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Using art and storytelling in addressing social exclusion in the city : the Illustrated Journey Youth… Lopez, Alejandra Bravo Jul 25, 2011

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Using art and storytelling in addressing social exclusion in the city: the Illustrated Journey Youth Project, Vancouver, BC Canada  Alejand  ra Lópe  z Bravo  Using art and storytelling in addressing social exclusion in the city: The Illustrated Journey Youth Project, Vancouver, BC Canada  by Alejandra López Bravo  B.A. (Political Science and Public Administration), Universidad Iberoamericana. Mexico City, Mexico 2002 A PROJECT SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this professional project as conforming to the required standard ....…............................................ ...................................................  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 2011 © Alejandra López Bravo, 2011  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………………………………7 List of Tables and Drawings……………………………………………………………………………9 Acknowledgments…………………………………………………………………………………………11 Chapter 1 Introduction……………..………………………………………………………………….13 Chapter 2 Context………….………………………………………………………………………………17 2.1 Canada migration stats and policies……………………………………………………………….17 2.2 Immigration overview in Vancouver………………………………………………………………..19 2.3 Immigrant youth in Vancouver……………………………………………………………………….20 2.4 The policy and the challenges……………………………………………………………………….23 Chapter 3 Methodology……………………………………………………………….………………..28 3.1 The Illustrated Journey Youth Project…………………………………………………………….28 3.2 Participatory planning and community based approach…………………………………...36 3.3 Project process and community collaboration………………………………………………...40 3.4 The importance of art, storytelling and comics to achieve social inclusion………...44 Chapter 4 Findings and results…………………………………………………………………….48 4.1 Participatory evaluation methods………………………………………………………………….48 4.2 Results………………………………………………………………………………………………………50 4.3 Findings…………………………………………………………………………………………………….52 Chapter 5 Reflection on project process…………………………………………………….56 5.1 Effect on community/organization……………………………………………………………….56 5.2 Factors influencing outcomes……………………………………………………………………...57 5.3 Limiting factors………………………………………………………………………………………….58 Chapter 6 Conclusions and recommendations……………………………………………62 . References…………………………………………………………………………............................66 Appendices………………………………………………………………………..............................68 Apendix 1...........................................................................................................68 Apendix 2...........................................................................................................69  NOTE: All photos taken by Vancouver Foundation, Alejandra Lopez, Josue Menjivar, Elaine Ng and Yumiko Sasakawa  5  6  ABSTRACT The Illustrated Journey Youth Project is about sharing stories, building trust, and learning creative and healing ways to reflect on identity, culture, language, belonging and self. A group of immigrant and refugee youth paired with artists, illustrators and community facilitators shared stories about their homeland, about their journey to Canada and about their ongoing journey and challenges in their new home, through drawing and comics. This project for and by immigrant/refugee youth was hosted by La Boussole francophone community center, the only social service agency for the francophone community in Vancouver, BC. The Illustrated Journey Youth project aimed to address issues of isolation, language differences, trauma and discrimination through art and storytelling. The youth participants of the project met once a week with the artists/facilitators for four months and learned how to create a comic book with a personal story. By the end of the project the stories were printed in a comic book and shared at a community exhibition that potentially raised awareness about what assets immigrant and refugee youth bring and the challenges they face. I played multiple roles in this project coordinating, implementing and evaluating with a participatory and community based approach. As a Mexican feminist woman and a newcomer to Vancouver, I hope that with projects like this one, we give voice and honor the stories of newcomer youth by learning from them. By documenting the project through the comic books and the process in this report I seek to inspire more spaces for unity within diversity and potentially influence programs and policies that would enhance inclusive communication across differences. In this report I reflect on how art and storytelling catalyze understanding of evolving identities, where our past and our present can be reconciled to reach endless possibilities in the future. I look at how using art in community development projects can strengthen self esteem and positive self awareness to open dialogue (s) and reinvent ourselves with others and through others.  “The truth about stories is that, that’s all we are” The truth about stories. A Native Narrative. Thomas King 2003  7  8  LIST OF TABLES AND DRAWINGS  Front Page Pablo Munoz, Oralia Del Castillo and Pear Junpuang drawings Youth Participant Oralia Del Castillo drawing ........................................................................13 Youth Participant Pauline Ksor drawing................................................................................14 Youth participant Pablo Munoz............................................................................................17 Graph permanent residents by category, 1984-2008. Citizenship and Immigration Canada.............................................................................................................................18 Pie Chart Distribution of Immigrant Youth arrivals to BC by Immigration Class 2004-2008. Citizenship and Immigration Canada...................................................................................21 Pie chart Top five Source countries of Immigrant Youth arrivals to BC 2004-2008 Citizenship and Immigration Canada..........................................................................................................22 Graph BC Immigrant and temporary resident youth arrivals 1999-2008. Citizenship and Immigration Canada..........................................................................................................23 Youth Participant Pear Junpuang drawaing..........................................................................24 Youth Participant Shane Rahlan drawing.............................................................................26 El Salvadorian American comic book artist and facilitator in the Illustrated Journey Youth Project comic...............................................................................................................................38 Youth Participant Deo Kumar drawing.................................................................................40 Youth Participant Pear Junpuang........................................................................................42 Youth Participant Pauline Ksor...........................................................................................44 Youth Participant Pauline Ksor...........................................................................................46 Pie Charts of two responses to two questions of the questionnaire applied to youth participants.....................................................................................................................50 Youth Participant Suliman Aimaq drawing..........................................................................54 Youth Participant Lorena Del Castillo..................................................................................60 Youth Participant Pablo Munoz painting..............................................................................65  9  10  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge a mi hermana Adriana for her incredible ability to tell stories and for the laughter and tears shared when we talked about this project. I want to thank a mi madre María Teresa for believing on me and I want to express a deep respect and admiration by acknowledging all the struggles that she faced to open up opportunities for sus hijas. I want to thank the strong women in my life, Claudia Bialostozky, Johanna Mazur, Larissa Coser, Allison Jones, Maira Avila, Clarita Wilkinson, Melanie Schambach, Sara Kendall, Nesreen Berwari, Nafisa Sultana, Cathy Moss, Ruby Truly, Ana María Sáenz, Citlali Tuero, Alejandra Toledo, Ana Paula Pimentel, Mariana Del Valle and Margarita Gómez for the ongoing care, inspiration, teaching, generosity and shared hope for a better world with more spaces for strong voices of women. I want to thank Clay Hastings, Stephane Lancette, Javier Sandoval, José María Fernández, Germán Fernández, Eduardo Cruz, Arturo Sáenz, Matías Cortés, Bernardo Landeros and Alejandro Trelles for inspiring me in one way or another to be able to continue this journey. I want to thank Leonora Angeles and Michael Leaf for not giving up on me and being my friends as well as my mentors. I want to thank Penny Gurstein for her willingness and availability. Special thanks to Tanniar Leba, the Executive Director of La Boussole for his on-going support. There are many other people involved in this project that I want to thank and acknowledge but most important I want to thank the youth participants of this project for the amazing opportunity that they gave us to learn together about their countries, themselves and the things that are important to them; thanks for the dancing, the laughs, the creativity and the challenges. Gracias Pablo y Lorena, thank you Dergie, Pear, Shane, Suliman, Deo Kumar and Marlio for making my journey and my questioning of identity very meaningful and eye opening.  11  12  CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION  The great and complex nature of the youth newcomers adjustment needs and the limited ability of the organization to effectively meet these needs all due to capacity constraints, nurtured the idea of looking for  Oral stories, written stories, stories that are told through dance, theatre, music, painting, and/or illustrations, build our evolving and dynamic identity and understanding of the world. How we actively listen and tell stories shape our life and give us a sense of belonging.  funding to start a project and create the space to address immigrant/ refugee youth challenges using art and storytelling. The challenges that immigrant/ refugee youth face are far-reaching and multidimensional, and therefore  require interventions of greater scope beyond The Illustrated Journey Youth Project is the story of a personal journey. It is the story of a historical and social journey, a story of the journey of a family, the story of the everyday journey of a village, the story of a colorful market, the story of an exciting day of sharing with friends and family, a journey through our memories, traditions and cultural references. The Illustrated Journey is the story of how we turn our fears and  the existing programs of La Boussole. Language difference is a main challenge but youth also face other complex issues such as difficulty adjusting to school or keeping a job, post-trauma, mental health related issues as a consequence of isolation and discrimination, etc. Unfortunately, the services in Vancouver that target specifically the needs of immigrant and refugee youth are limited.  uncertainty into possibilities and hope. The project responds to La Boussole´s (francophone community centre in Vancouver, BC and host organization of this youth project) current priority of addressing the needs of a growing immigrant and refugee clientele, of which youth are one of the most vulnerable groups.  13  The aim of the project “The Illustrated Journey Youth Project” has been to provide a safe and inclusive environment for a group of between 15-20 refugee and immigrant youth between the ages of 13 to 18 years old. Participants meet every Saturday for four months. With the mentorship of a talented and diverse group of five trained artists, the youth will expand, explore and refine their drawing talents and use this to make a comic book.  