Epoch Youth Project
How We Got Here
Epoch Youth Project, formerly known as MINE Youth Project, takes place on the unceded and ancestral territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We send our gratitude to the host nations for taking care of this land since time immemorial and work to be good uninvited guests here on their land.
Epoch Youth project was initiated by professional dance artist Kelly McInnes in 2016 through a mentorship with Made In BC. Along with co-facilitator Rianne Svelnis, the project began as a free collaborative performance creation workshop and process at Trout Lake Community Centre from October 2016 to June 2017. Now located at Kensington Community Centre, the project is currently co-facilitated by Kelly McInnes, Sophia Wolfe, Laura Avery and Red Fawkes. The project has engaged over 80 youth, supporting the growth and development of returning youth, while also inviting new participants to join in.
The sessions include community building exercises, weekly check ins, movement skill building, improvisation exercises in movement, voice, writing, crafting, film, discussion around socio-political themes, sharing of stories, collaborative practice and performance opportunities with paid honorariums whenever possible. To culminate each season, the group has performed in the Vancouver Park Board's LINK Showcase at The Roundhouse Performance Centre. They have also performed at Vines Art Festival 2017 & 2019 and the Ignite Youth Festival 2018 at the Cultch. In the spring of 2018, Kelly and Rianne travelled to Northern BC to facilitate MINE workshops with youth in Prince Rupert and Smithers, B.C.
The project has been made possible with the support of Made in BC, The Vancouver Parks Board, BC Arts Council, Vancouver Foundation, ArtStarts Creative Spark, Trout Lake Community Centre and Kensington Community Centre.
Currently Epoch Youth Project meets at Kensington Community Centre on Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 7:30pm and is open to youth ages 13-23 of all levels of experience and background. Please contact us to register! See the Events page for more details on the upcoming / current session.
What We Envision
Empowering Youth Through Art
At Epoch Youth Project, our mission is to create a safe, collaborative and creative space for youth to be together. The project is offered free of cost with snacks provided to support the participation of a wide range of young people without financial barrier. Through a collaborative creative process, the project aims to support participants with their confidence to try new things, take risks, use their voice, value their unique perspective, develop active listening skills, be creative and develop commitment and responsibility to the group, as well as themselves. The socio-political themes that the project is centred around are important to the youth involved and our aim is to facilitate learning around how performance can speak to these issues in powerful ways.
Our desire is to bring together youth from diverse backgrounds that may not usually have the opportunity to relate with one another. Focusing on themes that we are all somehow connected with gives the opportunity for us to share our similarities and differences in a way that values diversity, inclusivity and empathy. The collaborative approach of this project provides a platform for innovation for each participant to contemplate what is important to them, how they see the world, and interact with it, through their unique perspective, while in collaboration with the other participants and facilitators'. Participants are guided through explorations that support the expansion of their comfort zones in a safe, supportive space that celebrates risk-taking, vulnerability, reflection and compassion.
This project has continued to be possible through generous support of the Vancouver Parks Board and Artstarts Creative Spark. So tremendously grateful to our patron supporters: Yvonne Chew, Fernande Faulkner, Shirley Fineblit, Aviva Martin, Helen McInnes, Kadi Purru, Mirella Russell, Pamela Smith and Elli Tamarin who help make this work possible.
Please consider, through patreon, supporting our work in offering transformative life experiences to youth through dance, creativity and connection.
Top 2 photos by Riz Herbosa, 3rd photo by Sheng Ho