About the Shoe Project

VETERAN TO NEWCOMER,  PAGE TO STAGE

The Shoe Project is a women-led, charitable national initiative to showcase the written and spoken voices of women immigrants and refugees.

Founded in 2011 by novelist Katherine Govier, The Shoe Project recruits women with the desire to lead and coaches them to tell their stories - through a pair of shoes. TSP partners with museums, theatres and arts centres across Canada to create public performances where these brave and moving stories are presented to the public. Led by senior Canadian writers and theatre artists, TSP’s workshops, performances and publications lift the voices of women and refugees into Canada’s national conversation.

We partner with The Sonor Foundation, Toronto; The Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto; Pier 21 Canada’s Museum of Immigration, Halifax; Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, Vancouver; The Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver, artsPlace, Canmore and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association and High Performance Rodeo in Calgary.

What do we do?

Our mission is to advance the language fluency of immigrant and refugee women residing in Canada while developing leadership skills and fostering a sense of sisterhood among participants. We do this through the arts of writing and theatrical performance.

We hire as mentors senior Canadian writers and theatre artists. They and all our members from diverse language and cultural groups connect using that universal, personal and evocative object, the shoe.

We create for sometimes isolated women the opportunity to tell their personal stories, make social connections, and accelerate their integration into new communities.

We select, train, inspire and empower women of all ages, professions, cultures and backgrounds.

Most importantly we bring these voices to a wide public through performance and digital reproduction.


How do we do it?

In each new city, working with community agencies, we select a dozen interested immigrant and refugee women. Many are professionals in their own country but needing to improve their communication skills in English to attain appropriated employment here.

We hold a ten-week workshop in which the women articulate and write a story about their journey to Canada, told through the lens of a pair of shoes.

When each woman’s story is complete she is coached by voice and drama artists to prepare herself for performance.

We hold public performances where women tell their stories with the aid of photographs and music, and we publish the stories on our website and through our network. We visit local churches, clubs, and colleges to perform and speak with audiences.

 

Since the first performance in 2011, The Shoe Project has now completed thirty separate events in different venues, ranging from synagogues and churches to conference centres and theatres.


Read:

The Shoe Project's first newsletter

The Shoe Project's second newsletter