AVA 2021 High Commendation

The Resemblage Project

AUTHORS: Andrea Charise and the Team

LINK: THE RESEMBLAGE PROJECT – Remixing Scarborough’s Stories of Aging

ABSTRACT: The Resemblage Project is a digital intergenerational storytelling initiative based in Scarborough, located in the eastern part of the city of Toronto, Canada. Responding to the need for stories of aging that reflect profound difference, while sensing in distinct aging experiences the possibility of shared collective action, The Resemblage Project is a community-facing digital multimedia initiative dedicated to inviting, assembling, and imaginatively re-presenting stories of aging. First launched in June 2019, and significantly updated in Spring 2021, The Resemblage Project is dedicated to exploring aging as and in terms of intersectionality and assemblage by involving students, scholars, artists, activists, and community members from across the city—and across the life course—who are imaginatively exploring what it means to grow older in Canada. The project logo recapitulates this project’s major concerns: the final three letters, “AGE,” are situated on the threshold of the logo’s inner and outer boundaries; while older age and ageing is similarly left on the fringes of society, The Resemblage Project aims to bring age back into the common fold of thought. The choice of font, known as “Toronto Subway,” deliberately evokes Toronto’s city transit infrastructure, thereby situating this particular intergenerational storytelling work within a particular national and civic context—and the decades-long controversy regarding inequitable access to public transit that has long been part of Scarborough’s deeply racialized and socioeconomic marginalization within the “Greater Toronto Area.” Heeding the call of Audre Lorde’s insight that “The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes we hope to bring about through those lives,” The Resemblage Project signals an ongoing commitment to changing the quality of light by which we view aging–and each other–across generational selves.

PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS: The Resemblage Project has benefited greatly from the labour, creativity, and generous contributions of a number of individuals: ranging from our storytellers, to technically-skilled collaborators, to friends and colleagues who offered guidance of many kinds.The assemblage of stories, writing, work and labour you find here has been a truly collective and emergent effort: now, and in the future developments of our intergenerational storytelling work. Andrea Charise conceived of, led, and coordinated The Resemblage Project as a result of receiving the inaugural Jackman Humanities Institute Digital Scholars Fellowship in 2017. As Project Manager and Research Assistant, Celeste Pang coordinated The Resemblage Project, provided inspiration for our work, and supported each team member thoughtfully and with kindness. For a full description of our project team, storytellers, and contributors, see https://resemblageproject.ca/credits/  and https://resemblageproject.ca/who-we-are/.

AVA 2021 JUDGES: A portmanteau that mingles resemblance, assemblage, and age. It involves a large team from the social sciences and humanities. The Resemblage Project is a digital intergenerational storytelling initiative based in Scarborough, located in the eastern part of the city of Toronto, Canada. It entails a complex, wide ranging visual and aural media project representing aging and intergenerational connections among the amazing diversity of Toronto’s urban community. It gives voice to ethnic communities which seldom are represented in public recognition.

Jay Sokolovsky and Verónica Sousa, Judges (Multimodal Category)