I was recently asked by Ottawa writer and editor rob mclennan to answer a few questions about what I’m up to now as Barrie’s second Poet Laureate, and where I’ve been hiding (in plain sight). His profile and my answers can now be found here on OpenBookOntario.
The Spirit Catcher by Ron Baird has graced our shoreline since 1987, and it is the quintessential icon of our city. Most of our residents never knew Barrie without it.
This Remembrance Week, I’m honoured to participate in our traditional partnership between Canada’s artists and military. Through poetry, paintings, photographs, films and other art forms, Canadian artists, both in and out of uniform, have worked to document and express the realities of service not captured by facts and their analysis.
Recognizing the importance of both perspectives, the Grey & Simcoe Foresters Museum (36 Mulcaster St, Barrie) is hosting a series of War Literary Readings that brings together both poets and historians to mark Remembrance Week:
Tuesday 8 November, 1–2 pm, damian lopes presents ‘Lest we forget: Researching Surgeon Lt Bruce Campbell: a poetic look at the Battle of the Atlantic through a doctor’s eyes.’
Wednesday 9 November, 1–2 pm, Major John Fisher presents ‘The First Iraq War – The Mesopotamian Campaign 1914–17.’
Thursday 10 November, 1–2 pm, Barrie’s Poet Laureate Bruce Meyer presents ‘Frank Prewett: A Canadian War Poet and the Missing Link in Our Literature.’
Friday 11 November, 1–2 pm, Bruce Meyer presents ‘Our Lost Trench Literature: The voices of the Great War and how they were retrieved from oblivion,’ accompanied by a Grey & Simcoe Forester Piper.
This program of readings is part of the Museum’s recently launched partnership with Georgian College and the University Partnership Centre (UPC) to serve the people of Barrie by preserving the heritage and advancing the cultural awareness of this historically significant city and its surrounding area.
Professional Development Symposium for writers in all phases of their careers
Sponsored by the Writers’ Union of Canada and Canadian Heritage
This full-day event is designed to address the creative and financial questions that arise as writers navigate print-based and digital literary landscapes. Writers – unpublished, emerging, or established – will gain an insight into their role in the digitalization of the literary industry.
The symposium also explores the importance of community and the need for writers to develop their own writing community.
Authors Betsy Warland and Ross Laird will illuminate the new landscape of digital literature and publishing and will discuss its impact on traditional modes of creation and publishing. A particular emphasis will be placed on emerging modes of creativity, innovation, economics, and community. Kelly Duffin, the Union’s executive director, will discuss authors’ contracts in the digital age.
Betsy, Ross, and Kelly will assist participants to define and develop their personal and professional strategies to encounter (and enjoy!) the dynamic environments of contemporary writing.
Events will be held across the country
- Toronto (February 4, 2011) Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue
- Toronto (February 5, 2011) Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue
- St. John’s (February 7, 2011) Memorial University of Newfoundland,
Junior Common Room, Main Dining Hall, Irwin Road
- Montreal (February 9. 2011) Concordia University,
1455 de Maisonneuve West, Room H763
- Ottawa (February 10, 2011) Carleton University, Leeds House, Room 124,
1125 Colonel By Drive
- Regina (March 7, 2011) University of Regina, Education Building, Room 114, 3737 Wascana Parkway
- Calgary (March 9, 2011) University of Calgary, Olympic Volunteer Center,
1833 Crowchild Trail NW
- Vancouver (March 10, 2011) Simon Fraser University,
Earl & Jennie Lohn Policy Room, Rm 7000, 515 West Hastings Street
- Victoria (March 11, 2011) Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre, Powell Room, 638 Fisgard Street
Ross Laird, Ph. D. teaches creativity, psychology, creative writing,
counseling, and leadership at various educational institutions across
North America. He is an award-winning poet and scholar, a clinical
supervisor to social service agencies in the field of addiction, a
corporate consultant in the psychology of leadership, and best-selling
author of Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft. A new book on
addictions will be released in 2011. Please visit www.rosslaird.com for
Betsy Warland is the author of eleven books of creative nonfiction and poetry. Her thirteen-year project, Breathing the Page – Reading the Act of Writing, is a collection of twenty-four essays about writing that was published by Cormorant Books in 2010. A creative writing teacher and manuscript consultant for authors and emerging writers, she is the Director of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and of Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. Please visit www.betsywarland.com.
