Those of us who participate in the Centre for Community-Engaged Narrative Arts (CCENA) believe that addressing the inequities in our world depends upon widespread recognition of the inherent value of diverse communities’ everyday, experiential knowledge: their stories. CCENA aims to learn from the stories and narrative traditions through which communities imagine themselves and their relationships with each other. With this aim in mind, CCENA seeks to support and sustain art-based community listening, remembering, and story-making. We link community members with other communities and with various media and sources of expertise in order to support them in telling their stories. CCENA works with community groups (either existing or envisioned), artists, individual community members, arts organizations, and public intellectuals on projects that

  • generate community-engaged narrative arts (stimulate new stories, new ways of collecting old stories, etc.);
  • provide a platform for the long-term sustaining or archiving of community-engaged narrative arts;
  • emphasize cognitive justice and intellectual emancipation;
  • develop narrative arts in and relevant to the Hamilton region; and
  • introduce new voices and participants to the CCENA community

We take our lead from community initiatives, priorities and needs, and we seek to collaborate with those communities, in Hamilton and beyond, to work in the service of shared memory, sustainability, and creativity. In that spirit, we seek to bring together university resources (whether financial, cultural, infrastructural, or research) with community capacities, so that we can learn and retell the stories of living well together.

In the video below, Lorraine York and Daniel Coleman, CCENA Co-Directors, talk about the work of CCENA:

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