Fifth-year men’s basketball player Kwasi Adu-Poku shares how he created his own business to motivate others

As the fall 2020 semester comes to an end, students continue to struggle with finding the balance between work, school and extracurriculars, all the while keeping themselves safe from COVID-19. Fifth-year McMaster University student and men’s basketball player, Kwasi Adu-Poku has been through his fair share of ups and downs this year. From all the experiences he has gathered, he felt that it was a time to give back to the student community.

Adu-Poku created The Reach Series after coming across an idea from Vince Luciani of Legacy Coaching. From the guidance and mentorship that Luciani gave Adu-Poku, he felt that it was his time to share a message and help uplift individuals. 

“It gave me the confidence to make a business with the goal of empowering people,” said Adu-Poku.

The Reach Series is where Adu-Poku turned his real-life experiences into relatable lessons. From these lessons, he develops motivational workshops. His first goal was to run the workshops for four weeks in two formats: group settings and one-on-ones

A benefit of the group workshops that Adu-Poku realized was that attendees could relate to each other and thus the workshop itself became more interactive. In terms of the one-on-ones, he believed that it would provide individuals with more time and space for reflection, with some personalized guidance. 

“The big thing was that it was a constructive and organized way to uplift people through online workshops,” said Adu-Poku.

“The big thing was that it was a constructive and organized way to uplift people through online workshops,” said Adu-Poku.

Each workshop would be a safe space that was based on an experience of his own life. Although they are somewhat structured, Adu-Poku encourages all discussion within the space. For example, during the third week, his workshop dove into the issue of mental health, where he touched upon some of his own personal struggles during his past couple years of undergrad. 

“It is ok to have these problems and I hope to provide them with various outlets and resources,’’ Adu-Poku emphasized.

As Adu-Poku explained, the premise of The Reach Series is to relate to what is going on in the world and help uplift people to the best of his ability. One such example is a charity drive Adu-Poku co-created, in which they were able to raise $360.

“Why not support these causes but help the world on a larger scale?” said Adu-Poku.

Despite working for his older brother’s business in the past, The Reach Series is the first entrepreneurial endeavour Adu-Poku has embarked on. As a student, he understands the need to manage his time while also staying on top of school responsibilities.

“When I started to make [The Reach Series], it was a four-week blitz before school got heavy. It takes up my time with extracurricular activities and graduate school applications . . . Time and stress management [have] been key,” said Adu-Poku. 

“When I started to make [The Reach Series], it was a four-week blitz before school got heavy. It takes up my time with extracurricular activities and graduate school applications . . . Time and stress management [have] been key,” said Adu-Poku. 

From a business perspective, he has not suffered like many other small businesses have due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since Adu-Poku is a student with career aspirations in the field of economic policy, his business likely will not be his main career when he graduates from McMaster. Yet, he continues The Reach Series in order to continue spreading messages of positivity. 

“Even with the prices I was recommended to charge, I lowered it and made it more affordable for people to [attend] these workshops. From a financial point of view, I charge a bit to value my time but ensure it’s worth it and accessible for [the attendees],” said Adu-Poku. 

“Even with the prices I was recommended to charge, I lowered it and made it more affordable for people to [attend] these workshops. From a financial point of view, I charge a bit to value my time but ensure it’s worth it and accessible for [the attendees],” said Adu-Poku. 

He is currently looking at making his business a non-profit organization.

Despite running the workshops by himself, he has hosted guest speakers in the past. His first guest speaker, Mussa Gikineh, was the 2020 valedictorian for the DeGroote School of Business. They both participated in a panel after which they discussed a possible collaboration that surmounted in the charity drive, which was actually created by both Adu-Poku and Gikineh. 

Just recently, Adu-Poku hosted the Hoopers Talk, an event where they looked at athletes from outside the court. The event acted as a space to support Ontario University Athletics basketball players after the cancellation of their season due to the pandemic. 

As of now, the workshops only run virtually. Despite it being convenient due to no transportation, Adu-Poku says he would like to bring people close in person, but only when it is safe to do so. With that being said, the feedback he received has been exceptional, with attendees feeling a new sense of community.

