Community Narrative Initiatives
Due to the nature of CCENA’s work, we connect with a number of groups, initiatives, organizations, and projects in and around Hamilton, Ontario. The following links will connect you to some of the organizations, projects, etc. that are doing this community-engaged narrative work.
AbleHamilton is a new collective that resists ableism and promotes dis/abled writers from Hamilton primarily, and Ontario and the East Coast generally. All the writers involves are dis/ability activists with lived experience.
Art Not Shame offers tools and programming for youth and other community members to express and address mental health challenges through collaborative art‐making and storytelling. Art Not Shame does this by hosting workshops in partnership with schools, local organizations, and established community health programs.
Art Waves is an arts-interview radio program which airs live every Sunday evening from 7 to 8 at 10l.5 FM. Google “1015 The Hawk” to listen to the program in real time, or find podcasts of past programs here.
As artists and longtime residents of Hamilton, Cees and Annerie van Gemerden have brought together activism and art in their works over the years. For example, their exhibition called NoTrespassing–More Power Anyone? captures the trails folks made to the Hamilton waterfront in the ’80s when fences prevented folks from going near the water. The exhibition also documented the toxic waste was that was dumped in Hamilton’s harbour. In another series called Red Hill, Ceese and Annerie turned their attention to the building of an expressway in the Red Hill Valley, a site declared sacred by Haudenosaunee people. To view these and other projects, you can visit their website.
For news coverage by Jeff Mahoney of their activism, click here.
Launched in 2014, Death: Something to Talk About project is an initiative sponsored by the Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University in partnership with Bryan Prince Bookseller, PX Dermody Funeral Homes, and Hamilton Public Library (HPL).
One of the underlying premises of the project rests on the work of Allan Kellehear. He posits that issues of death, dying, grief and bereavement need to be “reclaimed” by the community — by private citizens, by society which has increasingly become death-denying and that expects all of end-of-life care to be priced by our health care system. His argument is that we need to develop what he calls compassionate communities whereby social supports are strengthened in the community such that citizens are well supported at end-of-life by families, friends, neighbours, social agencies, volunteers, etc. To this end, the Death: Something to Talk About project attempts to use books to spark a dialogue amongst citizens with the hope that grassroots efforts begin to take place to build the social fabric we will all need at end of life. The project aims to “de-medicalize” the experience of death & dying and engage community agencies and activists.
GirlCanCreate is Lisa Pijuan-Nomura. A multidisciplinary artist and creativity coach, Lisa has been interested in spreading the good word of creativity through dynamic performance events, fun classes and one on one supportive creativity coaching.
Hamilton Arts & Letters (HAL) is a magazine that reflects the ethos of a particular place, and reaches out to other places. Produced on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe people and the Haudenosaunee people. With an attractive, accessible, and relevant digital presence, HAL offers the best in writing, fine art, film, and audio artistry to a discerning and growing subscriber base and broader readership. HAL gives Hamilton artists and writers, emerging to established, opportunities to present new works alongside their peers from across Canada and around the world.
Social progress is the weight of laws designed to alleviate human suffering. The Labour movement has been in the forefront of groups seeking such legislation. Pensions, health insurance, the shorter workday, a living wage, – all these were fought for by workers. Hamilton’s industrial employment base has shrunk by nearly one-half, while the leadership of a socially engaged Labour movement has been diminished. Now it falls to the arts more and more to act as a mobilizing tool in the city’s rebirth.
Click here for the latest issue of HAL
To read an interview Fiona Kinsell, Paul Lisson, and Shane Neilson of HAL, click here.
Be sure to check out Hamilton Public Library for resources, a variety of programs, and community events.
The Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network (HTSN) is a grassroots initiative that seeks to link tenants from across Steel City in order to amplify their struggles through solidarity and direct action. HTSN’s goal is to build a powerful working-class fightback against absentee slumlords, tenant harassment, and the rampant gentrification that is transforming Hamilton into a bedroom community for the GTA professional class.
Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP) was created in 2012 to give our community’s youth the opportunity to develop their creative skills and have their voices heard. HYP has grown steadily and evolved into an arts organization that engages Hamilton youth in the act of telling their own stories through spoken word.
Founded by Hamilton writer Kerry Schooley 1994, Lit Live is a literary reading series in Hamilton, Ontario featuring a diverse and exciting range of writers from across Canada and from Hamilton at 7:30pm on the first Sunday of each month, from September to June. For updates and event locations, please check out the website.
Steel City Stories is an event series and not for profit organization that provides an inclusive platform for Hamiltonians to share stories from their own lives. The series includes 4-5 storytelling events throughout the year, planned around different themes. Each event features true stories told by people who are from, live in, or are involved with the Hamilton community.
Worker’s City is an helpful resource for exploring Hamilton’s industrial and labour history. The site includes audio stories, and an interactive map where you can take a virtual tour of significant sites in Hamilton’s labour history. Go on a walking tour with Worker’s City and learn more about the labour history of different Hamilton neighbourhoods.