The project strives to create a safe, inclusive,  Furthermore, it is hoped that the youth  fun and supportive space for these youth to  stories and insights will increase public  deal with the challenges they face, heal and  awareness and support around immigrant  strengthen their self esteem and voices to  and refugee youth issues, and possibly  grow and participate equally in their schools  inspire better programs, practices and  and community.  policies. By using art and storytelling to address challenges of discrimination,  Art, storytelling and specifically drawing and  isolation, identity and belonging, the project  comics are used to address the language  intends to facilitate a space for self reflection,  differences and communicate through images  empowerment and inclusion with the youth.  and metaphors.  Bringing immigrant and refugee youth together with artists/facilitators to collaborate in sharing stories through creating a comic book gives the youth skills of self expression and self reflection as well as long term one-onone mentoring and support. Through the project the coordinating team connects the youth to relevant social services and community resources and gives them the tools to navigate these resources and services. Overall, this project is a story of a diverse and creative community of committed youth that want to feel  14  they belong to their new home in Vancouver,  Foundation, CKNW Orphans Fund and the  and learn from each other and share their  French Federation of BC.  skills, strengths, fears, laughter and heart  The goals of the Illustrated Journey Youth  through storytelling and drawing.  Project are to create a space where youth participants can  This project speaks to the different realities of the  discuss and deal with  world, to how poverty, war and inequalities  challenges that affect them in  compounded with race, gender, color, age, class and  relation to their refugee/  religion affect people in different ways.  immigrant experience and by getting involved with other  The Illustrated Journey Youth Project is  youth and artist participants to  hosted by La Boussole a non-profit  foster empowerment and healing.  Francophone community center located in  I got involved in the Illustrated Journey  Va n c o u v e r, B C . T h e m i s s i o n o f t h e  Youth Project through Pilar Riaño professor of  organization is to support Canadian and  the Social Work Faculty at the University of  immigrant/refugee French speakers who are  British Columbia and Pascaline Neskera at the  facing multiple challenges. La Boussole is a  time was the employment counselor of La  community center that offers intake and  Boussole francophone community centre. I  advice, access to computers, phones and fax machines, support and referrals to other services and resources, community meals, English courses, and social services like interpretation and translation, employment counseling, referrals to medical services, legal support, housing support, settlement support services such as: social isolation, housing issues, need of legal assistance, job search and employment counseling, mental health problems, drug abuse issues, crisis intervention or hunger. The Illustrated Journey Youth Project has been funded by Vancouver  15  provide ongoing and participatory monitoring  the process of sharing their stories and  and evaluation and also have coordinated  making their voices heard with diverse and  and implemented the projects. I am currently  fun techniques.  coordinating the third Illustrated Journey  youth an opportunity to hear the stories and  Youth Project. As a participant and  voices of people from Vancouver that have  community organizer I continually aim to find  faced similar challenges of identity and  tools to connect my personal theoretical  belonging.  journey as a graduate student and the  Using this paper I will present the Illustrated  people and stories of strength and hope  Journey Youth Project as a community based  within the different migrant and refugee  example of an initiative that addresses  communities. The Illustrated Journey has  diversity, migration/refugee challenges and  been a great opportunity to reconnect,  youth needs through art to enhance social  participate and learn. As a newcomer to  inclusion.  The project provides the  Vancouver myself I was looking for meaningful community involvement. Both  The next chapter provides an overview of the  bringing a belief in youth and art as an  context of migration in Canada and closely  emancipating way of communication,  examines the immigrant and refugee youth  expression and healing. Participating in this  experience in Vancouver. Chapter 3 outlines  project has also been a space to reflect on  the methodology and community process of  my role as graduate student and as a social  the Illustrated Journey project. Chapter 4  planner or community developer.  explains the findings and outcomes of the  Some of the objectives of this project have  project and Chapter 5 provides reflection on  been to bring different artistic approaches to  the outcomes and process. Chapter 6 draws  storytelling. Specifically,  to give the youth  a number of conclusions from the project  participants the tool of telling a story through  experiences and suggests areas for  drawing and, to also walk with them through  improvement.  16  CHAPTER 2.  2.1 Canada migration statistics and policies  CONTEXT  Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC),  It is important to look at the migration policies and migration flow at a national, provincial and local level to understand how dynamic and changing the social fabric in Vancouver is. By analyzing the migration phenomena of Canada and specifically of youth in British Columbia we can reflect on their social, political, cultural and economic realities and challenges and potentially come up with strategies to address their needs and provide spaces for community organizing and capacity building.  with its annual publication, Facts and Figures: Immigration Overview—Permanent and Temporary Residents, CIC provides a broad range of statistical information on admissions to Canada. Facts and Figures 2008: Immigration Overview—Permanent and Temporary Residents presents the annual intake of permanent residents by category of immigration and of temporary residents by yearly status from 1984 to 2008. (  Permanent residents S i n c e 2 0 0 2 , C a n a d a ’s immigration program has been based on the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and its regulations. IRPA replaces the Immigration Act of 1976 and defines three basic categories of permanent residents, which correspond to major program objectives: reuniting families, contributing to economic  17  development and protecting refugees (family  and business people, foreign students and  class, economic immigrants and refugees).  v i s i t o r s . T h e s e t e m p o ra r y r e s i d e n t s contribute to Canada’s economic  On an exceptional basis, IRPA also gives  development by filling gaps in the labor  Citizenship and Immigration Canada the  market, enhancing trade, and purchasing  authority to grant permanent resident status  goods and services.  to individuals and families who would not otherwise qualify in any category—for example, in cases where there are strong humanitarian and compassionate considerations, or for public policy reasons. These discretionary provisions provide the flexibility to approve deserving cases not anticipated in the legislation. The graph below illustrates that over the last twentytwo years, the largest categories of permanent residents to Canada have been family and economic migrants.  Refugees The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), an independent administrative tribunal, oversees a quasi-judicial process that determines claims for refugee protection made in Canada. The IRB hears refugee protection claims referred by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Persons whose claim for protection has been accepted may subsequently apply for permanent residence for themselves and dependants or close family members, whether in Canada or abroad. If the claim for protection is refused, the individual is informed of the reasons and is required to leave the country. The refugee category of immigrants also includes other foreign nationals allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian or  Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada  Temporary residents  compassionate grounds under “special considerations." These other humanitarian cases include a small number of individuals who have never filed a refugee claim but who  Canada’s immigration program also provides  were processed under special programs  for the temporary entry of foreign workers  established to handle refugee-like cases.  18  2.2 Immigration overview in Vancouver  As well, the city was home to nearly 14% of Canada’s 5.4 million immigrants, compared to 10% fifteen years earlier.  According to the 2001 Census, there were 738,600 immigrants living in the Vancouver  Vancouver’s share of the country’s 24 million  Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). The  Canadian-born persons increased to 5% in  immigrant population in Vancouver has  2001 from 4.6% in 1986. In 2001,  increased substantially over the 15 years  Vancouver’s share of British Columbia’s  ending in 2001 and has grown at a  population was 51%, up from 48% 15 years  considerably faster pace than the Canadian-  earlier, its share of the province’s immigrants  born population. Over the period of 1986 to  was 73% compared to 62% in 1986 and its  2001, the number of immigrants living in  share of the province’s Canadian-born  Vancouver increased by 346,700 or 88%. In  population, in 1986, was 43%.  comparison, Vancouver’s Canadian-born  Vancouver’s immigrants come from all over  population increased by 229,200 or 24%.  the world and represent a diversity of cultural  Immigrants accounted for 57% of  and linguistic backgrounds. Asia has always  Vancouver’s total population growth between  been a major source of immigrants for  1986 and 2001.  Vancouver. In 2001, for example, there were 189,700 residents of Vancouver who had  Vancouver’s immigrant population has grown  landed in Canada between 1996 and 2001.  at a faster pace than the immigrant population in British Columbia and in Canada.  The most common country of birth for these  To take the most recent five-year period as  immigrants was China, accounting for 20% of  an example, between 1996 and 2001 the  very recent immigrants (it is 29% if persons  number of immigrants in Vancouver  born in Hong Kong are included), followed by  increased by 104,900, or 17%. By  Taiwan, which supplied 13% of very recent  comparison, the total number of immigrants  immigrants.  living in Canada increased by 477,400 or  Seven of the ten most common countries of  10% during the same five years.  birth were in East Asia, South-east Asia and South and Central Asia: China, Taiwan, India,  In 2001, Vancouver was the place of  Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea and  residence of between 6% and 7% of the  Iran. These countries combined accounted  population of Canada, up from 5% in 1986.  for 70% of very recent immigrants. The large  19  share of recent and very recent immigrants  immigrant households spend more than 30%  from this part of the world is unique to  of their income on shelter, compared to three  Vancouver. Other cities, including Toronto,  in ten Canadian-born households.  have greater diversity in the countries of  It is also important to note that four in ten  birth of recent immigrants.  very recent immigrants are in a low-income  Among Vancouver’s earlier immigrants—  situation, three times as many as the  those landing in Canada before 1986—the  Canadian-born.  United Kingdom and China were the most common countries of birth, accounting for 29% of this group. In general, the birth origins of Vancouver’s immigrant population  2.3 Immigrant Youth in Vancouver  vary in relation to the period of immigration. Asian birth origins are predominant among  From 2004 to 2008, approximately 40,000  those who immigrated in the 1980s and  immigrants arrived annually in B.C. and of  1990s. As mentioned previously, six of the  these approximately 6,400 were youth. A  top ten countries of birth of very recent  large proportion of immigrant youth arrived  immigrants are in Asia. For immigrants who  as dependants, accompanying their families.  