In partnership, Centre, Art Forms (youth art collective) and Good Shepherd Notre Dame house (youth shelter and resource centre) initiated the On The Record project, which linked media artists with youth with lived experiences of mental health in a collaborative experience, creating a digital storytelling video, and interactive exhibition.
Over the course of eight weeks, eight youth aged fifteen to eighteen, with lived experience of mental health worked with digital artists Jennifer LaFontaine and Emmy Pantin to create their own personal narrative in the form of a digital story. Sharing their own exceptional history of growth, resilience, and finding independence whilst battling mental illnesses.
The project began with an open discussion between the artists and participants to identify various concepts and themes that relate to their unique experiences as a young person living with mental illness such as institutional experiences (school and hospital), homelessness, joblessness, issues with the police, language, empowerment, and shared experiences. In the workshops, participants worked with the artists to record and tell their personal story. Following this, participants worked with the artists to craft a script that will be used in their digital story. The next step was for participants to gather photos, video clips, art, and sound to be used in the video. The final step in the project was video editing, where participants had the opportunity to learn editing and sound work and realize the creation of their 2-5 minute digital story.
Once the stories were complete, Centre presented an interactive exhibition of On The Record titled Mentalmorphosis at Artforms using sensor technology to engage the public with the digital stories at the Art Forms’ studio/gallery. The set-up of the exhibition provided participants with another opportunity to learn contemporary artistic practices.
On The Record merged the sectors of contemporary media arts and mental health, empowering artists and youth with lived experience of mental health to share their stories with the community and take an active role in changing predominant notions associated with mental health in Hamilton. This project enriched the lives of individuals living with mental illness and the City of Hamilton as a whole.
On The Record is generously supported by: