Ryan Davis has been running the Mummers Festival since 2009. He holds an MA in Folklore and a BA in Communication Studies. It was his interest in festivals, celebrations, and costuming that led him to mummering traditions. The Mummers Festival promotes the continuation and evolution of traditional arts and performance by encouraging active participation in mummering activities. The Mummers Festival helps to keep mummering alive and contemporary. One of the traditions the Mummers Festival has helped to safeguard is the hobby horse. With its devilish spirit and snapping jaws, it might not be the first thing one associates with the season of comfort and joy, but it is a centuries-old part of the Yuletide season in Newfoundland and Labrador. In this podcast, we chat with Ryan about all things hobby horse!
Gabriel Newman is a storyteller, actor, and educator based in Vernon, British Columbia. For the past fourteen years he has led the historic and paranormal walking tour, Ghost Tours of Vernon. He also created a community based storytelling food project called Social Potluck, which had him trading food for stories in order to create intimate mini community performance projects. His day job is as the Educational Coordinator at the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives where he creates and presents educational programming for students and adults. We talk about the museum, their innovative programming, and the art of straight razor shaving and sharpening scythes!
Kristin Catherwood is the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for Heritage Saskatchewan. She studied Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and has a particular interest in vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes. Born and raised in the deep south of Saskatchewan on a family farm, Kristin is passionate about the cultural landscape and folk life of the rural prairies. Her graduate thesis, “Every Place had a Barn: The Barn as a Symbol of the Family Farm in Southern Saskatchewan” resulted in the The Barn Hunter blog which chronicled her cultural explorations of rural life. In her work with Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), Kristin uses storytelling as a tool to connect people with place, and believes in empowering communities to tell their own stories and curate their own heritage. Her love of and respect for rural life is at the heart of her work, and she once again calls the rural prairies home.
In the past, the Newfoundland and Labrador household had to be versatile in order to survive. People made do with what they had and turned old objects into new items. It’s a centuries-old tradition of adaptive reuse and creativity that continues today. On Oct 26, 2017, host Dale Jarvis sat down for a chat at The Rooms with two of Newfoundland and Labrador’s crafty recyclers: Trent Hardy, mat maker and owner of Waste Knot Want Knot; and Ruth Noseworthy Green, artist and rug hooker. Trent Hardy founded his braided mat-making company on the principle that we should not be simply throwing away materials that can still be used, turning old fishing rope into modern floor mats. Ruth Noseworthy Green’s hooked mats have been exhibited in the Arts and Letters Competition, The Bonavista North Museum Gallery, the Kildevil Far, and hang in private collections across Canada. We talked about the tradition of reuse, reinvention, ropes, rags, and rugs!
Jeremy Moyle studied archaeology at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is currently a masters student in the Department of Folklore at Memorial University, doing his MA on the Victorian and Edwardian vernacular architecture of Dunedin. We chat about his work in New Zealand, the historical and geographical context of his research, the history of Dunedin and its architecture, typical design and ornamental features of Victorian architecture in Dunedin, cast iron work and “modern” industries, the use of newspapers and historical photographs in vernacular architecture research, and how issues around class and status are reflected in the architecture of the time.
Part Two of our Grand Falls Memory Mug Up, recorded in front of a live studio audience at The Classic Theatre on July 14, 2017. The mug up was was part of the town's Salmon Festival activities and was organized by the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society and was a staged interview with six local community members. In part two we hear stories from Shawn Feener, Mary Kelly, and Cliff Thomas.
Part One of our Grand Falls Memory Mug Up, recorded in front of a live studio audience at The Classic Theatre on July 14, 2017. We heard stories of horses and goats, sneaking in to the movie theatre with flattened nickels or fake tickets, stories of memorable local characters, the influence of strong woman, and memories about growing up in the community. The mug up was was part of the town's Salmon Festival activities and was organized by the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society and was a staged interview with six local community members. In part one we hear stories from Andy Barker, Yvonne Courtney and John Edwards.
