The women who create at Inspirations and Spun studios are living on the street, in shelters or in unsafe housing. Some have job skills but have difficulty managing conventional workplace expectations. Chronic physical and mental health issues, substance use, lack of skills, language and cultural barriers compound their marginalization. Earning an income, coupled with the housing access and support services and harm reduction and trauma informed counselling offered at Sistering, provides participants with a round-of-circle care that contributes to finding and keeping secure housing.
Inspirations Studio and Spun Studio have developed unique curricula from a trauma informed perspective; our model is responsive to women’s episodic engagement due to trauma or disability. Participants are taught pottery and textile skills by trained professionals, enabling them to create and sell pottery and textile items and earn supplemental income. They learn fundamental business and entrepreneurial skills, too, that contribute to their ability to create micro businesses. The Social Enterprise team works with community partners and community members to create business opportunities for participants including a variety of corporate and not-for-profit orders.
Our social enterprises contribute to participants’ sense of self, too. Creating and selling their work through Inspirations and Spun studios, supportive communities of entrepreneurial women who respect and honour one another, builds self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of independence and self-worth. Members of both studios sell at community festivals and events. They are also offered opportunities to earn income as peer facilitators of arts-based social recreation workshops.