The artistic workshops highlight the importance of photography and the visual representation of history. These workshops use artistic creation as a means of exploration and expression, to address the personal and community history of participants.
1a. Complete the picture: Visual creation from photos.
Outline of activity: From reproductions of old photographs taken from public, private or community archives (e.g. photographs of group activities, important places, family events), glued on large pieces of cardboard, invite participants to imagine and illustrate the context in which the photo was taken. Youth can use the content of the pictures as an inspiration to fill the empty space on the board around the photos, with collage, painting or drawing. The exercise may be more realistic – and illustrate what the camera did not capture or what can be imagined to be outside the scope of the photo – or speak to the imagination of the youth, to try to recreate the atmosphere of the period or the theme of the picture.
Discussion: The book and the artistic works can be used to discuss the historical context depicted, the events illustrated and their significance for young participants and their communities. Encourage youth to reflect on the similarities and differences between historical contexts; the importance of community life a space for Caribbean communities in Quebec – what is shown in these photos and what could have been forgotten. The discussion aims to stimulate a reflection on the history of Caribbean communities in the province over time.
Suggested questions: What may have changed over time? Are the community activities the same? Are spaces where the community meets the same? How did these centres come about?
1b. My story in images: Photo documentary workshop.
Outline of activity: Observe the variety of pictures in the book and the timeline: some depict places, some show activities, some are portraits, etc. After discussing these pictures and the fact that they represent different aspects of the daily life of Caribbean communities in the province, young people are invited to ‘document’ their history and daily life for one or two weeks. To do this, photo cameras or cell phones with photographic functions can be used. Young people can take pictures of their environment, the activities in which they participate, and places and people that are significant to them. After, through a digital slideshow or with printed photos, youth can present their photo documentary that also serves to illustrate their vision of the contemporary history of their community.
Discussion: If a picture is worth a thousand words, several images are well worth a story! Ask students to make connections between the pictures they have taken and those in the booklet and the timeline. Get them to think about the parallels between their past and the contemporary history of the community they belong to. This is to help youth situate themselves in a historical continuity, to recognize their belonging to one or more communities and to value the personal history of each one, as part of the broader history of the society in which they live.
1c. My timeline: Creation of a personal timeline.
Outline of activity: On a long sheet of paper participants mark significant dates of their personal history and illustrate or write something related to each date. Then, in another colour, they do the same exercise for the history of their family or a group that is significant to them, since some youth do not live with their families. They thus create a timeline of their lives, as well as that of their families/significant group.
Discussion: Migration paths vary widely within Caribbean communities and sometimes even within the same family. From the timeline of the project and the timelines created, youth discuss different migration paths, how these can influence the course of each person’s life differently and/or how these can also influence interpersonal dynamics within the family or the significant group. The discussion can then focus on the stories attached to milestones illustrated in the timeline that represent important moments for the participants. They can also be asked to pay attention to the similarities and differences between each of their own pathways.
1d. Community mural: Visually Recounting the story of the community.
Outline of activity: Based on the events recounted in the book and the timeline, discuss with participants other significant events in their communities. From the events discussed, create a mural depicting important moments in their community history (e.g. celebrations, relevant accomplishments by community members, important places). The mural can also illustrate stories or tales transmitted by elders, popular songs, and so on.
Discussion: Murals, especially in public spaces, are a way of visually telling a story. They can serve as a medium to enable young people to convey a message and become a sharing and meeting place. In the case of migrant communities, illustrating their history also allows them to show the continuity of these communities through migration between two or more places. It also allows visualization of the migration path that led to the present moment.