Alison Garwood Jones

February 19, 2017

Excessive Attention Seeking: An unprofessional diagnosis

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Upcoming talk

February 16, 2017

If you’re a freelancer, like me, come and share your adaptation strategies during my IABC talk on Perpetual Adaptation Strategies for Independent Communicators.

It’s taking place at Metro Hall on March 2, 6:30-8:30 pm.

Here’s a teaser of the talk hosted and recorded by my pal, Donna Papacosta.

 

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We the people

February 4, 2017

Blind contour drawing of a crowd scene by Alison Garwood-Jones

Blind contour drawing of a crowd scene by Alison Garwood-Jones

Drawing is more satisfying to me right now than writing. Writing requires a fuller understanding of people. Drawing lets you get away with suggestion.

Weekend side projects. #TombowUSA #BlindContourDrawing

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#GenderEquityTO

January 20, 2017

You have to work for the government you want, or else someone else will give it to you.

The world is feeling that today, this entire weekend, as folks in the U.S. prepare to stand toe-to-toe with forces threatening to roll back a half-century of hard-won social gains.

Last night, I was in a room full of people who believe in working for the city they want, and who have the willfulness and energy to do the endless groundwork.

Here’s a snapshot of one corner of the room at a Forum on Gender Equity in the Toronto City Budget organized by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. A diverse crowd came to hear the presentations and insights of NGO’s, including the Toronto Women’s Habitat, Toronto Women’s City Alliance, Social Planning Toronto and the YWCA.

I was there to listen and draw their stories.

Priority

In a nutshell, last July Toronto City Council passed a motion to cast a gender equity lens on the 2017 budget.

Toronto City Council

It was the first time in Toronto’s history that a City Council has agreed to act on the fact that women’s economic inequality is built into the system. Government policies are not,  and have never been, gender neutral. FYI: Women are 52% of the city and make 68 cents to a man’s dollar, as Wong-Tam pointed out in her presentation.

If I might add, women in our city, rich and poor, are charged more for goods and services — like dry cleaning, razors, moisturizer, etc. — simply because we’re women. It’s dubbed the “Pink Tax.”

I recently interviewed the creative directors at the Toronto arm of the ad agency, BBDO. The women in that office were so ticked off by these unjustified extra charges, they teamed up with the feminist website, GirlTalkHQ, and made this pro-bono video to illustrate one aspect of women’s everyday experience.

BBDO also created a petition asking for Prime Minister Trudeau’s help in closing the gender wage and price gaps. Feel free to sign it if you agree the “Pink Tax” makes no sense.

Pink Tax

By the way, BBDO is the agency that inspired “Sterling Cooper,” Matt Weiner’s fictional agency in Mad Men. Peggy and Joan would be happy to hear that 40% of the top brass at BBDO TO are women. Like the film industry, when women have a place at the table, our concerns and lived experiences are turned into stories available to everybody. And we all know how stories can change the world!

But back to the budget. It’s crunch time: 91 million has to be cut from the budget, and before the knife comes down, Wong-Tam wants to remind her colleagues of their commitment to gender equity last July …

We Passed a motion

Wong-Tam, who is calling for an open and transparent budget, is encouraging her colleagues to analyze the gender-disaggregated data collected by the attending NGO’s. It shows how cuts affect women differently than men. By the way, when you add on other identities on top of gender — like Aboriginal status, sexual identity, culture, creed, religion, language, citizenship, income, disability and age to the mix — the inequities are compounded Big-Time.

So far, one hundred and fifty cities around the world, including San Francisco and Berlin, have introduced gender budgets. The first country in the world to enact “gender-responsive budgeting,” as the academics like to call it, was Australia back in 1984. Inspired by the Australians, South Africa’s post-apartheid government went on to create a “Women’s Budget Initiative” in the mid-1990s. Work is far from finished in South Africa. In the meantime, 90 countries have been experimenting with various forms of gender equal budgets, according to this  2014 OECD report. Again, results have been mixed. The status quo is a stubborn beast.

Urban planner, Prabha Khosla, and Leila Sarangi, the Manager of Community Programs at Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke, spoke about the  city services most needed by women, and most at risk in that $91 million in cuts:

Kristyn Drawing

Muslim Woman

Libraries and TTCLibraries are key hubs, not least of which because they have free wifi.

Afterwards, the room broke into groups to express what their ideal city would be and have:

Lisa Tweet

 

My Ideal City Tweet

I did my best to capture the spirit of the issues.

Doly Shot with Instafilter

City Council will debate the budget cuts on February 15. If you want to see a gender equity lens applied to programming and expenditures, contact your city councillor and Tweet up a storm with the #GenderEquityTo hashtag.

Councillor Wong-Tam will need the support.

Alison with Kristyn Wong-Tam

Next step: deliver the board to City Hall.

This is the final board:

Graphic visualization of #GenderEquity for the 2017 Toronto City Budget

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Covering female territory on film

January 5, 2017

Is being female ever an advantage in filmmaking? In Ep. 3 of Willful, filmmaker Maureen Judge discusses

• getting female territory on film.
• how she deals with setbacks.
• her seminal influences.
• the constant exploration of ideas and new technologies.