landed from 1986 to 1995, eight of the top ten countries of birth are in Asia.  Other youth came to B.C. as Temporary Residents including International Students,  In terms of housing recent immigrants in Vancouver, 23% of recent immigrant households live in crowded conditions— that is, have one person or more per room—compared to 4% of Canadian-born households. Fo u r i n t e n r e c e n t  20  Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), and  During the five years from 2004 to 2008,  humanitarian cases (including Refugee  most youth immigrant arrivals to B.C. were  Claimants).  either Economic Class arrivals (48.5%) or Family Class arrivals (42.7%).  Between 2004 and 2008, approximately 76,000 temporary residents arrived annually in B.C. and approximately 29,000  Distribution of Immigrant Youth arrivals to B.C. by Immigration Class, (2004 – 2008)  were youth. A large proportion of temporary resident youth arrived as International Students. Whether young people come to Canada as dependants or come to study or to work, they face challenges in integrating into Canadian society. The main challenge that immigrant or refugee youth face is the language differences. Fewer immigrant youth arriving in B.C. have official language ability (English or French) than nationally. B.C. recieves 40,000 new immigrants each year, and approximately one in six are  Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada  youth, comparable with the national rate. Between 2004 and 2008, B.C. became the  The top three source countries of immigrant  new home to 32,116 immigrants aged 15 to  youth arrivals to B.C. were Mainland China,  24. That is an average of 6,423 immigrant  India and the Philippines, which accounted  youth arriving each year. In 2008, 6,871  for 53.7% (17,246) of the immigrant youth  immigrant youth arrived in B.C., 24.5% more  arrivals over the period. This was somewhat  than in 2004.  higher than for immigrants of all ages from  The migration policies of Canada highlight  these countries who accounted for 48.4% of  that immigrants come to Canada in different  arrivals.  immigration classes.  21  Top Five Source Countries of Immigrant Youth arrivals  for all ages with 58.2% reporting having  to B.C., (2004 – 2008)  official language ability, lower than the national share of 67.0%. 43.8% of immigrant youth arrivals to B.C. had Mandarin and Punjabi as their native l a n g u a g e s c o m p a re d t o 20.8% at the national level. A large proportion of youth immigrants arrived with secondary or less education. Immigrant youth (aged 15 to 19) are in the prime age group for attending secondary school. Within the immigrant youth aged 15 –  Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada  19 group, 90.5% had secondary or less educational attainment, slightly higher than  From 2004 to 2008, 55.0% (17,678) of  the national share at 88.5%. Within the age  immigrant youth had official language ability  group (20 - 24), 52.9% of B.C. immigrant  (English or French), which was lower than  youth arrivals had secondary or less  the national share (64.8%). B.C. had the  education levels, comparable with the  second lowest share of immigrant youth with  national average of 52.3%.  official language ability across the provinces,  B.C. received a lower proportion of immigrant  following Prince Edward Island. Excluding  youth with no formal education than at the  Territories, Nova Scotia (79.6%), New  national level regardless of age groups 15 to  Brunswick (75.0%) and Quebec (77.1%) had  19 or 20 to 24. Within the age group 15 to  higher than the national share of immigrant  19, 5.3% of immigrant youth had no formal  youth arrivals with official language ability  education, lower than the 6.4% nationally.  (64.8%).  Within the age group 20 to 24, 2.7% had no  The official language ability of B.C. immigrant  formal education, lower than 3.3% nationally  youth is in line with B.C. immigrant arrivals  22  In 2008, there were 126,050 temporary  BC Immigrant and temporary resident youth arrivals,  residents in B.C. and 37.5% of them were  1999-2008 (Flow)  youth. This was higher than the national share of 29.3%.  Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada  In 2008, there were 50,221 International Students in B.C. and 63.1% of them were youth, which was comparable with the national share (65.2%). It was higher than for adults aged 25 to 54 (24.3%) and children up to 14 years (12.5%).  In 2008, there were 58,307 Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) in B.C. and 23.0% (13,383) of them were youth. This was higher than the national share of 13.2%.  2.4 The policy and the challenges In Canada and particularly the larger cities  In 2008, the largest proportion of  like Vancouver there is an ongoing debate  International Student youth in B.C. were in  about diversity and multiculturalism. The  university (39.1%), followed by secondary or  debate is catalyzed by the on going growth  less (24.9%) and other post-secondary  of different migrant and refugee  education (18.4%).  communities. There is an increasing demand from these communities to address their  In 2008, there were 4,951 humanitarian  needs and accessing jobs, housing and same  cases in B.C. and 16.2% of them were youth,  opportunities as the rest of the citizens.  which was comparable with the national  There is a need to define how these different  share of 15.3%. Most of them (97.0%) were  communities will share a common space  Refugee Claimants. In 2008, Mexico was the  bringing their culture, assets, stories as well  predominant source country for humanitarian  as opening the dialogue for interacting  youth (19.8%) while China (10.9%) and  among the existing communities and among  Honduras (6.6%) were the second and the  them.  third source countries for humanitarian youth in B.C.  23  been migrating The City of Vancouver is increasingly a city of immigrants. The  to Canada in larger  2001 census showed that 46% of Vancouver residents were  numbers. It seems  foreign-born, making Vancouver the city with the second  their  highest concentration of immigrants in Canada.  growing  community presence has been somewhat unrecognized when  During the mid 80’s and the 90’s, almost two thirds of immigrants came from regions such as South Asia and South-east Asia, including China, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, and Korea. The demographic shift in source country has greatly changed the profile of ethnic composition in the city. In response to these demographic changes, the City has undertaken various initiatives and processes to offer services and programs and try to address the needs of  examining what services are available to meet their needs. These migrant communities are of small proportion in c o m p a r i s o n t o o t h e r l a rg e r m i g ra n t communities in Vancouver. Issues of collective voice, representation, and ability to access public process are relevant concerns for these groups. Currently, there is no direct role for the City to provide input to other levels of  newcomers. The City supports local social and cultural development initiatives through the provision of civic grants to local non-governmental organizations, many of which deliver services to newcomers. There is also a need to provide services to smaller migrant and refugee communities. In recent years, people from countries in A fr i c a a n d L a t i n A m e r i c a , Vietnam and Afghanistan have  24  government concerning immigration policy. It  happen even though by choosing to ignore  is therefore important that there is a local  their health, development and adaptation.  perspective in the design and delivery of services to newcomers.  According to the Ethnic Diversity Survey conducted by Statistics Canada and Canadian  Many migrants in Vancouver face the  Heritage, only one in ten of all Canadian  challenges of finding work in a new land,  residents 15 years of age and older had  living on low income, raising children in  personally encountered discrimination. By  communities identified as high risk for  comparison, one in five members of visible  children, and struggling with language  minority groups reported at least one  differences, isolation and discrimination.  experience with discrimination because of ethnicity, culture, skin color, language, accent  The expectation of the Canadian government  or religion. The highest instances of this  is for newcomers to assimilate and contribute  discrimination  to the common good of society. Left to  reported by Africans and Afro-Caribbean.  themselves, many immigrants and refugees  Visible minority status was not the only basis  might fulfill this expectation but programs,  for discrimination. Recently arrived, non-  services and policies responsive to the needs  visible minority group immigrants were twice  and aspirations of newcomers will help  as likely to have experienced discrimination  newcomers navigate the services and  as longer-stay, or second generation  resources to access opportunities and build a  immigrants.  – one in three – were  healthy new home. The experiences faced before, during and According to “The New Canadian Youth and  after migrating affect immigrant and  Children Study” by Morton Beiser, Robert  refugees’ well being; adding the struggles of  Armstrong, Linda Ogilvie, Jacqueline Oxman-  settling and integrating most likely compound  Martinez and Joanna Anneke Rummens one  this pressure.  in every five children living in Canada was either born somewhere else or born into  Children and youth are in a formative and on  immigrant and refugee families. The  going process of building self esteem and  expectation is that their achievements help  confidence. By acknowledging and  justify the relatively large immigration rates.  responding to isolation and discrimination,  Nevertheless, the expectation is for this to  they can turn into their personal assets like  25  26  their self esteem and outside onto their  who they are in terms of their identity. This  families and communities.  has been identified as the main difference between assimilating and integrating. The  Within this context, the La Boussole  benefits of integration efforts are that they  francophone community center, seeks to  support immigrant and refugee children to  provide for immigrant and refugee youth  reflect and build upon their existing cultural  through the programming of the Illustrated  identity. This includes an acknowledgement  Journey Youth Project.  of both their heritage and the dominating characteristics of the culture to which they  La Boussole offers services, support and  moved into.  counseling to all francophone people whether they are from Quebec or other francophone  Accepting and celebrating ones ethno-  countries in the world and it addresses the  cultural identity is a key factor to enhance  needs of women, men and families. With the  social cohesion in a diverse context like that  Illustrated Journey, La Boussole aims to  reflected in Canada.  outreach and address the lack of space for youth to express, meet other people, feel  The positive connections teenagers have with  safe, strengthen their self esteem, well being  their background and culture as well as with  and mostly feel at home.  other youth who face similar experiences are important. It can potentially provide a  There are some studies that explain how children who are proud of  foundation whereby  their ethnic identity and are at the same time negotiating their  they are  Canadian identity through dialogue and not through assimilation  to others with different  are the most likely to have a positive sense of self and confidence.  ethnic backgrounds  able to relate  inclusively. This can foster  a  better  The most influential institution for children  understanding and connection with other  and youngsters besides their families is their  immigrant and refugee groups as well as  school. This is where they can be forced to  better performance and sense of belonging in  choose between where they come from and  schools.  