With a M.Sc. in urban planning, Darren offers long-term engagement strategies to help cultural and civic organizations anchor themselves within a variety of communities, with the resulting collaborations having positive effects on the community, the organization and, most importantly, the local social fabric.
Darren has helped local government, regional public initiatives, performance festivals, art galleries, museums, and theatres develop creative strategies to engage with and improve the lives of seniors, refugees, teens and children, while also deeply affecting the internal culture of these organizations.
Darren’s key insight is that effective social engagement must not only have measurable impacts on targeted populations but also on the individuals delivering the engagement. If we, as those offering engagement programs, are not ourselves affected by these programs then any resulting social change is, at best, token and superficial.
Work with Darren to engage your community and change yourself.
DARREN’S PAST AND CURRENT CLIENTS INCLUDE
The Tottenham upLIFTers is an long-term intervention in the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) in collaboration with a group of thirty teenagers from two schools in the London district of Tottenham who are spending their teen years preparing to assume absolute control of LIFT. The engagement is being designed and co-directed by Darren and Alice Fleming.
In collaboration with Alice Fleming, Darren is in the midst of researching the possibility of a long-term youth engagement with Berlin’s Humboldt Forum.
Darren guided and supported a comprehensive brainstorming and planning process over the course of 2017, meeting with the Tate Learning team, sharing and discussions his methods of engagement, evaluating their applicability to the Tate, and helping to identify Tate Learning’s objectives, limitations and future possibilities.
Darren is working with Tate Learning to develop a resource using the ideas in his book Haircuts by Children, to facilitate interaction between families and the Tate Britian’s permanent collection.
PICA for the People was a research project led by Darren funded by the Doris Duke Foundations’s Building Demand Initiative and focused on expanding the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s audience through expanding PICA’s offer by expanding who was making and leading that offer: youth of colour. Read Darren’s final report, PICA for the PEOPLE.
Using methods developed with youth in Toronto, Darren formed and worked with Mit Ohne Alles, a youth collective at the Ruhrtriennale Festival. Over the course of six years, the team has created a number of performance projects including Teentalitarianism and Millionen, Millionen, Millionen. Mit Ohne Alles has now become part of the team of youth who Darren works with internationally.
Bespielbar Besonders Begabt Bochum: A Performative Pedagogy is a long-term engagement designed and directed by Darren for the Bochum Schauspielhaus that brings together a teachers, students and artists in a collaborative relationship focused researching and developing approaches to deploying artistic methods to explore the school curriculum.
Over the course of twelve years, Darren worked with the same young people in his neighborhood of Parkdale Toronto, mentoring them as they grew from age nine to, now, twenty-two. The Young Mammals are now regularly on the road, creating and performing work internationally and the engagement model that resulted forms the core content of Darren’s recent book, Haircuts by Children and Other Evidence for a New Social Contract.
Darren created his first Compelling Telling by invitation from Kee Hong Low from the West Kowloon Cultural District. Darren introduced artists to his various ideas and together they explored the creative potential of the surrounding neighborhood. He then supervised two of the artists who were offered a small budget to expand their concepts over the course of six months.
The Mayor’s Office of Hemsbach, Germany, & the Metropolitan Region of the Rhine-Neckar, Germany
Darren, in collaboration with Mammalian Diving Reflex, spent a month living in a refugee facility in the German town of Hemsbach, followed by a year in the town. He worked with recent refugees to study, streamline and hasten the process of social integration.