Willful is the web series that tracks how artists and creative entrepreneurs work, thrive and survive. We interview one artist a week, then post five three-minute snack films from that interview on YouTube every day.

Follow us here on our YouTube Channel or on our website WillfulProject.com for more inspiring interviews.

To check out Maureen’s work and some of her influences, go to:

http://www.MyMillennialLife.ca
http://www.makinmovies.ca/productions-3/docs/unveiled
http://greygardensonline.com/the-documentary/
https://www.criterion.com/people/1057-eric-rohmer

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Capturing transformative moments on film

January 4, 2017

One of the greatest pleasures and saviors of working in the arts is losing yourself in the work. In Ep. 2 of Willful, filmmaker Maureen Judge describes

• what moves her the most about documentaries.

• how she chooses her subjects.

• how she sets out to capture those transformative moments in people’s lives. “I look for subjects who are living the broader shifts and changes in society.”

To wit: Her latest TVO doc, My Millennial Life, formed in her mind after she read news articles about youth unemployment in Spain and Greece. “It really resonated for me as a parent of Millennials.”

Willful is the web series that tracks how creative entrepreneurs work, thrive and survive. I interview one artist a week, then post five three-minute snack films from that interview on YouTube every day.

Follow us on our website or on our YouTube channel for more inspiring interviews.

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Getting her start in filmmaking

January 4, 2017

In this episode of Willful, award-winning documentary filmmaker, Maureen Judge, tells me how she got her start in film.

Maureen heads up the production company, Makin’ Movies, and creates documentaries that take you inside people’s lives.

Highlights in this interview include:
• Why Maureen chose documentaries over other forms of filmmaking.
• Her first camera.
• How photo albums, sewing, and studying philosophy all worked together to shape Maureen’s vision as a documentarian.

Willful is the web series I’ve created with Yann Yap. It tracks how artists and creative entrepreneurs work, thrive and survive. We interview one artist a week, then post five three-minute snack films from that interview on YouTube every day.

Follow us here and on our YouTube channel for more inspiring interviews.

 

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Willful web series

January 3, 2017

Alison Garwood-Jones interviews Andrew Dobson of dobbernationloves.com

This is me talking with my pal, Andrew Dobson, creator of the food and travel media empire, DobberNationLoves.

Andrew is one of dozens of creative entrepreneurs and artists I’ll be interviewing in Willful, a new web series I co-created with my friend, Yann Yap, a producer, photographer and videographer currently working at TFO.

yann-yap-and-alison-garwood-jonesA selfie of the creators, Yann Yap and Alison Garwood-Jones

Willful tracks how creative entrepreneurs work, thrive and survive, and today is the series launch!

I’ll be interviewing one artist a week, then posting five three-minute snack films from that interview on YouTube every day.

As freelancers,  Yann and I are always looking for good stuff to jump start our day, whether it’s an inspiring story, advice on process, how to pivot or transfer your skills as jobs change, and tips on the economics of being (and staying) creative. I know tons of people who geek out on that stuff. So, this is for you!

In each episode, you’ll meet women and men who are:

• Gutsy and joyfully oblivious to “You can’t do that” and “Who do you think you are?” (it’s a Canadian thing)

Opera5 Creators

Rachel Krehm and Aria Umezawa (above), the co-founders of Opera5 are a good example of that.

• Determined to make things, then put them out into the world.

Filmmaker Maureen Judge

Genie award-winning documentary filmmaker, Maureen Judge (above), is someone I admire because she has chosen a career that matches her determination to stay curious and interested in life. Her latest doc is called, My Millennial Life. Maureen is our first guest this week.

• Innovators and disruptors whose focus and positivity has elevated them above the snark of flabby, anonymous commenters.

Alison Garwood-Jones interviews Ricardo McRae

Painter turned “vision activator,” Ricardo McRae (above), has many insightful things to say about dancing with fear. And I’m not talking the kind of fear spread by crooked politicians, but private fears that stop us from speaking out or crafting original solutions to problems. In addition to his work with brands, Ricardo is the founder of Black in Canada, an organization that seeks to shift the popular narrative of Black achievement in this country, and around the world.

There’s a current of willfulness running through every creative person I’ve ever met — a certain scrappiness and determination. “Willful” is something you have to be if you want to make a real difference in the world. Hence, the name for the series.

Ladies and gents, the trailer to Willful:


 

If you like what we’re doing, please share using the appropriate buttons down below.

To be a part of “Willful”

If you are creative and have a “Willful” story worth sharing on camera, contact us at willfulproject@gmail.com, or on Twitter @WillfulProject.

Our thanks to The Merchant Tavern for generously offering us a stage.

 

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Mrs. H.T. Miller

December 17, 2016

Mrs. H.T. Miller from Truman Capote short story from 1945, "Miriam."

Mrs. H.T. Miller, widow: iron-gray clipped hair (lightly waved). No makeup. Smokes occasionally. Eats peppermints. Keeps them in the right pocket of her full-length beaver coat. #CapoteCharacters, 1945.

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Marilyn

December 8, 2016

Water-soluble graphite drawing of Marilyn Monroe

“Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe.” — Marilyn Monroe to reporter Patricia Newcomb, 1962.

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