27  CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 3.1 The Illustrated Journey Youth Project  experience of displacement and of  The Illustrated Journey Youth Project  current objective of addressing the needs of  engages and supports immigrant and  a growing immigrant and refugee clientele,  refugee youth facing multiple barriers to  of which youth are one of the most  integration. The project brings together  vulnerable groups.  twenty youth with comic book artists in collaborative work. The project allows for these youth to enjoy a team-based, fun art project while exploring and dealing with issues that affect their lives such as the  integration to a new culture and society. The project responds to La Boussole’s  The project has three stages. • In the first stage, the youth attend four hour workshops every Saturday for four months. This takes place from May  28  through July. The workshops are  The way in which the Illustrated Journey  organized to expand, explore and refine  Youth project is envisioned aims to have a  the drawing talents of youth participants  community oriented and participatory  and provide opportunities to learn  process. The priority is to create a process  drawing techniques. They learn the  where the youth can voice their concerns  importance of art and illustration,  and speak out, while reflecting on their  specifically comic books as a common  identity and struggle of belonging and  language to express and communicate  questioning their assumptions and the  with others to overcome language  assumptions and stereotypes of their new  barriers;  environment.  • The second stage runs from July to  Comic and illustration are the  August where every Saturday the same  communication tool that is used by  youth attend further workshops. In these  everyone to share and build connections.  workshops they reflect about their stories associated with life before, during and  Once the media used for the project is  after their move to Canada. With the help  decided, the project is supported by a  of the organizers, artists and other youth  group of comic book artists and illustrators  they document and start their comics.  that teach/mentor the youth. This group of  The artist mentorsare assigned  artists commit once a week to the four hour  participants and together they finish  Saturday workshop where they share with  details and provide guidance for the youth  the youth their drawing skills and teach  comics.  them what a comic book is. The artists share ways in which the comic book has  • In the last stage, the comics are  been used to communicate personal,  published and there is an exhibition. The  political, meaningful, joyful or challenging  participants, artists, volunteers, media  stories.  and other non profit organizations that give services to migrants are invited to  The use of drawing and metaphors helps  celebrate the completed works at an  address language barriers as well as trauma  opening launch.  and isolation.  29  comic jams to find comic book artists and illustrators that were interested in joining the Illustrated Journey Youth Project. The artists’ role is crucial to ensure the objectives of the project. It is important for the artists to  respect that the art and  comic making is only one component of the project goal. It is the concrete outcome but not the sole purpose of the project. The project coordinator interviews artists with the criteria of finding talented people who show a a commitment to social justice, that have aptitude  to teach and mentor the  youth during every workshop in the basics of drawing, life drawing, comic making and storytelling through illustration. The artists who have participated in each of the projects have different backgrounds and have the experience of being immigrants themselves or through their To be able to facilitate a creative process as well as a healing and empowering process it also requires a group of of artists that are not only skilled and talented making comics but that have teaching/mentoring experience and personal or professional experience with immigration issues and/or immigrant/refugee population. The Illustrated Journey coordinator posts  parents. There has beenan El Salvadorian American male comic book artist, a Japanese Canadian female animator and illustrator, a Chinese Canadian comic book artist, a native visual and comic book artist, a Quebequois illustrator and comic book artist involved in the project . How their own experience informed their mentoring and workshops has been very important to create safety and trust for the youth.  invitations to participate at art schools, volunteer posting sites, via internet and  30  project. Finding these participants has been Creating or appreciating art is one  a priority.  important asset, but understanding the use of art for social change,  Schools, community centers, neighborhood  empowerment and healing has been  houses, refugee transition houses, and  crucial to have a meaningful process.  other non profit organizations that work with youth have been good places and important networks to outreach for youth.  The artists participate in the planning  The coordinators also visit schools in  process from the brainstorming and  Vancouver that have high numbers of  envisioning of the expected objective for  immigrant and refugee students that are  the project and also for the design of the  newcomers to the city.  content of the workshops. The project is aimed at immigrant and refugee youth. The project’s coordinators design posters and flyers with the basics of what the project is and outline the selection criteria. To participate the following three  It is very important to note that The Illustrated Journey Youth project has been designed and implemented for and by refugees and migrants. As part of this, the programming and interactions involve shared understanding.  requirements apply: • To be an immigrant and refugee youth • To be between 13 to 18 years old  The coordinators have lived experience of  • To have been in Canada for three or less  migration themselves or through their  years  families. This makes it is easier for them and the youth to relate to the challenges  It is important to acknowledge that as a  and stories shared during the project.  community based project there are financial and human constraints. The target group is  The coordinator works with the members of  the youth that are facing huge challenges.  the planning team who include; a  Those who  can not afford training yet  representative of La Boussole as well as  could reallytake advantage of the program  staff at La Boussole involved with logistics  and benefit  from the capacity building,  and administration of the project. Also part  training and support provided by the  of the team is a project coordinator in  31  charge of the visioning, content and  comprehensive introduction of the project.  facilitation of the workshops as well as the  The planning team contributes withideas  overall coordination of the team and  and personal critical reflection of each  allocation of the budget.  There is also a  workshop, the content and role that each  project assistant, a youth liaison, the  one of them have during the workshops  artists/mentors, a  and an account of  caterer, a driver to  their interactions  bring the participants  with the youth.  that most recently arrived to Vancouver  The planning team  and that lived in  has  neighboring cities,  responsibility of  volunteers, special  attending the  guests for the  m e e t i n g s ,  storytelling exercises  reflecting on the  and  development of  the  youth  the  participants interested  the  in taking part of the  p r o v i d i n g  planning  constructive  and  debriefing meetings.  project,  recommendations and helping with  Being a community  the roles and  based project, the  responsibilities  coordinator makes  before, during and  sure that the input of  after  all the coordination  workshops.  the  team is acknowledged and included in the  The planning team  planning and implementation of the project.  must be aware and respectful of the  The coordinator makes sure that everyone’s  objectives and of the flexibility that the  contributions are aligned with the visioning,  project requires in order to accommodate  expectations and objectives set in an initial  its content to address the needs of the  planning meeting whereby there is a  youth. The team is required to be sensitive  32  to the individual learning, emotional and  techniques like sketching, life drawing skills,  social processes of the youth. When  and the different elements of comic  conducting themselves it is essential that  making. The overall outline is designed to  t h e y h i g h l i g h t i a n d r e i t e ra t e w i t h  cover the basic  participants the importance of the process  expression every week within the timeline  rather than the outcome(s) and the  of the project. The youth refect on different  importance of trust and relationship  stories  building.  visual convey them. Over time the works  elements of visual  and think about how they might  that they prepare become ready to publish The Illustrated Journey is a process based  in a comic book. This outline is used as a  project instead of outcome based project,  tool to keep the project on track but  which means that the comic book itself is not  flexible enough to adapt it according to  the ultimate purpose. The project focuses on  individual and group needs. Having fun is  the learning process, on how to share stories,  as important as perfecting how to draw  what kind of stories we share, how we feel  and how to prepare comics. The process  and how to make ourselves  is one in which the  heard and safe in new and  youth are able to reflect  challenging places.  about the challenges and concerns that they  The workshops are designed  have experienced and are  and facilitated by reflecting  facing while responding  this focus and addressing the  to a new place.  objectives as well as highlighting the importance of  During the workshops  the process.  and in between drawing there is always time  An outline and program of  allocated to mingle, play,  each workshop for every  eat, learn and share other  week of the project is  storytelling techniques.  designed by the artists and informed by the objectives of the  Comic book art has been  project. The outline highlights the concept  the media chosen for this project in order  and relevance of comics as well as drawson  to overcome the language barriers of youth  33  from many countries speaking a diversity of  The youth participants spend four hours  languages. Illustration and images are  one day a week learning how to draw and  ultimately a universal language and no  share stories. The youth participants eat  matter how many languages there are  some lunch during the workshop. The lunch  during workshops it is possible to connect  is prepared by refugee or immigrant  through the visual cues associated with  women. The menu for the lunch is also  drawings and illustrations. The planning  decided in a collaborative way with all the  team also believes in the importance of  youth participants and the planning team  introducing other types of storytelling  and it is meant to be balanced, appealing  techniques in order to give the youth more  for youth and culturally diverse.  tools and ideas on how to express themselves in creative ways. The focus is  In every workshop there is a lesson plan  always that creative art can be used as a  that is reviewed before, during and after  way of expressing sharing the youth  the session. The lesson plan considers time  participants stories. This isnot only reflected  to have fun activities that allow the youth  through illustrations but also using dance,  to talk to each other in a more casual  spoken word, theatre and other artistic  setting. In these fun activities everyone  expressions. A diversity of approaches has  plays Pictionary, dances, sings or shares  proved successful to strengthen and open  something without having to use words or  opportunities to share stories.  without having to speak English necessarily.  