20 Jul

Rural Talks to Rural 2022 Conference

The Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC) is pleased to present this year’s R2R in-person conference (with virtual options) with the theme: Rural Today/Rural Tomorrow! We will be exploring where we are now and where we could be going in the areas of Wellbeing, Housing, Climate and Community. It all happens over three and half days in the Four Winds Barn in Brussels, Ontario, from October 17th – 20th.

Stay tuned for more conference details!

JOIN US!

Early Bird Registration available now! Limited number of tickets.

https://www.huroncounty.ca

WELCOME TO HURON COUNTY

For accommodation information: https://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/plan-your-trip/where-to-stay/

R2R22 brings people together from across the County, the Country and beyond our borders.

JOIN US!

“The future is only ever realized in the moment.” – Mary Doyle, Workshop Leader at R2R22

Contact for more information: peter@ruralcreativity.org

R2R22 Conference Themes

Day 1 Wellbeing

R2R is partnering with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health, our Wellbeing

day is dedicated to exploring the future of mental health and wellbeing in our

rural communities. Gateway creates a path to prioritize the future of wellbeing as it

continues to evolve. Gateway is a unique rural health care system that

emphasizes research, education and communication to improve the quality of

life for rural residents.

Day 2 Housing

We are partnering with the Rural Ontario Institute, Huron County

and the County of Lennox & Addington. We need to acknowledge the ground

shifting from under our feet, and that more action needs to be done

around the issues of affordable and accessible rural housing. Our

Housing day aims to identify where we are at now with rural housing,

showcasing action-based models that have contributed to positive

change in communities, and exploring different models together

through workshops that help gain tangible skills and tools to bring back to

home communities.

Day 3 Climate & Community

We are partnering with Emergency Management BC! Day 3 embodies disaster

relief/recovery, the role of agriculture when it comes to climate change and

sustainability, relationship to the land, Indigenous practices, and includes

solutions in the short and long term to deal with our changing weather on the

planet as we best understand sustainability for our rural communities. The

Climate & Community day provides the space and structure for attendees to

develop ideas through exploratory conversation, while also collecting tangible

tools that impact rural communities’ resilience against climate realities.

Day 4 Economic and Creative Hubs

Day 4 is a half day, as it is the final day of the conference. This day

will explore the thoughts brought up over the three days in relation

to the future, and challenge attendees to think beyond the walls of

conference to bring the knowledge accumulated and tools learned to

their own rural communities.

19 Jul

The Grand River Community Play Project

WHAT IS A COMMUNITY PLAY?

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

21 Jun

Meet the guests at VIEWPOINTS episode 2!

VIEWPOINTS on INDIGENOUS perspectives on CLIMATE
June 24th @ 8pm-9:30pm ET
Join us on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/91441322243

BETTY BASTIEN
Betty Bastien places Blackfoot tradition within a historical context of precarious survival amid colonial displacement and cultural genocide. In sharing her personal story of reclaimed identity, Bastien offers a gateway into traditional Blackfoot ways of understanding and experiencing the world. For the Siksikaitsitapi, knowledge is experiential, participatory, and ultimately sacred. Bastien maps her own process of coming to know, stressing the recovery of the Blackfoot language and Blackfoot notions of reciprocal responsibilities and interdependence.

Rekindling traditional ways of knowing is essential for Indigenous peoples in Canada to heal and rebuild their communities and cultures. By sharing what she has learned, Betty Bastien hopes to ensure that the next generation of Indigenous people will enjoy a future of hope and peace. Betty is an instructor in Indigenous studies at the University of Calgary. Her experience includes teaching and curriculum design at Red Crow Community College, in the Native studies department at the University of Lethbridge, and at the University of Calgary.

[Photo – University of Calgary]


TERO MUSTONEN

Council Member with special responsibility for Northern Europe and Russia Based in Finland. Dr. Tero Mustonen, a passionate defender of traditional worldview and cosmology of his people, is a Finn and head of the village of Selkie in North Karelia, Finland. He has worked as the traditional knowledge coordinator for Eurasia for the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment. Professionally, he works for the award-winning Snowchange Cooperative (ICCA Consortium Member), which is a non-profit organization based in Finland with members across the Arctic, including the communities of Eastern Sámi, Chukchi, Yukaghir, Sakha, Evenk, Even, Inuit, Inuvialuit, Gwitchin and many more.

Mustonen is a well-known scholar of Arctic biodiversity, climate change, and indigenous issues, having published over a dozen publications on the topics including the ground-breaking Eastern Sámi Atlas and Snowscapes, Dreamscapes. Mustonen has won several human rights and environmental awards for the work with Snowchange and indigenous peoples of the Arctic.

