Hello! This page is focused on my creative arts facilitation work, but I’m pleased to offer a much wider range of professional somatic coaching, consulting, facilitation, and conflict resolution services. For full details, please visit my business website: ariseembodiment.org
“you are mutant, machine, assemblage, cyborg, a mashup, mistake, so much more than Grand Design. Embrace the minotaur, the mermaid, all things half-wise and part-way. Always keep adding to your misfit parts. Release the natural, the normal, the stagnant, the stuck. There is something unbridled and beautiful about becoming a beast.” – Kai Cheng, “escaping eden”
I am a cultural worker, facilitator, and pleasure activist. I’ve been working in queer, trans, and activist communities for over decade in both formal and informal roles. Like many marginalized individuals, I have found that this work is at once necessary, empowering, frightening, frustrating, and essential. Over time, I have incorporated skills grown from crisis intervention, trauma-informed activism, community mental health practice, and somatics in order to develop a facilitation style that is gentle, boundaried, accessible, and fiercely compassionate. I believe deeply in the capacity of all individuals and communities to find that creative spark that hold the potential to grow into a blaze of transformation and beauty.
Some of my past projects as a community facilitator include the radical mental health education project Monster Academy Montreal, a therapeutic creative writing group for transfeminine youth called Trans Fems Are Brilliant! (TFAB!), and a collaborative weekend intensive on unwinding call-out culture in activist communities. I’ve worked with every age range from preteens to elders and everyone in between.
These days, I am most interested in facilitation projects that are aimed at strengthening individuals and communities’ ability to engage in sustainable change work. I’d really love to spend time working with you and your organization to craft deeper and more transformative experiences. I am currently available to do workshops and teaching on the following themes:
- Spoken word and oral storytelling with a focus on political self-expression
- Written poetry and prose – developing well-rounded, diverse characters and storylines
- Creative arts facilitation for activism and social change
- Reclaiming creative voices in the face of oppression
Below are some example outlines of workshops I provide. I am also able to create tailored workshops specifically for your organization or community group! Please inquire within.
GIVING BIRTH TO YOURSELF: Revolutionary Storytelling Workshop for Indigenous, Black, and Racialized Artists
As racialized, Indigenous, and mixed-race folk, we very often come into the world with a story of what we are not: white, whole, beautiful, enough. This story is the soul of colonization: it drains us of the will to struggle, of the confidence to name ourselves and our ancestors, the vision to see each other and act in solidarity. The colonizer’s story is thus an anti-story, an unstory; it erases and diminishes our bodies and rips away our languages. The colonizer’s story surrounds and suffocates us, blocking out life and light. But the most powerful stories are born in the dark. Participants will experiment with the use of story tools, including meditation, visualization, play, story-listening, and group creation. Poets, writers, rappers, spoken word artists, slam poets, storytellers of all kinds and at all stages welcome!
CREATIVITY FOR CHANGE: Creative Arts Facilitation for Activists and Educators
Political activism and education are often seen as emotionally heavy, grueling work. Too many workshops and events involve long periods of didactic instruction, inaccessible academic theory, and an exhausting atmosphere of “seriousness.” But activists such as Paulo Freire and Emma Goldman remind us: sustainable activism must also include creativity and joy! This workshop is an experiential demonstration of expressive arts facilitation techniques, forum theatre, and other creative methods that can be used as teaching tools and political tactics. We will also explore some elements of group psychology and somatics in order to ground our practice in a strong foundation of interpersonal knowledge.
SPITTIN’ MAD: Spoken Word Poetry and Radical Resistance
An explosive performance art medium with historic roots in communities of colour and resistance, spoken word is the rebel love child of the page and the stage. Spanning such diverse forms as rap, slam, monologue, and choreopoem, spoken word is poetry that sings across barriers, seeks connection between people, and tells truths that are too often ignored. This workshop examines the revolutionary work of poets and writers such as Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, d’bi young anitafrika, and Ntozake Shange, and provides participants with writing and performance exercises designed to increase self-knowledge, confidence, and writing technique. We will explore issues of accessibility, representation, and safety onstage. Active participation is encouraged – attendees are encouraged to bring their writing, experiment, and push their comfort zones, but personal limits will always be respected.