One of the most important aspects of the lesson plan is the time for storytelling, not only with drawings, illustrations and comics but with casual interaction and reflection. The process and sharing and telling a story through active listening and reflection aims to support immigrant and refugee youth in three different levels: • It builds trust among the other youth and among the artists/mentors and planning team, • It builds capacity through the process of choosing which stories to share and reflecting on them, • It improves English language skills as well as strengthening self esteem.  34  These supporting elements are crucial in  youth other ways of storytelling. This way  building a safe space to speak out without  the stories can be told  feeling intimidated or vulnerable about  dancing or playing music. The youth have  language skills, where participants can  the opportunity to tell different stories in  make friends with people that go through  small groups and also share it with the  similar experiences and face similar  entire group. Simultaneously, the artists/  challenges, where those involved can share  mentors help each youth participant  aspects about culture and talk about  individually with the writing of the stories  identity, background and dreams. This has  that will make it to their comic book.  through acting,  been key in the construction of a diverse and inclusive community.  The project is meant to have three different stages that are not limited or exclusive to  Projects that create spaces like the  activities and processes between them.  Illustrated Journey does are a starting point in order to build bridges among different  In the first stage, the youth introduce  cultures, ages, races, genders, classes.  themselves, as do the artists, the  Understanding the project is as much an  volunteers and the planning team. In this  understanding of the responsibilities and  stage the artists/mentors give an  opportunities that we have in making  introduction to life drawing and comics  happen the communities that we dream of.  where they assess the skills of the participants. This is then accommodated  To encourage the youth to feel comfortable  into the lesson plan and the program to  to share stories, there is time during the  address the specific needs of the youth.  workshops to invite speakers and guests to  Immigrant and refugee youth engagement  share a story of a journey. Their stories  is not a smooth and quick process; some of  relate to their experiences living in a  the challenges they face in their new home  different country or of their journeys  are shown in this first stage of the project  coming or growing up in Vancouver. The  and it is important to address these  project tries to bring together people with  difficulties to make the youth comfortable  d i ffe re n t c u l t u ra l b a c k g ro u n d s a n d  and engaged from the beginning.  perspectives of art, Vancouver, Canada and identity. The guests through their stories  There is a lot of flexibility in determining  and different exercises showcase to the  the youth assets in this first part of the  35  project. The participants are unique and  In this case, it is imperative that the  their stories are unique so it is important to  community developer becomes more of an  give a independent voice and space to each  a d v i s o r o r fa c i l i t a t o r t o a l l o w t h e  one of the participants. The planning team  development of a genuine relationship  has to address some of the youth barriers  between the facilitator and the participants,  like language, family duties, job schedules  leaving open the possibility that both will  and transportation in the first month in  change in the process.  order to make the process smoother and meaningful for all.  One aspect that plays a critical role in the coordinators engagement in this community project is the degree of awareness about  3.2 Participatory planning and community based approach The overall framework of the project, content of the workshops as well as evaluation is designed to be participatory and flexible to focus on what the youth  “self” in the process: particularly examining the values or biases that they bring to the community process. As a researcher there is a responsibility to acknowledge how: • my ideas, ideals and assumptions may weigh in the interactions with members of specific communities. • I formulate questions, make observations, and make connections.  need to address.  Paulo Freire’s writings reinforce a deep belief in humanity and people’s role in making change. He states that: “To be a good (educator) means above all to have faith in people; to believe in the possibility that they can create and change things. It is also necessary to love, to be convinced in the fundamental effort of community…. Education is toward the liberation of people, never their “domestication”. This liberation begins to the extent that men (and women) reflect on themselves and their condition in the world – the world in which and with which they find themselves. To the extent that they are more conscientized, they will insert themselves as subjects into their own history” (Freire, 1971, p. 62).  36  As a community planner, some ideas that  what clouds or opens my perspective of the  helped me, as researcher address these  project and understanding, the importance  questions are:  of listening in an active and different way;  • Overall awareness  recognition of power relations and enabling  • Deliberative Practice  connections through dialogue and story.  • Acknowledging Difference Deliberative Practice: To take an approach exemplified by John Forrester as deliberative practice. Specifically approaching communities through dialogue and negotiations, to achieve social change through discussion and self transformation. With participatory processes, we build networks and we understand ends and means as well as learning about what we want and what we can do. This is also a participatory learning approach.  A w a r e n e s s : To c h a l l e n g e , consider and question those things that are often dismissed, particularly, feelings I had, emotions, the awareness and comfort of my surroundings and role. Basically to examine 'other ways of  Acknowledging Difference: Another priority  knowing', the things that are not always  is to accept the challenge of difference and  explicit. This is essential in understanding  question privilege when people are being  37  38  ignored and marginalized. We must question  their own learning, not empty vessels filled  how we can challenge ourselves to listen and  by the knowledge of experts.  positively recognize people that have different beliefs and practices. This learning  The Illustrated Journey youth project is  process is enlightening. It can help us  meant to be for and by youth. My own  understand how in talking  participation in the  about  project is as part of a  difference, about  community of youth  fears, anxieties and  that I listen to, share  needs we are able to  stories with, learn  see beyond. One way  from and reflect with  of developing skills to  in  create shared spaces  exchange that  is  improves  to  identify  a  two  way my  differences and talk  understanding. Using  about them, to know  a community based  our location and  participatory  listen with openness  approach has helped  and respect.  create a dialogue of what newcomers  The  Brazilian  face when coming to  educator Paulo Freire  V a n c o u v e r, f i n d  writes of the favelas  commonalities in this  in Brazil. His work  and build on our  generated dialogue  combined strengths  that facilitated the  more holistically.  t ra n s fo r m a t i o n o f conscientization (or critical consciousness)  This approach demonstrates that youth must  and praxis (action based on critical reflection)  not only be involved in efforts to identify their  on how to improve lives. To Freire, (1970)  problems but also to engage in a critical  the purpose of education is human liberation,  conscientization to analyze their problems  which means that people are the subjects of  and take positive action in some way.  39  In the Illustrated Journey project the  hidden) that can control people’s lives;  approach is to create a space to talk about  celebrating strengths, not just emphasizing  the similarities despite coming from very  victimization; restructuring the power  different places and to find the common  relations within the research process; and  issues and assets that can unite the youth,  working for goals of social justice (Maguire,  the artists, the organizers and the society as  2001).  a whole. This in turn can gives voice, validates and gives access to newcomers. This again, is a demonstration and recognition of youth as active participants in  3.3 Project process and community collaboration  identifying what is important. In this project  The planning team of the Illustrated Journey  it is an approach that allows youth to feel  is diverse and have their own experiences of  part of an integrated process rather than  facing the challenges of migrating to a  recipients of direction and knowledge.  different country themselves or from that of their parents.  Freire advocates that as people engage in dialogue with each other about their  The members of the planning team have the  communities and the larger social context,  experience of exploring issues of identity and  their own internal representations and how they think and ascribe meaning about their social world changes. Their relationships to each other become strengthened; and ultimately their ability to reflect on their own values and choices is affected. Community based participatory research, poststructuralist, post colonialist, and feminist theory share certain methods and goals: analyzing personal lives in relation to the structures (both overt and  40  belonging through their art or professional experiences as well as the experience working with immigrant and refugee population. The youth participants are refugee and immigrant youth between 13 and 18 years old and they have only been in Canada for three years or less. The youth participants are willing to expand, explore and refine their drawing talents and use this to make a comic book. They also share their personal journeys and life experience. There is a one month recruitment process in which posters and flyers are distributed. For the youth it is not a requirement to speak English or to be fluent in it. The youth that participate are immigrant and  The youth that we were most interested in  refugee youth where they and/or their  benefiting where the ones where they and  families are facing economic and social  their families had faced and were facing  difficulties as well as the challenge of moving  difficulties adapting to their new  to a culturally different place without social  environment, faced challenges finding  networks, employment, housing or support.  employment, found themselves isolated because of the location of their housing, had  The youth participants were from Nepal,  difficulties with the language, their schools,  Afghanistan, Mexico, Congo, Swaziland,  the weather, commuting, culture shock,  Vietnam, Colombia and Thailand. They are  trying to heal trauma and discrimination both  youth that have been in Canada for less than  in their homelands and in Vancouver.  three years and in most have arrived to Canada as refugees. The youth participants  The objective of the project has been to  face language barriers and as a  include a group of youth that have been  consequence, isolation.  