I Feel You 2021!
Download a pdf of the outcomes doc here - or read on...
1. Integration and understanding.
Just as the project meshes together the fibres of wool, it meshes together the lives of the peoples involved. It crosses cultural, economic and social barriers through the sharing of abilities, experiences and stories. It is design through collaborative making and appreciation of art, music, dance, food, storytelling etc.
2. Mental Wellness.
The flow of hands-on experience with natural materials. Learning a skill alongside others. The pride of creating. The opportunity to guide others. The communal nature of dancing together. The communal process of making with others. These are now noted by a current pilot project through Ontario Health Ministry as a prescribable methods of treatment for people suffering from anxiety, depression, stress...
Check out these two articles from the CBC speaking to the direct affect social prescribing had on a newly landed immigrant - and from Quorum which speaks to how social prescribing works and how it fits the needs of patients, the public and health care.
3. You are capable of making beautiful, functional, sustainable objects!
I FEEL YOU 2020 is a reminder to all that even though much of what we see in design around us is a mechanized process of "beat, heat and treat", it is possible for us, individually and collectively, to make functional and beautiful articles by combining natural, sustainable materials and our minds, our bodies, our experience and our optimism. Participants will walk away having learned a skill, but it is also possible that they will walk away with a desire to do more making!
4. Future possibilities.
Speaking of optimism and sustainability. Through education and sharing, the project provides possibilities to newly landed refugees. Possibilities beyond the communal exploration that welcomes and involves them, beyond providing mental wellness through connection, productive artistic expression and - yes, optimism for this country/city where they have invested their futures.
Taking as inspiration The Newcomer Kitchen initiative, a similar process could be explored and undertaken by newcomers to create a cottage industry that makes and markets handmade articles made from felt and silk (tea cozies, cooler packs, hats, shawls etc..)