Youth voices are important and worthy of being heard. But all too often we find that mainstream media excludes or projects biased information regarding youth, especially youth from the inner-city whose experiences and situations are unique, and frequently misunderstood or misrepresented.
Word on the Street (WOTS) is a youth-focused digital storytelling program offered at Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op (CNYC) for inner-city youth in Saskatoon. The programming aims to provide youth with the opportunity to express themselves and explore issues that affect them through digital arts and publish their projects them on an online platform. Along with working on their own projects, the youth are introduced to a variety of art organizations and community resources that are available in Saskatoon and get to engage directly with local artists.
WOTS is an opportunity to develop new skills, connect with culture, and pursue their own methods of creative expression through photography, film, short documentary, spoken word poetry, lyric writing, music production and design.
Beyond working on their individual projects, WOTS programming brings in local artists and activists to share their stories, knowledge and expertise with the youth. The scope of these guest speaker presentations range widely: from educating youth on digital arts and how to properly handle and use equipment, to social media and project management skills.
WOTS program is funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s Artist in Communities grant. The artist in residence, Andrea Cessna, is the program coordinator and works with youth one-on-one to guide each youth’s vision and support their project to completion.