Untamed Wild(er)ness: BIPOC Disability Arts Online Learning Pods

[ID: rectangular image. white background which mimics wrinkled paper. left side, graphic of an individual with dark hair, medium brown skintone, wearing a white shirt and blue pants in a seated position atop a pile of books. A red laptop computer sits in their lap, with one leg tucked under their body. behind a medium blue-green leaf. above, images of a coffee cup, clock, laptop and smartphone. To the right of the image, large blue-green text reading "Untamed Wild(er)ness" below black text reading "BIPOC Disability Arts online learning pods", below smaller black text reading "Made possible through a collaboration between Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture and Arts BC". Surrounding text various line shapes in blue-green.]

Program Description

Untamed Wild(er)ness is a series of online disability arts learning pods for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour mad, Deaf, and disabled artists and cultural workers. These learning pods will happen fully online, over the course of 4 facilitated workshops. Through the learning pods artists will be supported in: collaboratively designing access intimacy rooted in Disability Justice, crip kinship, and Indigenous epistemologies. Further, artists will be invited to expand their arts practices in this intimate workshop series by centering their explorations on: what does it mean to make mad, Deaf, and disabled art in virtual spaces that nurture solidarity between BIPOC communities that refuses to be tamed by colonial projects. These online learning pods will be collaborative in design.

Project lead, Sam Howden, will facilitate the selected cohort in determining: collective learning goals in relation to BIPOC disability arts and cultural practices and aesthetics; collaborative outputs created through the work in the learning pods; and future dreams. 

*Please note, this is a paid experience. In order to honour the labour that goes into learning and creating together, each artist participant will be paid $150 for each workshop for a total of $600.

*Also note that no art will be created through these learning pods; this time is intended to be used to think, learn, and dream together. Any reference to impacts on artistic practice refers to the application of the learning that comes out of the learning pods, and is not indicating that artistic creation will happen in or through the workshops.


Workshop 1: Wednesday September 28; 5pm-7pm PST
Workshop 2: Wednesday October 5; 5pm-7pm PST
Workshop 3: Wednesday October 12; 5pm-7pm PST
Workshop 4: Wednesday October 19; 5pm-7pm PST

Program Outline

This online learning pod occurs as a series of four workshops. The workshops will be hosted on zoom, and will gather 10 BC based artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of colour, mad, Deaf, and/or disabled. 

The initial workshop is organized to give the participants the space and time needed to develop their access intimacy protocols. 

The following three workshops are to be led by BIPOC mad, Deaf, and disabled artists (TBD) as a way to open up explorations around what it means to create in the context of BIPOC crip solidarity building without being beholden to the colonial gaze. In this way the artists and workshop facilitators will collaboratively design the learning pod, show up to co-create accessible online spaces, and collectively dream up what gets created through working together.


To be considered to be added to the waitlist, fill out the form below no later than FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23 AT 12PM PST.


About The Project Lead

Sam (they/them) Howden socially locates themselves as a non-binary, Queer, mad Métis graduate Social Work student. As a master’s placement student between January – May 2022 they have been working, learning and being supportive of artistic endeavours at Kirkstart while under the direction and supervision of Jenna Reid. After the May placement, Sam will continue to support Kickstart programming through their work funded through an Arts BC grant focusing on sustainability for QTBIPOC artists and activists all the while maintaining  the spirit of Crip Kinship (Kafai, 2020). 

Sam’s major research project for their master’s in social work focuses on Indigenous food sovereignty, land back, and cultural revitalization practices which occur in urban environments. Sam’s work is rooted in Anti-colonialism, Anti-Racism, and Disability Justice which is grounded in grassroots frontline activism and formal education from X University aka Ryerson University. 

In the past Sam was the VP of Operations for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy at X University, a member and representative of the XU Social Work Students Union for two years, as well as a Co-founder and leader of the Student Labour Advocacy Coalition, and the Student Representative for Ryerson at The Ontario Association of Social Workers. They are also a founding member of the Wreckonciliation group at X University.

Beyond their work at X, they co-chaired the student committee at The Canadian Association for Social Work Education. They are also the Liaison of the Indigenous Students Association (ISA) sitting with the Aboriginal Education Council (AEC) at X University. Sam has a particular interest in Anti-colonialism, Anti-Racism, Critical Disability, Queer Theory, Harm Reduction, and how they intersect within the subject matter of peoples lived experiences.


Kahsenniyo is a spoken word artist from the Mohawk Nation Wolf Clan. Kahsenniyo began utilizing her poetry as a tool for social change and community engagement in 2008. Her work is centred around Indigenous issues. She aims to educate non-indigenous people about the struggles, beauty and realities facing Indigenous people. As well her work attempts to create moments of understanding, connection and healing for Indigenous People. Kahsenniyo transforms her love for her community and people into passionate performances.

Jillian Christmas is an artist, creative facilitator, curator, consultant, and advocate in the arts community. She is the long-time spoken word curator of the Vancouver Writers Fest, and former artistic director of Verses Festival of Words. Utilizing an anti-oppressive lens, Jillian has performed and facilitated workshops across North America. She is the author of The Gospel of Breaking (Arsenal Pulp Press 2020), and the forthcoming children’s book, The Magic Shell (Flamingo Rampant Press 2022). She lives on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam people (Vancouver, BC.)

Leelee Oluwatoyosi Eko Davis’ practice is rooted in the foundations of contemporary dance and intermedia creation methodologies. As a disabled, transgenderqueer artist of Nigerian/French/Algonquin descent, working in decolonial frameworks is central to their research and creations. Being from Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Leelee has had the opportunity to train and work professionally across Turtle Island. Their artistic goals are to merge performance and life, stage and experience, building a bridge to revealing the human condition. They can most commonly be found, producing their own work as a solo artist, however often collaborate across milieus. Leelee has had the profound pleasure of collaborating with artists and interpreting for choreographers such as Jolene Bailie, Dayna Danger, Raven Davis, Jesse Dell, Yannick Desranleau, Vanessa Dunn, Audrey Dwyer, Reginald Edmund, Johnny Forever, Gambletron, Chloe Lum, Ryan MacNamara, Kate Nankervis, Alexandra Tigchelaar on works for theatre, film, and stage. Eko Davis also works as a program designer, facilitator, and consultant in the field of Social Innovation and Adaptive Change and is a Co-Artistic Director at the Toronto Dance Community Love-In.

This project is made possible through partnership between Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture and Arts BC