Workshop History

all workshops were created and delivered by Danielle Bleackley


The experience of the Lyrical Moment workshop more than exceeded my expectations. I had, “The happiest art teacher’s heart” that I have ever had watching them lose themselves in the moment and become so deeply involved with the process.   I would strongly recommend Danielle’s work either as a way to unlock the expressive a potential in your student’s art making or as a way to help guide students through mindfulness to a restful and deeply personal space. It was a truly powerful moment for all of us involved.
- Lise Marquis, Visual Arts teacher, North Toronto CI
This workshop employs the methods and tone of yoga and mindfulness to ignite and inform drawing, movement and mark-making. As a group, we will discuss how slowing down the breath and the body can allow for more intuitive and thoughtful movements and mark-making; that by involving the entire body in the creative process, ideas and emotions can be illustrated and transferred onto materials in a new and significant way. We will look at contemporary artists whose work is driven by the performative body. Potential materials and processes include: abstracted large scale drawing with the body (paper & charcoal), sound work, performance, video work, and photography. The focus and goals of this workshop can be developed in connection to your curriculum – past workshops have guided students through a focus on personal emotions and reactions associated with their own narratives, responses to music selections and working from communications that originate on social media.
Students should be open to getting messy, to experimentation and new ways of thinking of art, movement, language and emotion. Be ready to move, create independently and together, to build on your ideas as you move, and think and talk about your process and ideas as a group. You will leave this workshop with studies and potentially final works in a variety of media and, you will leave feeling inspired!
*Danielle holds a Yoga Teacher Training Certification from YMCA Canada and a certificate in Mindfulness for Educators from UBC smartEducation.

(Lyrical Moment workshop at Holy Trinity School, 2015)



Exploring how to harness the incredible time and energy that students spend with social media, digital communication technologies and their digital archives, this workshop reroutes this energy into a focus on artmaking. How can the immaterial (text messages, Facebook wall posts, Skype conversations and Tumblr posts etc) be translated into artwork, and into something material?
The Poetic Turn merges diverse materials and activities – the thoughtful collection of a personal textual archive, self reflective writing exercises, experimentation with new materials, and the presentation of these processes to the other learners – so that students might come away with a studio-focused experience, critical thinking skills, and material studies and artworks that speak to their concepts in a poetic manner. Important to this project is that learners consider the role that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and communication technologies (text messaging, blogging) play in their lives. Initially working from these as sources for texts, students will question how these tools, and specifically the immaterial information gathered on them (words), can be used to make something material. As well, it is expected that students will work to develop more thoughtful approaches to and uses of these technologies. In this workshop students are encouraged to get lost in the process of working with materials, to experiment and to come out of the project with a number of artworks that begin to articulate a personal narrative.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Arts Council Arts Education Projects Grant for generously funding workshops in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
(Poetic Turn workshop student work: untitled by Kat, two channel video, student at SEED Alternative, 2012)




With the recent rise of social media, the selfie has emerged as one of the most prominent gestures within it; the act of photographing the self is all at once ubiquitous. A steady stream of selfies travel through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook every second, and with the ease of cell phone cameras we can quickly post about our location, emotions, friendships, attire and more in a single selfie.
Selfies now form a substantial portion of the fabric of our online persona; in this workshop we will discuss and explore the motivations and intentions in taking selfies, the notion of the selfie as a visual diaristic device, and what it means to commodify and promote our private lives publicly. Students will be introduced to historical and contemporary photographic self portraiture pre-cell phone, and will learn about who owns the images that they post on social media. Students will spend time developing intentional strategies and gestures that approach the selfie / self portrait with more insight and creativity; it is expected that students will develop a new series of selfies using this knowledge, and present their work and reflections to the class. #Selfie: Unravelling the New Self Portrait asks students to reflect and think more thoughtfully and intelligently about their own online persona via new approaches to producing selfies that move beyond the monotonous and the mundane.
(Selfie workshop student work: selfie by Elise, student at Branksome Hall, 2014)