Part Two of “NL Stories: How do Newcomers Experience Newfoundland?” - excerpts from an evening of storytelling with new residents of Canada. The event was recorded live on Thursday, June 29, 2017. It was hosted by the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council, with support from the Helen Creighton Folklore Society and the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. The MC and organizer for the event was Marissa Farahbod, a graduate student in the Department of Folklore at Memorial University, with stories from Leonardo Linares Gutiérrez (from Cuba), Maria Moreno (from Colombia), Yohei Sakai (from Japan), and Ellie King (from the UK).
Part One of “NL Stories: How do Newcomers Experience Newfoundland?” - excerpts from an Evening of Storytelling and Musical Performances. The event was recorded live on Thursday, June 29, 2017. It was hosted by the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council, with support from the Helen Creighton Folklore Society and the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. The MC and organizer for the event was Marissa Farahbod, a graduate student in the Department of Folklore at Memorial University, with stories from Yvette Niyomugaba (from Rwanda), Mark Watts (from the UK), and Jing Xia (from China).
In September 2016 researcher Terra Barrett spent a week in Grand Falls-Windsor collecting stories and memories of Main Street, Windsor. This was part of the Merchants and Memories project which was a partnership between the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society. The Society wanted to focus on Windsor to celebrate the diverse community that grew up on Main Street across from the train station. This podcast is a selection of memories about Main Street which take the listener back to the heyday of the shopping district of Windsor. Take a listen to learn more about fights at the pool hall, movies at the Vogue Theatre, people watching at the train station, and shopping at Riff’s and Cohen’s.
Don MacLean grew up on Cape Breton Island and attended St. Francis Xavier University and Memorial University. He retired in 2015 after a 32 year career as a fisheries biologist with the Inland Fisheries Division of the Nova Scotia Dept. of Fisheries and Aquaculture. He has written professionally since 1999, and his columns and articles on sport fishing, natural history and traditional crafts have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines. He is the author of two books, Discover Nova Scotia Sportfishing and A Little Thing I Tied Myself-Stories of Atlantic Canadian Fly Tiers. Don and his wife Judy live in Pictou, Nova Scotia. In this podcast, we discuss Don’s new book project on traditional arts and crafts, the history and regional variations of fly-tying, the resurgence and vitality of craft traditions, and Don’s quest to find a tin kettle maker.
Dr. Lisa Daly has been working in the heritage sector since 2001, first with the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, then Parks Canada, and now as a tour guide and museum coordinator. She holds a B.A. in archaeology from MUN, a M.Sc. in forensic and biological anthropology from Bournemouth University, and holds her Ph.D. in archaeology from MUN. Her study focus is aviation in Newfoundland and Labrador. Up to now, most of her academic work has focused on World War II aviation in Gander, Goose Bay and Stephenville, but she has also done some work on pre- and post-war aviation history in the province. In this podcast, we talk about how Lisa got her start as the Plane Crash Girl, consider the many “firsts” of Newfoundland aviation history, and discuss the condition and appropriate stewardship of plane crash sites. We also chat about the flights of the Hindenburg over Newfoundland, and reflect on recent theories surrounding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
Eemaan Thind was born and raised in Punjab, India. Her family moved to Ontario during her last year of secondary school; she started her BSc. at McMaster University and then transferred to Physics at Memorial University in 2013, when her family moved to Newfoundland. A self-taught artist from a young age, Eemaan picked up the medium of henna body art in the summer of 2013 while participating in the Youth Ventures program, and received the provincial Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Product Design during the same summer. In April of 2017, she travelled to volunteer with the Gurmat Bhawan NGO in Punjab, where she worked with school children, held workshops on child sexual abuse, menstrual health and sex education, and provided free henna workshops for local women. She is pleased to offer a chance of experiencing this ancient art form right here on the Rock. In this podcast, we talk about Eemaan’s evolution as a henna artist, the traditional uses of henna, and how to discern between real henna and commercialized henna (along with the safety risks of the latter). We also discuss Eeman’s experiences at Henna Con and her recent trip to India, and consider some ideas about henna and cultural appropriation.
