VALLUM SOCIETY FOR EDUCATION IN ARTS AND LETTERS
Vallum Society for Education in Arts & Letters (VSEAL) aims to promote literacy and literary arts education through the Poetry for Our Future! outreach program, which provides free and accessible poetry workshops. Our philosophy is that literacy is about more than enhancing one’s ability to read and write. Literacy is about learning about one’s relationship to language, and learning how to use language to shape our thinking, our emotions, and our selves. We believe that poetry is the ideal entry point to this vision of literacy. Access to interactive, free, and accessible programming in the literary arts is a limited resource for underserved communities, and VSEAL’s workshops fill the gap for inspiring, participatory education by working specifically with contemporary poetry as an educational tool. Our program serves children, youth and adults from low-income families, low-education families, single-parent families, youth and young adults on the autism spectrum, LGBTQIA2+ and gender non-conforming youth and young adults. We also provide workshops for adults from underserved communities, such as folks experiencing homelessness, Indigenous peoples, adults interested in improving their English literacy, and women at women’s shelters. The goal of these workshops extends beyond enhancing literacy skills and engaging with contemporary literature – our workshops provide space for personal expression and growth, developing confidence, and a shared sense of community.
VSEAL works in tandem with partner organisations to meet the needs of specific community groups. We collaborate with community-minded organizations throughout the greater Montreal area and occasionally elsewhere in Canada to provide hands-on learning techniques to improve the literacy of participants, using contemporary poetry as a tool for learning. We employ professional writers, educators, and poets as workshop facilitators who work closely with host organizations to create tailored workshops specific to each community, providing small group and one-on-one instruction to participants. Our aim is to increase the literacy skills and literary appreciation of all the Poetry for Our Future! participants with an approach that focuses on the value of creative literary activities, in particular poetry, outside of standardized pedagogical structures. Our program focuses on literacy, creative writing, literary appreciation, and self-expression as empowerment. Our workshops are creative, participatory, and explore what contemporary poetry is and can be. Interested in having a poetry-based workshop at your organization? Visit our Get Involved page for all the info!