The Story Hive

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Bio: 

Meaghen Buckley is an artist and teacher, currently training to be a drama therapist in Concordia University’s department of Creative Arts Therapies. She is trained as a dancer and teaches yoga as well as holding a BA(Hons) in Linguistics from McGill University and a BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University. Her research interests include the relationship of body and language in therapy as well as the integration of multiple media in creative process. She loves to play and believes that we all have many stories to tell.

Impact of Project : 

How can drama enter an Art Hive? The Story Hive project aims to develop materials and methods by which character, narrative, and performance can become accessible for creation in an existing Art Hive space. This research has involved bilingual outreach to patrons of the Parc-Extension Public Library and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Art Hive, exploratory engagement in actions within these spaces, and the launch of a discussion series about perspectives on art in community. In Winter 2019 Meaghen implemented a weekly 2-hour Story Hive in the Parc-Extension Library with 14 sessions and 323 participants total. She is grateful to all who have participated in her research and has gained invaluable insight on the process of becoming part of a community and building relationships between people and organizations, as well as sharing many joyful experiences of creation and play!

The project was carefully scheduled to occur at a time when the library was highly used, in order to meet an unmet need for a different kind of programming. Consequently, attendance was consistently high. Consistent attendance allowed the participants to make the space their own and to take from it what they needed. While unstructured and sometimes hovering on the edge of chaotic, a community truly formed over the short period of the project. The most meaningful lesson for Meaghen was the power of witnessing. Some participants would come week after week, and as she got to know them they showed her how much it meant to have someone present to see them and to be interested in their process and their creations. They didn’t need any intervention from Meaghen other than simply being there.

One challenge of starting a new project in an existing space was that of managing conflicting expectations. Participants and staff sometimes had different ideas of what was appropriate or desired behaviour; I had to wrestle with subduing my own desires for a particular kind of space, and instead learn to mediate between what was already there and what shifts were possible based on needs and resources. Meaghen’s next step for this project is continuing the relationship with the Parc-Extension Library—(1) there will be a summer 2019 workshop; recruiting Art Hive facilitators to collaborate on this project; (2) Develop a toolkit to be shared with other art hives; (3) Write a research paper about the process; present the research at the North American Drama Therapy Association’s annual conference in order to raise awareness of Art Hives in the drama therapy community (with Cassandra Brennan of the Drama Hive).

For more information please contact Meaghen at larucheduconte@gmail.com

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