This episode is all about that controversial Scottish delicacy, haggis, the chieftain of the pudding race. And who better to guide us through the culinary history and folklore of haggis than Newfoundland’s own “Haggis Lady” Jennifer Whitfield? Jennifer was raised in Glasgow, lived there till she was 25, then boarded the second voyage of the QEII and sailed away to the new world. She moved to Newfoundland in 1976. She’s been making haggis since 1981, and has made haggis locally for the Burns Night supper, and ships her haggis across Canada. In this delicious podcast, we talk about what exactly goes into a haggis, how she got started in the haggis-making business and how she became “The Haggis Lady,” what makes an excellent haggis, the folklore and mythology of the haggis, and her recent activities in mailing haggis to needy pudding lovers across North America.
Joy Fraser is Assistant Professor of English and Associate Director of the Folklore Studies program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. She is completing a book tracing the cultural history of haggis as a contested symbol of Scottishness, provisionally entitled Addressing the Haggis: Culture and Contestation in the Making of Scotland’s National Dish. For the past several years, she has also been researching the relationship between Christmas mumming, violence, and the law in nineteenth-century Newfoundland. In this episode, we focus on the murder of Isaac Mercer in Bay Roberts, who was beset upon by mummers, hit with a hatchet, and who died of his wounds. We explore the background of mummering traditions in Newfoundland, differences in mummering traditions in different communities, the events surrounding the murder case, her research using court case records at local archives, the licensing and eventual banning of mummering, and the link between mummering and violence in the historical period.
Clare Fowler grew up on Bell Island. She spent time working in fish plants and other food processing plants before moving to Ontario in 1999 to do the Chiropody Program at the Michener Institute for Applied Health. She moved to St. John’s in 2004 and worked for a decade before switching gears and following her passions for art and craft. She completed the Textile: Craft and Apparel Design program with College of the North Atlantic in 2016 and is now a full time crafts person and maker with an open studio at the Quidi Vidi Village Craft Plantation. Her body of work focuses on the use of seal fur and seal leather. We talk about her journey as a craftsperson and maker, her work with seal fur and leather, the craft program at the Anna Templeton Centre in St. John’s, National Seal Products Day, and future work on seal art and documenting and learning bark tanning and sealskin boot making on the Northern Peninsula.
Robyn Lacy is a 2nd year Masters student in the Archaeology Department at MUN, and completed her BA in Archaeology at the University of Calgary in 2014. Her research focuses on historic archaeology in Newfoundland and New England, exploring burial landscapes and their relationship to 17th-century settlements. This summer she will be excavating at Ferryland for four weeks in search of the early burial ground at the Colony of Avalon. In this podcast, Robyn talks about how she got interested in historical archaeology and the archaeology of burial places, burial landscapes, her work searching out Ferryland’s hidden graveyard, the folklore of hexfoils, and public archaeology.
Hasan Hai is a father and transplanted mainlander who's spent nearly 7 years in NL however he is just approaching his first 'towniversary'. Previously he had lived In Clarenville and Marystown. In the last year he’s been heavily invested in community development through a group he formed called Project Kindness , and most recently the NL Beard and Moustache Club which focuses both on appreciating facial hair and giving back to the community. He also tosses axes on the side. We chat about Islamophobia, dealing with confirmation biases, diversity, kindness and building community, with a few axes thrown in, so to speak, and a little bit about beards!
Dr. Leah Lewis is an assistant professor, counseling psychologist, creative arts therapist and project lead of the Open Art Studio or Art Hive. Art Hives are forms of community based practice, grounded is social justice and art therapy frameworks. Also known as open studios, art hives create publicly accessible spaces for people to gather, exchange, and make art.
