because many youth talked about the need for adult mentorships, health and wellness support, and crisis intervention. These are core areas for SOS, so the transition feels like the natural progression of #YouthVoicesWB in the community.”
Jason King, SOS Executive Director, agrees and laid out the SOS vision for the Social Media Hub. “What I like about #YouthVoicesWB is that it gives opportunity for youth to be heard in our community. Not just in what they see but in what they do,” he said. “We see the vision of #YouthVoicesWB as showcasing the authentic and uncensored voice of youth. We want to capture what people are saying and what place they are speaking from. We want to show that they are leaders and holders of the community.”
To learn more about the role of Some Other Solutions in Wood Buffalo, visit their website at https://someothersolutions.ca; and follow #YouthVoicesWB across all social media platforms to watch how SOS continues to champion Wood Buffalo youth voice.
On January 23nd, 2017, many Southern Vancouver Island residents were awoken to a Tsunami warning at 3:00am following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska. However, many residents slept through the alert, if they were alerted at all. Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the RbD Lab spoke with CHEK news about the importance of preparedness in the event of an earthquake or tsunami, both at the individual and policy level.
In interviews, Dr. Cox raised the point that while the systems that are in place work, we need to do more to be prepared for these types of events. She suggests having an emergency kit at home but to also consider having one in your vehicle or at work as well. Beyond this, Dr. Cox reminds us that being prepared “includes having emergency kits, having a plan, knowing where to evacuate to, and knowing what sort of risk areas [you’re] in.”
While sirens were used to alert residents in different parts of Vancouver Island, adding more sirens to risk areas may be a beneficial step forward following this tsunami scare. As Dr. Cox explains, “We have many examples in other parts of the province and in the world where sirens are used really effectively to warn people. They have to be accompanied by education and awareness campaigns so people understand what the sirens are for and what to do in response to them.”
Dr. Cox also highlights that the fear of panic around implementing sirens or alert systems actually falls into a myth as to how people typically respond to disaster. As she explains, “We do know that in disasters, most people do not panic, there’s not this movie version of mass panic when a disaster happens. People tend to help each other, they tend to listen to orders and information when they have it.” Therefore, including information or education awareness with the implementation of siren and alert systems could be a positive step forward on Vancouver Island, following this tsunami scare.
You can see the full versions of Dr. Robin Cox’s interviews by clicking the following links;
As part of the RbD Lab “Youth Voices Rising” (YVR) project, the District Recording Studio, 91,1 The Bridge and the YouthVoicesWB campaign recently presented a youth talent showcase in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The event included 10 youth performers, a talk by RbD Lab Research Assistants Maike and Aishwarya, a presentation from 3 Things Wood Buffalo, and a visit by the Mayor Don Scott and Councillor Jeff Peddle. The event wrapped up the month-long, #YouthVoicesWB social media campaign and action research project that championed young people creatively answering the question: What would you do to make your community better? See the amazing performances—and the Mayor’s and Councillor’s talks—on the Shaw TV YouTube Site: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLARu0rgVPBmwEI5AmSxEpc8FDfkwdqDrU.
Maike, a local Research Assistant, wrote a blog to share her impressions of the fun and inspiring evening:
Pizza, Hipster-Lounge Atmosphere, Talented Youth and Mayor Don Scott
By Maike-Alexandra Schmieding, RbD Lab Research Assistant, Youth Voices Rising
On Nov 10th, at 6.30pm, around 75 youth gathered at the Kingstreet Theatre at Composite High School to perform their songs, poems and stories. The youth had the chance to perform their art through a cooperation of the YouthVoicesWB campaign, the District Recording Studio and 91.1 The Bridge.
I was blown away by the talent and professionalism of the youth performing. Being 16, and sometimes even younger, going on that stage takes courage. And the youth rocked it. The atmosphere was amazing. I felt like I stepped into a hip New York underground lounge. The youth had great messages, too, for making their community better, especially as the area recovers from the 2016 wildfire disaster. For example, Shekinah, age 15, sang a song called “Recovery” with the lyrics: “There’s something about this town that nobody sees. No matter what tries to bring you down, you can’t be beat. And the fire that burnt down all your hopes and dreams. You came back twice as strong ready to take on anything… If I could do something to make this place any better. I would bring back the people that stuck together. Our hearts stayed strong we’ll carry on forever. It’s all a part of our recovery.”
