At the Innovation Hub, we were excited to participate in #DisplayYourPride at the University of Toronto, so we could show our support for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month at U of T, with its vision of making every student at this university feel safe, accepted, and heard, aligns with our own goal at the Innovation Hub of improving student experiences through empathy-based research that inspires social justice and social change. Thus, #DisplayYourPride was the perfect opportunity to create an installation that celebrates individuality and connectedness, and that rededicates us to our own efforts to create an environment that includes all students.
We centred our installation around the question, “What does Pride mean to you?” Each member of our team answered this question with a word that spoke to them. By answering this question individually, we captured the uniqueness of each team member and fostered a sense of empathy for each other. We saw how each person’s response was both similar to, and different from, others, and learned how Pride resonates with other people.
We used our words in an interactive word tunnel, where we each took turns walking through a tunnel formed by our team members, who held up their own words. The walk was a moving experience for us, as we were able to experience being in a space that embodied uniqueness and acceptance.
Our words, which were written on puzzle pieces, were then used to complete a heart-shaped Tetris puzzle that represented connectedness and inclusiveness. The individual puzzle pieces and words formed distinct parts, but also combined into a larger whole that showed how differences of all kinds can come together to form something meaningful if we are accepting of one another. We felt a sense of interconnectedness that reflects how important it is for all students to feel this.
Our #DisplayYourPride installation demonstrates the continued love and support the Innovation Hub has towards not only the LGBT+ community, but also the individuality of every student at U of T.