PeaceQuest Victoria

00_Sisters of St Ann and Julie Cormier

Sisters of St. Ann, supporters, and PQ Victoria Coordinator, Julie Cormier

We are PeaceQuest Victoria!!

Started by the Sisters of St. Ann of the Pacific Northwest in April 2014, PQ Victoria aims to mobilize Catholic school students, faith-based groups and the larger community of Victoria, BC, around peace, non-violence and collective reconciliation through the arts, education and training opportunities.

Contact:               Julie Cormier, PQ Victoria Coordinator
email:   jcormier@ssabc.ca   Phone: (250)884-0913

Announcements:

We are still looking for volunteers and First Nations performers to participate in this year’s Puppets for Peace Parade! Contact Julie (details above) to get involved!

1. Creating PeaceQuest Schools on Vancouver Island

On Vancouver Island, three Catholic schools are becoming PeaceQuest Schools as students learn and enact peace through the art of puppetry, theatre, photography and more.

02_Student_Puppet_collage

Puppeteer Tim Gosley and student-made puppets – September 2014

Two Elementary schools

At St. Patricks’ and St. Joseph’s Elementary schools over 600 puppets came to life, from small doves and butterflies, to creative bamboo stick puppets, and giant puppets. Grade 7 and 8 students engaged in two-hour workshops led by artists involving image theatre and puppet-making as a way to learn about peace. For grades 1 to 3, teachers received a lesson on how to make butterfly and dove puppets with their students. For grade 4 and 5 students, classes worked together to decorate a giant puppet constructed by artist and PQ coordinator. All students completed their puppets in time for the city-wide Puppets for Peace Parade, the celebration that marked UN Peace Day 2014.

Students in one of the elementary schools are also performing a play in February 2015. The play is developed by the students’ written reflections on peace, from letters to world leaders to words of children lost in war.

How To: Use the Arts to Learn About Peace

  • Canvass peace activists and groups for artist referrals and planned celebrations for peace day
  • Outreach to schools by presenting to the superintendent and religious education director about the possibilities for learning about peace and joining community events – before the end of the previous school year
  • Find and apply for a grant that supports learning through the arts in schools – over the summer
  • Once successful, coordinate artist-student workshops and artist-teacher workshops at the beginning of the school year
  • Promote Day of Peace event – make announcements, letters to parents, and displays in schools

St. Andrew’s High School

St. Andrew’s High School is also becoming a PeaceQuest School through a number of efforts, some led by the school’s social justice groups and others by PQ Victoria coordinator in collaboration with the youth ministry coordinator.

At St. Andrew’s, we:

  • Organised a Peace Week, leading up to Remembrance Day – which included inviting guest speaker Saul Arbess, representative of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, hosting a labyrinth workshop with Renee Lindstrom about inner peace, and raising funds with a bake sale for the local Restorative Justice Victoria organization;
  • Invited Jamie Swift, author, to talk about the politics of the remembrance of war; and
  • Participated in a peace photo challenge (referred to as Photovoice).

How To: Use Photography to Understand ‘What Does Peace Mean to Me’

  • Integrate the Photovoice project into the photography class’ curriculum
  • Engage students with a discussion about peace imagery with a local photographer
  • Provide feedback on photos as the students experiment, usually done by the teacher
  • Display photo submissions in an open space in the school (this entices other students to get involved in the next semester’s photo challenge)
  • Coordinate a judging session where students present a short description of their photo and why it represents peace to them – winner gets a prize!

2. Puppets for Peace Parade – September 21st 2014

08_Photo credit to Peter Freedman at the 2014 Puppets for Peace Parade on UN Peace Day

Photo credit to Peter Freedman at the 2014 Puppets for Peace Parade on UN Peace Day

As a city of peace and prosperity, Victoria BC supports peace day celebrations as community partnerships come together to organize a puppets for peace festival in 2014. PQ Victoria acted as a collaborator to mobilize groups to participate in the peace parade. The parade attracted over 800 residents of all ages taking over the streets with puppets, both large and small, in the name of peace.

Find the giant multi-colored bird puppet made by the grade 4 & 5 classes of St. Joseph’s Elementary School in these photos: http://puppetsforpeace.org/portfolio/the-parade/

How To: Mobilize for a Peace Parade & Festival

  • Meet with various individuals, groups or collectives interested in celebrating UN Peace Day
  • Shape a committee and build the festival concept on existing skills/interest/resources
  • Take up some public, accessible space to offer workshops, lectures, and other engagement activities leading up to the festival
  • Go to the people – identify a group to engage and bring them workshops about peace and make puppets to bring to the parade
  • Coordinate the parade with parade marshals (to section off the parade line) and direct a health and safety team for overall supervision of the parade operation
  • Then, parade!

 

3. ‘Who Will You Make Peace With’ event – UN Day of Nonviolence, October 2nd, 2014

09_photo of labyrinth on the grounds of St Anns Academy National Historic Site

Labyrinth on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site

 

The UN Day of Nonviolence is celebrated by a PQ event intended to connect people with the tools needed to become peacemakers, inspiring the title of the event “Who Will You Make Peace With”. The event was free, and consisted of a mix of inspiring speeches and interactive workshops, including:

  • Jamie Swift, author, about the politics of war remembrance
  • Saul Arbess, representative of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, about Government responsibility in making peace
  • Renee Lindstrom, labyrinth workshop, about how to gain inner peace through labyrinths
  • Judi Morin, non-violent communication, about how to hear others’ needs and feelings
  • Shanna Grant-Warmald, Restorative Justice Victoria, about alternatives to the penal justice system and conflict resolution

How To: Connect People with the Tools for Peace, Nonviolence, & Reconciliation

  • Create the intentional space – organize an event for UN Day of Nonviolence
  • Outreach to local speakers, organizations and trainers for potential workshops and lectures
  • Coordinate these speakers and workshops into a three-hour event – allow time for interaction
  • Promote event – make it free and accessible by offering bus tickets and child care
  • Provide ways attendees can get further connected with organizations and training opportunities with sign-up sheets and available information

Upcoming Activities for Peace in 2015

10_photo of Grade 7 St Josephs School Students Enacting Peace through Image Theatre

Grade 7 St. Joseph’s School Students Enacting Peace through Image Theatre

PeaceQuest Victoria is committed to ongoing peaceful efforts and contributing to the local peace movement. This year, we will continue the PeaceQuest School initiatives, promote them within the community and collaborate with Puppets for Peace. We also look forward to bringing more tools for peace to young people by offering workshops on non-violent communication.

Kids for Peace Play – February 5th, 2015

Peace Photo Challenge & Traveling Exhibit – June 2015

Puppets for Peace Festival & Parade – September 2015