As Adu-Poku plans to graduate in April 2021, The Reach Series is something he hopes to continue on the side.

“I feel like using this platform to genuinely uplift others and interact with them can not only get me some income but also provide me some sort of fulfillment,” says Adu-Poku.

“I feel like using this platform to genuinely uplift others and interact with them can not only get me some income but also provide me some sort of fulfillment,” says Adu-Poku.

Photos C/O McMaster Muslim Students' Association

By: Drew Simpson

The McMaster Muslims Students’ Association recently held Finding Your Momentum, a leadership and empowerment workshop specifically curated for Muslims. Its objective was to increase youth engagement to improve community involvement.

While MacMSA maintains a busy calendar, the process of organizing this event began well before the school year started. While decisions were being made around the structure of MacMSA’s exec-director team, the team realized a recent and significant drop in engagement with the association and the community.

Typically, directorship positions with the MacMSA would attract about 50 applicants each, in recent times however, these numbers have significantly dropped to one or two applicants. The senior executives became worried about MacMSA’s future leadership and lack of engagement with younger cohorts.

MacMSA leaders also saw a lack of Muslims being represented in leadership positions in the McMaster community, such as through the Student Representative Assembly.

Feedback gained from focus groups found a common rhetoric of Muslims opting out of leadership positions to focus on academics. They also found that many individuals were under the misconception that they are not needed by the community.

 

One workshop attendee and MacMSA representative noted that a lot of students experience a lack of confidence in their abilities and felt that they aren’t equipped with the appropriate skills to take on leadership responsibilities.  

The Finding Your Momentum workshop was created in response to these concerns. The MacMSA team realized that they needed to empower their members and create a space where attendees can have open conversations about bettering themselves as Muslims and leaders in the community.

While one of the aims of the workshop was to increase attendees’ engagement with the community, the MacMSA team had to first figure out a way to increase engagement with the workshop itself.

From previous experiences, the organizers found that many people needed someone to both encourage them to participate and attend the event with them. This was often facilitated through invitations by word of mouth.

The organizers of Finding Your Momentum took advantage of this promotion strategy, and it worked. One attendee noted that in order to facilitate empowerment, individuals need someone to give them a little push of encouragement and support.  

“When you hear ‘word-of-mouth’, you think of just going and telling someone ‘hey we have an event, just come’. But it’s actually investing in the Muslim community on campus…A part of being a leader is having a community that can look up to you and support your vision,” explained Faryal Zahir, MSA Director and Finding Your Momentum organizer.

“A big part of this year has been making that vision very very clear, and then having people inspired to support that vision.”

This workshop consisted of interactive activities and discussions that focused on introspecting on attendees’ relationships with themselves and others. There was also a focus on utilizing leadership opportunities to serve the community and building connections.

At every MacMSA event, building connections is a recurring goal. The team believes that building connections enables individuals into action.

Finding Your Momentum, like other MacMSA events, aims to break down the barriers that repress interaction, and encourage attendees to have one-to-one connections, first with themselves, then with their peers and greater community.

Time will tell if the MacMSA achieved its goal of encouraging workshop attendees to take on more leadership positions, but one thing is for sure – Finding Your Momentum created a much needed space for empowerment and meaningful engagement for Muslim youth.

 

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Photo C/O Repair Café Toronto

By: Anastasia Richards

Our lifestyles tend to be disposable. Many of us are prone to throwing things away and replacing them without thinking twice about it. We reach for simplicity and convenience, regardless of the consequences.

The Repair Café, a grassroots organization based in Toronto, will be hosting their first event in Hamilton at the Worker’s Arts and Heritage Centre as part of the ongoing Division of Labour exhibit. Set to take place on March 30 from 1 to 4 p.m., the workshop will gather community members to learn how to fix things together and address sustainability.

The Repair Café launched in Amsterdam in May 2009. The philosophies of the event are all linked to promoting sustainability, helping out your neighbours and getting to know others in the community. In 2013, there was a small group of citizens in Toronto that heard of the event in Amsterdam and wanted to bring it to the greater Toronto area.

