Stage 1. The Call
We carry a legacy. When we carry our own weight we carry our full potential. We carry story. We make story. We witness story.
Participants begin by answering the call articulating what has drawn them to engage in the process.
Guided research prior to the workshop (archival and anecdotal) inspires the seeker's search for story fragments, resonant truths, and intersections. Their research and the APLP exercises prepare them to place themselves in the shoes of their chosen ancestor and the time and environment in which they lived.
Stage 2. Charting the Course
When we place ourselves in a situation where our creative bodies, breath, and voice can thrive—a state of letting go—we begin to tap into an abundant source of inspiration.
During this phase of the process, we set the stage to find, recognize, and receive the stories from our ancestors by first mapping each of our histories and exploring where they meet (dates, migrations, historical influences, etc.). We establish our village circle and, using tools that provoke verbal and nonverbal communication, we sneak under each other’s cultural borders. Through guided ensemble work, we develop the skills to recognize and communicate the fundamental truths that drive us and relate them to their roots in each of our histories and chosen ancestors.
Stage 3. The Physical Realm
At the centre of this process is the acknowledgement that everything we need to draw on for inspiration is stored in our bodies as memory.
Physical improvisations elicit meaningful gestures. Rituals, characters, themes, and stories arrive in fragments. Physical research into the meaning of each emerging gesture or fragment inspires further creative writing and an embodied reflection. The fragments are reviewed and pieced together through repetition and reflection.
This includes body training through rhythm, grounding, organically sourced movement and gesture. As witnesses, we learn how to “catch story” in the physical, intuitive realm, beyond the words, actions and tangible details.
Stage 4. Reclaiming Ceremony
“Traditional education consists of three parts: enlargement of one’s ability to see, destabilization of the body’s habit of being bound to one plane of being, and the ability to voyage trans-dimensionally and return.” Malidoma Some, Of Water and the Spirit
The Ceremony is a group-driven exercise that brings the physical training into focus.
Activating breath, body and memory on a symbolic level, this collectively created ceremony honours the authentic contribution of each participant and their ancestor. It prepares the ground for the final embodiment.
Stage 5. The Meeting Place
Together we walk a journey, dragging our roots on the ocean floor and here we arrive with roots and shoots and other tools of knowing…
The presentation of cultural protocols in dialogue with modern realities allows us to share ancestral values, negotiate space and promote intuitive thinking. A story-based introduction of all the ancestors in their own voices are called I-stories. These stories hold not only the discoveries made during research but the mysteries and lingering questions. It humanizes the archival and anecdotal research and brings the ancestors and their stories into the room.
Stage 6. Ancestral Embodiment
There are stories under skin, mingled in blood, buried in bones and breath.
In this culminating phase, we walk in our ancestor's feet. In the liminal, improvisational state, our bodies become a portal and we enter the crossroads where memory, intuition, imagination, and spirit lead. Time and space shift and expand to include multiple planes of existence. The present moment meets the ancient lineage of eras within; the I meets the We.
The process culminates in the embodiment of a chosen ancestor, set in a specific place and time within our ancestor’s life. With no words, and only a few objects we remain in this embodied moment and follow the story intuitively as it unfolds. The 'performance' of this embodiment is a profound experience that ignites a creative spark, often inspiring new creative directions.
The Arrivals Personal Legacy Process is a transformational exploration of ancestry, ceremony and root cultural practices for artists and creators of change. The Arrivals Legacy Process draws inspiration from African and diasporic performance traditions to give participants the tools to connect in profound ways to their authentic histories.
The individual and group experience of the Arrivals Process breaks down barriers of artistic, cultural and generational understanding. We engage in a guided, physical process to explore and exchange the experiences, values, and traditions of each personʼs chosen ancestor.
Workshops and residencies have been conducted in collaboration with cultural and educational centres across Canada, as well as in the Caribbean, South America, West Africa, the UK and Europe. In its current form, the APLP is the culmination of 12 years of focused artistic research and draws on almost 30 years of experience by the founder of the process, Diane Roberts, an African-Caribbean Canadian Theatre practitioner and educator. The process has been developed over time through the contributions of a Cross Canada cross-cultural and Interdisciplinary co-facilitation team.
History and Origin
The Arrivals Personal Legacy Process (APLP) was founded in 2003 as an interdisciplinary creation process for practicing artists and a pedagogical tool for students to create new works based on Ancestry and personal history. The process has proven itself to be a powerful source for artistic expression, personal & cultural empowerment.
APLP has since led Diane to offer talks and workshops in South America, the UK, the Caribbean, across Canada, and to finally consolidate the process, its learnings, discussions and discoveries here on this website.
