Stories of Impact: Talia Stories of Impact: Talia

IICSI’s Stories of Impact are a series exploring IICSI’s research and the wide-ranging impacts on participants of engagement with improvisation. The production of the videos is supported by funds received for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Award for Partnerships, received in 2016 by Institute Director Ajay Heble, on behalf of the Institute’s many researchers and partners.

“Stories of Impact: Talia”

Talia Baskin Kesselman was a participant in the Play Who You Are Workshops from 2008-2013. Her Story of Impact video was made by Erin MacIndoe Sproule. Erin MacIndoe Sproule is a documentary filmmaker based in Guelph, Ontario.She is the Creative Director of Anthroscope Media, an independent documentary production company that explores the human experience through film.Stories of Impact is the second project Erin has worked on with Talia, having created a short documentary in 2016 that profiled J.O.E. Coffee at the Guelph Public Library, where Talia works.Erin would like to thank Talia, her parents Amy + Jack, and The OK Chorale-ers for their participation in this project.She would also like to thank IICSI for directing resources towards telling these kinds of stories and allowing for space to listen to voices that may not always be heard.Erin has a BA in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University and a Masters in Fine Art Photography from the Instituto Europeo di Design in Madrid, Spain.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of KidsAbility and IICSI’s partnership, filmmaker Erin MacIndoe Sproule created this short film exploring the impact of this program on Talia, a participant of Play Who You Are over many years.

Play Who You Are

Play Who You Are seeks to bring world-class improvising musicians into creative collaboration with youth with special needs. Musician-facilitators work to develop the youth’s musical skills, confidence, and repertoires. The workshops culminate in a free, public, performance during the Guelph Jazz Festival.

If people talked the way they [play] in improvisation, then I think the world would be a lot nicer. – PWYA Youth Participant

This longstanding, community-engaged, arts-based research collaboration has explored a range of topics including teaching practices for community improvisation, and improvisation across levels of ability. For example, see “Say Who You Are, Play Who You Are,” a collaboratively authored paper. This has been a cornerstone partnership at IICSI’s Guelph site, and has involved countless musicians, students, researchers, support persons, and youth with special needs. Research has shown that youth develop self-confidence and self-expression from their participation in the PWYA workshops. Youth are able to take risks in a safe environment, and describe satisfaction at tackling new challenges and meeting their goals. The workshops disrupt conventional notions of dis/ability and deepen community cohesion and understanding.

The IICSI launched two video Stories of Impact featuring Play Who You Are partnership alumni, Talia and Katy, on Friday, September 15th, 2017, as part of the 2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, “Partnering for Change: Learning Outwards from Jazz and Improvisation.”

The final day of the 2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium was mainly devoted to reflecting on and celebrating Play Who You Are (PWYA), a ten-year partnership between IICSI, KidsAbility Centre for Child Development, the Guelph Jazz Festival, and Rainbow Day Camp. The Stories of Impact were screened in front of the Colloquium audience, which included parents, families, youth, and staff from KidsAbility. Both Talia and Katy were in attendance.



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