London Oral History Project

I am very pleased to announce that I will be partnering with the London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to produce a youth-led and researched oral history of London, Ontario.
 
The project will involve fourteen 2 person research teams, all of whom being young adults, who will fan out across London’s 14 Wards. Each team will be composed of persons who live in the Ward where they will be working. The goal is to have each team interview 5-10 persons/families. The project is intended to tell many different and diverse stories about our city much the way Studs Terkel did when he researched and wrote “Division Street America” about Chicago, Illinois back in the mid-1960s.
 
There will be an editorial staff working with the research teams to transcribe and then publish this study in book form. We will also have a Project Manager, an Assistant Project Manager, and a Historical Consultant. The final manuscript will be pitched to Canadian publishers with an intent to reach a broad reading public. I can only imagine how a work like this could appeal not only to Londoners, but also to artists, social scientists, local businesses and anyone who wants to learn something about this growing city that sits midway between Toronto and Detroit.
 
The best part is, all participants will gain writer/editorial credits and research and publishing experience. This project will be researched and assembled by London youth. An undertaking of this nature has never been done before. While putting the design together, it was my intention to produce a project that could reach out to people from all walks of life: gender, racial, religious, socio-economic, ethnic and linguistic in order to offer the researchers and eventually readers, a slice of the complex and fascinating dynamics shaping London’s social geography. Best of all, the interviewees will get to decide what stories and ideas they wish to share. This book will be Londoners speaking on their own behalf while taking to young adults.
 
I am more excited than I can possibly express right now. This has been an evolving dream of mine and the first major step to making it happen was approved this afternoon. Please stay tuned. London Oral History Project

London Literacy in Action

London Literacy in Action

We are living in a time characterized by a widespread desire to improve -even rescue- our world. Across North America these past five years we have seen an explosion of impactful social movements demanding that our communities revisit and reassess notions of fairness, justice, and inclusion. This summer has seen a dramatic spike in that urgency for constructive action.

In response a new group, London Literacy in Action (LLA), is being formed. This group will be led by Jeremy Marks, a London-based writer and educator and will enjoy the sponsorship of both the London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) and the London Central Library. This group seeks committed young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 who desire to participate in an ongoing conversation about fairness, justice and tolerance in our city and who are prepared to commit themselves to bi-weekly discussion sessions on Thursday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Central Library. These sessions will be driven by our close reading of contemporary fiction, literary nonfiction and memoir dedicated to the very issues which are behind the impactful social movements of our time. LLA wants (and needs) young people who are not only prepared to tackle a book every month, but who know the power of story and recognize how literature and memoir can spark the necessary conversations capable of moving our city and our society forward.

London Literary in Action will be more than just a discussion group; it will be a team prepared to interact with diverse communities of race, class, gender, colour, religion and ethnicity in London. LLA will also be a springboard for its members to become active in civic life as we will produce a narrative report of our findings which will be presented to City Council and made available to the community-at-large. In order for our group to succeed we need committed and creative youth-of-conscience.

If you are interested in joining LLA please answer 3 of the following questions. When you have completed the application please return it to Jeremy Marks at marksjn@gmail.com and include your contact information in the form of either your email or cell number (if you have one). Thank you very much for your interest! If you have any question please do not hesitate to contact me.

Application: literacy-in-action-application-pdf

Reading list: london_literacy_in_action_book_list

Local work opportunities for youth with the London Youth Advisory Council

My friend & colleague Adam Fearnall alerted me to these local work opportunities for youth through the wonderful London Youth Advisory Council. Anyone interested should check this out:
Youth Interview Team — http://www.pillarnonprofit.ca/…/london-youth-advisory-counc…
Youth Research Team — http://www.pillarnonprofit.ca/…/london-youth-advisory-counc…