Written on: February 6th, 2013
By: Nicole Armos, ASC! Research Assistant
Nicole Armos is currently finishing her Bachelors Degree with Honours in World Literature at Simon Fraser University. She works as a community program leader with the City of Surrey, and as a Teaching Assistant at SFU. Attending a workshop on Art for Social Change led by Judith Marcuse was greatly influential, allowing her to capitalize on the transformative power of art to facilitate positive interpersonal relationships and spark dialogue on social issues. As a Research Assistant, Nicole is helping conduct literature reviews, map existing partnerships between artists and non-arts organizations across Canada, and provide logistical support for the project.
In my own life and studies, however, I have never once questioned the value of art. Reading stories and watching movies with my family always led to long philosophical reflections on our lives. Through the poetry I wrote as a teenager, I was able to explore issues I felt deeply about: from falling in love, to my fears for the environment. When I took up dance, it revolutionized my relationships with my own body, and with my community.
I was finally able to articulate what it was that drew me to art when I attended Judith Marcuse’s Art for Social Change facilitation workshop in the summer of 2012. Judith not only shared her wisdom from a lifetime as an artist and facilitator, but also let us experience first-hand the different art-based exercises she incorporates in her work, such as theatre, movement, storytelling, and visual arts collages.
This past fall I had the fortune of joining Judith once more in her five-year, national Art for Social Change research project as a research assistant. Working on mapping projects across Canada where artists and arts organizations are forming partnerships with various non-arts sectors, I have come to appreciate the breadth of impact art has on our society. Everyday, arts-based projects in Canada are actively engaging with community members in settings as diverse as homeless shelters, hospitals, schools, prisons, and mobile studios. Art is helping provide employment skills and opportunities, combat violence and drug use, provide moral support, and research and explore complex issues such as mental health, reconciliation, or immigration—to list just a few.
- Nicole Armos is a student in the Faculty of World Literature at SFU and Research Assistant on the ASC! Project.