Community Showcase and Creative Work Launch: Catamount March Reflections
Posted April 16, 2024 - Linh Bui and Cordelia Snowdon-Lawley


Unveiling Perspectives through Creativity.



Image: Screenshot from the Catamount Community Showcase


Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for the 2024 Catamount Community Showcase! It was wonderful to see so many members of our community show up to support the student fellows and engage with questions and words of encouragement during the presentations. Our heartfelt gratitude to you all.

As noted during the Showcase, engaging with and reflecting on impactful social and cultural issues can lead to a deeper understanding of perspectives and experiences. Each fellow had the opportunity to share a component of their research insights or their learning journey, and we hope all our attendees left the session feeling inspired. 


Image Description: Selecting presentation topics for the Community Showcase

While the Fellows are putting the finishing touches on their scholarly reports, we are excited to share the Creative Works they put together. One powerful way to capture the essence and dynamics of a changemaking journey is through creative works like comic books, poetry, and pottery. These creative expressions help future changemakers navigate the complexities of various challenges with empathy and insight.


We have featured a selection of the creative works below and we invite you to explore the full set of pieces on our 2023 Catamount Deliverables page. 


Unveiling Perspectives through Creativity

Imagine walking through the pages of a comic book depicting the metaphorical journey of a flower or a quest-styled board game. Each panel is filled with self-reflection, portraying the ups and downs of the journey and emphasizing the beauty of the process. This method allows the audience to embrace the unexpected. Each piece created by the fellows invites our community in, to challenge what you think you know or your perception.

David Sinclair, a General Management student, used mixed media to challenge perspectives in his piece connect with grassroots sports. His piece, which combines a soccer ball customized with images, mirrors, and cables, is a play on perspectives and our larger sense of connectedness.

While our view may be showing us one perspective, the positioning of the mirrors show there is more just around the bend. Sinclair notes, “sometimes it is just about plugging into the right point. We are not alone in anything; it is as ‘simple’ as connecting to that network.” 


Image Description: A selection of images of Sinclair’s Creative Work


Through introspective reflection and hands-on experience, we can also be invited into spaces where we play with expectations. Sama Ab, a English Honours student, decided to play with the norms of punctuation and capitalization, questioning colonial notions and allowing the reader’s of her poem, A Broken System, to focus on the essence of the narrative rather than the constraints of conventional grammatical rules. The absence of conventional grammatical structures acts as a statement and provides insight into the experiences of the individuals facing adversities. This approach underscores the resilience and creativity found in those facing challenges, inviting readers to appreciate the beauty in simplicity and personal expression, making poverty and creativity coalesce in harmony.


“i keep catching myself drown from the weight of debt
trying to fit myself in the stream is like
playing a broken tape where you only get to
watch the tragic parts of a film…”

- Excerpt from A Broken System, Sama Ab


Luis Rios, a Biology student, sought to capture the duality of both positive and negative experiences in his mosaic, A Journey North. Rios noted “ a newcomer must face both realities while simultaneously working towards a sense of belonging and functioning as a young professional.” When sharing his work, he was surprised by how many viewers focused on the whole and noted the silhouette is looking up. Amidst struggles, even when the positive and negative are positioned together, there is a desire to want to search for the positive.

 Image Description: Rios' Creative Work


Creating a meta-representation of her perspective on the community she engaged with was the inspiration behind the work of Chelsea Sawyer, a Sociology Student. The comic book, Why Should We Care About Accessible Housingis both a literal informative tool and a metaphor:  “The vibrant colors and boldness of the poster reminded me of just how genuinely dynamic the accessibility community is. The wonderful people I have met along this journey with the Fellowship, particularly the amazing folks I encountered at 'Inclusio,' radiated brightness and an infectious passion for inclusivity.”


Image Description: A selection of pages from Sawyer’s Creative Work


Embodying changemaking for Ayan Ahmed-Aden, an Anthropology Student, involved stepping outside of her comfort zone and creating a piece that captured her journey. She picked up a paintbrush for the first time, and through resilience, research, and patience, she created an incredible painting, The Persistence to Persevere. The painting of the mountain endeavors to communicate the message that even when things do not turn out as anticipated, it's essential to value the climb and savor each moment, akin to the breathtaking view from the summit of a mountain at sunset.


Ahmed-Aden-Creative-Work.png Image Description: Ahmed-Aden’s Creative Work


Reese Tofts, a Psychology student, designed 'ShelterQuest,' an engaging board game inspired by the experiences of those fleeing domestic violence in Calgary. The game simulates the journey of a domestic violence victim navigating the system, highlighting the challenges and barriers faced. Through playing 'ShelterQuest,' players can gain insight into the victim's perspective and the hurdles they must overcome.

Video Description: Reese Tofts' illustration of the game 'ShelterQuest' with Mizuki Oshita [2 mins 18 secs]

Each creative work is an expression of the student's experience in the Catamount Fellowship and a representation of engaging with learning in new ways. While their scholarly reports, launching in May, will share insights from their systems analysis and research in ways familiar to many in our community, leaning into creativity and reflection is far less common. We hope you enjoy these bold, vulnerable, and brave artistic expressions and invite you to consider how you might bring more creativity into your changemaking journey. 



  Image Description: Physical Copies of the Creative Work 

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Stay tuned to our Happenings Page for updates about the fellowship, event invites, and exploration into their research findings! Missed our Previous Recap? Check out the page Bringing Systemic Issues to Life: Catamount January and February Reflections.



"We bring to everything we make everything we have lived and loved and tessellated into the mosaic of our being. To be an artist in the largest sense is to be fully awake to the totality of life as we encounter it, porous to it and absorbent of it, moved by it and moved to translate those inner quickenings into what we make.”


- Maria Popova, Nick Cave on Creativity, the Myth of Originality, and How to Find Your Voice [Article]