Project title: Unquiet Minds II
Participatory Budgeting funding request: $6450
Organization/Individual: Foundry Victoria, Organization; Luke Kernan, Individual
Location: Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad Street) and Foundry Victoria (818 Douglas Street)
What is your project?
Since 2017, Luke has been organizing an annual open mic music and poetry event, Unquiet Minds, for Foundry BC and youth performers. The pilot event took place in Kelowna, BC. Going forward, he wants to plan a similar event at the Victoria Event Centre (VEC). He has been in contact with Foundry Victoria, its Youth Action Committee, and the Children’s Health Foundation to do just that–and he has their support to facilitate Unquiet Minds II: A Music and Poetry Open Mic for Youth Mental Health Awareness and provide creative programing for youth at Foundry. He plans to run a series of youth performance workshops starting this summer and produce a multimedia chapbook of spoken-word poetry and song lyrics with youth contributors at Foundry. This poetry and music open mic event at VEC will have two featured performers to headline and showcase the event—each of which will be selected from the youth artistic community. Luke plans to invite key figures like Jeremey Loveday, Founder of Victorious Voices Festival, and Aziza Moqia Sealey-Qaylow, Victoria’s 2019 Youth Poet Laureate. The open-mic portion of the event will have two sets of five performers—ideally balanced between both spoken-word and music performers—who will sign up to perform on the registry the day of the event. The two-hour event at VEC will have two performance sets split by a short 10-minute intermission. The venue will be able to hold 150 to 175 people. The event—in accordance with low-barrier accessibility—is free.
How does your project benefit the lives of youth in Victoria?
The intent of this community-based event is to celebrate and showcase youth in their efforts to cultivate creativity towards an ongoing and performative discussion of mental health. The other goal of this event will be to generate city-wide awareness on critical youth issues by giving youth activists a voice at the event—to subsequently meet these ends, by extending these crucial conversations within these expressive opportunities and outlets. These events not only prioritize the emerging artistic practice of youth as performers, but they also place trust in bestowing youth with the opportunity and employment to be burgeoning leaders in the new mental health avant-garde of their generation. The success of the event, Unquiet Minds I, ultimately has been in the way it has allowed local performers in cities like Kelowna to connect with each other on crucial issues facing youth. And, personally, Luke attests that both art and its associated communities, the people he connects with at these events, those who band together have been a continual and therapeutic theme in his ongoing maintenance of a holistic sense of wellness and mental health resilience. He wishes the same for those who might attend Unquiet Minds II and any subsequent events. He sincerely hopes that this event and its performance workshops at Foundry will engender more accessibility and visibility for youth in and around Victoria.