The Arrivals Workshops
The five-day introductory workshop is the cornerstone and the main entry point of the APLP. It introduces and develops the creative tools necessary for participants to source their own ancestral stories. The story-generating techniques used in the workshop, drawn from a combination of African and diaspora performance traditions combined with western theatre training, allows participants to tap deeply into their creative practice, make profound discoveries about their ancestral subjects, and comprehend the connection between the two.
On the surface, the Arrivals process seems simple: Artists are asked to select, research and embody an ancestor at least three generations back from them at a specific moment in time. The six-stage process takes participants from the archival research they have prepared in advance through a rigorous training process designed to open their ritual story bodies and to enter the liminal, imaginative space. The performance of the final embodiment is a profound experience that ignites a creative spark, often inspiring a new creative, or even life, direction.
As a performance artist with professional training in the literary arts, music, and theatre, I am especially drawn to the multidisciplinary approach of the Arrivals workshop. Its focus on grounding the artists storytelling body through dance, movement, voice, and theatre has challenged me in my creative practice. Shauntay Grant, Spoken word artist Vancouver workshop 2012
The Arrivals Creation Residency: Bringing the APLP tools into creative process
The Arrivals creation residency is a dramaturgical process that translates the source material collected from the introductory workshop into a creative work. Residencies take many forms depending on the needs of the artist and can take place at any point during the creation or production process.
Toronto, ON, Canada
Diane is the founder of the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process and has been the lead workshop facilitator for the past 12 years. The roots of storytelling and multi-disciplinary art forms (mixing of ritual song, dance, storytelling, live art and theatre) drive her arts practice. Her intuitive style of facilitation draws on specifically crafted creative engagement tools that inspire participants from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds to unearth their authentic creative impulses. Her working methodology draws out and establishes a common vocabulary amongst Indigenous and diverse artists, their ways of working and their sense of themselves as artists in a global society. In addition to delivering the APL process to participants and collaborators, Diane has developed a signature aesthetic in her directorial process that uses a rooted creation process that builds on extensive ensemble work and seamless character development. Her process attempts to elicit naturalized character rhythms & gestures and connects them to character motivation, intentions and actions.Artist Bio
Toronto, ON, Canada
Dominique first took part in the Arrivals Legacy Project in 2009 in Vancouver, BC. The following year, she assisted the Arrivals Project team as a co-facilitator for the Raven Spirit Dance workshop. In addition to that, Dominique has designed and led a series of workshops as part of a learning after-school program for elementary students through Alliance Théâtrale Haïtienne. She also co-facilitated storytelling workshops in a joint outreach program by Black Theatre Workshop and Bureau de la Communaute Haïtienne de Montréal. Dominique has also had the chance to work with Pluriel as a workshop facilitator for several years with high school student classes. Pluriel is a playback theatre group formed by the Transcultural Psychiatry Clinic of the Montreal Children's Hospital, headed by psychiatrist Cécile Rousseau.Artist Bio
Montreal, QC, Canada
Emilie has been a facilitator for a number of years and her personal artistic practice is very much inspired by this work. She has facilitated workshops to First Nations youth, incarcerated women and sex workers with organisations such as Wapikoni Mobile (QC), Exeko (QC), Crossing Communities (Winnipeg) and the Elisabeth Fry Society (QC) to name a few. She was part of the Arrivals Co-Lab Exchange in 2009 and was invited to co-facilitate an Arrivals workshop in William's Lake in 2011. More recently, she is co-developing with three other artists a project around Body as Sanctuary, in collaboration with residents of the Native Women's Shelter in Montreal. This project is produced by Onishka Productions, the arts-organisation she founded and will culminate in a public presentation and installation in 2017.Artist Bio
Toronto, ON, Canada
Heather Hermant first encountered the Personal Legacy process in 2005 in a cultural production workshop Diane Roberts taught at York University. Since then she has collaborated with Diane on development and applications of the process. Collaborations include development through to production of the interdisciplinary performance ribcage: this wide passage and its translation to French, thorax : une cage en éclats workshopped with and directed by Diane Roberts; the first Personal Legacy training intensive, backforward collective’s 2008 Summer Intensive for emerging community-engaged artists; Arrivals Personal Legacy workshops in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Montreal; the Arrivals Co(Lab) in Vancouver; and urban ink, Vancouver’s From Where We Speak emerging writers’ program on Galiano Island, B.C.Artist Bio
