What does it mean to be joyful? What is joy at its core? Despite being used consistently in day-to-day life, the word joy is difficult to define. I believe that joy is less a feeling of contentment and more an expression of peace. It is an action that allows you to respond to your circumstances, a behavior that requires practice and thought. In moments of difficulty, stress, sadness, or grief, we can find small actions of joy that help us find rest. This leads me to the central idea Transports of Delight aims to explore. In times of difficulty, what acts of joy have people discovered? How can these kinds of small actions turn into transformative, healing processes and behaviors? 

In my exploration of what it means to think of joy as a radical action, I interviewed 12 people of different ages, gender identities, and cultures about a moment of difficulty in their life where they discovered a small act of joy. A woman named Kim in her 60s told me of her deep rooted connection with tea and how it has been her own form of “radical hospitality” throughout her life. She told me of how her daughter passed away a few years ago, and that one of the things she did to bring herself joy and work through her grief was the simple act of making tea and sharing it with others. A person named Eloise in her early 20s told me of a creek she frequented near her home in B.C. growing up. Whenever she was feeling overwhelmed or distressed, she would walk to the creek and go swimming fully clothed. She would never bring a towel, choosing to walk home dripping with water from the creek. She adored this experience and still remembers the relief it brought her. Others told me of how music helped them feel a sense of belonging, how dance helped them work through sadness in their body, or how they befriended a tree to talk to in moments of sorrow. After interviewing each participant, I photographed them doing their act of joy. 

The goal of this project is to examine joy and the ways we find it. It is often easy to feel consumed by how prevalent pain is in the world. While it is vital to call attention to prejudice, violence, and the many things that are broken, I often find myself overwhelmed by a lack of calling attention to joy. Joy is not exclusively extravagant, sometimes the simplest act of joy can be the most radical. I believe helping each other discover joy is one of the most powerful things we can do to build each other up and work through grief and suffering, therefore this project aims to inspire viewers to think about joy in their own lives.

Cate Oxford


Cate Oxford (b. 2002) is a Toronto based multi-disciplinary photographer and artist. She has a deep passion for photography and is extremely captivated by the medium’s unique ability to capture the essence of people and their sense of self. Her work aims to be joyful, explorative, and adventurous. Cate believes photography is a powerful tool, and when used effectively can lead to concrete change, healing experiences, and an amplification of overlooked beauty. She enjoys traversing different genres in an effort to unlock photography’s full potential, and aims to make images that ignite a sense of wonder, curiosity, and joy.