Catherine Dempsey is a Newfoundlander by Choice, having spent 35 years living life and enjoying the special culture of her adopted home. With a background in book selling and teaching, and two decades promoting the history and heritage of the province, Catherine now lives on four acres in Flatrock, raising a garden, chickens and bees. Catherine is also the President of the Newfoundland & Labrador Beekeeping Association, which encourages those interested in keeping bees to work together to learn best practices, and to protect the province’s honey bees from pests and diseases. We talk about how Catherine got interested in bees, bee species, hives, keeping bees, the association between bees and gardening, tips for people getting started in bee-keeping, and the politics of introducing new bees to the island of Newfoundland.
Lori McCarthy grew up in the small fishing community of Bauline, of about 200 people, on the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The traditional foods of her childhood feed her passion to tell the stories of her province through its people, culture and food. Out of this passion she started Project NL Food, a province-wide endeavour to visit various communities and speak with generations of people that hold their culture close to their heart. Lori also owns and operates Cod Sounds, a company which is devoted to celebrating the province’s unique foods with travellers and locals alike through hands on experiences like beach boil-ups, mussel picking and berry picking. In this interview, we talk about how the Project NL Food got started, traditional recipes, family foodways, the barter system, hunting, teaching, workshops, and food tours.
Patrick Collins, born and raised in Riverhead, Harbour Grace, is a retired educator who taught in various communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. He finished his teaching career in education as a Curriculum Program Specialist, working in Avalon Peninsula School Districts. He is also a writer of historical fiction and has published five literary works. Currently Patrick teaches at The Canadian Training institute, Bay Roberts. We chatted with Patrick Collins about where his interest in history started, the 1871 murders of Jane Sear Geehan and Garnett Sears on the southside of Harbour Grace which Collins wrote about in his book Belonging, railway memories and his work as a station operator, writing historical fiction, and his next book What Lies Below.
Emily Hope is an artist, researcher, and founder of the Wild Man Appreciation Society, a civil society and personal museum dedicated to the promotion and preservation of tales of the Wild Man. Emily was born and raised in Aurora, Ontario, and college-educated at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, where she earned a BFA in 2012. Emily lives in Kamloops with her husband, Cory, and their daughter, Molly. During the week you can find her at the Kamloops Art Gallery where she works as the Education and Public Programs Director. We chat about about the origins of the Wild Man Appreciation Society, Emily’s work as an artist and collector, the origins of the Wild Man archetype and pre-Lenten masking traditions, Black Peter, Santa, the interplay between pagan faiths and Christianity, her research on traditions in Romania and wild man parade and house-visiting traditions there, gender roles and cross-dressing in masking customs, photography and curating exhibits on Wild Men, and her visit to Newfoundland to better understand mummering traditions, and similarities between the festivities in Romania and Newfoundland traditions.
Bruce Templeton’s journey with Santa has taken three phases so far. In 1978, he was asked to "play Santa." he was an actor. In 1982, he held the hand of a dying child whose last words were "Santa, Santa." Then he became Santa. And in the last few years, he has met St. Nicholas who has joined them on their visits. Bruce has joined Santa in the parades for 37 years and they have 50 visits each year in less than 30 days. Their last visit is to the Janeway on Christmas Eve where Santa holds the newest newborn born on Christmas Eve.
We discuss Bruce’s journey with Santa, becoming a Knight of St. Nicholas, the history and story of St. Nicholas, the work of Mrs. Claus, the Flight to the North Pole, the Santa Claus Parade, the Teddy Bear Project, and some of his favourite stories throughout his time with Santa Claus.
Amelia Reimer is a Cultural Support Worker for the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre. She is a proud Métis woman originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has made her home in St. John’s for the past 4 years. For the past 23 years, she has worked with and served a wide variety of Aboriginal communities across North America. With the Native Friendship Centre, she has taken on the national Faceless Dolls project – tracking and honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Newfoundland and Labrador while increasing public awareness through media, speaking, and events. She volunteers her time with a variety of community organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the St. John’s Status of Women Council. We discuss the services of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, the Faceless Dolls Project, In Her Name vigil, reconciliation, and Amelia’s work with the Centre and volunteering with the Status of Women Council.
Debbie O'Rielly is Coordinator for Volunteer Mount Pearl (VMP), an office created in 2014 by the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance. VMP was established to address the volunteer needs of community groups in the Mount Pearl area, and to act as a hub to connect volunteers and the groups that need them. Debbie does community outreach with seniors, youth and all those in between. She provides volunteer related news and shares volunteer job details on her website, through social media and in a quarterly newsletter. We talk about the work and objectives of Volunteer Mount Pearl, retaining and recruiting volunteers, using social media, linking youth with seniors, bread and raspberry jam making workshops, the Art of Storytelling project, and community gardens.
Anna Kearney Guigné is an independent folklorist and adjunct professor affiliated with Memorial University of Newfoundland’s ethnomusicology program. An historian at heart, Kearney Guigné has extensively written about twentieth-century folksong collectors and collecting practices. Kearney Guigné also explores the wide range of influences that continue to shape our rich musical tradition including such popular media as newspapers, broadsides, songsters, and radio programs, vinyl recordings.
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.