31 May

Where it all began…back in Blyth

Where it all began.

Back in 2014, the CCRC helped raise $5 million for the revitalization/renovation of the Blyth Memorial Community Hall, Art Gallery, Kitchen and Lower Hall. Two years later, the first Rural Talks to Rural (R2R) conference happened under a big white tent on the Blyth Fairgrounds. R2R becomes a biennial conference and is hosted in Blyth and Brussels. This year we are back in Blyth and the Memorial Community Hall. This special place offers a main stage theatre, art gallery, and lower hall. Much of the conference will take place in these spaces and for many, it is also a form of ‘coming back home’. For those new to Blyth and the hall, you’re in for a treat. It’s a beautiful space and place that reflects the incredible community and the arts.

Early bird pricing is available until June 30th. Scan the QR code to access or click here.

23 May

Welcome back Summer Student, Meagan!

Welcome back summer student Meagan Downes!

Meagan joins us again as our Creative Assistant to continue supporting the development of the Grand River Community Play Project. Meagan will work alongside Pete Smith in bringing together the people, stories, and spirit of the Grand River which will culminate into a community play in 2025.

Meagan shares:

“Hi I’m Meagan! I have two cats, love to read, and have been listening to California by Chappell Roan on repeat for a year! I’m a recent Theatre Studies grad from the University of Guelph and will be continuing my studies there in the fall pursuing a Creative Writing MFA. I am so excited to be back with the CCRC for another summer and can’t wait for what’s in store!!”

Welcome back Meagan!

23 May

R2R24 Early Bird Pricing Available

R2R24 Conference Tickets Available!

➡️ Full conference Early Bird pricing runs until June 30, 2024

➡️ Group (10 or more from one organization) rates

➡️ Students

➡️ Virtual tickets are available for those who cannot attend in person.

Virtual delegates access includes keynote addresses, presenters, conference highlights and closing remarks.

Use the QR code or click to purchase your tickets here.

22 May

The Rural Assembly: Exploring Our Differences Together

We shared R2R24’s conference photo, “Blue Heron in Flight” by artist Kelly Rebar. As mentioned, the Blue Heron symbolizes many things such as being present, patience, good judgment, and the ability to progress and evolve.

A very apt image for this year’s conference theme – The Rural Assembly: Exploring our Differences Together. 

An assembly is a gathering of people in one place for a common purpose. In our case, the common purpose is our rural communities, livelihoods, places, and spaces. 

We invite you to join the rural assembly to explore key rural issues and opportunities across our landscape, such as artificial intelligence (AI) ‘s impact on our rural communities, economic development, and health & wellness. Delegates have the chance to engage in discourse, make contributions, support others through listening and learning, and discover strategies for advancing rural development. 

R2R24 will provide various formats, methods, and models to step into this dialogue – through documentary theatre, storytelling, participatory leadership methods, art, and simply providing the place and space for rural to talk to rural. 

Early bird pricing is available until June 30th
More than 10 people attending from your organization? Click here for a further group discount.

21 May

Blue Heron in Flight – Conference Photo

We are delighted to showcase R2R24’s conference photo, “Blue Heron in Flight” by artist Kelly Rebar. In some cultures, a blue heron symbolizes being present, at peace, and in balance. In others, it represents patience, wisdom, good judgment, self-reflection, determination, and the ability to progress and evolve.

Please meet the artist and the story behind “Blue Heron in Flight.”

Kelly Rebar was born and raised on the prairies, and after a series of moves, made her home in the mountain town of Nelson, British Columbia. She has written plays, screenplays, and shares her photos daily on X https://twitter.com/kellyjeanrebar. Visit her fine art photo website: kelly-j-rebar.pixpa.com.

Artist: Kelly Rebar

“Taken from a canoe while paddling on Kootenay Lake on a summer evening a few years ago. I noticed a great blue heron and an osprey in a fight for a fishing spot. Their flight antics were dramatic to observe as they chased each other back and forth across the west arm of the lake. Finally, the osprey gave up and flew off. The image of the heron was captured after the struggle – as it flew one last time to the other side of the lake, and disappeared into the night. The light and soft shades of blue of the image are dreamlike, I know, but the quality of light that makes it so is due to a nearby forest fire that was burning out of control; the shades are softened due to heavy smoke hanging in the air. It impacted both those birds, as well as me, and every other living thing in the area.”

26 Feb

R2R24 Preliminary Information

At this year’s biennial conference, we have an opportunity to explore our differences together, engage in methods of participatory leadership to support our dialogue AND use our collective wisdom towards collective action whether as an organization, community, or individual.

More to come on the concept of The Rural Assembly – a powerful platform to truly welcome all voices.

We are excited to share that R2R24 is returning to the Blyth Memorial Community Hall from October 16 – 18, 2024. Tickets will be available in early spring.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for R2R24, reach out to Peter Smith at peter@ruralcreativity.org.

01 May

What’s new with the Grand River Community Play Project


is building toward a presentation of stories that will run the 310-kilometre length of the Grand River by August 2024.

The project is the story of the River, created and developed by the people of the River, and ultimately told to those who are engaged and impacted by the River. It is a coming together of stories and, as importantly, a coming together of people along the length of this magnificent waterway. It also creates room for the River to speak for herself.

