one week after!

It’s been almost a week since the Our Footprint Final celebration, and what a celebration! I am still radiating from the sights and sounds and laughs…and that cake! Over the last months, the five of us have embarked upon our components of the project in relative isolation– so it was a wonderful surprise to see the collection of all our engagements and research in one room.

Walking into the auditorium, you first caught wind of….well, wind! and many other sounds of the Renfrew area, collected by various community groups and members on walking tours with Laura.

In the corner, people were busy joining Juliana and the Tree Mossketeers with moss tile-making, which sent them home with their own piece of moss art.

On the far end, the stage was lined with toy puppet theatres, made by Grade 6/7 students at Nookta School that Maggie worked with. Video footage of puppet shows the students put on played throughout the afternoon, and we even got to see a live puppet show at the end of the celebration.

On top of our giant blue/green tape Renfrew map, dance performances were presented by brave movers of all ages, to a very appreciative crowd. Having gotten to know these performers over the last months, I was thrilled to see them share their hard work with family and friends.

In an adjacent room, Flick set up the “media room” with a slideshow of all our processes throughout this Residency and the many people that we’ve been lucky to connect with and learn from. On the opposite wall was a projected demo video of what the interactive digital map will look like when we launch the site!

With cake, cookies and coffee in hand, it seemed like everyone had a good time.

Thank you to David from the Renfrew Board for being our guest speaker! A big thank you also to Cheryl and all Renfrew staff who made the day possible and who have been incredibly helpful throughout our Residency. I also wanted to personally thank Lindsey Shaw and Andrew Hawryshkewich, as their support allowed my engagement with the Creative Movement 3-5 class to be the magical experience it was.

I only managed to capture a couple of images from the day, and the clean up afterwards. Enjoy!


Our Footprint Final Celebration today!

In just a handful of hours, Something Collective’s final celebration to conclude the “Our Footprint” community mapping project will be under way!

We were in there yesterday ferociously setting up. Here’s a sneak preview before the real deal! Come join us as we discover the sights, sounds, movement patterns and play spaces that make Renfrew the community that it is!

The event is free so please do drop by and say hello! It will be taking place from 1pm- 3 30pm, with dance and puppetry performances throughout the afternoon, soundscape tours, moss graffiti tile-making, CAKE and much more! Refreshments will be served.

We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

~Something Collective



Firehall 15 Brings Out All the Bells and Whistles!


Yesterday, seven students from Renfrew’s youth volunteer core and I were treated to a symphony of sounds at Firehall 15, which stands just next door to the community centre.  This beautiful heritage building is Vancouver’s second oldest fire station, built in 1912.

When the community identified the fire station as a location that would have undeniably interesting sounds to record, I approached the chief about coming for a visit.  To our great surprise, the firefighters on duty not only played a bell or two for our pleasure.  They pulled out all the stops.  It was 5 pm, the daily shift change, so they had to test all of their vehicles and their functions.  As a result, we were able to record a 40-minute composition that included everything from alarms, engines, hoses, and hydraulic ladders, to air masks, chain saws, and even a dispatch call.  The students and I loved our experience and a medley of sounds from the experience are below.  Thanks so much to the whole staff at Firehall 15!!

32 firealarms  firetruck1 firetruck3  firetruck5  33 chainsaw

And after our trip to the station, these budding student recording engineers worked on editing the sounds for our soundscape presentation at Saturday’s Our Footprint Final Celebration.


Play spaces interactive map

Hello Renfrew Community,

The interactive map is in the lobby at  Renfrew CC.

Please do take a moment to write on a sticky note what your favorite places to play in the neighborhood are.

“Play” is a word that can be interpreted in many ways. So, I look forward to your responses!

Thank you

Maggie Winston (puppet theatre artist)

Rangoli Leaf Art & Pizza Pies!

On October 3rd, Something Collective joined the Renfrew community in their vibrant Diwali Festival celebrations. Together, with adults and children we facilitated the creation of a unique Rangoli, made from autumn leaves, in the spirit of the season. This art piece represents the four main components of Our Footprint ‘s community map, which we have been developing with Renfrew neighbors since August. Each component started with a basic question that is represented by one of the four symbols on the design above. (IE. a green leaf for “What do you want to see grow in your community?”; a yellow wave for “What are the sounds that make the music of your neighborhood?”‘ a red ball for “What are your favorite play spaces in the neighborhood?” and an orange swirl for “What are your routes or movements patterns in your neighborhood?)

Funnily, as many community members noted how much our creation resembled a pizza, Something Collective decided to cook up a sample one after the event and it was certainly great nourishment for our last project planning session.  Our Footprint’s Final Celebration will take place this Saturday, November 17th, from 1-3:30, and we hope to see you there!

Laura, Maggie, Flick, Natalie and Juliana

Gearing up for the show!

The week has  been a busy one for all Something Collective members as we ramp up to the final celebration of Our Footprint– this Saturday, November 17th. The afternoon promises to be filled with surprises so we hope the neighbourhood will join us!

I spent most of the day editing voice recordings of Barrett, Forest, Jo, Alina, Serena, and Brandon– the creative movers I’ve been playing with on Fridays with instructor Lindsey Shaw. They are an incredible bunch–lively, articulate, energetic and bursting with enthusiasm and love of…running! Just listening to their stories made me swell with excitement for Saturday. I will be seeing them one last time this coming Friday, where we’ll size costumes and do a rehearsal run-through for anyone around, so to warm the dancers up to an audience. Come by and join us if you’ll be at Renfrew this Friday at 1:30pm!

