Learn. Create. Collaborate. Build healthy relationships.
PortraitX is a digitally fuelled classroom program that uses art and
media to disrupt gender-based stereotypes and attitudes that can lead to violence, while teaching adolescents how to build healthy relationships both online and off.
During a series of workshops, students participate in active discussions and use a mobile application to create collaborative portraits that promote empathy, self-awareness, respectful communications and critical thinking - both in the real and virtual worlds.
Technology has become an integral part of how we communicate, how we build relationships and how we educate ourselves. Today, youth communicate with technology at their fingertips. They exchange images and messages that often lead to unhealthy relationships. PortraitX shifts this paradigm by using the very same tools to educate towards positive change for the next generation: to promote empathy and self-awareness, respectful communication and critical thinking both in the real and virtual worlds.
PortraitX is youth-tested, youth-approved and digitally fuelled. A curated collection of museum artworks allows students to explore emotions, identity, relationships and gender norms. Spring boarding from this experience, students create their own collection of self-portraits, which gives voice to their personal affective experience. Then digitally combining their collection with others, students collaborate to create a new artistic expression, comprised of both imagery and messages. The project’s impact is represented by a collective assemblage of the portraits to be exhibited on the school walls and on social media.
PortraitX: Our Raison d'être
Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, PortraitX is Raison d'Art's newest initiative, a five-year school based prevention project that uses innovative programming to educate adolescents 14+ to identify discriminatory attitudes and prevent violence both in their virtual and real relationships. By increasing students’ ability to identify sexual violence and sexist attitudes, PortraitX aims to prevent dating violence while providing a creative outlet for young people to express themselves.
Through six engaging workshops integrating technology and artistic expression, students will learn interpersonal skills (self-awareness, empathy and communication skills) while creating collaborative portraits to help shift the stereotypes that can lead to gender-based violence.
In class, students use mobile devices that incorporate art therapy tools. Youth - driven, the project's research focuses on their opinions about discriminatory attitudes that can lead to interpersonal violence. With the help of McGill University, PortraitX asks young people: "Can you change your attitudes towards each other to build a better world?"
Raison d’art knows that it is important for us all to learn about healthy relationships and ways to prevent gender‑based violence, including teen and youth dating violence. Gender-based violence has both immediate and long-lasting impacts on a person’s physical and mental health as well as consequences for families, communities and society as a whole. New research is crucial to understanding how our youth, living in this digital world, is impacted.
“Educating young Canadians about how to identify unhealthy relationships and ways to prevent dating violence is at the core of the Government of Canada’s efforts to promote gender equality and to end gender-based violence. I am proud to announce our Government’s support for PortraitX, which is developing new ways to #InnovateforChange and to reach youth in a manner that will resonate with them and reflect their experiences and identities.”
- The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health Canada, 2019
"Violence against women, girls and LGBTQ2+ people is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations around the world. Globally, it is estimated that one in three women experiences intimate partner violence in her lifetime."
Government of Canada, 2019
“About 66% of victims of sexual assault are under the age of 18.”
Minister of Public Security Quebec, 2012