Rian and Mignon were interviewed for a feature in the Ottawa Citizen that focused on innovation happening here in Ottawa. The article highlights the goals of helping members with expression and exploration through doing and real connection.
It was another great opportunity to speak about theSpace and its crucial role of enabling community and real agency and at the same time example of a framework that can be used to serve various communities as a means to combat isolation and help individuals unlock their potentials.
Rian was invited to speak at the Department of National Defence as part of their event entitled “Nothing Without Us” which aimed to highlight accessibility in the Public Service of Canada. It was held on National Disability Day – December 3rd,2019.
The presentation focused on the role of creative projects, his role as a mentor/facilitator and adhering to a relational approach. It was a honour to present how theSpace offers an inclusive environment that promotes the values of each individuals and provide some examples of members work and success.
theSpace had it's 3rd Annual Winter Vernissage. The most recent show was a massive success as members presented their latest work and even more community joined us to celebrate and take in the large variety of work on display.
Our winter art showcase remains a great opportunity for friends, family and local community partners to see firsthand some of the work that came about during our many workshops. It was a pleasure to have our local councilor Rawlson King join us as well.
Visual artwork continues to be one of the main vehicles for which members tell their stories, share their interests and build on their existing skills and talents.
This years work included traditional illustrations such as portraits and landscapes along with an even wider use of computers, equipment and programs as part of the creative process. Members both new and old continue to adapt and incorporate new ways of doing as digital tools become staples in their artistic pursuits and methods.
Once again it was a another wonderful oppurtinity to highlight what theSpace is all about and how it serves as a unique hub here in Ottawa. We are excited for the next show as well as other events to promote the amazing artists who use theSpace.
theSpace is thrilled to be included in 2018’s TVO documentary contest. The film was created by a group of Carleton Students. Please check out the amazing films that highlight some very important issues.
Thanks to Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication for allowing several of your wonderful and passionate students visit theSpace back in February and film a snapshot of what goes on day-to-day while also highlighting some of our amazing members.
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It's been an honour to have Rian Alston recognized for his work at theSpace as our Creative Director along with many other amazing individuals from around Ottawa. It's been a joy discovering and celebrating all the great work being done in our community.
His hard work and dedication at theSpace has insured that dozens of our adult members can laugh, learn and create in new ways each day. theSpace thrives by allowing individuals such as Rian to help our members break down barriers to learning and connecting by following a dynamic and relational approach that values experience and the understanding that everyone learns differently and their passion is key to sparking a life-long desire to learn and create.
The mentoring and facilitating role Rian has assumed over the past year has been vital to our team and personifies what makes theSpace unique and successful.
We've found a storefront that is central and accessible for our core members to easily attend. After much preparation, set up and coordination we are excited to host workshops and events that will help us meet our vision.
Thanks to the overwhelming support of so many we are ready to help each adult individual find new ways for self-development as well as self-advocacy and promote life long-learning.
With the support of everyone here in Ottawa as well as all across North America we not only reached our initial goal but raised over $30,000 in two months! Together, with everyone's support, we did it!
Our small team, as well as parents, academics, and community partners understood Ottawa needed something like theSpace. We are honoured to put into practice our philosophy and understanding of a community center that aims to meet the needs of many adults here in Ottawa.
theSpace will steward conditions to support the development of a welcoming community a safe third place of belonging.
Showing and Growing - theSpace is finding its voice!
The first Winter Exhibit hosted by theSpace on Friday, November 17th, was a great success!
People of all age groups attended and all of them were genuinely impressed by the quality of the work---in fact about three-quarters of the work on display was sold.
Equally important, however, was the chance for people to see theSpace and begin to understand just how innovative it is as a social enterprise.
What we’ve really come to realize, since our inception, is that theSpace offers the means for our members to engage in an apprenticeship for creative self-employment. What is profoundly important to this process is the awakening and nurturing of the unique, creative curiosity and interest of each member.
In other words, we are simultaneously helping individuals to foster an intrinsic motivation for lifelong learning, and self-development. When any individual finds their creative potential, this is a form of finding voice. When we find ways to have our voice valued, we model a basic form of self-advocacy.
We have also come to understand, ultimately,that the myth of the isolated creator, working alone, is just that. For all creators depend on a creative commons --one which educates their imagination to a sense of what’s possible. Also, all creators depend on a community of other creators, for inspiration, for feedback, for learning, for challenge. Think of the Group of Seven, or writer’s workshops or all the coffee houses and other social places where creatives have always met for conversation and interaction--these social spaces have always been vital elements for any creator or creative process.
And so we have come to realize that all creators need some form of generative community---which theSpace also nurtures, through it’s platform of group collaboration---and while working on individual pieces or projects.This in addition to organically blending social opportunities like Games nights, birthday and seasonal celebrations, or hanging out'---all driven by members.
Our most recent insight is that the emphasis on helping our members to find their ‘creative voice’, also models the process of developing their voice for self-advocacy---while preparing individuals for greater autonomy through trusted interdependence. Having a supportive community is essential for building confidence and trust!
For most of our members, the emphasis, throughout their schooling, has been on developing basic skills and 'attitude' suitable to conformity and finding some form of generally basic employment. While this has been widely assumed to be the best path to becoming a contributing member of society---the consequence for many people with disabilities is often an emphasis on learning to comply with ‘the rules’, and not making waves. This can ironically have an unintended effect of undermining or challenging the development of a confident voice for one’s own ‘self-advocacy’.
In this way, theSpace offers a welcoming third space, (outside of work or home), where members can feel a sense of belonging and membership, as well as an unscripted and sophisticated experience of peer mentorship, friendship and an opportunity to express genuine and sustainable personal agency-- independent from, but complementary to work and home in building a confident voice of self-advocacy.
To summarize our insights to date - theSpace offers members an opportunity for apprenticeship for creative self-employment, as well as building a generative community which supports more effective autonomy and self-advocacy.