Wow – what a beautiful message! And what a great venue too. I want to give a special shout out to the people from the District Recording Studio and 91.1 The Bridge at this point for their amazing work for setting up the stage, and to the Kingstreet Theatre at Composite High School for hosting the event!
Besides all the great youth performers, one of my personal highlights of the night was newly elected RMWB Mayor Don Scott and Councillor Jeff Peddle joining us and listening to young people. Throughout the whole event (and the YouthVoicesWB social media campaign) we asked youth: “What would you do to make your community better?” The answers ranged from wanting a Costco to needing support with bullying, to problems with local transportation and more. In our talk about the YouthVoicesWB campaign, I specifically mentioned the challenges of transportation for youth on stage. Councillor Jeff Peddle approached us right afterwards and showed me his phone. He had messaged a person responsible for transportation in the Municipality to explore the issue further to help local youth!
Our excitement became even greater when Mayor Don Scott spoke to the youth on stage about the transportation problem. As well, he said one of the most inspirational things I have heard until this day (which must mean something, because I’m a teacher, and we really like saying inspirational things!): “Prove them wrong.” Mr. Scott advised the youth to never let anybody tear them down, and to prove people wrong whenever they said that they cannot do “it”—whatever “it” is.
It was also an exceptionally special moment for us when he announced that he would display the Justin Slade Youth Foundation YouthVoicesWB sticky note wall for youth feedback and the amazing art installation of angel wings from the Art Foundry. (Here I am with the wings at the event.) Don Scott said he plans to put them in his office to show everybody the great ideas youth have for the Wood Buffalo region, and to encourage more input by youth. What a great way for youth voices to be shared with the support of the Mayor.
As a new Research Assistant with the Youth Voices Rising project, I loved to hear everybody’s stories and to connect with all the youth. There are some amazing kids out there, and together, we can take the world. In the words of Mayor Don Scott to the youth: “PROVE THEM WRONG!”
The YouthVoicesWB campaign launched September 29 in the Wood Buffalo region of Alberta, Calgary. The campaign encourages youth to share their ideas of how to make their community better as a means to strengthen their resilience during the wildfire recovery and rebuilding efforts after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.
The campaign is part of the RbD Lab “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo” action research project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross. The campaign timing aligns with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo general elections so local decision makers can hear ideas from youth, which supports young people to have a stronger role in the conversation and policy decisions affecting them.
“Young people may be reluctant to share their views in a formal setting,” says RbD researcher Dr. Tamara Plush. “Creative art, as seen in the campaign, not only serves as a catalyst for understanding and amplifying youth concerns, but the narratives can evoke powerful emotional reactions which may be the spark needed for action.”
Youth aged 14 to 24 living in the Wood Buffalo region can participate via the @YouthVoicesWB Facebook, Instagram or YouTube using art, photos, video, song, poetry, theatre, dance or other creative media or by joining the online conversation. Already, youth are engaging with original songs, photography, poetry, talks, art installations, drawings, via sticky note walls, etc. For example, in her song Hey Hey Hey, Hannah recently sang: “I want streets with cafes and places that bind. Music and arts, and curious minds… I want waterfront not development… I want opportunities for you and me; changes that I want to see. Hey hey hey listen to me. I’m not silent. I’m just not being heard… Things can be better here, I’m sure… Things will be better here, I’m sure…”
The campaign highlights the importance of youths’ perspective on disaster recovery and rebuilding and supports ongoing conversations and actions.
“When it affects us, it should involve us,” says Pamela, a 16-year-old campaign participant. “We’re the future generation. We’re going to be here making the decisions next. How are you going to make our world better for us and our children and their children if you don’t give us the opportunity?”
YouthVoicesWB runs until Oct. 27, 2017.
(Article credit to Royal Roads University and the RbD Lab)
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