He is the key person to coordinate the Festivals of Northern Fishing Traditions that are organised by Snowchange to connect the traditional and Indigenous fishermen of Eurasia together every two years. The first Festival took place in Finland in September 2014. The second Festival was organised on Lena River, Sakha-Yakutia, Siberia, Russia in September 2016. The 2018 Festival was held in Tornio, Finland. The 2020 Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions was slated for Khanty-Mansia Autonomous Region, Siberia, Russia.

[Photo: BBC.CO.UK, “Carbon-neutral in 15 years? The country with an ambitious plan”]


ALEJANDRO ARGUMEDO

Alejandro is the Director of the Association ANDES, a Cusco-based indigenous people’s non-governmental organization working to protect and develop Andean biological and cultural diversity and the rights of indigenous peoples of Peru.

He is also the international coordinator of the Indigenous People’s Biodiversity Network (IPBN), and Senior Research Officer for Peru of the ‘Sustaining Local Food Systems, Agricultural Biodiversity and Livelihoods’ Programme of the International Institute for Environment and Development for England.

[Photo: SwiftFoundation.org]


GRAEME REED

Graeme is of mixed Anishinaabe and European descent. He is a Senior Advisor with the Assembly of First Nations, where he advocates for the inclusion of First Nations in the federal, provincial, and territorial climate change and energy policy
dialogue.

He has presented to the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME), participated in the First Minister’s Meeting negotiating the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and represented the AFN several times at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Graeme is a graduate of the International Development program jointly offered by St. Paul’s and the Faculty of Environment. He is a candidate for the Rural Studies PhD program at the School for Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph.

[Photo: Health Insight – Graeme Reed]


BYRON FLEKKE

My name is Byron Flekke. I’m St’at’imc, from the community of Xaxli’p. I am from the Diablo family. I was raised away from home, in ministry care, in what is today called the Fraser Valley but is actually Sto:lo territory. I am currently living on what I have come to call Occupied Kwantlen Territory. Until a treaty is in place and what is politely called ‘the land question’ is answered, I feel that is the most appropriate way to situate myself.

In light of recent events I feel it is important to note that my siblings and I are the first generation in our family not to attend Kamloops Industrial School, where my mom survived, and I am the first generation to raise my own children. I usually reject the capital “I” Indigenous label, I think people often use it to make themselves feel better when they really ought to be uncomfortable. I prefer and use Indian. I am a husband, a father, a son to my birth mom, and a son to my late white family.

[Photo: LinkedIn]

08 Jun

CCRC Radio/Podcast: VIEWPOINTS episode 2

There are many other ways to see, to speak and to know. Hosted by Byron Flekke with First Nations and Indigenous guests from around the world, VIEWPOINTS episode two will explore Indigenous perspectives on climate. 

Is infinite growth on a finite planet possible? How do we get involved beyond the blue box in dealing with climate change? There is technology that is helping and there is work going on that you might not be aware of.

Come to Indigenous perspectives on climate on June 24th and learn how traditional knowledge is impacting the climate crisis on our one and only home. You will be joining guests from across Canada, from Finland and Peru who will let you in on the environmental work they are doing. The thoughts may change the way you get involved in leaving the campsite better than you found it for future generations. Comments and questions can be sent to info@ruralcreativity.ca


Indigenous peoples are vital to, and active in, the many ecosystems that inhabit their lands and territories and help enhance the resilience of these ecosystems. Indigenous peoples interpret and react to the impacts of climate change drawing on traditional knowledge to find solutions.

UN report on Climate

VIEWPOINTS on INDIGENOUS perspectives on CLIMATE
June 24th @ 8pm-9:30pm ET
Join us on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/91441322243

31 May

CCRC adopts a kilometer of the G2G!

The CCRC has adopted 1 KM on the Guelph to Goderich Rail Trail. It is in part thanks to the folks at the amazing G2G for their co-producing of the Rural Talks to Rural 2020 conference with us. If you can get out onto this magnificent piece of social and environmentally friendly architecture that takes you into the heart of farm country, the kilometre that we have adopted is at KM 52-53 (from Goderich). The plaque will read ‘adopted by the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity’ – send us a photo if you do pass by and we’ll post it on our website.


Congratulations to everybody – this project is such a wonder, and to be connected to this remarkable community initiative is an honour. For more information on the G2G and the folks responsible please read below.

“G2G Rail Trail Experience is all about connection. Connection between yourself and others, people and nature, cyclists and hikers, rural and urban settings, beach and buildings. G2G Rail Trail Inc is sustained by an enthusiastic volunteer base that is motivated to provide a sustainable inclusive multi-use trail. All efforts on the trail are funded by private donations and by government grants. With that in mind, the trail is free for everyone to use but can only continue to be maintained by donations. As little of a donation as $5 will add you to our e-mail communications and keep you in touch with all things G2G Rail Trail!” (G2G Website)

For more information visit: http://g2grailtrail.com/

13 May

CCRC Radio/Podcast: VIEWPOINTS

Episode 1: EVERY SNOWFLAKE IN AN AVALANCHE PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY.’ FASHION and its connection to the CLIMATE CRISIS.