Duncan, BC, Canada
Jude has been a co-facilitator since 2010, having participated in her first workshop and the Arrivals Co-Lab Exchange in 2009. The Arrivals process ignited a deep passion for diversity, universal human experiences, ceremony and the effect of our ancestral and biological lineage on the present. Jude is now an undergrad student of psychology and anthropology, and continuing her training in transpersonal psychology, group process, somatic, and Jungian-based therapies. Her training has included The Way of Council, Family Constellations Work, Compassionate (Non-Violent) Communication, Heart-Centred Hypnotherapy and Holotropic Breathwork. To the Arrivals process, Jude brings an ongoing exploration of body, breath and bones in motion, and their connection to the subconscious realms of genetic and collective memory. Her approach is a synthesis of her background as a dance artist, her own healing journey and most recent training. Jude also brings a deep appreciation for personal and collective healing, and the crucial role that authentic expression, ceremony, spirituality and community play in those processes.Artist Bio
Antigonish, NS, Canada
Liliona has been engaged in the Arrivals Personal Legacy Process since 2009, when she took part in the Cross-Canada series of Arrivals workshops. Liliona found a home in the Arrivals work and, since then, it has come to be at the centre of her artistic process and growth. Liliona participated in the Arrivals Co-Lab in Vancouver later that same year, where she began to understand how Arrivals could work as a tool for artistic creation. In 2011, Liliona spent 3 weeks in residency in Cardiff, Wales with Diane and 3 other Canadian based artists, exchanging and interrogating the Arrivals process in collaboration with members of Alajota, a dance company based in Ibadan, Nigeria. Since then, Liliona has co-facilitated Arrivals workshops in Vancouver and in Tatamagouche, and has served as witness and support for other individual Arrivals artists.Artist Bio
Lopa Sircar (Das)
Toronto, ON, Canada
Lopa has been an Arrivals collaborator since the beginning. In 2006 she worked closely with founder Diane Roberts and collaborator Heather Hermant in the formative stages of APL process development. She has participated in several workshops in Vancouver and Toronto and recently facilitated an Arrivals Workshop with Diane and co-facilitator Liliona Quarmyne at The Tatamagouche Centre in 2014. Lopa has also collaborated on several Arrivals creation works as a voice/acting coach including Heather Hermant's ribcage: this wide passage and Dima Alansari's The Return Home. Lopa completed her MFA Acting and Graduate Diploma in Teaching Voice at York University in 2011. She also holds a Diploma in Physical Theatre from Tooba Physical Theatre Conservatory. Lopa currently teaches at York University in the Department of Theatre and within Humber College’s Actor Conservatory. She also coaches voice & speech, dialects, and presentation skills privately through her company, Lopa Sircar Voice.Artist Bio
Olivia C. Davies
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Davies is an Arrival co-Facilitator since 2014. She was invited to join “Spirit Bones” Arrivals project as co-facilitator with Diane and Jude for the 4-day workshop conducted with the Pacific Association of First Nations Women. The experience led to deepened awareness of the intricate subtleties of First Nations heritage participants, the effects of residential schools and the residual trauma experienced by the survivors. Since becoming an Arrivals co-Facilitator, Davies understands the healing power of artistic practice in more profound ways as witnessed through the experience of holding space for story to unfold.Artist Bio
North Delta, BC, Canada
Rosemary became involved with The Arrivals Project in 2008 on Galiano Island with Diane Roberts. Since 2008 Rosemary has gone through the process 4 times personally and been part of the facilitation team in various parts of Canada and many times in Coast Salish Territory. Arrivals is a process that is very close to Rosemary and her traditional beliefs. Arrivals / Personal Legacy has moved her forward in her healing journey and has helped her to understand her broken First Nations family history which in turn has had a huge rippling effect on her family and her career and just her connections and how she views herself in the territory she calls home. And also how Rosemary fits into it all as a First Nations woman, mother, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter.Artist Bio
- Past Events
Works Created from the APLPPremeredTitleMediumCreatorProducer2016DanceLiliona Quarmyne2014DanceLiliona QuarmyneAugust 2015Theatre, InterdisciplinaryDima AlansariJune 2012Theatre, InterdisciplinaryValerie Sing Turner2012DanceLiliona QuarmyneOctober, 2011TheatreHeather Hermantbackforward collective, , Heather Hermant
Workshops & ResidenciesDateTitlePresenter/HostLocationFunderNovember 2016Arrivals Legacy Workshopbackforward collectiveTorontoJanuary 2014'Spirit Bones' 5-Day Arrivals WorkshopVancouver, BCSeptember 2013Antlantic ResidencyLiliona QuarmyneAntigonish, NSJune & December 2012urban ink Arrivals WorkshopsSFU Woodwards, VancouverMay 2010 & June 2014Hemispheric InstituteBogota, Columbia & Montreal, QCMarch-September 2009Cross Canada Workshop SeriesToronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Whitehorse, VancouverJune 2008Personal Legacy Workshopbackforward collectiveToronto
- Past Events