‘Beyond the Single Story’: A Retreat for Canadian Muslim Storytellers

There are two contexts in which Muslims are typically highlighted in mainstream media: when they have been accused of terrorism, or when they have been the victim of a hate crime.

But last month, the NCCM brought together some 25+ Canadian Muslim artists, writers, journalists, poets and other creatives from across the country to go beyond these ‘single story’ narratives often told about Muslim communities, and learn new strategies for building their craft as storytellers.

Entitled ‘Beyond the Single Story: Strategies for Canadian Muslim Storytellers’, this unique retreat was held from February 8-10 at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, and was designed and led by writer, performer and arts educator Timaj Garad with contributions from an impressive line-up of speakers and facilitators.

Attendees heard words of inspiration and advice from renowned Muslim journalists from major news outlets, published authors and acclaimed artists who shared strategies for how to build their capacity as storytellers and take their craft to the next level.

Sessions included:

Participant feedback:

“This was a transformative experience as an artist. I have grown in my emotional intelligence, gained meaningful networks and practical skills to develop my art as a business and sustainable practice. Thank you for this space!”

“The most powerful part of the retreat was the power of having Black speakers and facilitators; being taught by them was phenomenal.”

“This was one of the most impactful moments of my life. Thank you for organizing such a necessary gathering.”

We would like to sincerely thank the Inspirit Foundation for their generous support, without which this retreat would not have been possible.

The positive feedback we received from this retreat has made us more determined than ever to explore opportunities for holding other retreats where Muslim creatives can come together in the future. So stay tuned for updates in the months to come!

* All photographs by Noor Photography