“Whether it be… electronics, sewing and mending, small motor repair, carpentry. Individuals that have the skill set come to the café, usually held in public spaces such as libraries or community centres and they teach people how to repair on their own,” explained Suzanne Carte, curator of the Division of Labour Exhibit at the Worker’s Arts and Heritage Centre.

Not only does the Repair Café provide you with the opportunity to learn to be handy, it provides an opportunity to meet people in your community. While you wait on your repair or even if you just want to stop by and see what it’s all about, you can get to know your fellow neighbours.

“With that, there may be some intergenerational conversation…talking about an object will lead to one’s life, uses for said object, storytelling and all of that. It's about building community and skill sharing too,” said Carte.

We live in an age where disposal and replacement are all too easy. Many of us are far too keen on replacing things once they’re slightly damaged. The Repair Café workshops aim to challenge this notion by facilitating an opportunity for people to learn how to be handy, as part of a community and on their own.

The workshops also aim to challenge gender roles that are present within the context of the work associated with repairs. The Repair Café creates an environment where preconceived notions about gender, such as who can sew and knit or do small-motor repairs, can be addressed and broken down.

The Repair Café wishes to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere so that even those who do not want to come and get something fixed can still feel compelled to attend and be a part of the community. As an example, Carte will be bringing her iron.

“I could probably go and find out how to do it via a digital platform, but I really want to be able to sit down with a person who can take me through the steps, answer any questions that I have in how to better care and serve this object that then services me,” said Carte.

Attending the Repair Café will provide her with an opportunity to collaborate with others in her community, share stories with them, exchange knowledge and extend the lifetime of her appliance.

The Repair Café hopes to change people’s mindset. Every contribution helps to improve our sustainability practices and it can all begin by learning how to fix the little things.

 

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Header photo by Kyle West, Article photos C/O Shanice Regis

By: Drew Simpson

On Feb. 26, the Green is not White environmental racism workshop took place at the Hamilton Public Library’s Wentworth room. The free, open-to all workshop, garnered intrigue from attendees interested in learning about environmental racism.

Presenters sat on a raised platform and the room was filled with chart easel pads, activist posters and resources. The Green is Not White workshop, which is organized by Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces in partnership with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion started its seven-hour agenda with a land acknowledgement, icebreakers and then laid down foundational knowledge.  

Environmental racism is originally defined by Prof. Benjamin Chavis as the racial discrimination and unequal enforcement of environmental policies. The types of environmental racism have expanded since this 1987 definition and currently encompass air pollution, clean water, climate migration, extreme weather, food production, gentrification and toxins in the community and workplace.

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The crust of the issue is that ethnic minorities are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards. Black and Indigenous populations are most affected by environmental racism, yet this makes it no less of a collective issue. Local case studies were highlighted to drive this message close to home.

For example, most of Hamilton’s waste facilities are clustered just north of and within residential areas. This includes a proposed electronic waste processing facility, which can cause lead and mercury exposure, and an existing chemical wastes facility that is known for chemical explosions causing evacuations and serious injury. Loads of biosolids have been trucked through neighbourhoods posing disease risks from pathogens, concerns of terrible odours and ammonia use for steam filtering.

Studies show that Hamilton neighbourhoods with single-parent families and low education are the most exposed to air pollution. Since these neighbourhoods have fewer resources and are systematically marginalized, they are targeted by acts of environmental racism. The hashtag #EnvRacismCBTUACW continually discusses case studies across Canada.

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Along with the extensive examples of Canadians and Hamiltonians living in dire conditions due to environmental racism, as well as the government’s oversight of this issue, various Hamilton organizations have taken it upon themselves to drive change.

This workshop was the third part of a four-phase action research initiative on environmental racism by ACW, which develops tools to better the environmental conditions of jobs and the workplace and CBTU, a coalition that breaks the silence on African-Canadians’ labour issues. While this third stage involves community engagement, the fourth and final stage involves a joint report and video that will be housed on both the ACW and CBTU websites.

The slogan “Green is Not White” highlights that green jobs and environmentally safe conditions should not be reserved for white people. People of colour are most likely to work and live in dire conditions, and therefore deserve economic justice and access to clean water and land.

