We know the Arts have great power to heal and create social change. Having the privilege of attending a conference with hundreds of folks who agree with that statement was both remarkable and validating.
Five members of AHA! (Adele McFarlane, Denise Davies, Liz Brennan, Noella Murphy and Stacy Doiron) recently jetted off to Ottawa and Carlton University for the 2nd annual Power of the Arts National Forum. The forum, spearheaded by the nimble and generous Michaëlle Jean Foundation, spanned the weekend of November 7-9 and focused on the provocative slogan “Acting Now for Social Change.”
Adele, a Thundertales facilitator, and Noella, an AHA! steering team representative and Thundertales facilitator, shared the unique Thundertales initiative with a large audience in the Mental and Physical Health segment of workshops. Their very professional and engaging presentation was right at home with fellow panelists Pippa Hall, M.D., Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa; Diana Coholic, PhD, RSW, Associate Professor and Interim Director, Master of Social Work, Laurentian University; and Sherry Dupuis, PhD, Professor, Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo. Adele and Noella succinctly and convincingly shared the Thundertales model and deftly answered questions from the audience.
Many valuable workshops, speakers and conversations occurred during the jam-packed three days in addition to the important connections that were forged with other practitioners and organizations around the country who hold Art as a most essential of endeavours. Inspirational stories and people abounded and all the AHA! members who attended agreed it was an extremely valuable and enlightening forum. Perhaps more members of AHA! will be able to attend future forums! It is an important way to recognize that the work we are doing here in Antigonish is on par or beyond what else is happening in the country, and that our little organization-that-could has a great deal of wisdom and enthusiasm to share.
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