Sense of Wonder Project

        A Sense of Wonder undertakes to research and cultivate creative, inclusive, and imaginative processes that connect, express, and reflect d/Deaf culture. Through this project, the Art Gallery of Guelph and Ed Video Media Arts Centre working together, aim to meaningfully connect the experience of visual and media arts to youth and adult members of the d/Deaf community. AGG and Ed Video will feature multiple experiential workshops throughout fall and winter 2016/2017 which will culminate in a series of public events across Guelph in 2017. 

A Sense of Wonder is led by interdisciplinary artist Dawn Matheson in collaboration with d/Deaf and hard of hearing youth from across Southern Ontario.  

Children have always been capable of playing a unique role in bridging differences that have historically separated groups of people. They have a natural tendency to question, challenge and even disrupt imposed systems, structures and expected social norms that often tend to divide people.

In Wonder, children are the teachers. 

The project’s goals are not to “accommodate” d/Deaf children and to teach them how to function in a hearing world; rather Wonder is an invitation to remove these normative judgments and to explore the many different ways there are to be human, without the assumption of inherent deficit in disability and difference. Wonder is interested in the presence of deafness, silence and “seen sound,” over the supposition of an absence of sound.

It is Wonder’s goal to be inclusive of all people, hearing, deaf and Deaf; to connect and to find ourselves in each other, in spite of and because of those differences by sharing experiences that lay bare our basic humanity and strive to arouse our collective sense of wonder.  By creating together, we can combat isolation, stereotypes, and conflict. We can open minds, change perceptions, break stigmas and stereotypes.

The long-term goal is for the Wonder troupe of children to be empowered artistically, socially and culturally, to build a future of personal narrative, a sense of owning story and representation and possibility, and to collaborate on a deeper level across differences and ages to address barriers to inclusion for everyone through the experience of art-making.

Pictures are from two workshops already completed:  a vibration workshop called FEELS LIKE MUSIC, and an event at Guelph Outdoor School called IF A TREE FALLS.

The project is supported by our operating grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and a special project grant from the Guelph Community Foundation gcf logo

To continue the project for another year we will be approaching foundations and granting agencies.

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