 

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Photo C/O Black Aspiring Physicians of McMaster

On Feb. 2, Sonia Igboanugo, a fourth-year McMaster biomedical discovery and commercialization student and co-founder of Black Aspiring Physicians of McMaster, received the Lincoln Alexander scholarship at the John C. Holland awards, which celebrates African-Canadian achievement in Hamilton.

Igboanugo and McMaster grad student Kayonne Christy launched BAP-MAC during the 2016-2017 school year to support Black McMaster students striving to become physicians and other healthcare professionals.

Igboanugo was inspired to create the club following her attendance at a University of Toronto summer mentorship program geared towards Indigenous and Black students interested in health sciences.  

“I felt like that program changed my life in terms of inspiring me in what I thought I could do and what my capacity was as a potential health care professional,” Igboanugo said. “I felt very empowered and I felt very interested in this in bringing the same experience to McMaster.”

Since then, BAP-MAC has steadily grown. Currently, the club has over 100 members, proving a variety of resources to its members.

As part of the BAP-MAC mentorship program, younger students are paired with a mentor who provides academic and career guidance.

Throughout the year, BAP-MAC also arms students with information about research opportunities and hosts workshops and talks led by healthcare professionals.

At its core, however, BAP-Mac simply serves as a community for Black students on campus.

“For me, the biggest part has been connecting with older students who can help me navigate through university,” said first-year kinesiology student Ida Olaye, who aspires to go to medical school. “BAP-MAC gives you that support group, to know that you’re not alone, that there are a lot of people trying to pursue the same dream that you are pursuing and it is very doable.”

This past year, BAP-MAC received a three-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The grant has allowed BAP-MAC to host a conference for the first time. The event is scheduled for this upcoming May.

The grant also allows the club to expand its vision to empower Black youth on a larger scale.

“Because we have a pretty good campus presence, I would say, but the goal was to address the issue of lack of diversity on a more systemic front,” Igboanugo said.

Part of that is a new initiative aimed at incorporating high school students into the BAP-MAC program by connecting them to undergraduate student mentors.

Second-year human behaviour student Simi Olapade, who is also the associate director of multimedia for BAP-MAC, sees a lot of value in the initiative.  

“Reaching out to those high school students is an opportunity that I even wished I had to be honest. Seeing someone like you in a place where you want to be helps so much in terms of making you focus more on achieving that goal, making you more goal-oriented and making you more focused,” Olapade said.

Reflecting on the award she recently received, Igboanugo says the work she does as part of BAP-MAC only reflects how others have helped her.

“It was very humbling to actually be recognized for the work because it is the greatest thing or greatest privilege I have to always serve my community or use my strength to better my community and the people around me,” Igboanugo said.

Students wishing to get involved with BAP-MAC can learn more about the group’s initiatives on BAP-MAC’s Facebook page.

 

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Photo C/O @goodbodyfeel

Robin Lamarr has been the only person of colour in a movement class. With this personal experience and her own desire to make mindful movement accessible, the movement educator and community activist had been thinking about how she could address the lack of representation in the movement community.

When she obtained a physical space for the studio she founded, Goodbodyfeel, she saw it as a good time to introduce a designated space for people of colour. The result was the first Movement Melanin Expression workshop on Feb. 24. The two-hour, three-part workshop was designed for individuals identifying as Black, Indigenous or people of colour.

The intention is to create a space where folks who usually feel like they don't belong can feel belonging. And then, because it's an exclusive space, we can be open, raw, vulnerable and honest about what… we're feeling and why… [W]e can be super open about it without having to… defend ourselves against someone who might have white fragility for example,” said Lamarr.

The workshop was the result of a partnership with Hamilton-based visual alchemist and movement teacher-in-trainer, Stylo Starr. Starr joined the Goodbodyfeel Teacher Training last year when she met Lamarr and is almost finished her 200 hours of training.

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Lamarr and Starr have collaborated on a similarly structured workshop before. Last summer, they ran a satellite workshop at the Art Gallery of Hamilton wherein Lamarr led a movement sequence followed by Starr leading a walking meditation involving collage material.

Similarly, Movement Melanin Expression began with Lamarr leading participants through her famed R&B Pilates movement sequence. The sequence starts slow and warms up the individual parts of the body before ending with an intense squat sequence wherein participants scream in order to release all their emotions.

After moving, a circle discussion took place. The discussion was intended to address how people of colour can take up space and reverse the lack of representation in the movement and wellness industry. Most importantly, the conversation was meant to be open and unrestrained. Starr hopes that the conversation acted as a catalyst for participants to discuss how they’re feeling with the people in their lives.

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The workshop ended with Starr’s collage workshop. As she did with the series at the art gallery, Starr led participants through a walking meditation, allowing them to find pieces that spoke to them and create something there. The creative portion of the workshop allowed participants to express and liberate themselves.

I've seen firsthand how movement has helped my creation. It's just a way of accessing a part of your mindfulness that maybe sitting still might not do for many people… I think it's really important to mesh these worlds because it's often implied that they're so different but they're actually very similar. In creating sequences for classes, it's a collage of different movements and they might not always look the same,” Starr explaining.

Approaching creativity through the medium of collage is one of the many ways in which this workshop made itself accessible. Unlike other forms of art, collage is not very intimidating for the non-artist and allowed individuals to express themselves with lesser concern about artistic skill.

Like several other Goodbodyfeel classes, this workshop had a sliding scale in place to reduce the financial barrier for participants. The studio also has clean clothes for participants to use and provides mats and props. By removing these obstacles for participants, the studio is hoping that no one is priced out of accessing mindful movement.

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“I've been practicing some form of mindful movement since 2000 and… it's been a really big part of my healing journey. And so since moving to Hamilton and starting this community, my aim is to have as many people as possible benefit and have access to the transformative effects of mindful movement.

Why does the movement community need to even address race and representation? Well, because it's incredibly beneficial to mental health and well-being and everybody deserves access to it,” Lamarr said.

At the end of the day, the most important part of Movement Melanin Expression was the formation of community through movement. Starr and Lamarr intend to continue the class so that people of colour can continue to take up space in the movement industry and discuss more ways to break down the barriers.

 

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By: Natalie Clark

The definition of “Thrive” is most simply put as “to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.” This definition embodies the true meaning of McMaster’s first ever Thrive Week, beginning Feb. 4.

Thrive Week is a week-long series of events focusing on improving and maintaining good mental health of students, staff and faculty on campus.

Events include yoga, Zumba, meditation circles, stress management workshops and various panels for students to get information on a variety of topics such as career planning and suicide awareness.  

Although Thrive Week is new to McMaster, the wellness event has been a part of many schools around Canada for the past 10 years.

 

“Thrive began at [University of British Columbia] in 2009 and since then, a number of Canadian colleges and universities have adopted the spirit of Thrive,” mentioned McMaster wellness educator, WilPrakash Fujarczuk.

“The wellness education team decided to join these schools for a number of reasons…  one reason is to connect students to pre-existing services on campus… we know that there are a number of departments that promote mental wellness in ways that may not be so obvious,” said Fujarczuk.

Fujarczuk mentions “Sketching Thursdays” at the McMaster Museum of Art, which is a weekly event that allows students to distance themselves from their devices and work on mindfulness and creative expression.

Thrive Week is intended to promote events similar to “Sketching Thursdays” on campus and add additional resources and events throughout Thrive Week for students to participate in to further their mental health journey.

“Thrive is also an opportunity to bring in community partners to showcase the valuable expertise that Hamilton community resources have to offer,” mentioned Fujarczuk.

Some of the community partners that are taking part in Thrive Week at McMaster include Healing Together Yoga, The AIDS Network and Asian Community AIDS Services.

 

Body Brave, another Hamilton-based organization, will also be taking part in the event to introduce students and staff to their off campus support system. Body Brave’s main purpose is to address the major gaps in resources for eating disorders, raise awareness and reduce the stigma around eating disorders, particularly with those who are over the age of 18.

