IWD Blog Series – In this Interview Corrina Keeling: Musician, Visual Facilitator, and Change-Maker, Discusses the Importance of “Courageous Honesty, a Willingness to be Wrong, and Unconditional Love” in Social Justice Movements

Name: CorrCorrinaina Keeling
Title: Visual Facilitator / Musician
Education & Experience: BFA Visual Arts & Theatre, Social Justice Artist & Clown, Community Organizer 2009-2013.
Interests: Sidewalk Chalk, Love Letters, Riding my Bike, Climate Justice, Heritage Language study (Həńq̓əmin̓əm̓, Gaelic), Intersectionality, Solidarity, Gratitude.
Affiliations: Board Member for Jellyfish Project, Founder of LoveLettersForEverybody.ca.

Thanks for taking the time to do this Interview Corrina. Could you tell us a little about the work you do as Visual Facilitator and as a Musician. Does your work intersect with any of your other goals and passions? If so, how?

My work as a Visual Facilitator has allowed me the opportunity to work with dozens of teams around the world working on climate justice, holistic health, indigenous sovereignty, water management, feminism and intersectionality, innovation in science & technology, community organizing, social work and human rights. I get to support influential and amazing groups moving through planning and transition with art and graphic tools, and I have received an incredibly diverse global education because of it.

One of the things I am most excited about is the Jellyfish Project, which is an international coalition of musicians speaking out for our environment. The project educates and empowers musicians to leverage their influence to amplify messages about environmental issues. The project also brings bands & musicians into schools to transmit environmental & social justice messages and engage young people through music. We create partnerships and align fans with the causes, organizations, and projects that jump starts their participation in change making.

This past winter I also had the humble pleasure and privilege to tour Australia with artist / activist / environmentalist Ta’Kaiya Blaney from the Sliammon Nation. The singing & speaking tour took us to festivals, concerts, conferences, and rural communities to share music and a message of love and action for the environment and for Indigenous Peoples, and we had the opportunity to share stages and panels with artists and change makers like Neil Young, Feist, Trevor Hall, Natalie Rize and David Suzuki. It was a beautiful experience I will never forget.

That’s pretty amazing!  It sounds like your work and your passions are one and the same and both have allowed to travel, to teach, to influence and to learn from those you’ve worked with. What motivated you work in this particular area?

I have always felt torn between my passion for the planet & the people who live here, and my calling as an artist. For a long time I felt like I had to choose one or the other, and set aside my music and art because I felt there was “real work” to be done.

Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs, and ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” Happy, healthy, fulfilled people and communities look after each other and the places where they live, and I’ve discovered the best way I can impact the world around me is by modeling being happy, healthy and fulfilled. I’ve discovered that by making a commitment to what makes me ‘come alive’, that I am far more impactful as a musician and artist than I ever was as an “activist”.

As you already know, this year’s IWD theme was Make it Happen and it focused on two main areas: celebrating women’s achievements, and calling for greater equality. In your opinion, what do you think it will take to “Make it Happen”?

When people think about this question, I most often encounter ideas about big structural changes that need to happen or new policies that need to be implemented. And we need big, structural change -desperately. But I see the heart of these big picture issues is being able to relate to each other better. We need a revolution of emotional maturity, courageous honesty, a willingness to be wrong, and unconditional love.

We need to learn to take responsibility for our complicity in the disharmony, dispossession, oppression and injustice in the world, and also see how far we’ve come. We need to be able to own our privileges and be willing to see & change our behaviors that harm others, and still love ourselves. We need to know that our intentions are irrelevant if our impact is hurtful, and also trust that we are doing the best we can with what we have available in every moment.

To make this happen, we need a community that supports us – spaces for healing, environments that inspire and enrich us, and trusting, healthy relationships where we can hear the whole truth about ourselves and know we’re safe. I believe that at the source, love is the revolution. Continue reading “IWD Blog Series – In this Interview Corrina Keeling: Musician, Visual Facilitator, and Change-Maker, Discusses the Importance of “Courageous Honesty, a Willingness to be Wrong, and Unconditional Love” in Social Justice Movements”