excluded from most social settings or have  41  project and is a key component to address cultural diversity as something that is celebrated and seen as an asset and not as a barrier. An important value that is prioritized when recruiting artists, volunteers and youth is that they demonstrate respect and acknowledgment of differences as a way to build bridges and connect with each other to learn and add to our understanding of the social fabric of a city like Vancouver. The deliverables of the project, have been comic books showcasing the youth stories. The publications areintended to reach a wide audience. By using illustration and drawing the youth have the freedom to express themselves visually  be able to reflect on  their own cultural perspective and experience. The youth participants can use English in their comic dialogue boxes if they feel comfortable. They are also welcomed to write the dialogues in their mother tongue or not use text at all. It is entirely their been  discretion to determine how they choose to  isolated because of difficulties accessing  illustrate and convey their stories. Using  spaces, resources, services and other  comics ensures that no matter which way  opportunities. Nevertheless, having youth  they communicate, their story is accessible to  participants as well as volunteers, artists and  a wider audience. It allows others to learn  organizers from all backgrounds, cultures and  more about participants personal experiences  experiences is one of the priorities of the  and opens a small window to their  42  background, culture, sociopolitical, geographical and historical context.  Additionally, the  project seeks to identify the skills and assets that a diverse group of youth bring to the city and to identify the challenges immigrant/refugee youth face in Vancouver. This in turn can catalyze the creation of spaces and programs for youth that address these challengess. Although, the outcome of the project is to have a story in a printed comic book for each one of the participants to share; the process is as important because it aims to empower the youth and give them voices to feel more confident and comfortable about their differences, their skills and strengths. The coordinators of the project have a participatory evaluation process in which monitoring activities are designed with the input of the youth participants. The evaluation techniques also incorporate the recommendations, comments, fears and ideas shared at the end of the workshops. The artists, volunteers and other members of the team are not only invited to give their input but talso obligated to participate in planning meetings, content of workshops, facilitation, logistics, socializing and recreational activities, evaluation and design, layout and collation of the community exhibition to share the comics.  43  Community collaboration and partnerships  isolated efforts. As more immigrant and  have occured at different levels. Funding is  refugees and agencies are involved in these  provided from different organizations such as  changes, the more inclusive and healthy the  the Vancouver Foundation, CKNW Orphans  community in Vancouver will become.  Fund, the Francophone Federation of BC and La Boussole. At a community level, some schools, neighborhood houses, transition houses for refugee and immigrant families, settlement organizations like Immigrant Services Society of BC as well as churches provide support to the project particularly during the youth recruitment process. Collaboration and partnership is essential to the success of a community based project like this one. It is important to recognize the efforts, resources, services and assets that other groups and agencies are doing to address social exclusion particularly with immigrants and refugees. Partnering with these groups and agencies has the potential to compound the effect of positive change and opportunity moreso than individual and  3.4 The importance of art, storytelling and comics to achieve social inclusion Art has been part of the spiritual and mental lives of women and men of all cultures and all ages. Visual metaphors and images give youth the opportunity to imagine and create new and different ways of communicating.. Art can create a space to generate a new discourse that includes racial differences. When an individual voice isn’t heard it creates frustration and tension.  Although  discussions about difference and identity can be painful and dangerous, in societies like the Canadian where the multicultural discourse emphasizes the politically correct attitude that avoids confrontation it is important to open a genuine and real dialogue to be able to learn, bridge and celebrate diversity. Using art and storytelling offers unique ways of working with differences and identity struggles. Using art to address challenges of  44  discrimination and isolation allows us to use  meanings of color referring to race or a  images of how we perceive ourselves and  political or social reality and to express deep  reinvent ourselves in as many different ways  feelings. These are portrayed symbolically  to be able to share our stories about who we  and in turn create a visual narrative for  are and our journeys.  interpretation and understanding.  “This power to recreate images of the self  When we share stories translated through  as part of the ongoing narrative of the  images and talk about them we create  group which is both personal and shared  different meaning or meanings together.  becomes a crucial instrument of healing and redefining. Active engagement feeds  Using art in groups to make images and have  self-confidence, affirms self-worth and  a dialogue about them and what we feel  counteracts feelings of disconnectedness  becomes a ‘ceremony of redefinition’.  and unbelonging.” (Campbell J., Liebmann  Myerhoff, B. 1982 p. 191  M., Brooks F., Jones J. and Ward C. 1999. p. 30) The challenge is for the youth participants to be able to see, hear and respect different When using art and storytelling with mixed racial groups there are different visual and verbal narratives that create opportunities to find multiple meanings and stories. When using art to address trauma or isolation the image is effective because it holds feelings and experiences that are difficult to communicate or articulate, therefore the complexity of the feelings can be addressed. By using art through images and metaphors,  stories of otherness. My capacity as a facilitator of this project is to shape a process for safe dialogue where the youth through art, stories, images and metaphors share their experiences and find new ways of understanding who they are and embrace their experiences by changing the beliefs about themselves. The process, as well as the stories printed in a comic, painting, photo, video, poem, etc. is all part of a new meaning and narrative.  it is possible to examine the different  45  Facilitation through the art of diverse groups  It allows immigrants and refugees to  provides a safe setting where cultural  acknowledge, keep, change, transform and  identity, differences and conflicts can be  reinvent themselves recognizing where we  expressed and recognized through their  come from with acceptance and celebration.  images, metaphors and storytelling. Using a specific form of art to share stories Storytelling through art is a powerful way to  gives the opportunity to document our  reflect on struggles of identity and belonging.  journeys and reflections on our identity and  Itcreates the possibilities as immigrants and  culture. By documenting through art it  refugees to reconcile culture and “past”  creates a new form of knowledge and  identities with possibilities in the future.  understanding and helps build a dynamic identity with others.  46  Engaging immigrant and refugee youth facing  been one of frustration and sadness at times  multiple challenges of isolation and  yet very enlightening and hopeful.  discrimination by sharing their stories through art empowers participants withtools  As a Mexican woman working in diverse inter  of resistance to assimilation. It is an  cultural settings I am constantly trying to  opportunity to access and speak out with  reflect on my own privilege and power and I  personal voice, their stories and experiences.  am aware that using storytelling and art as a tool for social transformation and  It is important to give the youth an  empowerment can also lead to abuse,  awareness of the differences with creative  m a n i p u l a t i o n a n d ra c i a l o r c u l t u ra l  tools to communicate through images from  stereotyping. I do believe and have  their perceived position of difference.  experienced, that having an open dialogue where we allow ourselves and youth  My personal experiences with newcomer  participants to make mistakes even if it might  youth and women as a community organizer,  be uncomfortable, is far more effective than  friend or just in the different roles I have  being politically correct because we are afraid  within the projects I work in Vancouver has  to engage in a real dialogue.  47  CHAPTER 4. FINDINGS AND RESULTS  4.1 Participatory evaluation methods Three specific participatory evaluation methods are used with the Illustrated Journey Project. A fourth method (video) is also used as both an evaluation method and documentation tool. The description of these methods articulates why this approach is taken, the positive and negative attributes associated with its application, and suggestions for future implementation. Collage: The first method of participatory e va l u a t i o n i s t o c re a t e  to select pictures representing their feelings, situations or places that they felt relevant as expressions related to what they liked about going to the workshops. Another poster was created using the same process. This required selecting images that expressed what they would add to the workshops to make the space more comfortable and safe to tell stories and share. This method creates some pressure related with providing immediate results or outcomes in terms of the way youth participate and give their feedback. It is a technique that has invoked a number of assumptions of how the coordinator and planning team expect the youth might participate and share what they felt about the project overall. While all the youth have been engaged in choosing images and writing words on blank paper  collages. The goal of this activity is to assemble posters with images from magazines, posters and other media. Participants are required to select images that reflect important aspects of their involvement with the Illustrated Journey Project. This includes requesting them  48  that was given to them (to add  to visit). The youth selection of images and  supplementary comments not obvious in  explanation was not related to the  the images alone) there were interesting  workshops or how comfortable or  outcomes. When facilitators tried to engage  uncomfortable they felt there. There are  the youth in a discussion about the images  many things to analyze about the images  they picked and why they picked them,  that are important to the workshop but it is  t h e re wa s h e s i t a t i o n . A c o u p l e o f  important too, to identify issues of translation and comprehension as a result of the language differences. This was a key challenge that could have been avoided with more translators. Questionnaire: The next participatory evaluation method involves use of a questionnaire. The format uses smiley faces- depicting yes, no, and 'kind of' as responses. The questions address one or two of the main objectives of the Illustrated Journey project. The coordinator and planning team aim to assess which were the most prevalent issues expressed during the workshops. Language barriers and lack of social networks and spaces for expression have been common responses. The  participants spoke but they seemed to pick images according to things that they liked to do in their lives not how they felt overall (like people playing their favorite sport, their favorite food or places that they would like  implementation of this method is achieved by dividing the overall group of participants into smaller groups according to their dominant language. This makes it easier for translation and more comfortable for the youth to ask questions and share in smaller groups. To illustrate an example of  49  feedback provided, more than 50% of the youth think that drawing helps them to express themselves better and more than  4.2 Results Youth participants quote:  60% consider that they made new friends by coming to the workshops. Brainstorming: This participatory evaluation method is also conducted in small groups according to language. It is the final strategy that is implemented with all participants in the project. Four questions are written on a large sheet of poster paper  “I like to draw now, and people are kind and they like to welcome others” “I like everyone here because no one is mean and no problems” “I would like it if there was more room for participants to speak up and give their opinion”  and group members are requested to write their comments or have them translated and written on the sheet. The basic idea of this method is to obtain feedback about the ways in which the workshop helps communication, promote shared stories and facilitate reflections about personal feelings during and after the workshops. The strategy of encouraging participants to write their own answers aims to strengthen the ownership of the project as well as to promote leadership among the group. At the end of the activity a designated person or the whole group were requested to present their ideas to everyone. It was found that this approach made a big difference. Sharing the brainstorming observations enhanced commonalities and presents an opportunity of learning from each other.  