What is Soloss and Losstending?
Soloss is an early prototype that offers a new model of community care that extends the conditions for healing to people living on the margins. Last year, 7 everyday Edmontonians signed up to be the first cohort of Losstenders.
As non-professional agents of creative expression and experimentation, Losstenders spent time with people in a downtown Edmonton neighbourhood, listening to their everyday experiences of loss, and helping to explore creative outlets to give grief a form — as paintings, songs, poems, and dances. Here’s a video of what that looked like.
What's the role?
This year, we want to introduce a range of healing practices to restore the well-being of those on whom so many others depend – the front-line workers of community-support organizations.
We’re looking for eight Edmontonians to form the second cohort of Losstenders.
Each losstender will:
- Connect with front-line staff of two downtown organizations (Bissell Centre and The Mustard Seed). We’re calling the staff Sharers.
- Be a companion to at least 2-3 Sharers and spend time understanding something about who they are, what they’ve lost, and what that means for them.
- Test both individual and group interactions that could help open up space for unacknowledged grief and loss.
- Take a day or two to translate each of your Sharers’ losses into a product in your chosen medium or work with them to create something together. The product will attempt to capture something significant about the person’s experience.
- Share your products back with the Sharers to playback your interpretation of their experiences.
- With the Sharers’ blessings, bring that product to the broader neighborhood, as part of local activations and healing walks designed to prompt mutual understanding and care.
There are five different flavours of the Losstender role that you can apply for. Each has a different focus: on art, music, storytelling, and body/movement. Keep reading for descriptions of each.
- Losstender – Visual arts
- Losstender – Storytelling
- Losstender – Music
- Losstender – Body & movement
- Losstender – Holistic healing
The Losstender - Visual Arts
Are you someone who sees the world through light, shapes, colour, and/or texture? No matter your preferred tools (i.e. pen and paper, camera…etc), you take inspiration from people’s stories and you’re passionate about helping them express their experiences by creating art that can be seen and embodied in a tangible, visual form.
The Losstender - Storytelling
You love storytelling through words. You’re the one people want to speak at their weddings and funerals, write eulogies, or letters. Whether you prefer your words to be read or spoken, you find purpose in telling stories, including ones of unresolved hardship. You’re passionate in communicating the heart of what matters.
The Losstender - Music
You have an ear for emotions and stories through sound. Maybe you’re someone who can recognize a movie from its score or you’re someone who enjoys coming up with playlists for different special occasions. Through experimenting with rhythm, chords, melodies and harmonies, you believe that music presents a conduit for you to express yourself and to connect others.
The Losstender - Body and Movement
You believe that experiences are best explored through our own bodies. Whether it’s body work, breath work, yoga, tai chi, choreography or something similar, you believe movement is medicine and you’re interested in helping people tune into their physical sensations to unwind and process tension. Perhaps you have explored the relationship between trauma recovery and body work, or used a body-focused technique as a response to anxiety, depression, or other challenges.
The Losstender - Holistic Healing
You are a healer that believes in the importance of general health and wellbeing and you seek to promote it through alternative modalities that can be metaphysical, intuitive and/or spiritual. Whether it’s reiki, chakras & aura reading, or feng shui, you believe in the healing of multiple selves – not only the physical. Whether it’s divination or tarot, you believe in counsel and guidance from energies and forces bigger than ourselves.
Or Losstender - Your own new flavour!
Do you have a practice or mode of expression that does not belong in any of the above categories? Maybe it’s cooking, fitness, floristry…anything is welcome. Surprise us and tell us how you the role of the Losstender applying to you.
A little bit more about you
- You’re the kind of person friends and family want around during a tough time. You don’t avoid people when they’re down, and you don’t tell them to look on the brightside. You’re able to listen while people work through why and how their experience just sucks. You’re comfortable mixing sadness and laughter – you can follow others’ lead.