VIEWPOINTS

VIEWPOINTS on the CCRC Radio/Podcast offers unique perspectives on contemporary and global issues. Each session brings people together from different worlds to offer their stories, their experiences, their questions and their gathered insights, on a specific topic. Engaging, provocative, informative, and entertaining, VIEWPOINTS is as much about listening as it is about offering.

The first VIEWPOINTS podcast is about the Fashion Industry and is moderated by Yuddha Maharaj and produced by the CANADIAN CENTRE FOR RURAL CREATIVITY. The episode is called EVERY SNOWFLAKE IN AN AVALANCHE PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY.’

You will be a part of a conversation that looks at how we got to where we are at, and where we go from here. From the historic, to the contemporary, from the ethics of fashion, to how you can make a difference, this interactive session will have you meeting informed guests from different parts of the world. Nigerian writer Ben Okri said: Change your story and you might very well change your life.

Come to VIEWPOINTS and listen to some unique stories that might have you thinking about changing your own story when it comes to your relationship with your clothes. Comments and questions can be sent to info@ruralcreativity.ca

VIEWPOINTS on FASHION and its connection to the CLIMATE CRISIS
May 27th @ 8pm-9:30pm ET
Join us on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/92396503366


23 Mar

RURAL ARTS – check this out

HEY RURALISTS. The CCRC has been approached by some folks from University of Calgary. They are doing a survey on the arts and wanted to be sure to include the work going on in RURAL COMMUNITIES. Take a moment and lend them a hand. THANKS.
Professional Development Survey- Visual Arts
This survey by the University of Calgary involves questions about professional development opportunities and course-based MFA (visual arts) programs. In order to engage the Canadian arts community better, we are seeking information to understand your interests and experiences in these kinds of activities. The 10 question visual arts based survey is open to adults over 18 including, but not limited to, artists, fine craft practitioners, curators, arts administrators etc. across Canada. Thank you for participating!
Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6Y93RVK
For more information please feel free to contact Dr. Leblanc at the University of Calgary: jrleblan@ucalgary.ca

06 Dec

R2R20 – it’s a wrap

R2R20 CLOSING REMARKS
Pete Smith
Meghan Hellstern during the media panel at R2R20 offered this to all of us when we consider what we consider:
Is it necessary?
Is it true?
Is it kind?

Walter Lapore during the Wicked Problems panel said this about working alongside community – that it is important to…
Listen
Unlearn to learn again
And remain vulnerable

Dr. Leroy Little Bear reminds us that, regardless of the path we take, when we get to the top of the mountain – we share the same vision. Justice Murray Sinclair asks us to ‘remember, reconciliation is ours to achieve. We owe it to each other to build a Canada based on our shared future, a future of healing and trust. Achieving reconciliation is like climbing a mountain, he said — we must proceed a step at a time. It will not always be easy. There will be storms, there will be obstacles, but we cannot allow ourselves to be daunted by the task because our goal is Just – and it is also necessary.

I want to thank everybody, you the audience, and the more than100 presenters, who took time to offer insights from around the corner and from around the world – and who made civil discourse the pathway for R2R20.

Thank you to our co-producer the Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail, our wonderful Lead Partner LIBRO CREDIT UNION, our sponsors, Cowbell Brewery through their Greener Pastures Fund, Canada Futures Huron, and Huron Commodities. Thank you to the associate organizations, the University of Guelph, Gateway, Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, the Rural Ontario Institute, Community Climate Council, Ukai, the RTO4, Fair Finance Fund, and Farmworks.

So. Where are we? and… Where are we going? R2R20 asked both questions of our many guests and each, in their own way, worked toward an answer. Leroy Little Bear talks about how the world is in constant motion – in a perpetual state of flux, that everything is animate, that rather than waking up with the thought what am I going to do, maybe it’s time to take a little time to reflect on the world we inhabit. And as the questions ‘Where are We?’ and ‘Where are we going?’ are always in a state of flux too – it’s tricky to set a single compass point and figure all will be OK with the direction chosen.

We are striving at the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, and by extension R2R, to build a gathering place: a place where people assemble and meet others they mightn’t otherwise meet had they not come to the gathering. It is an All Thingy, an opportunity to share ideas, and wisdom collected via experience, and to laugh, and talk about family, and love, and home. It is a place to disagree, but to remember in disagreement we don’t have to be disagreeable.

As we bring the lights down on R2R20 we are launching the CCRC RADIO in order to continue the dialogue that started here – that brought people together that mightn’t have otherwise met – in order to work toward a stronger unified rural voice, leading to a democratic citizen assembly, and positive collective action for a healthier, more sustainable planet.

On behalf of the organizing producers, and all who made this possible, we offer you our gratitude.

Now. Stay safe, stay tuned, we’ll be talking to you all again soon.

(image is The Train by Arthur Dove)