In 2019, The Art Farm and the Family Justice Innovation Lab co-designed a series of creative workshops to address the lack of voice within the justice system from children of parents going through separation or divorce.
We co-facilitated three separate workshops that enabled a motivated group of youth to explore their own stories within the family justice system, through various media (collage, photography, spoken word, video). These youth—approximately 10 individuals between the ages of 15 and 30—were an inspiring group.
While the workshops were short and produced rough and unfinished outcomes, the work that emerged was powerful, sharp and energizing.
There was a strong desire from this cohort to work towards a long-term artistic project that could attract a wider audience—both within and outside of the justice system—and bring their stories out into the public sphere.
The first phase of Seen and Heard, completed in April 2021, explored, researched and developed a prototype set of installations inspired by a vision that emerged from the last workshop we co-facilitated.
This vision imagined a set of installations—strategically placed in high traffic public areas close to the Vancouver law courts—that integrates quotes from stories by children who have experienced family separation.
Through a series of on-line workshops and virtual “field trips”, we collaborated with this core group of youth to further explore installation possibilities, refine and clarify the vision (What would these installations look like? What would they be made out of? Where would we place them? How would they adapt to the on-line space?) and finalize proposed installation content and description to share with our digital media designer.
From there, the digital media designer developed a simplified on-line prototype to share with the wider Family Justice Innovation Lab for questions, feedback and further refinements.
With the support of the BC Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, our team moved on to the second phase of Seen and Heard – implementing the vision!
Between Spring 2022 and Spring 2023, The Art Farm, our digital media designer, and the Youth Voices team from the Justice Innovation Lab met at various stages of the development journey to refine the physical and digital installations to get us to where we are today.
This website and the Seen and Heard mobile installation are the outcomes from this journey, and we look forward to your thoughts, feedback, and ideas as the Seen and Heard project continues to unfold.