Amal Rana is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and interdisciplinary storyteller specializing in opening up spaces in classrooms to celebrate inclusion, belonging and equity through a deeply heart centred and creative approach. She has over 15 years of experience facilitating arts-based workshops for youth of all ages in classrooms, community programs and other settings. Using a blend of poetry, creative writing, performance and storytelling, her work invites in creative expression in multiple languages and celebrates the beauty found in the diverse cultural backgrounds and communities of the youth she works with. Amal's work has been published widely in notable literary journals and anthologies and has also been performed on stages around the world. She has received poetry fellowships from VONA Voices of Our Nations and the Banff Centre for the Arts. Amal is currently an Artist in Residence at Carnegie Community Centre through the Vancouver Parks Board Artists in Communities Program. Her creative practice is influenced by her experiences as a member of LGBTQ and Muslim South Asian communities. She also works as a teaching artist with Reframing Relations, a program that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous facilitators to facilitate arts-based workshops on reconciliation in elementary and secondary schools across the Lower Mainland. Her arts-based youth workshops on home, belonging and inclusion have received wide recognition and her work has been featured by various media, including the CBC.
Amal shares her views and values in a way that opens dialogue and creates safety. She gets where youth come from and can speak their language. Furthermore, she can read a room and lead an energizing warm-up when needed! The result was workshops that had impact in the classroom and that teachers wanted more of. One teacher from John Oliver Secondary immediately booked Amal and her co-facilitator again for more sessions after their first workshop. In feedback forms, students from her workshops demonstrated a higher than average engagement in the issues and sense of participation in creating the future they want to see. As a solo facilitator or in a pair, and with diverse youth regardless of age, gender, and background, Amal is extremely competent at creating a sense of trust and drawing out their gifts. Kelty McKerracher, former Community Arts Council of Vancouver Program Manager
Amal has received two Creative Spark Vancouver grants as well as participating in our Arts Integration Learning Lab. She has put together very compelling workshops for racialized youth using a combination of visual art and poetry to explore identity and belonging. She develops strong partnerships in the community, engages youth artists as co-facilitators, and navigates planning/logistical hurdles. Amal is doing the very important work of holding space that centers the lived experiences and creative expressions of racialized youth, including youth of colour, Indigenous youth, and immigrant and refugee youth. Emily Beam, Director of Programs, ArtStarts in Schools
I thought it was cool because we could be as creative as we wanted / It was a great day / I was so excited / I hope we get to go back / We got to use all our creativity / I had fun Moberly Elementary School Students
We keep hearing youth are the future! It's true! In this workshop, we'll use writing prompts, individual and group poetry activities, storytelling techniques and visual art to explore and create visions of the futures we want to see in the world! What would the world look like if every youth got to go to school? If our planet was thriving and everybody felt like they belonged? We'll draw from science fiction, visionary storytelling and other creative forms of expression to open up conversations about how students can play a role in helping make their communities and the world a better place. Using fun activities to stretch their imaginations, students will learn that even the sky is not the limit when it comes to building the bright new futures we want!
Belonging and home. We all relate to these words in so many different ways! What does home mean to us? When do we feel like we belong or don't belong? What are the stories of our friends, our families and our communities? What connections do we feel to the land we are living on? Using a fun combination of popular theatre, writing and storytelling activities to create a safer space and invite in a diversity of stories and voices, this workshop encourages students to use their creativity to explore themes of identity, inclusion, diversity and belonging.