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.
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!