Kelsea McCready, a McMaster student who holds the position of secretary on the board of directors at Body Brave, mentions the barriers that individuals may face when struggling with an eating disorder and are looking for help.

“Programs within Ontario as a whole have a limited capacity which means that many individuals who are struggling are left on long waitlists without any kind of specialized support,” mentioned McCready.

McCready notes that although Body Brave is not a direct replacement for professional specialized support for eating disorders, the organization offers a variety of affordable treatment programs such as workshops, individual treatment and support groups.

“It is a priority for Body Brave to engage more with the McMaster community as an off-campus support in addition to on-campus services,” said McCready.

Body Brave’s involvement in Thrive Week is important for those who may be suffering from an eating disorder and are wary to seek out support. Thrive Week introduces programs and organizations to the McMaster campus that are similar to Body Brave in order to make these services more accessible to students.

“Given that it’s our first year running Thrive, we are hoping to use it as an opportunity to evaluate programs and build on for future years,” said Fujarczuk.

While Thrive events will only be taking place for a week, the path towards bettering the mental health of the McMaster community needs to be addressed and explored on a consistent basis. Thrive Week is the first step towards shedding light on the services available on-campus and in the community.

 

Thrive Week will be running on campus from Feb. 4 to Feb. 9. More information about the event can be found on the Student Wellness Centre’s website, which includes the Thrive Week schedule and other mental health resources found year-round on campus.

 

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Photos C/O Peggy Baker Dance Projects

It has been said that life is a dance. No one knows that better than celebrated Canadian dance artist Peggy Baker whose dance installation Move captures the duality of caregiving. The free installation will be performed on Feb. 2 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton as part of McMaster University’s Socrates Project.

The dance installation takes place in a 28 by 28-foot square surrounded by a frame.  It is 70-minutes long and is organized into four cycles. The cyclic nature of the piece and the fact that it rotates throughout means audience members can take it in from multiple angles.

 

The performers are not necessarily dancers by trade but members of the community who love dance. There are 16 of them dancing in pairs that reverse roles with each cycle. They were selected in November 2018 during a two-hour workshop and audition.

The story of Move began 10 years ago when Baker first presented the dance as part of Toronto contemporary art event Nuit Blanche. At that time, the dance was 20 minutes long and done on the hour every hour for 12 hours with 12 pairs of professional dancers. When Baker put on Move for the second time at the Art Gallery of Ontario a couple years later, she decided to extend the length of the piece and do it with fewer dancers.  

It was while doing the dance at the Art Gallery of Ontario that Baker thought about using community members as the dancers. She has since put on several performances of Move with non-professional dancers, staging the entire performance in five three-hour rehearsals.

 

Baker’s own experience with caregiving formed a part of the inspiration for the installation. She was the primary caregiver to her late husband, who had primary progressive multiple sclerosis. She found that caregiving involves a beautiful rapport between the one receiving and the one giving care.

Baker was also inspired by art and dance itself. While teaching in Philadelphia, she was struck by the beauty of partnership when she had dancers pair up and help another during some difficult movement sequences. Also while in Philadelphia, she saw an exhibition of paintings by American painter George Tooker and was inspired by the images of people embracing one another.

The dancers changing roles throughout the piece represents the inevitability of being on both sides of caregiving. The choreography for the piece overall is formal and highly organized, mimicking the ritualized elements of human lives. The choice to have four cycles mimics the cyclic structure of the seasons and the fact that there are four cardinal directions.

“[I]t’s something universal. We all receive that kind of intimate physical care and physical nurturing as infants and children. We may all find ourselves in a position where we where we are called upon to give care to a parent or a partner or a child. And we may all eventually need to receive care,” explained Baker.

KITCHENER, Ont. (09/04/18) - Victoria Park

 

The electro-acoustic soundtrack, composed by musician and composer Debashis Sinha, is also organized into four cycles. It is subtle and atmospheric, not quite music but a sonic landscape for the audience and dancers to reside in.

Baker encourages audience members to walk around the square performance space, close their eyes or turn their back to view the art in the gallery. The space allows viewers to feel comfortable arriving after it begins or even leaving before it ends.

