Over the course of eight weeks, eight individuals of varying ages with lived experience of mental health worked closely with digital artists Jennifer LaFontaine and Emmy Pantin to create their own personal narrative in the form of a digital story. The project began with an open discussion between the artists and participants to identify various concepts and themes that relate to their experiences as a person with lived experience, such as institutional experiences, issues with the police, language, empowerment, and shared experiences. Through scriptwriting, storyboarding and personal exploration, participants worked with the artists to record their personal story.
In partnership, Centre and the Mental Health Rights Coalition (MHRC) initiated the “My Voice, My Say!” project which linked media artists with persons with lived experiences of mental health in a collaborative experience, creating a digital storytelling video and interactive exhibition. Over the course of eight weeks, ten individuals living with mental health issues of varying ages will work with digital artists Jennifer LaFontaine and Emmy Pantin to create their own personal narrative in the form of a digital story. The project will begin with an open discussion between the artists and participants to identify various concepts and themes that relate to their experiences as a person living with mental illness such as institutional experiences, issues with the police, language, empowerment, and shared experiences. In upcoming workshops, participants will work with the artists to record their personal story. Following this, participants will work with the artists to craft a script that will be used in their digital story. The next step is for participants to gather photos, video clips, art, and sound to be used in the video. The final step in the project is video editing, where participants will have to opportunity to learn editing and sound work and realize the creation of their 2-5 minute digital story.
Once the stories are complete, Centre will present an interactive exhibition of “My Voice, My Say!” using sensor technology to engage the public with the digital stories. The set-up of the exhibition will provide participants with another opportunity to learn contemporary artistic practices. After the exhibition has completed its run at Centre, it is our intention to focus on the dissemination of the project to encourage others across the country to participate in contemporary arts, create dialogue, and challenge predominant stereotypes and stigmas associated with mental illness.
“My Voice, May Say!” will merge the sectors of art and mental health, empowering artists and individuals living with mental health issues to share their stories with the community and take an active role in changing predominant notions associated with mental health in Hamilton. This project will enrich the lives of individuals living with mental illness and the City of Hamilton as a whole.
My Voice My Say is generously supported by:
Other Community Art Projects:
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