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AVNU 2016 Learning Journey Update

Curious to learn more about our recent Learning Journey recipients? We connected with our five awardees to see what they were up to and how their individual learning journeys are linked with community-building. 

 Zabrina Dacres – Photography

Zabrina is very appreciative for the opportunity to access the AVNU Learning Journey Fund which she used to split the cost between a DSLR camera and a photo-journalism course. Zabrina has already started doing some work to showcase the initiatives of local organizations in her community. But she says she still has a lot more training and work to do.

Tasneem Dairywalawala – Visual Art


Tasneem wants to create mixed media paintings that combine traditional Pakistani art forms with contemporary Canadian art. With the help of this grant, she started working on Toronto Marks, a series of stencil light paintings that juxtapose henna patterns onto Toronto’s famous landmarks. She also started taking glass painting classes and will be taking henna and silk screening classes within the next few weeks. She enjoys learning and experimenting with new media and is excited to take her work into new directions.

Alyssa Fearon – Community Leadership


Chronicles of the Diaspora (COTD) is a grassroots reading & learning group formed by Alyssa Fearon. COTD strives to create space for informal learning and discussion on society’s most urgent issues affecting Black communities globally. COTD gathers monthly to discuss and explore books written by Black womyn authors, including genres typically dominated by men, such as science fiction and graphic novels.

Lilian Tang Thai Jones – Meditation and Mindfulness Facilitation

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Lillian’s AVNU Learning Journey Fund will enable her to share the practice of mindfulness within her community as a workshop facilitator. Meditations, thought provoking questions, and group discussions will send participants on a journey of self-discovery, curiosity, creativity, healing, and connection; encouraging the harnessing of personal and collective wisdom’s while inspiring actionable and progressive change.

Juan Saavedra – Graphic Design and Advocacy


Juan Saavedra is a graphic designer and mixed-media artists. His skills are utilized to encourage grassroots groups and youth-led projects to move into digital spaces and advocate in unconventional ways using internet memes, animated GIFs and original content. As part of this Learning Journey, he’s focusing his efforts to keep up with emerging trends by pursing web-development training. His past community projects include developing and testing a peer-to-peer ASL interface for Deaf and Hard of Hearing LGBTQ youth and producing a HIV focus zine for youth by youth, available nationwide in print and online.