Today was also one of my last rehearsals with the Tian Jin Girls. Today, a bit different than usual, we began with some contemporary dance technique, looking at roll-downs, double-bounces, drop-swings, isolations and ways to locomote while staying low to the ground. We finally completed the dance and it is quite a masterpiece, inspired by their movement pathways through the neighbourhood and what they do and experience at the Tian Jin Temple. There’s a lot of movement, and the ladies have decided to run one more rehearsal Saturday morning to make sure the choreography is in their bodies.

Classical Chinese Dance senior, Heidi and I were talking today about the role of dance in our society and she mentioned (speaking of dancers at her level), “We only know how to copy!” thereby making dance improvisation a very scary thing. And I totally agree! Not to mention, if you’re asked to perform it! Over the last weeks, I’ve thrown handfuls of different improvisation-based challenges at Heidi, Tiffany and Joyce and they have been nothing but brave and willing. Our Footprint has really allowed me to reflect on what is the process behind contemporary dance and how can it be shared in a way that is enriching, empowering and socially-relevant for trained dancers and non-trained dancers alike.

Check out the collage of our most recent adventures below!


Moss Graffiti Mural at Renfrew Community Centre

Our Footrpint_Big Mural-47

As a result of my community engagement during the month of August and September at Renfrew Community Centre, I had the chance to install the final moss graffiti mural that represents my component of the artist residency part of Our Footprint mapping project.

These mural proposal was generated after having a participatory process with community members at the lobby of the Renfrew Community Centre. Participants were invited to identify or “map” what they would like to see grow in their community, including different cultural, social and environmental issues present in their neighbourhood. We also had different photo shoot sessions where participants intended to illustrate these issues with their portraits to visually develop the proposal for this moss graffiti mural project. Other community members made sketches that also informed this final proposal.

All the information I gathered, including portraits of different community members, sketches and the comments they placed on the map where rendered to produce the moss graffiti mural piece that currently lives (literally) on the north facing wall of the centre that faces the ravine.

Community members that regularly transit this area are invited to be the stewards and care takers of this green living mural that lives in their community centre. There are spray bottles placed along the murals inviting people to “take action” and spray the wall to keep the moss alive.

This mural project was unveiled during the Moon Festival celebration on September 29 2012 and community members had the chance to interact with (or spray with water) the different pieces along the big wall of the Renfrew CC and the Vancouver Public Library.

Thanks to volunteers Cassandra Ly, Annie Liang and Brendan Chan for their support in the recollection of “urban” moss and help in the installation of these moss murals at the VPL and Renfrew CC.



Finding new paths, new pathways

I’ve been having a fantastic time working with different groups and community members for my component of Our Footprint. Throughout October and into November, I’ve been spending time getting to know the Classical Chinese Dance seniors, a group of eager teenage dance enthusiasts who call themselves the “Tian Jin girls”, Lindsey Shaw’s Creative Movement kids (ages 4-6), and VCN Computer Lab attendant Heather Spence.

The process for each of these projects have included spinal warm-ups, group/partner-centering exercises, movement improvisation, and much more. Along the way, movers have been given the chance to make choreographic choices, using space and time to sculpt their own dance.

I had a very exciting session with Heather today, and while I can’t give away all the secrets, we’re working a site-specific chair dance that is inspired by her work week! Heather and I will be back at it tomorrow, exploring how we can capture certain energetic states (alert, lazy) in physicality and choreography.

I came back not too long ago from working with the Tian Jin girls at the Tian Jin Temple right off of Boundary, five minutes away from Renfrew Community Centre. Although we’ve got a different batch of ladies each week, it isn’t stopping the regular attendants from solidifying what looks to be a really stunning performance to the beat of a drum.

Can’t wait to come back with more updates!



Toy Theatre Making Continued! At Nootka School with Maggie Winston

The students jump right in with making their 2-d drawings into 3-d realities. When I arrive at Nootka School there is a team of eager students lined up ready to help me unload the piles and piles and piles of materials that I have brought for them to use for their Toy Theatres. I have brought with me, cardboard, cans, fabric, foam, plasticine, toothpicks, skewers, wire, tape, hot glue (lots of it), cutters, styrofoam balls, plastic flowers, sparkly things, and much more!! It’s a crazy amount of materials, that the students delve into with much enthusiasm, and sometimes bewilderment. I scoot my way around the classroom as the students work on their projects, making suggestions for materials or methods they could use to make their visions come to life. The students socialize and problem solve while they work and I can get a sense of trust and comraderie developing amongst them. I can also see that they are become very attached to their projects and want to see them come out beautifully. They tell me, “Be very careful with mine!” as I stuff it into the back seat of my car, “It’s very delicate”.

I also gave them the task of drawing each other as stick puppets. They drew their front sides and backsides onto paper plates so that it would be the right thickness for a stick puppet. The task was a challenge to their sketching skills, and it also put a lot of trust in each other to make nice and respectful drawings of each other. I watched as the students scrutinized each others faces and qualities, trying to draw each other accurately. And much laughter was had around looking at how another person interprets a face one way or the other.

Tomorrow we will complete the Toy Theatres and start to develop stories to be filmed on the last two sessions.

Our Footprint on Shaw’s Go! Vancouver


Go! Vancouver was at Renfrew’s Diwali celebration, shooting all the eating, dancing and music.

They interviewed Maggie for their segment – and it should be on the air Tuesday at 5pm on Shaw!