- You’re adaptable, super open to feedback, and enjoy making your own structure (rather than slotting into existing structures). This is a prototype, which means we’re making things as we go. Imagination and flexibility is a must.
- You might come from a cultural or spiritual tradition that has given you deep regard for, and perspective on, the meaning of loss. We’re committed to recruiting a diversity of lived experiences and views, especially as many of the people working the frontlines are immigrants of Colour and Indigenous peoples who have survived a lot of loss. If you are informed by a cultural tradition we will work hard to find appropriate supports and mentorship in the form of knowledge holders from your tradition …be that Indigenous to this land or another.
- You are someone who’s come through a lot of loss and trauma yourself and are looking to find a space in which your lived experience isn’t taboo.
- Alternatively, or additionally, you may have made a study of grief, loss, or healing: we want to meet you!
The nuts and bolts
- Remuneration: We can pay honorariums up to $2000 per person (rate of $30/hour), or we can provide oversight for practicums and training that could help you get closer to earning your degree or certification. If this work is part of what you do already for pay: get in touch! If you’re independently wealthy and you just want to be part of something awesome, look no further.
- Time frame: Between September 22 – November 25
- Hours/days: Around 50~65 hours of work, flexible schedule depending on your availability
- Onboarding: Last week of September
We want to acknowledge that this Losstender role is probably going to conjure up a lot of emotions — some expected, some unexpected. At times, it might feel we’re on a roller-coaster, with some lovely highs and some stomach-churning lows.
In being part of a cohort, we offer a culture and a supportive environment that’s big into learning from the tough side of life, debriefing, reflection, and the opportunity to find the ‘so what?’ of painful experiences.
- Weekly Losstender reflections that set-aside time to share thoughts, ideas, and self-care rituals as a group.
- 1:1 coaching with an experienced grief & loss practitioner
Additionally, as Soloss is an interdisciplinary intervention, intersecting with the arts, faith, culture, healing, social services, and neighbourhood development, we strongly believe in the support, expertise, and access to resources from each of these sectors.
- Mentorship and guidance from a multi-sectoral Sounding Board comprised of mental health professionals, faith leaders, cultural knowledge keepers, and community-engaged artists.
Interested? Extended application deadline is now Sep 5 2022.
We encourage people from all walks of life and backgrounds to apply, knowing that there might be a worker out there who sees themselves in you, and that could mean a lot to someone seeking support.
In your application, please submit:
- A short bio including:
– a bit about who you are
– your relationship with or interest in understanding loss and healing
– which flavor of the Losstender you’re interested in (visual arts, storytelling, music, body & movement, holistic healing)
– why you might be a good fit for the role.This might be in written form, a short video, or an audio recording. Don’t worry about production values!
- A favourite piece of your work, and tell us why it means something to you. If you’re a visual artist, that might be some images. If you’re a musician, that might be some music or sound recordings. If you’re a storyteller, it might be some of your writing. If you’re a body work practitioner, that might be a video or photos of your work. If you’re a holistic healer, that might be a guided meditation, or some of your tools and rituals.
- Details about your availability between Sep 22 and Nov 22. Are you available days? Evenings? Weekdays? Weekends?
Got a resume? Feel free to include. We’re not looking for your credentials or education, or a history of paid work, but we are curious about what else you’re into, in order to get a fuller picture of you!
The extended deadline is now 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time on September 5th 2022. Send your materials to [email protected] Please include the flavour of Losstender you’re applying for in the title of your email.
Does it all look a bit too daunting? Contact us anyway! We don’t want administrative mumbo jumbo to be a barrier. If you don’t have a phone camera, data, access to past work, or an up-to-date resume, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be amazing in this role. We’ll do our best to find ways to learn more about each other.
After you submit, we’ll get in touch to confirm receipt. We’ll reply to each person who expresses interest individually. We will have the capacity to follow up with 15-20 people for a video call interview. Due to the extension of application deadline, we will make a decision by Sep 20 and begin onboarding around end of September/beginning of October.