Cultivating social trust at the intersection of race and sexuality

“Art and love are powerful mechanisms that impact change,’’ says Jen Sungshine, co-creative director and founder of Love Intersections.

Sungshine, a queer Taiwanese interdisciplinary artist and activist, says Vancouver’s Love Intersections is a media arts collective dedicated to collaborative filmmaking and relational storytelling.

“We are not single-issue people who lead single-issue lives,” says Sunghine. “As queer artists-of-colour, we wanted to find creative ways to address systemic racism by exploring approaches that didn’t focus on the trauma of oppression (oppression porn, for example), and the suffering of our people.”

The artist, accompanied by co-creative director and collective partner David Ng, will share experiences about community collaborations as local documentary filmmakers in the University of British Columbia (UBC)’s next Through the Lens online workshop (May 12) Finding Artful Activism at the Intersection of Race and Sexuality.

Love Intersections will share strategies for building social trust while upholding creative activism.

Sharing and collaborating

The collective, says Sungshine, aims to find ways to use arts to celebrate the lives, identities, and cultures of QTBIPOCS through the lens of diverse stories.

There are multiple ways of using filmmaking to celebrate the lives, identities, and cultures of QTBIPOCS through diverse stories.| Photo courtesy of Jen Sungshine

“An intersection is a place where accidents happen, and when people meet at that intersection we also see different forms of love. We find beauty in that,” she adds.

Presenting their film work, they will outline the challenges and joys of the collaborative filmmaking practice, sharing strategies with the audience for building social trust while upholding creative activism.

“When multiple voices come together we often find surprises, joy, tension, conflict, creative differences, and most of all, a diversity of tactics and approaches to social change,” says Sungshine, addressing the importance of understanding the nuances of collaboration. “Just because you throw a diverse bunch of people together doesn’t mean everyone is going to show up and process the same way. For us the process is about how we build and maintain relationships, and how to evolve and adapt ourselves to one another through the art of collaboration.”

To the collective, art can be a platform to create relational storytelling that addresses systemic racism in local communities. Producing intersectional and intergenerational stories from underrepresented bodies, they believe in mediating deep and meaningful relationships that allow people to cultivate social trust through collective care and community responsibility.

“Social trust is a vehicle that moves our core ethics and values of doing art about social issues with transparency, meaningful collaboration and generosity,” says Sungshine. “Relationships move at the speed of trust and social change moves at the speed of relationships. We’re not so naive as to think that we are dismantling power structures, but we think we can transform a sliver of it so that we have more room to breathe and most of all, play.”

Through the Lens

Organized by the UBC Equity & Inclusion Office, Through the Lens is a free-admission series of interactive workshops exploring how different identities intersect, navigate and experience the university environment while offering practical ideas on creating a more inclusive campus.

Led by experienced community leaders, the project aims to provoke meaningful conversations on issues of identity, diversity, equity and inclusion. Each workshop provides an opportunity to learn, connect and join a network of allies across campus through story-telling, statistics and other resources.

Interested audiences can register for the event at the event’s webpage: