“Whatever the problem,
community is the answer”
– Margaret Wheatley


Spoken word



This project must be completed by April 1st, 2023.
It is estimated to take 4-6 weeks to run.
Registration deadline: October 7th

Project Requirements

  1. Teachers participate in a 1hr orientation session.
  2. Teachers guide students through the 5 steps of the project.
  3. Students are given an opportunity to reflect and discuss the relationship between their identity and their sense of belonging (see examples of question prompts).
  4. An ELAN artist works with teacher(s) and students to develop self-expressive spoken word piece(s) rooted in the themes of identity and belonging.

*LEARN is developing a catalogue of project examples. We will reach out to select teachers (or Community Development Agents) to document their project.

Teachers will be provided with:

  • Question prompts for student reflection and discussion (download pdf)
  • A one-pager outlining the steps of the project and curricular connections (download pdf)

In CLC schools, teachers can ask their school’s Community Development Agent to help:

  • Coordinate payment processes with LEARN and/or ELAN
  • Identify or develop opportunities for students to perform within the school or wider community

Collaborating artists

Liana Cusmano, also known as Luca or BiCurious George, is a writer, poet, filmmaker and spoken word artist. They are the 2018 and 2019 Montreal Slam Champion and runner up in the 2019 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Championship. A graduate of McGill University (BA’17) and participant in the 2019 Spoken Word Residency Program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Liana has presented their work in English, French and Italian across North America, Europe and Asia. They wrote the short film “La Femme Finale,” screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and wrote and directed the award-winning “Matters of Great Unimportance,” screened at the 2019 Blue Metropolis Literary Festival. In the 2019 Canadian federal election, Liana ran for office with the Green Party of Canada in Ville-Marie-Le Sud-Ouest-Île-des-Soeurs and is currently the Co-Chair of the Young Greens Council of Canada. They also took part in the spoken word poetry tour “I See You,” alongside poet laureate of Edmonton Nisha Patel in the fall of 2019. With work that touches on heritage, queerness, relationships and mental health, their aim is to help others feel both seen and safe.

Photo credit: Faces MGMT

Deanna Smith, is a lover of words. Over the years, she has expressed this love through art, as a poet, and through science, as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Her creative work is rooted in her experiences as a descendent of the African Diaspora, a person who thinks in two languages, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a neighbor of the many displaced peoples of Turtle Island. She has been fortunate to perform in venues across Canada and to have led workshops for participants aged 4-80. Her work has been published in Montréal Serai and in “The Great Black North – Contemporary African Canadian Poetry” (Frontenac 2013). She performs regularly with the Kalmunity Vibe Collective.

Photo Credit: Deanna Smith

Jason “Blackbird” Selman, is a Montreal-born poet and trumpet player. He is the author of The Freedom I Stole (2007, Cumulus Press), and Africa As A Dream That Travels Through My Heart (2016, Howl), and co-editor of the poetry anthology Talking Book (2006, Cumulus Press), which chronicles the writings of Kalm Unity Vibe Collective (of which he is a founding member). He has done extensive poetry workshops in schools and community groups across the Montreal area. His work is grounded in the themes of ethno-musicology, surrealist expression, love, and the intersection of masculinity and emotional vulnerability.

Photo Credit: Kevin Calixte

Nina Segalowitz, (Inuit/Chipewyan from Fort Smith, NWT) is an internationally known throat-singer. Her achingly honest and deeply personal stories about her journey to reconnect with her culture, after being stolen from her birth family during the 60s Scoop, continue to shed light on an incredibly dark time in Canada’s history. Nina grew up in a Jewish-Filipino home in Montreal and is a mother of 3.

Photo submitted by Nina Segalowitz