Interview with Diana Kamau, Women Transforming Cities

Summer 2023 Collaborative Cohort Project

The Arts Amplifier initiative offers Arts graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the unique opportunity to transform ideas into unique and meaningful work experiences.

In Summer 2023, Arts Amplifier hosted its second Collaborative Cohort Project (CCP) with the grassroots organization Women Transforming Cities. We reached out to Community Organizer Diana Kamau to ask her about her experience working with Arts graduate student cohorts.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and Women Transforming Cities (WTC).

A: My name is Diana Kamau, and I am a Community Organizer at Women Transforming Cities (WTC). WTC is a grassroots organization based in Vancouver that works alongside equity-deserving genders to dismantle intersecting systems of oppression and transform where we live into places where everyone can belong, participate, and thrive. We support and encourage participation at the local government level from people historically excluded from civic processes and decision-making. Our goal is to radically shift power to gender-marginalized groups through an intersectional feminist lens.

Q:  Describe your Collaborative Cohort Project (CCP) project, its development, and the student group’s role in shaping its scope.

A: The CCP group participated in our City Action: Resource Development project. City Action is a series of workshops that WTC delivers, focused on civic literacy and education. The general target audience for these workshops are women and gender-diverse people who face systemic exclusion from civic processes. The CCP group worked to create downloadable resources that would accompany and complement the workshops. Alongside longer-form resources, each cohort member was also tasked with creating social media assets that explained various topics regarding the local government in concise, easily accessible posts.

Q: What will the impact of this work be for your organization?

A: As a result of the amazing work that the students undertook, WTC will be able to share the resources created with all workshop participants. The resources will also play a big role in creating and fostering civic literacy as they will be hosted on the WTC website. 

Q: What were the most rewarding aspects of working with the CCP group?

A: The most rewarding part of working with the CCP group was watching the students become passionate about civic literacy. It was also amazing watching them all approach the task in their own unique ways, which were largely influenced by their various fields of study, while still supporting and encouraging each other.

Q: Would you recommend the model to other employers, and what considerations for hosting a CCP would you suggest?

A: Yes, the students were amazing and incredibly easy to work with. I would advise any employers who are thinking of hosting a CCP to create a supportive space for the student to explore and ask questions. That way, they can get the most out of the experience and learn new skills.

Are you inspired by Diana’s story? Visit our Collaborative Cohort Projects for upcoming opportunities and more information on how we connect Arts graduate students and community partners.