Laura was thrilled to travel to South Africa this past May and June, funded by a BC Arts Council Professional Development grant. This unique opportunity allowed her to meet fellow directors from several arts-based community development organizations in this country which is considered to be a leader in the field of Art for Social Change. During her explorative journey, she observed and collaborated with drumming, singing, and Gumboot dance projects in Cape Town and Johanessburg. You can read about her adventure here: Boogie Pilgrim
Upon returning from Africa, Laura was invited to talk to over 1,000 people about the work that she leads with Instruments of Change. Hosted at Vancouver's Vogue Theatre, this Pecha Kucha Night was part of a global speaker series (much like TED talks) that is hosted by more than 700 cities. You can watch her presentation here: Pecha Kucha
Fusing her writing with music, Laura has been facilitating song writing workshops as an Artist in the Classroom through the Vancouver Biennale's Big Ideas program and ArtStarts. This season finds Laura leading cross-curricular student projects in Richmond, Delta, Squamish and Vancouver. Our Two Cents uses Canada's now discontinued penny as its source of inspiration for a performance piece that will consider the concept of value. Story Stomp tells a story about social emotional learning, through movement, music and narration. In Reflective Voices students cooperatively use their indiviudal creative voices, by sharing songs, dances and poetry from their various cultlures, to learn to better respect diversity. And Stepping Into Understanding visually tells a collective narrative about the human experience through the lens of student's individual cultural backgrounds.
This new dimension of Laura's work began last May, when she led 60 primary school students in a creative process that resulted in a original text and music piece performed on homemade water-based instruments (rain sticks, bottle flutes, water drums, and ice rattles). A video of this cross-curricular project, focused on water as a critical resource, can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/71431383.
With a rock star team of artists and board members, Laura has secured $50,000 in funding to grow the arts-based community development projects she leads through her non-profit, Instruments of Change. Some current I of C initiatives are listed below.
Women Rock!, a rock music education program in BC women's prisons, transition homes, and for the Downtown Eastside community.
Something Collective, an artists team (including a filmmaker, a puppeteer, a dancer, and a visual artist) with whom Laura has secured a three-year residency at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre. Together, they are involved in a variety of interdisciplinary community-engaged activities including community mapping projects We Are Here and Our Footprint with the Sunset and Renfew Community Centres. This season, they are also performing Captain Creative for several BC primary schools. This interactive, multi-media theatre piece is an original arts advocacy fairy tale.
Voice to Voice is an exciting new collaboration between Instruments of Change, the Carnegie Centre’s Thursday Writing Collective and UBC. This year-long project to create original art song compositions will provide a fertile exchange intended to allow all participants the opportunity to understand the power and reach of their voice, while exploring the theme of transformation (of individuals, communities, ideas, and creative endeavors).
Wearing a different hat, Laura has recently completed her first novel, Mosquito Chronicles, and has begun work on Found, a new collection of short stories. She has also recently been published in Squat magazine, writing about witnessing her first home birth , and in Cure magazine, in an article she wrote about her father's experience surviving breast cancer.
Go to Laura and Geoff's adventures pages