HumanEYES is an intergenerational and intercultural arts-based initiative that celebrates the diverse life experiences of BC students and school communities. The uniqueness of the HumanEYES program lies in the innovative way in which it weaves together anti-oppression teaching, creative reflection, artistic production, and inter-generational storytelling.
This transformational program begins with the gradual creation of open and safe spaces to hold courageous conversations about diversity within families and between classmates. The program then provides opportunities for students to creatively reflect upon these conversations and their respective ancestries, and ultimately foster more connected communities through art-based storytelling. For the past few years this program has been anchored in the creation of a series of intergenerational cookbooks, with much of the intergenerational learning and intercultural awareness centring around food. The focus on food is because of its capacity to be a rich source of stories that reflect the unique customs, cultures and complexities found in one’s personal histories.
A central component of the program is an interview that the student conducts with an elder. Inspired by the issues, stories and revelations that emerge through the interview (and cooking sessions), students engage in the following creative processes:
- Creative representation of the recipes that their elders have
shared (that remind their elders of home and their childhood),
- Creation of river of life drawings that visually represent the
bends that have shaped their elder’s journey.
- Writing sense-based poems and hip hop rhymes about the issues
surfaced through the interviews
- Drawing out an intergenerational colouring page with words and images that reflect their families values (past and present) and stories, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future.
A selection of the work produced is then integrated into a class-wide booklet that each student and participating teacher receives a copy of.
This program usually occurs over the course of seven 90 minute in-class workshops led by emerging artists, anti-oppression facilitators and storytellers. At the behest of teachers and school-based social workers who have seen the impact of this program.
Since we can’t come into classrooms to deliver this program, we’ve created some videos that map out some of the key HumanEYES Activities:
Over the course of 7 workshops (that range in length between 90 and 120 minutes), each participating class has the opportunity to gain basic tools to identify and challenge discriminatory and exclusionary practices, engage in a range of creative reflection exercises and participate in a class-wide creative collaboration that encourages intergenerational and intercultural storytelling and relationship building.