The Nina (n-eye-na) is an art-making centre for adults with developmental disabilities. If you have ever walked by and looked through our windows during the week, you likely saw a room full of people drawing and painting. If you came through the doors to visit, you probably saw our textile, ceramics, and printing studios bursting with activity. Over 170 people belong to the Nina’s collective of artists.

At the Nina, we love being part of Alberta Avenue’s thriving art scene and we offer free drop-in Community Art Nights on Tuesdays and Family Art Nights on Wednesdays for anyone wanting to create art. In the Stollery Gallery, we host 15 or more exhibits a year from other groups and individuals as well as Nina artists.

Now there’s a new project that’s all about community, and we’d like to invite you to join us.

The Digital Storytelling Project is about (surprise!) digital stories, which is essentially a two-minute movie. The project tells a story through pictures, photographs, music and anything else the storyteller wants to use. People can record their own voices or use no words at all. The story can be as simple as getting a haircut or buying a new pair of boots or something as momentous as immigrating to a new country.  

Over a year, a trained facilitator will lead five small groups of Nina artists, staff, and participants through the story-making process. We’ll share stories and support each other in learning the necessary technology, which isn’t difficult and doesn’t require any computer experience. Participants will meet for one and a half hours per week for six weeks. Once the stories are done, storytellers own their stories and can decide if they want to share them.

Digital stories have been used around the world to tell stories that otherwise would go untold. They have become a powerful tool for building community (check out to see lots of examples).  We’re fortunate to have the support of two champions of inclusive community: the Edmonton Public Library and Arts on the Ave.

Contact Jocelyn@thenina for more information.

Jocelyn has published two novels and several short stories and articles. Writer in residence at EPL in 2012, she has worked at the Nina Haggerty Centre for five years.