Supported by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the students involved with the Community Education Development Association’s Pathways to Education program were mentored in filmmaking and editing by local filmmaker Heidi Phillips through the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Youth WITH ART Program. Working in the medium of film, the works were created from start to finish by the students, who envisioned the subject, captured the footage, and edited the final product themselves.
The Winnipeg Arts Council’s Youth WITH ART Program partners professional artists with community groups to work on community identity, issues, and shared goals through the development of an art project. By engaging in the artistic process and interacting with professional artists, young people are given a chance to express themselves and often gain a deeper understanding of their own communities. CCPA worked with youth at CEDA with the hope of creating a dialogue and encouraging critical engagement with the broader social justice context in mind. As CCPA had hoped, the end result is “a series of videos the youth will be able to take out into the world and share with other youth as a means of breaking barriers and building bridges.”
The young filmmakers took the artform on as part of their lives, bringing their every day into the spotlight with such assignments as a style of filming called Video Diary. From one participant’s video of methodically styling her mohawk in the morning to recordings of creating music, walking to school, and eating – these films allowed the young artists to explore their lives creatively, and they allow the viewers a window into the lives of the students who participate in the Pathways to Education program at Community Education Development Association.
Filmmaker Heidi Phillips says that her approach to working with the youth at Pathways was to “give them the tools to create video projects they were interested in. I tried not to bog them down with information about technology, which is often the case with video programs, but instead allowed them to explore the medium, create videos and learn as they went.” She added, “I am very proud of what the youth accomplished in such a short period of time. Their work is both strong and mature for their age.”