50  • Drawing not only was a tool to express feelings and getting to know each other but also to improve English • The participants thought it was important to share stories, to understand the differences and similarities of their experiences, as well as to learn about other cultures and to connect and build together. • The participants indicated that they felt excited and good when they were at the workshops and they would like to stay for more hours. • Using art and comic techniques helped the youth overcome the language barrier by telling and sharing their stories through illustration • The youth participants built connections and friendships with the artists/mentors • The youth participants built friendships and connections among themselves • The youth participants built confidence and self esteem through the process of sharing their stories and learning a new skill • The youth participants developed leadership skills • The youth participants gained public speaking skills • The youth participants gained storytelling techniques • The youth participants were active participants in a community based participatory project • The youth participants spoke out about what their fears, dreams and aspirations are • The youth participant shared how they feel in their new home and how they want to feel • The youth participants acquired drawing and illustration skills • The youth participants acquired comic book making skills • Stories of immigrant/refugee youth participants are published in a comic book • All those who are engaged can learn from the journeys, background and culture of the home countries of all the participants and members of the project  51  artists not only share their talents but also The Illustrated Journey participants  their ability to support and welcome  and planning team underwent a  immigrant and refugee youth through the  learning process and social  sharing of their own journeys and life  transformation where it was possible to  stories.  learn new things about ourselves and our community. The Illustrated Journey  The youth participants along with the  youth participants developed drawing  artists/mentors and the coordinating team  skills, storytelling and artistic skills,  learn through the challenges of adapting to  leadership skills, public speaking skills  the changing and diverse needs of the  and most important they reflected  youth. All those engaged in the project  about their identity, their belonging  learned how to build a safe space of trust  and who and how they envision  and belonging. Collaboratively the project  themselves within their community in  members learned how to put together an  their new home, in Vancouver.  4.3 Findings They strengthen their self esteem, their English language skills and their confidence on contributing with their cultural heritage, knowledge and  exhibition and  experiences into a dynamic Canadian  celebrate as a community the hope of  identity.  building more inclusive and welcoming communities.  The artists/mentors strengthened their teaching and mentoring skills as well as  The mentor/artists were able to teach and  their participatory planning skills. The  transmit their skills in the areas where their  52  trained artistic expertise has been refined.  building a community without having to quit  They also improve and learn from the other  to their culture, their beliefs and their  artists/mentors.  understanding of the world.  It is challenging to measure the qualitative  For both the youth and their families,  effects of the project considering that it is a  being part of a project where they realize  community based initiative and it is meant  that there are other people and families  for only a small group of youth. There is  going through similar challenges and  much to say about the way the project  through the process of learning about the  affects the youth participants and their  services and opportunities that the city of  families. The families and siblings of the  Vancouver offers is empowering.  youth are influenced by the active role that the youth start developing through the  The publishing of the comics and the  project. The youth participants become  exhibition raises awareness with other  more out spoken and engaged as well as  members of the community particularly  more interested in their new cultural  organizations and agencies that give  surroundings. The families give feedback to  services to immigrants and refugees. It is  the planning team about how enthusiastic  an excellent way to showcase the  and more confident their kids feel as the  importance and outcomes associated with  project progresses. The participants start  the provision of space for youth to get  feeling more comfortable and confident in  together, exchange stories and contribute in  their new school and new home and this  their communities in a positive way.  has a big impact in the family health. The parents feel encouraged by their kids to get involved in activities were they can share their assets and challenges with other families that go through the same process of settling in Vancouver. It builds networks with the parents of the other youth participants to realize and raise awareness that they are not the only ones that are going through the hardship of learning a language, finding a house, a job and  Other refugee and immigrant youth also benefit from the stories and experiences that the youth participants share. The comics demonstrate how there is other youth just like them that face similar challenges. The exhibition shows how by participating in a program like the Illustrated Journey, they are able to build networks, strengthen their leadership skills, self esteem and feel more included in their new home.  53  54  The published stories are printed into a  immigrants and refugees as well as funders  comic book that is given to the youth  in order to raise awareness and promote  participants, their friends, their families and  the creation of similar spaces that use art  their communities. It has also been used at  and stories to help youth integrate, share  a community exhibition at the end of each  and feel included in a new environment.  project where the youth showcase the stories that they wanted to share and talk  The stories and presentation of the project  about their experience and process through  has also been used in academic settings as  this project as well as their experience in  a practical example that speaks about the  relationship to the challenges they face as  importance of participatory and community  refugee and immigrant youth in Vancouver.  planning as well as how stories and alternative knowledge creation shape urban  The comic book has been shared with other  spaces in a more inclusive and diverse way.  organizations and agencies that work with  55  CHAPTER 5. REFLECTION ON P R O J E C T PROCESS  activities with other youth in other organizations and are also now involved in several programs and projects for youth around the city. Some of the youth participants after being involved with the Illustrated Journey were invited to join the Youth Philanthropy  5.1 Effect on community  council of Vancouver Foundation having a  and host organization  youth initiatives. Three of the youth  vote in how the funding is spent for other participants are part of a youth advisory  In the future it will be important to expand  committee to organize a youth summit  the Illustrated Journey Youth project process. This can be achieved by using the stories of the youth and the participation of former youth participants in future projects, programming and services. Allowing these youth to stay involved in the organization can help La Boussole to achieve their goals and benefit more youth. The youth participants have been involved in volunteering and working in other projects and programs related to support immigrant and refugees during their transition in Canada. Some of the youth participants performed in a multicultural arts and crafts market held at La Boussole to support immigrant and refugee women showcase their talents and find alternative livelihood strategies. The youth have also participated in facilitating comic making  56  focusing on newcomer youth experiences  Some of the most important factors  and voices.  influencing the project are the multiple perspectives, lenses, assets, awareness and  “Before I came here to Canada I did not  cross cultural understanding of the artists/  listen to other languages or met people  tutors and the organizing team.  from so many different countries, I like to learn from other cultures” Lorena del  Another influencing factor of this project is  Castillo, youth participant.  the outreach and support not only of the funding organizations but also from: Socially aware and cross culturally sensitive  The language differences have made the  teachers from schools with a high number  process richer and reflected the reality of  of immigrant and refugee students;  Vancouver youth. These differences make  Transition houses for refugee families;  the process challenging as well because  Neighborhood houses;  project facilitators have to revisit the  Churches with a high number of immigrant/  English language level of each one of the  refugee families;  participants to address their specific needs  Affiliations, friends and connections of the  and learning processes.  project organizing team members.  5.2 Factors influencing outcomes  There is flexibility to allocate the budget according to the needs of the participants and to support them with transportation,  Being a community project has very positive catalyzing elements. These include: - A sense of ownership which results in commitment, participation and shared responsibility; - Built relationships and roles which are understood as a way to be accountable to each other and as a way to achieve a common goals;- Group reflection on the individual and group strengths that could possibly expand into creating change in other ways in their families, communities and society; - An understanding of each others experiences and the sharing of differences in a safe environment to which can address isolation, low self confidence and internalized oppression.  57  food, individual mentoring and follow up  Being a small group of youth also allows  with families. The organizing team works  the opportunity to build close and solid  hard to give special attention to the youth  relationships among each other and among  participants  the rest of the  through  the  team. This allows  learning process  the stories to flow  of the comic  in a setting where  making. They also  everyone can feel  give attention to  heard, respected  the sharing of the  and  stories  and  Honoring the  address specific  stories allows for  l a n g u a g e  healing, reflection  difficulties and  and the creation  lack  of change.  of  safe.  confidence. Another element that has been very important is prioritizing the  5.3 Limiting factors  process without neglecting the  Some of the  commitment to  important limiting  the outcome.  A  factors of the  major budget  project have been  allocation is given  funding. As a  to printing of the  consequence there  comics also to the community exhibition in  are limited human and material resources  which the youth participants are able to  available. As much as it is easy to build  share their processes, their stories and  trust and close relationships in a small  celebrate.  