The art hive project at Holy Heart highschool is working with newcomer youth attending the ESL programming there, all of whom are immigrants and / or refugees. In this episode Leah explains Art Hives, the history behind them, and describes an great example found in Montreal. We also discuss the importance of arts in building community, and explore how to use the Art Hive as a place to learn leadership skills as well as practice creativity.
Chris Driedzic is an interpreter with Parks Canada. You can find him dressed as the lighthouse keeper and immersed in the 19th century at Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. He also develops interpretive programs for Provincial Historic Sites of Newfoundland and Labrador and has created work for Heart’s Content Cable Station, Mockbeggar Plantation, Point Amour Lighthouse, Cupids Cove Plantation and The Commissariat. In this podcast, we explore the world of first-person interpretation, and get Chris’s inside scoop on working as a parks interpreter.
Gail (Hussey) Weir is the author of The Miners of Wabana, published by Breakwater Books in 1989 and 2006. Her latest publication is a chapter on the history of Company Housing on Bell Island in the book Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation, published by Cape Breton University Press in 2016. A former archivist with Memorial University Library’s Archives & Special Collections, she is spending her retirement years constructing a website on Bell Island’s history and culture at www.historic-wabana.com. In this podcast, we talk about the history of mining on Bell Island, company housing and building styles, and Gail’s memories of growing up on the island.
Since arriving in Newfoundland fifteen years ago, Dan Rubin has been deeply involved in local history and heritage, as the founding chair of the Pouch Cove Heritage Society. He was lead author and editor of the book Pouch Cove: Our Home by the Sea which received the Manning award for community history in 2016. But Dan is also a groundbreaking gardener and seedsman. He is here today to talk about how he is helping preserve and extend local traditions of food production in his community and across our province while working as the manager of Perfectly Perennial Herbs and Seeds. We discuss the seed company, extending the gardening season, biannual plants, walking onions, food security, root cellar technology, north-adapted plants, and the importance of workshops and passing on agricultural traditions!
Graham Blair is a printmaker and graphic designer based out of St. John's, and holds a master's degree in Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies from the University of British Columbia. After working in both non-profit and commercial galleries for a decade, Graham began pursuing printmaking full-time five years ago. He specializes in woodcut prints using techniques based on the earliest forms of printmaking, and in addition to selling his work at local craft fairs and venues, Graham sells his woodcut prints at the One of Kind Show in Toronto and, most recently, the Originals Show in Ottawa. We talk about how Graham got his start in art and printmaking, specifically woodprints, his tenure at the Quidi Vidi arts plantation, the process of making woodcut prints, materials and tools used, Japanese techniques, his time at the Mi-Lab print residency at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, the types of designs he favours and wildlife art, and his most recent acquisition - an antique book press.
Lloydetta Quaicoe is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sharing Our Cultures, Incorporated. The program, established in 1999, engages high school youth in skills-development workshops which culminate in them sharing their cultures with the public and over 800 Grade 6 students at a three-day event at The Rooms. Lloydetta obtained her PhD in Education at the University of South Australia. Her areas of research are the psychosocial needs of newcomer children and youth and their sense of place and belonging. In this episode we discuss the beginning of Sharing Our Cultures, the growth of the program over the past 25+ years, the importance of the program and how students and the general public respond, this year’s theme and what to expect at the event. Lloydetta also explains how Sharing Our Cultures is going national this year.
Jim Dempsey is the President of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. Jim has been around boats and the ocean all of his life. As a boy, he spent his summers on the beach where he always had a boat to row. After studying marine biology and oceanography at university, he was fortunate to be employed in his field for over forty years. He has worked along the entire British Columbia coast, in the Canadian Arctic, and from Sable Island to Hudson's Bay on the east coast. For Jim, the Wooden Boat Museum has provided a chance to realise a dream to build wooden boats. This experience has been enhanced by the people he has met, the places he has visited, and the stories he has heard. In this interview we talk all about the wooden boat museum, their past conferences, the work of conserving boatbuilding skills, and their current educational and outreach programs.