We continue to connect with communities up and down the Grand in story circles, in song, in quilting, photography, poetry, theatre, mapping and workshops.

The project is inclusive, and anyone who wants to participate can do just that. We invite you to get in touch with us.

The project is being produced by the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity – where we strive to establish an inclusive gathering place, a place for creativity and meaningful participation.

For more information, click here.
To get involved contact: Pete Smith, peter@ruralcreativity.org

09 Nov


The Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity in association with Six Nations Tourism, the Two Row Wampum, Six Nations Polytechnic, RTO4, and the City of Waterloo, invite you to two unique presentations – one held at Six Nations and the other in the city of Waterloo.

WHERE: Chiefswood Park – 1037 Brand County Hwy. 54, Osweken, Ontario
WHEN: November 12, and 13th, 2022
TIME: 4.15pm-6.30pm

The presentation begins just before sunset on both days – with a Thanksgiving under the trees followed by a walk of the Park with stops along the way for stories/poems/songs. The journey concludes at the Six Nations Tourism Office with a light snack, and an interactive art experience with the Dragonfly installation. That’s followed by a discussion as to next steps for the Grand River Community Play being built for the summer of 2024 – a presentation that will run the length of the River.

WHERE: Abraham Erb’s Grist Mill – Caroline St N, Waterloo, Ontario
WHEN: November 19, and 20th, 2022
TIME: 3pm – 5.30pm

The presentation begins at 3pm both days with a water ceremony on Laurel Creek and is followed by stories/poems/songs. We will be led by music and enter the Grist Mill to experience the interactive Dragonfly installation. There will be a light snack and a discussion as to next steps for the Grand River Community Play that will be happening in the summer of 2024 – a presentation that will run the length of the River.

For more information: peter@ruralcreativity.org

19 Jul

The Grand River Community Play Project


It begins with a conversation and builds towards a unique theatrical experience. The contemporary community play movement got started in 1979, by a play produced by the Colway Theatre Trust. The Company went on to produce over 50 productions worldwide and spawned collectives to create their own community play projects. The process is transformative and through the months leading up to a production there are more conversations, meetings, workshops and rehearsals – friendships are developed. The result is that people feel connected to each other, to their shared sense of place. It is inclusive and anyone and everyone can participate. Whether it’s as an actor, a manager, a designer, a researcher, writer, builder, a musician, dancer, a technician, whatever it is, the production is community led and the two year process to create the play develops the thinking, and the talents, and the skills of all involved – and weaves them together. It is a community game-changer.

THE GRAND RIVER COMMUNITY PLAY PROJECT… is being imagined as an event that runs the 310 kilometre length of the river. We have just started with conversations, collecting stories from those who live along the Grand, and connecting with folks who are interested in participating in the project. Over the course of the summer of 2022 we’ll continue to listen and gather stories and in the fall perform a series of workshop presentations at different locations along the Grand. The work of 2022 will lead to further development in 2023 and take us to a full production in the summer of 2024.

The Grand River Community Play Project is the story of the river created and developed by the people of the river and ultimately told to those who are engaged and impacted by the river. It is a coming together of stories and, as importantly, a coming together of people along the length of this magnificent waterway. It also creates room for the river to speak for herself.

The Grand River Community Play Project is produced by the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity – where we strive to establish an inclusive gathering place, a place for creativity and meaningful participation.

To restore any place, we must also begin to re-story it, to make it the lesson of our legends, festivals, and seasonal rites. Story is the way we encode deep-seated values within our culture. Ritual is the way we enact them. We must ritually plant the cottonwood and willow poles in winter in order to share the sounds of the vermillion flycatcher during the rites of spring. By replenishing the land with our stories, we let the wild voices around us guide the restoration we do. The stories will outlast us.” Gary Paul Nabham

GRAND RIVER COMMUNITY PLAY PROJECT update. The map attached to this post was created by friend, Marcia Ruby. What she writes in the margins are grist for the mill in the creation of this project. The Indigenous story of the Grand River, one that intersects with the Settler story now and again, runs very much independently of it. There is much to learn and over time, with humility and respect, hopefully it will be revealed by the First Peoples who live along the Grand and have done for millennia. There are the more recent stories of the Settlers – those who live on the River, or have been impacted by it – and these stories will also be a part of the project. And there is a third story, I believe – the story of the River herself… how is that story told? Can we hear the voice of the river? What can she tell us?

This next piece of writing comes from Peter Godfrey-Smith’s article entitled, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. While a little bit different than hearing the voice of a river, there is something in what he says that speaks to the awe of being and could be a way forward for the project: “Octopuses and their relatives (cuttlefish and squid) represent an island of mental complexity in the sea of invertebrate animals. Since my first encounters with these creatures about a decade ago, I have been intrigued by the powerful sense of engagement that is possible when interacting with them. Our most recent common ancestor is so distant—more than twice as ancient as the first dinosaurs—that they represent an entirely independent experiment in the evolution of large brains and complex behaviour. If we can connect with them as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over. They are probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”

I wonder if there is a way to understand a river in somewhat the same way? Different – but in being open to the relationship – is a different understanding possible?

If your curious about this project, have a Grand River story to tell, or would like to become more involved contact Pete @ peter@ruralcreativity.org