Elinor Benjamin has been telling stories for over 25 years . She was inspired by many, including Newfoundland fiddler and storyteller, Emile Benoit, Rita Cox, Bob Barton and Laura Simms. After 22 years as an administrator with the Newfoundland Public Libraries, she left to devote more time to storytelling, working with the “Learning Through the Arts” programme in schools in Western Newfoundland, before moving to Nova Scotia in 2011. Lifetime member, former Administrator, retired Webmaster of Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, she received the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada “Storykeeper Award” in 2015. In this podcast, we discuss how Elinor started in storytelling, her new project “Cousin Silas and the Moose Woman”, and the work of Silas Tertius Rand who was a Baptist Missionary and Mi’kmaq story collector. We also discuss several stories Silas collected and published and what the future holds for Elinor’s storytelling projects.
Kathy was raised in a remote village on the Alaska Highway in northern BC, but wanderlust has taken her far from her roots. She’s always loved telling tales. One day she stumbled upon the world of traditional storytelling, and she was hooked! Since then, Kathy’s performed original stories and world folktales in schools, libraries, concerts and festivals across Canada and internationally. Highlights include the Scottish International Story-telling Festival, a Nordic storytelling conference in Iceland, and most recently- sharing tales with school children in South Africa. Her stories have been published in various venues, and included on several CD anthologies. In this podcast, we discuss growing up on the Alaskan Highway, Kathy’s family’s roots in the area, her father memories and work on the Alaskan Highway, and we focus on her upcoming storytelling show the “Alaskan Highway Road Show” celebrating the 75th anniversary of the highway.
Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of ten books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last eighteen years has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer's, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam. Ivan's 11th book, Tomboy Survival Guide, was released in the fall of 2016 with Arsenal Pulp Press. In this podcast, we discuss the writing process, performing, Ivan’s new book Tomboy Survival Guide, trans and queer stories shared after Ivan’s performances, and their latest projects.
Aoife Granville is from Dingle, Co. Kerry (Ireland). A flute player, fiddler and traditional singer, she completed a PhD thesis in 2012 entitled at University College Cork entitled "We never died a winter yet" The Sráid Eoin Wrenboys of Dingle: Music, Community and Identity. Aoife has held lectureship posts in Music at UCC and Newcastle University (UK) and is currently working at the Folklore department at UCC. She has released two solo albums to date and is working on an Arts Council of Ireland funded project on traditional songs of The Schools Collection (Irish Folklore Commission) at present. In this podcast, we talk about Dingle, growing up within a musical tradition, fife and drum groups, calendar customs, the routes taken by wren groups on St. Stephen’s day, parades, disguises, traditional tunes, straw hats, and the evolution of wren traditions in Ireland and Newfoundland!
Sarah Wade has worked for the Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (MANL) since June 2011. Prior to working at MANL, Sarah attended Memorial University of Newfoundland where she received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Archaeology and History in 2009. Sarah also obtained an Honours Diploma in Advanced Museum Studies from Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario in June 2011. Sarah is also an active member with Youth Heritage Newfoundland Labrador, a group that works to create a network for youth and heritage professionals within the province. Sarah talks about how young people can start to develop a career in heritage through education and volunteerism, the importance of employers developing meaningful internship opportunities, networking, the role and mission of Youth Heritage NL the youth mentorship speed-dating model, how institutions can better utilize the skills of youth, social media, and workshop opportunities.
Ruth has been a mat maker since 1995. She works primarily with wool yarn to create mats which capture Newfoundland and Labrador past and present especially as it relates to her connections to places throughout the province. Though her works vary in size, Ruth particularly likes large scale mats. Some of her larger pieces include Portugal Cove c1920, Quidi Vidi c1900, the Battery c1960 as well as modern day Quirpon and Fortune. Her works have been exhibited at the Battle Harbour National Historic Site of Canada, the Arts and Letters Competition, the Bonavista North Museum Gallery, the Kildevil Fair and Auntie Crae’s. Ruth and her work have also appeared in a Parks Canada promotional video. Her works hang in private collections across Canada. She has taught mat making for the Provincial Museum, the provincial Youth Heritage Forum and to private students. In this episode, Ruth talks about her introduction to mat making, explains the process being making a hooked mat and the materials involved, different styles of designs, the role of place, memory and history in her work, and the differences between hooked and poked mats.
Marlene Creates is an environmental artist and poet who lives in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. Underlying all her work is an interest in place—not as a geographical location but a process that involves memory, multiple narratives, ecology, and language. Her work has been presented in over 350 exhibitions and screenings both across Canada and internationally, and is in many public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. We discuss how Marlene got her start in art, how she found herself in Newfoundland, her work in Newfoundland and Labrador on place, the importance of place, several recent projects including her memory maps and important place awards, and her new book “Brickle, Nish, and Knobbly: A Newfoundland Treasury of Terms for Ice and Snow”.
