I’m so happy to be able to report on what has been happening with Diasporic Genius in recent months. The organization is once again buzzing with activity.
We concluded Phase I of our development last June, with the great success of our first Telling Stories Into Form workshop and performance, in which 10 highly engaged Thorncliffe Park community members worked with three facilitators over 12 weeks to shape their personal stories and artwork into a public performance. This capped three years of impactful work with story circles, creativity classes, community food and performance gatherings called 7-Minute Feasts, lecture/discussions and the production or co-production of seven community festivals.
Over this time we worked with hundreds of members of the Thorncliffe Park community to put into action our original thesis: that this city is full of human capacity, knowledge and creativity just waiting to be activated to build the city we need, the city we desire.
After the conclusion of Telling Stories Into Form we took some time off our programs to work on the future sustainability of Diasporic Genius. We joined the shared-platform charity Tides Canada Initiatives as one of their projects, which means, among other benefits, that tax receipts can be issued for donations.
But the big news is that we have been awarded a three-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation – almost $250,000 to support Phase II of our work. The grant will enable us to carry on our work in Thorncliffe as well as to develop Creative Pathfinders: a training in community change-making. Designed to spread our vision and methodology across the city, the training will be developed over the next three years through a process of research and project piloting, and will be undertaken with the collaboration of three to four well-established community-based partner organizations.
Thanks to this funding, we have hired a new General Manager; Mary Breen has had a distinguished career in both the not-for-profit and private sectors. We have also hired Manzu Man Ara as Community Coordinator to work with us in Thorncliffe Park. In addition to working deeper in that neighbourhood, we will be bringing our Story Circle experience to communities, corporations, educational institutions and living rooms across the city.
Please look around this entirely revamped website for more details, and to discover how you can get involved.