Speak Up Arts Program
Throughout 2015-16, we worked with Lakehead University’s School of Social Work and Lakehead Public Schools to develop a pilot project to improve attendance through alternative engagement and skill-building at Churchill School. It turned out that the girls who participated looked forward to coming to the group, and their levels of engagement increased on days the program would run. Building on that momentum, CAHEP secured funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation and, in the fall of 2016, a brand new CAHEP initiative, the Speak Up Arts Program, was launched at the Churchill Hub.
Today, Speak Up is a weekly program that brings empowering art projects to a group of under-represented* grade 7/8 girls** at Sherbrooke School.
Workshops are led by professional artists and actively shaped by the group. They help to choose the projects they engage in, document their creative processes, and ultimately define what leadership means to them. By creating a space informed by their ideas, strengths, and interests, art can help to nurture stronger peer supports, foster more positive connections with the school system, encourage self-expression, and support skill-building in creative ways.
In its pilot in 2015, the program brought artist-led workshops that included: hip hop dance, graffiti arts, beadwork, digital photography, stop-motion animation, and visual arts.
*When we say under-represented, we mean individuals who may not typically have access to the arts, and whose stories and ideas are not always considered.
**CAHEP acknowledges that gender is a non-binary spectrum. This program is open to cisgender girls as well as trans(gender), non-binary, and two-spirit youth.
This program is generously supported by the Canadian Women’s Foundation Girls Fund