The Collective Agency Project

The Collective Agency Project is a public art project that began in February 2020. The project provided a group of older adults with a unique opportunity to work with a team of established artists over two years to develop critical and technical skills and produce a socially engaged, photo-based public artwork. Lead artists for the project are Christos Dikeakos and Birthe Piontek, with support from artists Henri Robideau and Barrie Jones.

Group participants investigated the potential of photography and photo-based media via a series of workshops. The project was open to experimentation, interaction, growth, and collaboration as the group evolved and developed their art practices.

What's happeningCollective Agency Project public art

The Collective Agency Project participants premiered their artworks on digital street signs in downtown Vancouver (March 14 to May 15, 2022), at an exhibition at the Pendulum Gallery (April 19 to May 13, 2022), and in a collaborative panoramic installation at the Hillcrest Community Centre (April 2022 to April 2023).

The Collective Agency Project

  • Judith Snider, Tender Moments – Mannequins #1, 2021

  • Mickey McCaffrey, Photo-collage #10, 2021


About the group

The group formed at the Hillcrest Community Centre, and through the pandemic, adapted to meeting online, with a core of nine dedicated participants.

The group includes:

  • Oonagh Berry
  • Ann Daskal
  • Annemarie Etsell
  • Verena Foxx
  • Greg Helem
  • Schula Leonard
  • Keith Martin
  • Mickey McCaffrey
  • Judith Snider

A short film produced by Harry Killas that documents the participant’s personal journeys of discovery is under development. The film will contribute to a growing body of evidence on the positive impacts of art and creative expression on the health of older adults.

Artist team

Christos Dikeakos
Photo by James O’Mara

Christos Dikeakos

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, Dikeakos resides and works in Vancouver. Since the late 1960s, he has played an important role in the development of conceptual photography in Vancouver.

His rich and active photographic practice, recognized and collected internationally, explores the histories of place and urban typologies from a contemporary perspective.

Learn more about Christos Dikeakos

Birthe Piontek
Self portrait

Birthe Piontek

Born in Germany, Piontek is an Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. Through photo work, sculpture and installations, she explores aspects of the relationship between memory and the complexities of identity, including female identity and its representation in society.

Her work is exhibited and published internationally. Her publication Abendlied was named by Time Magazine as one of the best photo-books of 2019.

Learn more about Birthe Piontek

The Collective Agency Project is coordinated by Ann Pollock and produced by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program in fulfillment of the public art requirement for Opal by element, and in partnership with Arts & Health: Healthy Aging Through the Arts, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.