What's the opportunity?
In the midst of a global pandemic the spectre of loss is ever present, but actually this prototype is based on research completed before any of that happened. We spent time with 60 street-involved folks who identified a desire for connection above housing, food, or money. Imagine if that connection had been present before they landed on the street? This prototype is about learning how to be there for each other in a real way during difficult times, and finding gratitude in the soul work.
We’re looking for courageous and creative people to test different kinds of interactions that could help people relate to each other through loss and healing.
Why would you want to take part?
Maybe you are someone who’s come through a lot of loss and trauma yourself, and are looking to find a space in which your lived experience isn’t taboo. Perhaps you see yourself as someone with a knack for difficult conversations, passionate about creating space for emotional connection, and you want to polish that skillset? Or maybe you’re working on your dark sense of humour? We offer training, a culture that’s big into learning from the tough side of life, debriefing, reflection, and the opportunity to find the ‘so what?’ of painful experiences.
What's the role?
Losstenders will spend time with people in a downtown Edmonton neighbourhood to listen to every day experiences of loss, and translate the essence into a healing product — maybe a painting, song, poem, dance, just about anything!
In 2021, we’re trying out four different flavours of the Losstender role, each with a different focus: on art, music, storytelling, and body/movement. We’re looking to hire four people to bring to life each version of the role. Keep reading for descriptions of each.
- Losstender – visual arts
- Losstender – storytelling
- Losstender – music
- Losstender – body & movement
The Losstender - Visual Arts
Are you someone who sees the world through light, shapes, colour, and/or texture? No matter your preferred tools (i.e. pen and paper, camera…etc), you take inspiration from people’s stories and you’re passionate about helping them express their experiences by creating art that can be seen and embodied in a tangible, visual form.
The Losstender - Storytelling
You love storytelling through words. You’re the one people want to speak at their weddings and funerals, write eulogies, or letters. Whether you prefer your words to be read or spoken, you find purpose in telling stories, including ones of unresolved hardship. You’re passionate in communicating the heart of what matters.
The Losstender - Music
You have an ear for emotions and stories through sound. Maybe you’re someone who can recognize a movie from its score or you’re someone who enjoys coming up with playlists for different special occasions. Through experimenting with rhythm, chords, melodies and harmonies, you believe that music presents a conduit for you to express yourself and to connect others.
The Losstender - Body and Movement
You believe that experiences are best explored through our own bodies. Whether it’s body work, breath work, yoga, tai chi, choreography or something similar, you believe movement is medicine and you’re interested in helping people tune into their physical sensations to unwind and process tension. Perhaps you have explored the relationship between trauma recovery and body work, or used a body-focused technique as a response to anxiety, depression, or other challenges.
A bit more about the role ...
- You will connect with people (we’re calling them story sharers) in a way that they are comfortable with (phone, video call, nature walk) and spend a few hours or a day to understand something about who they are, what they’ve lost, and what that means for them.
- You’ll take a day or two to translate their loss into a product in your chosen medium or work with them to create something together. The product will attempt to capture something significant about the person’s experience.
- Our team will be checking in to debrief with you, help you digest what you’re hearing, and support you in your process of creating your product.
- You’ll share your products back with the sharers to playback your interpretation of their experiences.
- With the sharer’s blessing, we will bring that product to the broader neighbourhood, as part of local activations and healing walks designed to prompt mutual understanding and care.
A bit more about you ...
- You’re the kind of person friends and family want around during a tough time. You don’t avoid people when they’re down, and you don’t tell them to look on the brightside. You’re able to listen while people work through why and how their experience just sucks. You’re comfortable mixing sadness and laughter – you can follow others’ lead.
- You’re adaptable, super open to feedback, and enjoy making your own structure (rather than slotting into existing structures). This is a prototype, which means we’re making things as we go. Imagination and flexibility is a must.
- You might come from a cultural or spiritual tradition that has given you a deep regard for, and perspective on, the meaning of loss. We’re committed to recruiting a diversity of views, especially representing some of the backgrounds and cultures we’ll encounter in a downtown Edmonton neighbourhood. We are looking for at least one person who practices Indigenous cultural traditions and we will also provide mentorship to Losstenders from an Indigenous knowledge holder.
- Alternatively, or additionally, you may have made a study of grief, loss, or healing: we want to meet you!
The nuts & bolts
- Remuneration: We can pay honorariums up to $700 per person, or we can provide oversight for practicums and training that could help you get closer to earning your degree or certification. If this work is part of what you do already for pay: get in touch! If you’re independently wealthy and you just want to be part of something awesome, look no further.
- Hours/days: 10-11 days over 4-6 weeks, flexible schedule dependent on your availability
- Time frame: Between February 2-March 12, 2021
- What’s expected: We’re asking you to spend time with two people, witnessing their experiences of loss and healing, and to make a product with and for each person to share their story in your chosen medium. That will involve going back to them to present them with what you’ve made and getting their feedback.
What about Covid?
We’ll be testing lots of different options for COVID safe interactions (and learning about what feels comfortable and appealing to people). We might be communicating with folks by text, phone, video call, or on a socially-distanced outdoor walk-and-talk. It will also depend on the provincial guidelines of the moment!
Interested? Get in touch by January 25th!
- Please submit a short bio that tells us a bit about who you are, your relationship with or interest in understanding loss and healing, which flavor of the losstender you’re interested in (visual arts, storytelling, music, body & movement) and why you might be a good fit with the role. This might be in written form, a short video, or an audio recording. Don’t worry about production values!
- Send along a favourite piece of your work, and tell us why it means something to you. If you’re a visual artist, that might be some images. If you’re a musician, that might be some music or sound recordings. If you’re a storyteller, it might be some of your writing. If you’re a body work practitioner, that might be a video or photos of your work.
- Got a resume? Feel free to include. We’re not looking for your credentials or education, or a history of paid work, but we are curious about what else you’re into, in order to get a fuller picture of you!
Send your materials by 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time on January 25th to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, if you can just include which flavour of the role you’re applying to, and some details about your availability between Feb 2 and March 12. Are you available days? Evenings? Weekdays? Weekends?
After you submit, we’ll get in touch to confirm receipt. We’ll reply to each person who expresses interest individually. We will have the capacity to follow up with 15-20 people for a video call interview. We will make a decision by January 29 and begin onboarding on February 2!
Does it all look a bit too daunting? Contact us anyway! We don’t want administrative mumbo jumbo to be a barrier. If you don’t have a phone camera, data, access to past work, or an up-to-date resume, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be amazing in this role. We’ll do our best to find ways to learn more about each other.