Community Arts

Direct Message

Access to Engagement of the Arts

Direct[Message] is a community-centered digital arts and research project that aims to develop a digital system that will provide access to and engagement with the arts for older/aging adults in Hamilton, Guelph, and London.

Direct[Message]: Access to Engagement of the Arts

Direct[Message] is a three-year, multi-phase community arts/digital strategy project that is exploring and developing new digital models to improve and transform the older/aging community’s access to and engagement with the arts; including developing a digital prototype that is adaptable to support the inclusion of members of the older/aging community living with disabilities, such as loss of memory, hearing, sight, and mobility. By using community-arts and evidence-based research methods, our goals are: to create and iteratively test and evaluate a digital prototype that provides interactive moments and experiences for the older/aging populations within Hamilton, Guelph and London. Our hope is to create an open-source digital prototype, that is low cost and sustainable, that will ultimately promote intergenerational inclusivity, address social isolation, and promote artistic/creative engagement.

Visit our Direct Message website here to learn more about the collboration.

Our Approach


workshop-style interviews to learn about older adults’ needs, desires, and barriers to accessing the arts in Hamilton, Guelph, and London.

Prototype Development

Co-designing and testing easy-to-use physical device and digital applications taht would make it simple for older adults with different abilities to access artistic programs;

Online Engagement

Co-curating Direct[Message] Community, an online community space for intergenerational interaction, with a focus on arts, culture, creativity and daily living


Direct[Message] focuses on intergenerational collaboration, reciprocal learning and knowledge exchange. The Direct[Message] team is  a collaborative and interdisciplinary collective of artists, academics,  and community members from McMaster University, Vibrafusion Lab in London, Cinematronics in Hamilton, and a storytelling hub at the University of Guelph called Re•Vision: The Centre for Art & Social Justice. 


We gratefully acknowledge the support from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund

Physically distanced Zoom interviews with the project’s Community Consultants: Maggie Perquin (top left), Kathy Smith (top right), Richard Claus (middle left), Rana El Kadi (middle right), Suad Badri (bottom left), and Wilamina McGrimmond (bottom right)