community engagement




These projects involve connecting with community and engaging in salient topics for community development, using the arts based facilitation as a tool for discovery and exploration. Sometimes puppetry is the tool for engagement and sometimes other artistic methods are used.


Arts, Health, and Seniors Program with Chinese Seniors at Strathcona Community Centre
Vancouver, BC (2010-2017)

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The Arts, Health and Seniors Project explores how involvement in the arts can improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable seniors. This initiative also supports the development of new knowledge and expertise in the fields of seniors’ wellness, chronic disease management, and community-engaged arts.This three year pilot project was initiated in 2007 and will document the impacts of involvement on the physical health and well being of participant seniors. We are hoping to aid in their ability to “age in place”, and to build new expertise amongst senior workers and artists in Vancouver and the North Shore

Trash Talk Recycled with Laura Barron
Funded by ArtStarts in Schools, Instruments of Change, IndiGoGo donations
Vancouver, India and Nepal (2014-2015)
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Artists Maggie Winston, puppeteer, and Laura Barron, musician and writer, spent this fall working with students, at three South Vancouver schools (Moberly, Henderson, and Trudeau Elementary).  Then, these youth explored the concept of trash in their world and in their minds, through the creation of a narrative that they staged in December, using puppets and instruments they made from trash. And now, Maggie and Laura will share their work with students in Ramana’s Garden School in Rishikesh, India as well as Child Haven’s Montessori school and orphange in Kathmandu. Finally, throughout the process, these Asian and Canadian youth are communicating about their experiences, as pen pals, and building empathy for the environmental and social realities, commonalities and differences between their cultures.

In Nepal and India, thanks to our IndieGoGo campaign contributors and the non-profit, Instruments of Change (, we had the opportunity to share the same Trash Talk Recycled work that we led with students at three Vancouver schools last fall. Additionally, we connected these students through pen pal relationships as well as an exchange of creative work (shared through photos and videos).  And like in Canada, all of the kids we worked with explored ideas of trash in our world and in our minds, while discussing more generous alternatives to the “trash” behaviors and talk that we all sometimes exhibit.  Ultimately, the students’ discoveries were presented in original musical theatre pieces that incorporated instruments and puppets which they made from trash.

BIG IDEAS : Artist-in Residence Program with The Vancouver Biennale at University Hill Elementary School
Vancouver, BC (2015)

Grade 5 students with Teacher Tania Conely investigated questions related to the artwork “Untitled” by Vik Muniz, a large scale mosaic in Sqaumish, BC that represents collaboration and unity. Students created a shadow puppet plays representing stories inspired by the Musquem First Nation and their interpretations of the inquiry challenges.

ArtStarts in Schools: Artist-in-Residence Program at University Hill Elementary School
Vancouver (2015)
Students in the Grade 2 classes with teachers Joan Phoenix and Stacy Cargo at University Hill Elementary School engaged with the traditional Japanese style of Bunraku puppetry. They created puppets in this style and collaborated in the making of an original performance based upon the story created by the students themselves.

BIG IDEAS : Artist-in Residence Program with The Vancouver Biennale at L’école Bilingue 
(Vancouver 2015)


Grade 1 students with teacher Gabrielle Novotny created pop-up puppets inspired by their reactions to the public art sculpture “Human Structures” by Jonathan Borofsky. The main theme that arose from exploring the sculpture was the idea of “loneliness” or “isolation”. The students chose puppets that could easily hide and reappear with this simple design, that allowed the students to depict imagined stories with characters who would hide, isolating themselves, feeling lonely, and then then reappear again when invited by friends.

 ArtStarts in Schools: Artist-in-Residence Program at Gitwinksihlkw Elementary School
with Nisg’aa artist Warren Adams
Gitwinksihlkw, BC (2014)
Students in all grades at this small community school in Nisga’a Traditional Territory, Northern British Columbia created simple paper mache masks depicting the animals of their family crests. The final result of this project was a large scale community performance of a traditional creation story from the Nisg’aa nation with a giant raven puppet.

BIG IDEAS : Artist-in Residence Program with The Vancouver Biennale at Sir Walter Moberly Elementary School
Vancouver, BC (2013)
 With teacher Dana Soga, students in grade 4/5 at Sir Walter Moberly Elementary School explored questions inspired by the public art sculptures “Walking Figures” by Magdalena Abakanowicz. By identifying the sculptures as headless, the students were invited to make themselves “anonymous” by wearing simple paper masks on public transit. Students made connections between the human circulatory system and the Vancouver city public transit system because the sculptures are located at a central Skytrain station. The results of this inquiry was an original performance using Viewpoints movement technique, Shadow puppetry, and Bunraku.

 We Are Here: A Community Mapping Project with Something Collective Incubator Artist in Residence program
Toy Theatre Making with students in grade 4/5 at Sir Walter Moberly Elementary School
Vancouver, BC (2012)
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 SOMETHING COLLECTIVE have been artists-in-residence in the Sunset Community. Over this time, we have collected artistic data from the residents of the neighbourhood through dance, puppets, music photography, and even moss graffiti!
Here we can finally share with you all that our generous neighbours shared with us.
This project was funded by the City of Vancouver’s Artists in Communities fund and created as part of SC’s 2-Year Vancouver Parks and Recreation Field House Residency at MACC Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre.
With teacher Dana Soga, students in grade 4/5 at Sir Walter Moberly Elementary School created miniature toy theatres depicting themselves in their favourite places to play in the neighbourhood. Short videos depicted the puppets playing in their created sets and were posted on an interactive online map of the community.

Our Footprint- A Community Mapping Project for the Renfrew/Collingwood neighbourhood a project with Something Collective
Vancouver (2012)
This project involved the artist team Something Collective- Laura Barron (Music/Writing), Natalie Gan (Contemporary Dance), Juliana Bedoya (Visual Arts), Flick Harrison (Media Arts), and Maggie Winston (Puppet Theatre). Over 6 months we engaged with community members to create an online interactive map that displays various aspects of the community.
Check out the entire project and the interactive map at Artist in Communities project is supported in partnership by the Renfrew Community Association and the Vancouver Park Board.

Habitat: A Community Performance Project with Body Narratives Collective and Lost & Found Puppet Co.
Vancouver (2012)


A community engaged performance at Kensington Community Centre. Artists Julia Carr (contemporary dancer), Meghan Goodman (contemporary dancer) and Maggie Winston (puppet theatre artist) worked with members of the community to create a site specific performance on the theme of “What makes a healthy habitat?” Featuring an interactive tour of the Community Centre with murals, puppets, hawaiian dance, giant inflatable sea goddesses, and a Water Dragon that dances in the pool.The final performance was on Sunday June 3rd, 2012 from 2:30-4:30pm.

Check out for a full account of the project.

This project is part of the 2012 Artists in Communities Program with the Vancouver Park Board in partnership with the Kensington Community Centre Association and the Body Narratives Collective.

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