group, this could also be possible with a  58  bigger group of participants if there was  allocates some honorarium for the comic  adequate funding and resources.  book artists to acknowledge and appreciate their work and commitment to the project  To give an example, I want to mention how  but at the same time to celebrate that there  challenging it was to recruit comic book  are artists who are socially and politically concerned and aware that would voluntarily commit to promote social justice in their communities. The Illustrated Journey not only celebrates their artistic talent but also their understanding of refugee and migrant youth challenges.  Another factor that makes this kind of project very challenging is the youth outreach. The language barriers and the isolation that they face makes it really difficult for them to find and access the  artists considering how specific and unique the comic book talent in Vancouver is. It is already difficult for comic book artists  In most cases, the immigrant and refugee  to make an income from producing their  youth that the Illustrated journey targets  comics. The Illustrated Journey project  usually live in the outskirts of Vancouver  59  because it is expensive for their families to  the rest of the youth in Vancouver is the  find housing in the city. They have other  lack of spaces to explore their creativity,  commitments to be able to help their  which makes some youth skeptical and not  parents with the family income. They do  willing to commit to some of the programs  not learn about the resources available for  and activities offered to them.  them because of their language differences.  Their parents are hesitant to let them  Another limiting factor is that this project is  commute in a city that is foreign. There is a  hosted by an organization that has as its  fear of speaking out which is often based  mandate support for only francophone  on having experienced discrimination and  immigrant and refugee youth. La Boussole  oppression. Besides, the other challenges  made possible this project not as part of  that refugees and immigrants share with  their ongoing programs and resources but  60  as an external project. The funding for this  implementation and mentoring of the  project comes from special grants that  participants but with the planning and  allowed the hiring of a group of committed  assessment of the specific needs of the  people to make it happen. This has  youth. Before the first workshop an  facilitated the inclusion of refugee and  orientation and training session was  immigrant youth from diverse nationalities  organized for the artists, volunteers and  and backgrounds. Although there is institutional support during the implementation of the project, the follow up and capacity building after the project would not be possible without the funding to do it. Most of the staff of La Boussole have their own roles and responsibilities at the o rg a n i z a t i o n  o Adopting a participatory approach is not always smooth and easy. It does address the needs and challenges that participants identify as well as enriches the process and has a bigger qualitative impact in their lives and the group and organization. Nevertheless, it can make the process slower and without an envisioning exercise each member can have a different agenda and objective that needs to be negotiated as a group.  t  h  e  r  contributing members so that the group could envision collaborative expectations, r o l e s , responsibilities and objectives. T  h  i  s  envisioning  leaving little  process and  time to be  orientation has  involved them  helped foster greater  in  commitment to the  the  development  process.  and progress  planning team  of  the  developed a sense  Illustrated  of ownership and  J o u r n e y  accountability to  project.  The  accomplish the goals and to address the changes that the project  In the process of recruiting comic book  needed to have in order to reach its overall  artists the planning team wanted the artists  objectives.  to be willing to participate not only with the  61  CHAPTER 6.  Through this project my personal  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS  goal was to make the youth feel adequate, included and heard and that we honor their stories of survival and difference. Through the process of facilitating a space  We need to shift our perspective when working with mixed racial groups to be able to understand that meaning is not fixed but it is created by dialogue, in the language used between one person and another.  to share stories and feelings of challenging experiences by drawing and expressing with art I wanted to promote a positive and accepting view of themselves, their experiences and the others. I wanted the participants to feel confident and proud of whom they are where they come from and how incredible is to be different and meet people with similar  When we share stories about who we are,  experiences and also from very different  how we feel and express our experiences  cultures and experiences.  through painting, illustration, singing,  I wanted the youth participants to see their  photography and we discuss how we feel  differences as an opportunity not as a  with a group, family, friends and community  burden or something to be ashamed of  throughout our lives we are creating a  therefore the need to assimilate. By shifting  dialogue and redefining ourselves in a  the approach of seeing immigrants and  dynamic way.  refugees as a problem or their differences as problematic we find an opportunity for  By creating this dialogue we understand and acknowledge that there is not one truth but multiple meanings and lived  learning and acknowledging how much their experience and differences contribute to redefining meaning and understanding.  experiences and the participants in the project are the experts in their own lives  To communicate across difference we need  and stories.  to understand that stereotyping, labeling and judging would put limitations to fully understand the possibilities of a person.  62  As community organizers and planners we need to avoid oppressive practices.  If we see the immigrant and refugee youth experiences of racism as an illness we perpetuate the effects but if we listen, learn and celebrate their stories of survival, adaptation and triumph we can move on to build new understandings and connections.  The learning process in this project has been on going. From a personal journey of reflecting on my own identity and belonging to reflecting on my role as a facilitator and community organizer using storytelling and art with very diverse participants. I believe in storytelling and art as an emancipating and liberating process although focusing only in the outcome and or the artistic piece or the artist/facilitator/ storyteller overshadows what the participants have to voice, and defeats the purpose of using art and storytelling for healing and as an empowering way to address the challenges faced.  Writing and sharing a story that has to do with your personal experience is a painful sometimes healing, sometimes emancipating, sometimes oppressive process. I think that the key is to listen and be aware and self reflective of your own biases and privilege.  I believe in youth as resources, youth as thoughtful and active participants in community change. We need to move forward from thinking of youth as a problem and imposing our beliefs, but we need to open spaces for immigrant and  63  refugee youth to meaningfully engage in  I would also like to highlight the importance  the cultural, social and political life of their  of reflection on the impact of non profit  communities.  organizations in community development, social transformation and political change.  I am really hopeful about the possibilities of  Thinking of civil society efforts through non  building spaces of unity within diversity by  profit organizations as apolitical will not let  being an observer and participant of the  us analyze and identify the power  process of making art, using symbolic  relationships and the structural problems of  expression and metaphors for sharing  inequalities and poverty. We should reflect  sometimes painful or challenging  and negotiate “development” within all the  experiences. The youth participants found  stakeholders in a community project. We  deep connections among differences as well  need to be aware of the context, culture  and the differences were not a source of  and relationships.  misunderstanding but of self reflection, learning empowerment and transformation.  “don’t say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You’ve heard it now.” The truth about stories. A Native Narrative. Thomas King. 2003  64  65  REFERENCES Allman, D; Myers, T. & Cockerill. (1997). Concepts, Definitions and Models for CommunityBased HIV Prevention Research in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto - Cooke, B & Kothari, U. (2002). London: Zed. Participation: The new tyranny? Dorman Afr Aff (Lond); 101: 132-134 - Fisher, W. (1997) Doing Good? The Politics and Antipolitics of NGO Practices Annual Review of Anthropology v26 p439-64 - Freire, Paolo (1970) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Seabury Continuum 1970 ISBN13 - Freire, Paolo (1974) Education for Critical Consciousness, Crossroad Publishing Company ISBN-13 - LeBaron, M. 2003. Bridging Cultural Conflict (San Francisco: Jossey Bass) - John Forester. 1999. The Deliberative Practitioner (Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press) - Marisol, E; with Blauert, J, Campilan, D, Gaventa, J, Gonsalves, J, Guijt, I, Johnson, D, & Ricafort, R. eds (2000) Learning from Change: Issues and Experiences in Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation. Ottawa: IDRC/ITP - “Monitoring Impact” in IFAD, ANGOC, IRRR, Enhancing Ownership and Sustainability: A Resource Book on Participation (Philippines, India: IFAD, ANGOC, IRRR), pp. 207-264 - Reitsma-Street, M. and L. Brown. (2004). Community Action Research. In W. Carroll (Ed.), Critical Strategies for Social Research (303-319). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc. - Sandercock, L. 2003 Cosmopolis 2: Mongrel Cities of the 21st Century (London/New York: Continuum) - Wallerstein, N. & Duran, B. (2003). The Conceptual, Historical, and Practice Roots of Community Based Participatory Research and Related Participatory Traditions. In Meredith Minkler and Nina Wallerstein, (eds.), Community-Based Participatory Research for Health. (37-52) San Francisco: Jossey Bass. - Hudson M. Art therapy, Narrative therapy, and the Comic format: An investigation of a triadic synthesis. ; 2008.  66  - Mulholland MJ. Comics as art therapy. Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Therapy Assoc. 2004. - Saurabh Singh. Art therapy: Characters in this graphic novel find solace in the art of storytelling. India Today. 2009. - Atlas M. Experiencing displacement: Using art therapy to address xenophobia in south africa. Development. 2009;52:531-536.  - Kaplan F, ebrary I. Art Therapy and Social Action. Philadelphia: J. Kingsley; 2007. - Campbell J. Art Therapy, Race, and Culture. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers; 1999  67  APPENDICES Appendix 1 Certificate of Ethics Approval  68  Appendix 2 List of youth participants  Name  Age  Gender  Country of Origin  Pauline Ksor  16  Female  Vietnam  Po Rahlan  17  Female  Vietnam  Amanda Ksor  15  Female  Vietnam  Chen Ksor  17  Female  Vietnam  Shane Rahlan  17  Male  Vietnam  Lya Rochom  13  Female  Vietnam  Romah Lich  15  Female  Vietnam  Jem Rolan  16  Male  Vietnam  Luis Sanchez  16  Male  Mexico  Pablo Munoz  18  Male  Colombia  Lorena del Castillo  13  Female  Mexico  Darcey Irakoze  11  Male  Burundi  Sephora Musaka  14  Female  Congo  Fielithe Ahishoye  14  Female  Burundi  David Ksor  19  Male  Vietnam  Belinda Musaka  15  Female  Congo  Dergie Nkondi  18  Female  Congo  Suliman Aimaq  12  Male  Afghanistan  Prakash Kattel  14  Male  Nepal  Pear Junpuang  18  Female  Thailand  Oralia de Castillo  13  Female  Mexico  Deo Kumar Diyali  13  Male  Nepal  Jordan Mlandvo  13  Male  Swaziland  69  


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