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Project Terakoya

Community Creates - Creative Mentorship & Multiliteracies


Intergenerational learning and collaboration is a unique approach to bridging the generational gap. Students (high school to university) and older adults will get a chance to form connections through shared experiences and projects. Older adults will play a vital role by sharing their wisdom and life stories, while students will learn valuable practical and emotional skills from working with older adults, such as group co-leadership, self-confidence, and emotional maturity. The older adults may also learn social networking skills and etiquette from the students.


(APR 2021 - AUG 2021)

Art-based residency for seniors and youth to explore a state of intergenerational learning pedagogy/play, and co-create and design cultural change​


1) Experimenting with innovative, non-conventional forms of communication and learning to enhance mutual understanding and recognition between generations;

2) Creating learning opportunities, based on participation and creativity, to be shared and utilized by the old and the young, preserving and sharing cultural memories (e.g., traditional songs, folk art, and crafts) as well as engaging with the digital era (social media, etc).


In short, we will explore modes of expression much broader than language alone, including the visual, the audio, the spatial, the behavioral, and so on. We will address the question of how we can ensure that differences in culture, language, gender, and health risks are not barriers to learning success.

Multiliteracies Study group

"See One, Do One, Teach One"

Multiliteracies is a pedagogical approach and theoretical framework, originally developed by the New London Group (1996), that embraces cultural and linguistic plurality, technology, and multimodalities (combining modes such as visual, audio, gestural, and spatial, to convey meaning).  

What are multiliteracies? What does it have to do with intergenerational learning? Why should seniors be concerned about it? Where to start?


Learning new things and sharing your learning becomes especially important in the senior years and may be closely linked with one’s identities. Let us explore, as a group, why developing multiliteracies is so important as we age. Group study provides opportunities to talk through ideas with and teach others and, consequently, better master the material oneself.

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Evocative Sounds

Improving aural awareness

in intergenerational relationships

The broad premise of this residency is to use music education techniques to improve listening and aural discernment abilities when youth and seniors are connecting with each other. Borrowing from the field of acoustic ecology, it aims to provide the opportunity to focus on the sound environment, which we would otherwise take for granted, for the development of ethics, aesthetics, and personal knowledge. The ability to listen effectively and be conscious of our interpretations of the information from our sound environments are universal and could provide keys to developing cross-cultural and intergenerational learning.

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Question Crafting

Developing Your Ikigai & Intergenerational Literacy

What is your Ikigai, a Japanese concept that means "reason for being"?

It is important to begin conversations between seniors and youth, and between local government and the community, to gather ideas on how to make their neighborhood or city a better place to live.

Participants will create an Instagram-like feed of pictures, quotes, articles, and opinion pieces to help educate themselves and others in becoming activists in their communities.

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Essay Collections publishing

VACS Director Daniel Conrad

Our Director, Daniel Conrad offers editorial support for publishing the essay collections of Project Terakoya.

Ready to Get Published

Focused Walk & AfterWords

"Writing How Place Feels"

In this program, we will enable seniors and youth to engage with the natural and architectural worlds in their community through focused walking. The activity can be done alone or in small groups (with social distancing). Each walk will have at least one imagination-focused question, challenge, or activity. This activity is intended to enhance participants' relationship to the place where they live.


After focused walking, participants will write a poem or "haiku" (composed of only 3 lines in a 5, 7, 5 pattern - a short-form originally from Japan). Archived writings by participants will be shared in the Wabi Sabi Map (GIS map).

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Graphic Medicine on Aging

ConTEXT Connection - Thinking through study drawing of gestures

This program will allow senior and youth participants to engage in social and emotional learning through copy drawings of human or non-human primate gestures (drawn by many great artists, like Goya). Gestures, since they are kinaesthetically close to both kinetic action and the symbolic level, can change how we (and others) think and speak, and may have played a central role in developing the human ability to think and speak.

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On Generative Art
A conversation with Oliver Hockenhull

As part of Project Terakoya 2021 series Conversations on Multiliteracies, our colleague and acclaimed filmmaker/media theorist, Oliver Hockenhull, invites you in - to explore, negotiate and shift your way of seeing. In this essay he proposes that recent technological developments in generative art morphs the role of the artist from creator to composer. This shift in performance is a glancing away from the individual memory and auric imagery — to attention to the purely structural, colour and tonal qualities of an image, an appreciation of its ancestral elements potential as it is understood in its base, latent form — as thought of by the machine learning system.

An Essay:

Image Alchemy and The Out of Sight Nascency by Oliver Hockenhull

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Stories help us understand and discover more about the world around us. Origami, from the Japanese words oru (to fold) and kami (paper), characterized by open-access folding patterns and sequences passed down orally or anonymously from generation to generation, is being used today as a form of art as well as a more interdisciplinary investigation into creativity in both art and science. We will document some great examples put forth by the artists and scientists in our circle.

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Project Launch ZOOM - sharing ideas

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Nonprofits & Activism
Multiliteracies No 2: Mode Shifting

Multiliteracies No 2: Mode Shifting

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Multiliteracies No 1: On Lifelong Development

Multiliteracies No 1: On Lifelong Development

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Collaborative Art Residency Team - First Meeting

Collaborative Art Residency Team - First Meeting

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Graphic Medicine 1

Graphic Medicine 1

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StoriGami Project 

Inanna Cusi & Yukiko Tosa (artist-in-residence)

Evocative Sounds Project

Klara Huebsch (artist-in-residence)

Graphic Medicine Project

Varouj Gumuchian (artist-in-residence)

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A seven themed-session series tackling ageism 

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A meme created by a participant

An exercise we did to explore paintings/drawings by master artists at each session

MemoryGami: Folding and Unfolding Times

Inanna Cusi & Marina Morrison (artist-in-residence)

The compilation with closed captions

(37 minutes)

Reflective Essay & Interview Articles  June 2021 ~ September 2021

Public Event Poster



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