By Julia Campbell
When asked to explain the work that he does, Co-Tenant Joseph William Mackay Barker III has just four simple words: “I lift people’s spirits.” In addition to being an Innovation Works DECA, Joseph is the founder of Full Body Efficiency Treatment, a company which helps people learn how to take better care of their bodies through practical anatomy, embodiment practices, and therapeutic sessions.
“I am an Ambassador of Embodiment,” says Joseph. “[My goal is to] bring high quality, professional assistance to people with disabilities, as well as able bodied people, [in order to] assist the community by increasing the vitality of its members.”
When asked how Full Body Efficiency Treatment came to be, Joseph cites a lifelong struggle with body issues that started him on his path. He recalls:
“[When I was in Grade 10], I was an overweight teen without the ability to do 10 sit ups. By the time I was 20, I was a professional athlete, competed in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, and had six Canadian records. I ended my swim career with so many bodily issues [that] I spent the next several years immersed in everything yoga, body mechanics and therapeutics. Full Body Efficiency Treatment is the consolidation of all my experiences.”
If being a DECA and running his own company is not enough, Joseph is also a multimedia artist with a focus on digital visual art and lush, meditative music.
“Art is one of my daily practices,” he explains. “It acts as a way for me to distill life experience into a shareable form. I believe that art adds value to life and has the power to change us as people.”
Joseph has been making both audio and visual digital art since his early teens. Now, he makes ambient/meditative music and performs all around Ontario, from large scale shows to intimate meditation concerts. He is also the artist in residence at VRcadia and The Tea Lounge.
“Over the last six months my musical and visual has been higher than normal, which is directly in correspondence to creating the foundation for large scale projects and performances in the future,” Joseph says, in answer to what is coming up next for him. Well, that and “crushing the world with Thor’s Hammer - art and love,” which he says with the same quirky humour that everyone at Innovation Works knows and loves.
When asked about his experience as a DECA, Joseph says that he has two main roles. Firstly, a DECA is a “helper in every way, providing information, context, direction, and a joke or smile to all those who come into the space.” Secondly, DECAs “learn about how all of the organizations, businesses, and people work within the space in order to understand what it takes to create change and support community.”
When asked what he holds close to his heart, Joseph replies:
“Thor’s Hammer (see above), the relations here at Innovation Works, and having a supportive and open community [at IW] which has changed my life for the better in every way I can think of.”
His favourite memory of Innovation Works is “Sienna’s one hand jokes” - I will leave the mystery of what exactly these jokes are for you, wonderful readers, to solve next time you see Sienna or Joseph in the space!
When asked if he had anything he wanted to say to our readers, Joseph replied as follows:
“Come down to Innovation Works. Check out what communities are doing here. If something interests you, engage with it. Trust that people are loving and kind - here, at Innovation Works, they always are.”
Would you like to work alongside incredible humans like Joseph and others? Consider joining us at Innovation Works!
Also don't forget to check out the many upcoming events happening at the space.