Andrea McGuire is completing her MA degree in Folklore at Memorial University. She is currently in the throes of writing her master’s thesis on hitchhiking traditions in Newfoundland and Cape Breton. In her thesis, she is looking at how trust, in its many variations, influences the way hitchhiking is practiced, and the way hitchhiking stories are told. We discuss why Andrea chose hitchhiking for her thesis, how she conducted her research, the difference between short and long distance hitchhiking, how gender effects hitchhiking, the stories people tell and the techniques they use, the brief history of hitchhiking in Newfoundland, and examples of the hitchhiking stories she has heard.
Ken O'Brien is the Chief Municipal Planner for the City of St. John's, involved with land-use planning, rezonings, heritage planning and environmental planning. He graduated from MUN in 1986 with a B.A. in Religious Studies and a minor in Math (having tried Engineering first), then attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, graduating with a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning in 1991. He likes history and old buildings and is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. We discuss what a land use planner does and what they study, the importance of the social history of buildings, his work with the city of St. John’s, changes in the past 20 years, the benefits of heritage regulations, St. John’s storm doors, the Atlantic Planners Institute and the Planners’ Plate series, how community members can get involved with planning, mapping community assets, the oddities of downtown St. John’s, and growing up in Georgestown.
Colleen Quigley holds a Masters degree specializing in Archives from University of Toronto and is Acting Head of Archives and Special Collections at Memorial Libraries. Her primary responsibilities include managing the vast treasures of the division’s Performing Arts Collection, which included North America’s largest online performing arts poster collection. In addition to archival work Colleen is also a trained dancer, with a degree from York University, who performs and choreographs regularly. We discuss how Colleen started working with archives, her work with ANLA and a dance think tank which moved Colleen into the archives world, her work with the Archives and Special Collections at Memorial University in
Philip Hiscock has been studying Newfoundland and Labrador language and folklore for four decades. These days, he teaches Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is the coordinator of the MA and PhD programmes in that department. We discuss Philip’s interest in dialectology, folklore, radio, and popular culture, Newfoundland folklore and language including the terms skeet and b’y, Newfoundland language and YouTube, children’s folklore, and digital folklore.
Recorded 23 June 2016
Andrea O’Brien is the municipal outreach officer and provincial registrar for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. She comes from a background in folklore, history and Newfoundland Studies. She has been involved in the province’s heritage sector, both academically and professionally, for 20 years. We discuss how Andrea got her start in folklore and heritage, provincial and municipal heritage designations, interesting municipal designations, Andrea’s favourite designation, cultural landscapes, graveyards, fisheries heritage preservation program, and the links between tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Teresita E. McCarthy is a retired educator. She taught for thirty-three years in the classrooms in her native community of Bell Island, NL. Teresita also taught three programs for older workers under a WISE sponsored program on Bell Island. She is currently manager of the Bell Island Community Museum and #2 Mine Tour. She is a founding member of the Bell Island Heritage Society Inc. and Tourism Bell Island Inc. and has also served as Vice President of the Museum Association of NL, President and is currently immediate past President and Treasurer of this association. We discuss the history of Bell Island and importance of the mine, effects of World War Two on Bell Island, the closure of the mine, Bell Island Community Museum and #2 mine tour, diving tours in the mine and partnership with Ocean Quest, and the museum expansion.
Diane Tye is a Professor in the Department of Folklore, Memorial University. Most of her research over the last twenty-five years has explored intersections of folklore and gender and with Pauline Greenhill she is co-editor of Undisciplined Women and Unsettling Assumptions. For the last decade her work has included examinations of foodways in Atlantic Canada. She is author of the book, Baking as Biography. A Life Story in Recipes, that tells the story of her mother’s life through her recipe collection, as well as articles that explore a range of foodways topics from the food we eat on storm days, to the significance of making family recipes, and the cultural meanings of regionally iconic foods. We discuss Diane’s academic interest in food, her book Baking as a Biography, food and nostalgia, gender and food, and where her work has taken her.
Carol Stobie works with Scotland’s Urban Past - a five-year nationwide community engagement project about the history of Scotland’s towns and cities. It is a part of Historic Environment Scotland, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Scotland’s Urban Past’s project ideas stem from local communities, and the organization helps grow these ideas into full community-led projects by offering training, access to essential resources and project support. Carol is their Audience Development Officer, with an interest in storytelling, folklore, and cultural history. In this episode we discuss Carol’s trip to Newfoundland, her work with Scotland’s Urban Past, community engagement and development, community mapping, oral history, and archiving.
Nolan Reilly has a long-standing interest in community history. He is a professor of history and former chair of the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg, as well as being the the co-founder and Co-Director of the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg. The Oral History Centre was established in 2012, and develops and offers training in advanced digital recording technologies, digital storage, strategies for oral history research, archiving, and dissemination. It offers a program of local and international conferences, lecture series, workshops, and other events. We talk about Nolan’s trip to Newfoundland, genealogical research, the Oral History Centre, several of their projects, as well as how he started working with oral history.
Suzy Harrison is a second year PhD researcher at Nottingham Trent University, in the United Kingdom, and is funded through the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Programme. Her research analyses current attitudes towards intangible cultural heritage in England, and looks to reveal the challenges which it faces through closer examination of intangible heritage in the East Midlands. Her research is also looking at opportunities to possibly adopt practices at a local or national level which may exist in other countries.
Pat Burton has been involved with Guiding as an Adult for thirty seven years and is currently the Trefoil President for NL, a member of Killick Trefoil. She was President of Killick Trefoil Guild for seven years, and is part of the organizing committee for the National Trefoil Gathering for 350 guild members from across the county being held in St. John’s in June of this year. In addition to Guiding, she volunteers, sits on the Provincial Advisory Board for Seniors and Aging and is a member of the Collective Memories committee. We talk about her involvement with Guiding, the work of the Trefoil Guild, and the 2016 national conference of the Trefoil Guild being held in St. John's, Newfoundland. Recorded 18 March 2016
Stephanie Chipilski is from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She currently works at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, as the Assistant Registrar, assisting with loans, copyright, and collections management. She is interested in natural and cultural heritage, with a goal to celebrate and preserve it in all of its tangible and intangible forms. Stephanie has been a member of the Youth Advisory Group under the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and in this podcast we talk about the Youth Advisory Group, her work with UNESCO, youth mentorship, professional development ideas for those in the heritage and culture sector, her work with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the importance of saying hi!
Recorded 18 March 2016
Dennis is a freelance writer/photographer/storyteller and a native of Colliers, Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2003, he received a National Writing Award of Excellence from the Canadian Community Newspapers Association. His photographs and articles have been featured in various museums, magazines, books, newspapers, websites, and other publications. Dennis enjoys gathering and sharing stories and images that celebrate Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique people, unusual places, and the particular insights, and local humour. In this episode we talk about giant squid, lobster raffles, connection to place, grandfathers, hunting the wren, his life-long love of tales, writing, the Hindenburg, and the power that storytelling has for us all.
Recorded on 3 March 2016
Shirley, or “Shirl the Purl”, is a handknitter with a special love for history. A librarian by profession, Shirl wrote a book about the history of knitting in Canada called Canada Knits: Craft and Comfort in a Northern Land. Originally from New Brunswick, Shirl has made her home in Newfoundland for the past ten years. Why did she move here? A taste for penitential exile is one possible explanation. Her love of history, hand knitting, and North Atlantic culture is perhaps a better one. In Newfoundland she has found shared interests, deep friendships, and much food for the soul. Shirley talks about how she learned to knit, the history of knitting in Canada, her time researching for her book, and Newfoundland trigger mitts.
Recorded on 3 March 2016
Winston Fiander was born in 1940 in Coomb's Cove, Fortune Bay. He attended Memorial University and graduated with a BA Ed in 1966. He has worked in New Brunswick as a training specialist and later held senior positions in human resource management. He returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1999 and has been engaged in various community development initiatives. Currently, Winston is a member of the Fisheries Communities Alliance of NL, the Board of Directors of the Church by the Sea Incorporated, and past-Chair of the Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Heritage Committee.
On this episode we talk about Winston’s boyhood growing up in Coomb’s Cove, his time spent on his father’s schooner, Peddler Joe, and what the community did on Sundays.
Recorded on 2 March 2016
Joanne Kaar lives in Dunnet, on Dunnet Head, Caithness, Scotland, only two miles from where she grew up in the village of Brough. She has a BA in Textiles & Surface Decoration and an MA in Textiles from Manchester Metropolitan University. She has been self employed for over twenty years and has been exhibiting and working around the world as both participant and instigator of arts and heritage projects and collaborations. In this interview Joanne talks about craft, the folklore around wind knots, research on local stories, herbariums, the development of her “Portable Museums of Curiosity,” and the mysterious link between the Magellan Daisy and world-travelling whalers. Recorded on 29 February 2016.
Linda White was born in St. John's, Newfoundland. She worked as a Registered Nurse in the United States and England before returning to Newfoundland to attend Memorial University. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in History and a Master of Arts degree in History. In 1990 she began working in the Archives and Special Collections, Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University. Presently she holds the position of Archivist there. Linda talks about why she started studying history, how she became an archivist, what she does at the MUN archives, and about Greenspond, NL. She talks about the aims of the Greenspond Historical Society and Archives, stories of connecting people all around the world, and the process she goes through editing the Greenspond Letter.
Recorded on 16 February 2016.
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 and adds to the population’s pride of place. Ryan talks about what mummers are and what they do, the beginnings of the Mummers Festival and how it has grown over seven years, the successes and challenges of running a festival, and what he hopes the festival will offer in the future. Recorded on 10 February 2016.