Six years ago I transitioned from my long term career producing theatre, to managing a hybrid hub that encompasses a professional recital hall, daycare, restaurant, church and a myriad number of community and not for profit groups. I was surprised to discover the richness created by the variety of age, ability and interests of our partners and user groups. Amateurs and professionals in all disciplines were regularly encountering each other, working with and learning from each other. Old and young were collaborating to create the space that they needed for their particular activities. It was (and is) a glorious collision of communities!
I wanted to create more like it.
Shortly after arriving at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts I was approached by Faith & the Common Good and The National Trust For Canada to work on Regeneration Works, a joint project to help faith groups across Canada reconnect with community at large and fully occupy their positions as Third Spaces (a place to gather that is not work or home).
And so we set to work, collaborating with granting agencies, foundations, municipal governments, the arts, social service and environmental sectors and faith communities to reinvigorate these often historic edifices, for the common good.
Three years in we have worked across Canada creating new projects in rural and urban settings and supporting projects already in motion. And I have begun to diversify a bit, working on other historic places as well.
I am inspired by a vision of community centres created for everyone, where we are enhanced as people by our unexpected interactions with others. Where we step out of our comfort zones, encounter others and see ourselves as part of a living ecosystem; a community.