Inspired by the Koffler Gallery's spring exhibition of Esther Shalev-Gerz’s video & photo installations, grade 5-6 students from Rose Avenue Public School & Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School explored the cultural significance of personal objects belonging to their parents, grandparents & caregivers.

Over the course of 4 weeks of workshops, students collaborated in small groups to create the following short films, illustrating the stories behind these personal objects, & their connections to place, memory & identity.







What did you learn by watching the other students’ films?
You can’t judge where the object came from or who it belongs to.

How did you relate to the other students’ objects?
Many objects came from different places and then traveled to Canada.

What did you find most enjoyable in the filming process?
Collaborating was fun but difficult at times.
Making the storyboards and collaborating during filming.
When directing a film, you have power to control it.

Why was filmmaking successful in telling the story of your object?
What were its limitations?

Editing can really change the way a film turns out.
There was a lot of research that went into making the storyboards and films.
You can tell a story and people actually listen to you.

How did it feel to tell the story of somebody’s object?
You had to put yourself in someone else’s shoes so it was at times confusing but interesting.
It was scary to share your story with people you have never met.
It was fun to mix my perspective with my mom’s perspective.


Images courtesy of Mary Anderson.






Many thanks to the school administration, teachers and students for their dedication and support of this project:

Rose Avenue Public School | David Crichton (Principal), Catherine Inglis (Grade 6 Teacher) & their Grade 6 students
Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School | Kate Sable (Curriculum Coordinator), Jaime Saltz (Grade 5 Teacher), Michelle Cohen (Art Teacher) & their Grade 5 students

JESSICA DARGO CAPLAN | Director, Public Programs
MARY ANDERSON | Producer, Public Programs & Literary Events
PATRICIA RITACCA | Public Engagement Coordinator
DAINESHA NUGENT-PALACHE | Education & Public Engagement Assistant
HEATHER RAPPARD | Editor/Workshop Facilitator



Koffler family FoundationCIBC Wood GundyOntario Arts Council | Conseil Des Arts De L'OntarioToronto Arts Council | Funded by the City of TorontoCanada Council