Working with the children at Story Planet, an arts-based literacy organization in Toronto (Photo Credit: Diana Gunn, 2015)

The Faith Project As an educational consultant, I have completed many projects in curriculum design and teacher support for intercultural education. Recently, I developed the Educator’s Guide for the National Film Board’s The Faith Project, a film-based tablet application based on experiences of prayer in the modern world. I designed and created inquiry-based resources for teachers, including media literacy discussion questions and experiential lesson plans. I also synthesized my research on the featured faith traditions in order to create 7 one-page references for teachers. Overall, I aimed to represent the diversity within each tradition without compromising shared identities. I iterated through many versions of each reference sheet, based on feedback I received from friends and scholars in each tradition.

Qalb (2010), acrylic on canvas – Qalb is Arabic for Heart. The text reads Noor which is Arabic for Divine Light.

Paint Cafe As a resident artist and educator for the Paint Cafe workshops, I designed learning experiences for young Muslim youth based on the confluence of curricular concepts and artistic skills. Based on my basic Arabic skills, I aimed to teach students how Arabic calligraphy can symbolically represent concepts literally and visually. For example, the Arabic word for divine light, ‘noor’, can be written in the form of a flame or sunshine in order to convey the word’s meaning visually. Students learn that different artists interpret and express concepts differently, using their individual calligraphic style. Each time I facilitate the Paint Cafe, I learn something new about the learners, the art form, and the curricular concepts. These learnings feed into the next session I facilitate.

A glimpse into the creative process for Arabic calligraphy

Connect Create Cairo Beyond the classroom, I have the opportunity to focus on religious education within families and local communities. Recently, our team designed a program called ‘Connect, Create, Cairo’. These workshops aimed to engage students with urban planning principles within their own city of Toronto, and within a city like Cairo that has historical and contemporary significance for Muslims. Students designed a home for the landscape of Cairo and used 3D printers to create a mini-model of their design. All models were set up on a communal map of present-day Cairo. We designed a prototype lesson plan for the first workshop and then each facilitator evolved the lesson plan based on their experiences and teaching style.

Screen shot of the design process for 3D printing

A glimpse into the exhibition and workshop space for the program

The SIDELab Two years ago, I joined a group called The SIDELab. The SIDELab is a lab dedicated to the exploration of Systems, Integrative, Design and Evaluative Thinking frameworks. We discuss these frameworks in the context of our own lives, and in the context of social issues in Toronto. We are passionate about solving what we call ‘wicked’ problems.

Following each meeting, one of the team members documents the experience on our blog. Here are two of my blog posts, including SIDELab artifacts:
SIDELab Breadcrumbs and Recurring Questions http://thesidelab.com/2014/10/23/sidelab-breadcrumbs-and-recurring-questions/ Tangents: Multi-Player Mental Ping-Pong http://thesidelab.com/2014/11/19/tangents-multi-player-mental-ping-pong/