I like it to be in a public place. I like it to be in a place that already is claimed by the community as being a place in their town or city like this is… an art gallery, a foyer of a theater, a market… [I]t needs to locate itself in the heart of the community… [I]t's about community building basically,” Baker said.

At the end of the piece, the dancers pour water for one another and drink it. One of the dancers in the group, a ceramic artist, suggested that the group each makes the vessel that they drink out of. At the end of one of their rehearsals, she guided her fellow dancers through making their own bowl.

The creativity and passion brought on by these community dancers give this installation of Move a unique tint. However, the beauty of Move is the universality of the theme and the way in which it can move anyone.

 

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Photos by Catherine Goce

As the freezing cold wind twirled snow into the night air last Thursday, the inside of Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts was filled with warmth. Chai was brewing and connections were being made as members of the community gathered inside for the first Zine Club meeting.

The free club is the first of its kind at Centre[3] and is designed for zine creators, writers, artists and all others interested in the culture surrounding these DIY publications. The meetings are set for the second Thursday of every month.

The club coordinators are Centre[3] program coordinator Sonali Menezes and administrative coordinator Mariel Rutherford. They had no idea what kind of turnout to expect for this first meeting and were overwhelmed as people continuously trickled in from the cold, quickly filling up the prepared seats.

The idea for the club was sparked by a desire to create a space for Hamilton’s zine creators, who often call themselves “zinesters”, and welcome them to the facilities at Centre[3].

“[I]t really came out of trying to engage with a younger membership and trying to show people what we offer… [S]ometimes Center[3] as a printing house can be really intimidating to people who are younger so… we just want people to know that our doors are open,” Rutherford said.

However, it was not just a younger crowd that came through the doors on Jan. 10 but individuals of all ages. Nor were only zine creators interested. While some were zine artists like emerging artist-in-residence Laura K. Watson, others had never read a zine before or did not align themselves with an artistic form.

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The first meeting was structured to get everyone on the same page. After an introductory icebreaker, Menezes and Rutherford passed out various magazines. Together, the group made a list of themes present and feelings evoked. Flipping through, people repeatedly noted the presence of advertisements, advice championing success and models with “perfect” faces and bodies. People commented on how it made them feel broke and insecure.

Next Rutherford and Menezes handed out zines from Menezes’ personal library. The reactions were notably different as participants commented how the zines were diverse, inclusive, informative and funny.

The difference highlights what has drawn people to zines throughout its long history. Zines are traceable back to the science fiction fans of 1920s and 1930s. From the poets of the 1950s to punk movement members of the 1970s, individuals through the decades have been drawn to the idea of being able to share their own ideas in a DIY way.

It is also what has made Menezes and Rutherford zine creators themselves. Rutherford got started recently started making zines of her illustrations last year while Menezes has been making zines for the past seven years.

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“I got started in school… I just really caught on to zines and I just love making them. I love going to zine fairs and sharing zines with people and meeting zinesters. Zinesters are really nice people. Like the best way to make friends when you move to a city is to go to zine fair,” explained Menezes.

In the spirit of zine culture, the meeting was also very DIY. Rutherford and Menezes had participants create a list of what they wanted zine club to be. Ideas ranged from having question and answer, information and skill share sessions and workshops to hosting zine exchanges, hangouts and working on a collaborative zine.

When it finally came to creating at the end of the night, laughter echoed alongside the music playing in the background. The coordinators wanted participants to feel safe, creatively stimulated and supported while occupying the space.

“[W]e want to create… a space where people can find their niche. And like zines are very niche-y and they're very specific. Come find your niche! Like find the spot where you fit in... It's so nice connecting with other weirdos,” Menezes said.

Everyone created a page to be included in a collaborative zine. As neighbours shared glue, scissors and markers, they also shared their ideas and got to know one another. Each person brought their own talents to the page.

100 Word Copy: Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts hosted the first meeting of its first Zine Club on Jan. 10. With a turnout larger than expected, the monthly club will continue to meet on the second Thursday of each month. It is a space for zinesters and those curious about zines to gather, work together and hang out. Will you be checking out the Zine Club?

