INSIDE OUT PROJECT- breaking the cycle of violence through creativity: Activities Report Summer 2015

Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was made possible by a generous grant from the Province of British Columbia – Ministry of Justice: Victim Services and Crime Prevention  Division

INSIDE OUT PROJECT- OWN YOUR JOURNEY: breaking the cycle of violence through creativity Activities Report

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.09.47 AM

Location: Mountainside Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC, Canada


Ian Powell: photography, digital media

Kat Thorsen: therapeutic art

Erin Ross: animation

The Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was a three-week intensive arts-based program for youth ages 13-20. Using therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation participants were taught skills in self-empowerment, peer-to-peer interaction, and how to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for the Inside Out Project was to help youth-at-risk address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression.


Arts-based prevention programs allow for alternative experiences of what life can be like, helping at-risk students discover their own talents and creative energy and providing opportunities to develop their inner resources and explore new options for the future. Using a rich and creative curriculum around the themes of violence prevention, self-actualization, empowerment and creativity– facilitators of the Inside Out Project encourage participants to own their journeys.

The Inside Out Project engages participants with the arts, allowing for successful experiences on which to build the resilience and psychological hardiness as well as providing tools to be able to better meet personal and community challenges and to make healthy, non-violent choices.

Between July 6 and July 24, 2015, 11 participants completed the three-week curriculum.

Week 1 Highlights

• Chalk Talk: How does violence affect how people live their lives?

Photography introduction



Vancouver Police Foundation Mounted Squad field trip


• Art journals

• Discussion and reflection on Shane Koyczan’s Ted Talk: To this day- for the bullied and the beautiful.

• Animation introduction

Check out more about week 1:

Day 1

Day 2- VPD Horses

Day 3- animation and anatomical hearts

Day 4 and 5- digging deeper

Week 2 Highlights

• Journaling

• Public Service Announcement discussion


• Project planning

• Animation project: Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson (individual and group projects)

Week 3 Highlights

• Film interviews

• Craftivism: Operation Sock Monkey: “200 Sock Monkeys for Nepal” (benefitting KYT Foundation)

• Animation completion

• #BESTYOUth Emotional Intelligence Workshop (with guest facilitator, Laura Mack)

• Celebration

LIFE SKILLS addressed during the three-week curriculum included:

o Anxiety tools

o Emotional intelligence

o Self-reflection

o Motivation

o Journaling

o Behavioral pattern recognition

o Teamwork

o Chalk talk

o Peer to peer counseling

o Project planning

o Mind mapping

o Interview skills

o Creative process and expression.

CHALK TALK defined:

Three groups of 3-4 students work on three sheets of large paper, silently writing on the topic: how does violence affect how people live their lives? Each group moves at regular intervals to each of the three sheets- adding their thoughts and reflections on existing work. A large group discussion follows. The discussion and subsequent key points serve as a starting point for the final group video project around the theme of violence prevention.




Title: Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey

Subtitle: Breaking the Cycle of Violence Through Creativity

Chalk Talk: footage and audio (participant interviews)

Participant Interview:

Like nothing mattered other than drugs. Honestly, I didn’t even care about myself. I didn’t care about what I did. I didn’t care about going to jail. I didn’t care about dying. I didn’t care about anything. I just cared about using. And that is not who I am. It’s crazy how different it made me, like, I don’t think I would recognize myself I saw myself on the street like that.

Animation compilation:

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.13.54 AM

(interpreting and animating the poem “Autobiography in five short chapters” by Portia Nelson, ©1993)


I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost … I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place

but it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit.

My eyes are open

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


I walk down another street.

Back to Central Interview:

Well, like, I guess when I’m being creative, it lets me let out all my emotions and like everything that I’m thinking, just like, let me be crazy on a page or whatever… and like when I used heroin it would, like, take it into me again. It wouldn’t let it out. It would just shove it back down and make me feel better that way. Instead of expressing it. That’s why I think I should probably do more art. 

Tagline: Do more art.

Timelapse: youth artist portrait painting.




The Inside Out Project run by Kat Thorsen, Erin Ross, and Ian Powell this July truly changed my life. Two days before the program started I lost a friend to a heroin overdose. I could have chosen to fall back into my own heroin addiction but the Inside Out Project helped me stay strong throughout this hard time in my life. Honestly, I don’t think I would have made it through without the love, support and whole-hearted care everyone in the program gave me. The Inside Out Project saved me from myself. It saved my life. – Miko


Vancouver Police Department Mounted Squad field trip: tour with Cst. Darcy Henkel, discussion on violence prevention and use of horses, as well as photo essay opportunities. PHOTO ESSAY LINK:

Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) craftivism workshop: OSM is a volunteer-run initiative in support of humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil.

The 200 SockMonkeys For Nepal project: LINK

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.15.34 AM

#BESTYOUth- Growing Together (ViRTUS /TELUS ®): emotional intelligence workshop with guest facilitator Laura Mack.

Key learnings from #BESTYOUth:

o Get to know your best self

o You always have a choice

o Your values are your inner GPS

o You can learn how not to snap

Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.22.26 AM


Screen shot 2015-08-12 at 9.17.00 AM

Wow- even though I KNOW, from years of experience, that art heals, art builds connections and art saves lives- experiencing it again and again never ceases to amaze me. I just completed a three week intensive with 11 amazing youth. (I am so honored to have worked with you all!) It takes a lot of courage to dig deep and these 11 youth certainly did that. Watching them develop and form connections in these past three weeks has certainly been a highlight in my career as therapeutic art facilitator. [Special mention to Miko Philip for bravely sharing her personal story on which we could build our creative expression.] Here is their final project video on the theme of “breaking the cycle of violence through creativity.” Huge thank you’s as well to Ian Powell,Erin Ross for developing and facilitating this program with me. And thank you’s to Lenore Kane and Laura Mack for adding significant enrichment to it. – Katarina Thorsen, July 24, 2015














One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *