Creative Storytelling Through Animation: Workshop


Amanda Strong, Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes) (video still), 2018. Courtesy the artist.

Creative Storytelling Through Animation: Workshop

February 15-16, 2020
Toronto Animated Image Society
1411 Dufferin St, Unit B, Toronto

In this two-day workshop, Indigenous (Michif) filmmaker and animator Amanda Strong will guide participants in exploring techniques for creative and visual storytelling, directing, and staging stop-motion animations. She will share methods for powerful storytelling, working with a team, and leading a range of productions. Participants will have the opportunity to explore directing and storytelling processes through guided experimentation with puppets or are welcome to bring in their own puppets or objects for use in the workshop.

FREE and open to the public—advance registration required.


This workshop is presented by Blackwood Gallery in partnership with the Toronto Animated Image Society. Note: We regret that TAIS is not accessible. The studio has two steps up at the entrance, and the washroom is in the basement with access through stairs.

Amanda Strong is an Indigenous (Michif) interdisciplinary artist with a focus on filmmaking, stop-motion animations, and media art. She is currently based on unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver, BC. Strong is the owner, director, and producer of Spotted Fawn Productions (SFP). Under her direction, SFP uses a multi-layered approach and unconventional methods, centered on collaboration in all aspects of their work. Strong received a BAA in Interpretative Illustration and a Diploma in Applied Photography from the Sheridan Institute. With a cross-disciplinary focus, common themes in her work are reclamation of Indigenous histories, lineage, language, and culture. Strong’s work is fiercely process-driven and takes form in various mediums such as: virtual reality, stop-motion, 2D/3D animation, gallery/museum installations, published books, and community-activated projects. Strong and her team at Spotted Fawn Productions are currently working on the research and development of bringing these works into more interactive spaces.

Related Programs

Artist Talk with Amanda Strong
Thursday, February 13, 12:30-1:30pm
Sheridan College, Annie Smith Arts Centre, Mezzanine

FREE Contemporary Art Bus Tour
Exhibition tour of Blackwood Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, Robert McLaughlin Gallery
Sunday, March 1, 12-5pm

The tour picks up at 12pm at Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) then departs for Blackwood Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, and Robert McLaughlin Gallery and returns to Gladstone Hotel at 5pm.

To RSVP for the bus tour, email or call 905.828.3789 by February 28 at 5pm.


Images (clockwise from top left): Pedro Neves Marques, The Pudic Relation between Machine and Plant (video still), 2016; Alex McLeod, Gold Mountain (animation still), 2017; Laurie Kang, Terrene, 2019; Parastoo Anoushahpour, The Lighthouse (detail), 2014. All images courtesy the artists.

Other Life-formings

Parastoo Anoushahpour, Zach Blas & Jemima Wyman, Laurie Kang,
Alex McLeod, Pedro Neves Marques, Linda Sanchez, Amanda Strong
January 13-March 7, 2020
Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga
Curated by Alison Cooley

One of the greatest capacities of the medium of animation is its magic—the apparent bringing-to-life of a world of static objects, uncertain companions, and unruly agencies. Things move, they do, they feel the propulsion of awakened urgencies. This “magic,” in fact a technology of representation which cascades still images in order to undo the perceived stillness of the image, also illuminates a fundamental relationship between people and things. Animation activates non-human agency as observed by a spectator, a participant, a co-performer recognizing the coming-to-life of an object, an animal, a photographic or digital entity. It opens space for the sentience and sign-making capacities of other-than-human beings, invites non-human languages, unsettles anthropocentric logics. It “models the possibility of possibility.”[1] In visualizing the liveliness of the non-human, animation complicates relationships with nature, technology, and the notion of time (still moments unfrozen, progress undone).

Animation, it turns out, opens opportunities to ask questions about the constituent elements of life: who or what gets coded as living? By what schema do we grant liveliness, agency, animacy to non-humans? Through whose technologies do we come to see life, and to identify with it? By what means might we refuse or refute ethnographic fascinations with animism, instead attuning ourselves to expanded frameworks for liveliness? Other Life-formings interrogates the conditions of coming-to-life along four lines of inquiry: capacities for movement, language, forming, and empathy. Across stop-motion animation, digital modelling, photo-sensitive interspecies collaboration, kinetic sculpture, and video installation, the exhibition tracks the precarious empathies enlivened by animation.

1. Esther Leslie, “Animation and History” in Animating Film Theory, ed. Karen Beckman (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 25-35.


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga. This workshop is presented in partnership with the Toronto Animated Image Society.


Blackwood Gallery
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Rd.
Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6
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The Blackwood Gallery promotes LGBTQ2 positive spaces and experiences and is free of physical barriers. The gallery is FREE and open to the public.