Speaking Up: Perspectives of Covid19

(Ages 15-25)

Come Develop Your Voice Through Spoken Word – Honorarium Provided!

Do you have a story around vaccine confidence in your community? Are you a youth artist between the ages of 15 and 25 living in the York-South Weston community? Are you interested in Spoken Word? Then come join us to speak to your story!

Over the course of six sessions, 10 youth ages 15-25 will meet weekly for 75 minutes to explore the practice of writing spoken word pieces led by a professional artist-educator. In the first 4 weeks youth will meet over zoom to take stories from their community regarding vaccine confidence and turn them into spoken word pieces and in the final two weeks, these pieces will be filmed in person, based on current public health guidelines. Speak Up aims to create a space where youth can express the needs of their communities, while exploring the art form of spoken word. The videos created will be shared with the youth’s permission as part of the City of Toronto’s Vaccine Youth Engagement Strategy.

Youth who attend a minimum of 5 out of 6 sessions for this program will also receive an honorarium of $300 at the end of the program. As spots are limited, please do not sign up unless you can commit to a minimum of 5 sessions. All registrants will also be reuiqred to provide proof of address after registration.

When: Tuesdays Oct 26 – Nov 30

Time: 4pm – 5:15pm

Where: Zoom (link provided after registration)

Cost: Free! (Honorarium Provided)

Week 1  – Welcome and Intro to Literary Devices

Week 2 – History of Spoken Word and Intro to Poetic Forms

Week 3 – Exploring the Pandemic and How it Influences Your Writing

Week 4 – Brainstorming Filming and Further Clarification on Writing

Week 5 – TBD

Week 6 – Final Presentation/Reading of Poems/Debut of Videos and Reflections

Introducing your teacher!

Desiree Mckenzie (she/her)

Desiree is an award-winning poet, arts educator, national poetry slam champion, and photographer from Toronto. Her poetry has been featured in CBC’s Poetic License series, VIBE Arts NExT Exhibit, When Sisters Speak, and Clearco Financial’s International Women’s Day Campaign. In 2020, she was awarded the JAYU iAM Arts for Human Rights Award recognizing creatives doing exceptional work where the arts and human rights intersect. As a facilitator, she works with organizations like Unity Charity, JAYU, Poetry In Voice, and VIBE Arts, bringing poetry into classrooms and community spaces across the country. In March 2021, she released her EP, Wet Hair, now available on streaming platforms.