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Thrive five

Key learning pillars of Platform A

Mentorship in Community-Engaged Arts

Platform A has traced the multitude of learning pathways across the sector and have identified these five key areas of skill development as essential learning pillars for community-engaged artists.  

Anti-Oppression Lens

You understand systems of oppression and are learning how to address THEir effects in ways that reduce harm and centre equity. 

An Anti-Oppression lens is an understanding of complex systems of oppression that permeate everyday life. 


children's peace Theatre

Children’s Peace Theatre uses an eco-centric and decolonial framework for working with the land, youth, and adult allies with Black, Indigenous, and non-indigenous communities. In Spirit, Soil, and Society, a three-year land-based art project, an Anti-oppression framework is used to facilitate engagement with the land, our spiritual selves, and communities.

Creative Practice

You are building a creative practice that can be used as a platform for engagement.

A creative practice involves working with media to express new ideas and interpretations of the world. In community-based arts, the artistic process is equally valued as the aesthetic quality of the artwork.


Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture

Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture is a multidisciplinary arts and cultural hub that uses contemporary art practices like spoken word, photography, and fashion to express Filipino identity, history, and culture. CLUTCHxNAV is six-month arts-based mentorship program for young Filipino-identified artists centred on professional development and ways of framing cultural identity and heritage as source of creativity.  

Facilitation Skills

You are learning how to share  your creative practice Through A community-engaged experience. 


The art of facilitation is a platform to share your creative practice while building dynamic and inclusive spaces for people to come together, collaborate, and participate in the art-making process.



VIBE ARTs and Jumblies Theatre 

VIBE Arts provides hands-on art education programs and events to communities across Ontario. Emerging artists in VIBE Arts' Emerging Arts Educator Program receive training and paid opportunities to apprentice with professional arts educators while delivering art programs to children and youth. These opportunities gives VIBE Artists agency to see themselves as sector leaders and give them the confidence to continue pursuing leadership and careers in the sector.  

Jumblies Theatre makes art in everyday and extraordinary places with the people and stories found there. Jumblies defines community facilitation as a type of creative practice. For example, Round the Table, was a celebratory and performative meal that brought together soup, sewing, ceramics, stories and suite of new rounds sung by a community choir in collaboration with professional composers. 

Leadership in the arts

You are developing the professional skills to successfully deliver outcomes.

Leadership in the arts is demonstrated by the confidence and capacity to achieve goals through a range of professional skills such  as securing funding, strategic planning, and managing projects. 


Art starts and ArtReach

Art Starts offers a range of different learning opportunities for artists to build professional skills. Led by professionals in the sector, the Art Starts Workshops series include topics such as Introduction to accountings software, accounting principles, and public speaking. 

ArtReach is a key source for professional development tools and opportunities dedicated to youth empowerment. Resources include the GOAL Tool Kit Series, an extensive menu of accessible e-resources created by professionals in the sector, Youth Arts Grants for youth arts initiatives; and a roster of professional development workshops and one-on-one learning opportunities.


You are building trust with the community, an organization, or peers through your work.

Developed through long-term and intentional commitments, strong connections with the people you work with, communities, organizations, or your peers reflect confidence in your leadership and generate the social capital needed to access resources and opportunities beyond your immediate reach.  

Spotlight: SKETCH ARTS 

SKETCH is a cultural hub that serves youth ages 18-29 who are living homeless or navigating the margins. SKETCH has developed specific relationship-building initiatives to prioritize BIPOC youth and LGBQT2S+ communities with programs such as Trans I.D Clinic, a closed workshop providing legal advice for trans-identified youth within SKETCH’s community about ID applications, name changes, gender marker changes, and other issues.


and References

Animating Democracy | Resources and Tools 

Animating Democracy | Aesthetic Perspectives

ArtReach | Anti-O and Equity Resources

ArtReach | Resources

Children's Peace Theatre | Artistic Manifesto

Neighborhood Arts Network | Learning Room

Ontario Art Council | Framing Community: A Community-Engaged Arts Workbook and Resources

Platform A | Mentorship Scan 

Platform A | 2013 -2016 Report

VIBE Arts | Arts for Social Justice Resources

Toronto Art Council | Tool Kit and Resources


Are you an emerging artist with a community-engaged practice and are unsure what skills you need to grow your career? 

Take this Thrive Five Quiz and build a pizza to find out! 


What we have learned from building Mentorship models:

ACCESSIBILITY | Flexibility is key

A range of flexible entry points is crucial to ensuring the artists can access support.

ACCESS TO NETWORKS | Connecting artists to organizational networks bolsters the development of their work.

The collective networks of all the Platform A partners expands opportunities for mentees.

LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION | Mentorship with Senior Leaders

Most emerging projects and organizations, especially those that are able to secure funding, require focused time from the Directors and Managers of organizations. As a result, there is greater transparency of leadership and management processes that can support succession.


INVESTMENT IN MENTORSHIP INFRASTRUCTURE | Resources for staff time and coordination are needed

Investing in a coordinated mentorship infrastructure ensures that each organization has the capacity to allocate staff resources to carry out mentorship activities as well as connect mentees to activities of partner organizations, thus offering progressive learning opportunities.


KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE AND SKILLS TRANSFER | Mentorship is mutually beneficial

The mentorship relationship is a mechanism for shared learning for all parties involved, not just the mentees. Directors and Managers of partner organizations gain valuable insights and learn from mentees’ strategies, approaches, and methodologies, which in turn ensures their own direction remains relevant to new generations. Organizational leadership becomes more relevant when put to test working in direct mentorship.



As a group of mature organizations who each developed from the grassroots project level, Platform A partners are each committed to, and realize the benefits of, developing an organizational culture of mentorship that fosters experimentation and growth of all artists and practices—emerging or more experienced.


Learn more in our Report here.

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