Graphic by Sabrina Lin

As the semester quickly comes to an end during the busiest time of the year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the piles of coffee stained study notes and to do lists. Between exams, holiday shopping and all the other things on your plate, it’s important to carve out some time to enjoy yourself. As Hamilton transforms into a winter wonderland, now is the perfect time to check out all the fun events happening across the city.

Close to home

Holiday Market at McMaster

The Phoenix Bar and Grill will be hosting the first ever Holiday Market on campus. The patio will be decked out in twinkling lights and local vendors. Complete your holiday shopping while sipping on hot drinks and snacking on festive treats, or get creative at the crafts stations to make your own festive arts. No holiday market is complete without a photo with McMaster’s very own Santa. Entry to the market is free but make sure to bring cash for shopping at the vendors!

Craftadian Christmas Market

Looking for a lovely homemade gift that you don’t have to make yourself? Check out the Craftadian Christmas Market on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McMaster Innovation Park. Over 80 local makers will be there selling unique and beautiful gift ideas, from a toy for your baby cousin to a scarf for your Secret Santa pick.

Winter Wander in Westdale

Head down to Westdale on Dec. 7 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for some wintry fun. There will be live music and entertainment, a vendor market at the Westdale Public Library, horse and carriage rides and late night shopping.

Locke Street

Into the Abyss December Shopshows

Record store Into the Abyss is putting on two of its intimate in-shop shows during December. Head down to the store on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. to see Toronto singer-songwriter Adrian Underhill, Montreal pop duo, Best Fern and Hamilton singer-songwriter, Gareth Inkster. On Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., the set list includes Toronto songwriter and poet Steven Lambke and duo Construction and Destruction will perform in celebration of their joint EP. Hamilton’s own Wish Coin will also be performing.

Downtown

Feminist Trivia Night

Looking for some feminist fun that supports a good cause? On Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., take a night off studying and attend Broad Conversations’ Feminist Trivia Night hosted at Toast Wine Bar. Admission is PWYC with 100 per cent of the proceeds being donated to Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton Area). Open to everyone, this is a great chance to unwind with your friends and win some cool team prizes!

Gore Park Ferris Wheel

The Christmas Ferris wheel in Gore Park will be up through the entirety of exam season, from Dec. 7 to Dec. 23. Taking a free ride on the Ferris wheel makes the perfect downtown study break, providing both a layback outing and a spectacular view of downtown Hamilton. Stop by Redchurch Café and Gallery for a warm drink and stroll through their latest exhibit.

Hamilton Downtown Christmas Market

Head down to Gore Park between Dec. 7 and Dec. 9 for the annual Christmas market. On the opening Friday, the market will kick off with the Christmas tree lighting at 5 p.m. and there will also be free live music from the Troy Harmer band. Throughout the rest of the weekend, check out local vendors such as Red Church Café, Toast Wine Bar, Collective Arts, Hamont Doodles and Hamilton Hobos. In addition, there will be a fully licensed mulled wine and hot cider bar, DJs playing throughout the weekend, a mistletoe kissing station and much more. The best part is that entrance to the market is free.

Crystal Mala Bracelet Workshop

On Dec. 8 at 2 p.m., check out this workshop for a chance to create your own semi-precious stone or crystal bracelet to aide in mindfulness and personal growth. The history of this process, how to care for your bracelet and the stone options will be explained in a booklet given at the workshop. In addition to making the bracelets, the workshop will begin with a guided mediation. The workshop cost $15 for the bracelet and a hand sewn bag to store it in. If you want to make more than one bracelet, additional bracelets cost $8. If you’re thinking this would make a perfect gift for someone, you can get your bracelet gift wrapped for $4.

Polyester Queersmas Party

On Dec. 15 from 9 p.m to 2:30 a.m. Polyester will be hosting a drag show and dance party at This Ain’t Hollywood as part of their monthly events in Hamilton. The show will feature drag performances by Beautiful Baby Bel Bel. A mix of pop, house, remixes and beloved Christmas jams will be included in DJ sets by Rosé and Mia. Polyester hosts positive and safe party environments that are open to everyone. Cover is $10.

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