Kelly Duffin is the Executive Director of The Writers’ Union of Canada. As the association represents 2,000 Canadian book authors she is deeply involved in issues affecting the creators of Canadian content and actively engaged on evolutions in policy and publishing. Earlier in her career she worked at a literary agency, a reading series, a literary prize, a bookseller, and publishing companies. More recently she has been the CEO of national non-profit organizations.
At the Writers’ Union of Canada, we support the country’s authors by advocating for their rights, freedoms, and economic well-being.
We act collectively to address government and industry about public lending rights, tax reform, copyright legislation, freedom of expression and other industry issues.
We provide publications, professional development programs, contract advice, grievance assistance, group health benefits, funding for public and school readings, and numerous opportunities for communication and networking within the industry.
The Writers’ Union of Canada helps professional authors to stand together while they work alone.
Re: Theatre Dilemma No Act, The Barrie Examiner
81% of Ontarians agree that governments should invest public money in the arts, according to survey results recently released by the Ontario Arts Council.
The survey, conducted by Environics Research Group, found that nearly all Ontarians (95%) believe the arts enrich our quality of life, and that the success of Canadian singers, writers, actors, painters and other artists give us all a sense of national pride.
Similar numbers are found in a study done for the Department of Canadian Heritage. 9 in 10 Canadians (or more) agree that arts and culture are important to our community, and that cultural infrastructure, like libraries and theatres, contribute significantly to our quality of life. We believe our artists hold their own internationally. And 88% said governments should make sure that “there are enough arts and cultural facilities to serve the public.”
Arts and culture are not frills. They are more than a vital part of our community. They are integral to our success in the new creative economy.
The Conference Board of Canada “estimates that the economic footprint of Canada’s culture sector was $84.6 billion in 2007, or 7.4 per cent of Canada’s total real GDP, including direct, indirect, and induced contributions. Culture sector employment exceeded 1.1 million jobs in 2007.” So it is not surprising that all levels of government, including our own, have identified arts and culture as an important economic driver.
New research from Hill Strategies pegs consumer spending on cultural goods and services at three times the cultural spending of all levels of government combined. In other words, every dollar our city invests in the arts will stimulate $3 of spending in our city.
A recent local study concluded that each ticket to the downtown theatre will infuse an additional $38 (on top of ticket price) into our downtown economy. The theatre will have a direct and immediate impact on job creation in the restaurant, hotel and service industries. That economic stimulus means our city can rely less on the residential tax base.
If we fail to invest in arts and culture now, or if we fail to support our growing arts community, we will lose more than our talent and a few shows. We will lose professionals, like doctors, whose families are more concerned with live theatre than operating theatres. Without the necessary infrastructure, we will hinder our own growth and fall behind in the creative economy.
No other city our size – let alone the size we are mandated by the province to reach rather soon – is without a professional performing arts centre. Our new arts centre at Five Points will attract diverse professionals and new businesses to our city. It will increase tourism as travellers select destinations for culture as well as recreation.
More than that, it will be an open and friendly cultural hub at the heart of our city. It will be a place for individuals and families to explore imagination and dreams, to spark and nourish the creativity upon which our economy increasingly depends.
Barrie Arts & Culture Council
On Wednesday 3 November, the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) returns to Barrie.
A Master Class, open to the public, will take place in the Georgian Theatre at 2 pm. Admission is free.
At 7:30 pm, also in the Georgian Theatre, novelists Caroline Adderson, Alissa York, Michael Winter and Brando Skyhorse will read from their works. Admission is $10.
Tickets are available at the Barrie Public Library, the Georgian College Bookstore and at the door. The IFOA in Barrie is sponsored by the University Partnership Centre at Georgian College and the Barrie Public Library.