CCENA has had the honour of supporting a number of projects since its inception. The following list demonstrates the range of community-engaged narrative work in and around Hamilton. We encourage you to explore the links below to see some of the exciting projects CCENA has been able to support. Don’t forget to also check out links to past events for more information on community partners and projects.
Home x Work
For this project, Ashley Marshall revisited Hamilton in order to re-explore it creatively and think about her relationship to place, and how one comes to know what home, family, and safety mean. As a Black woman walking in Hamilton, Marshall disrupted the idea of the flâneur, and, drawing on her psychogeographical experiences, she wrote her narrative as a series of stories, poetry, and essays that she plans to share with students, other people of colour, and youth navigating their own ways through similar spaces.
The Weather Station
The Weather Station is a hybrid artistic and scientific installation in the alleyway that runs north and south between Cannon and Barton Streets, parallel to and between Mary and Elgin Streets. Several years ago, Charlie Matina, a long-time community activist in the Beasley neighbourhood, started the Weather Station project on a small patch of the alleyway donated by one of the homeowners near Cannon Street. The goal of the project was to involve youth, artists, and community members to create a social space and art piece that would develop the alley as a safe, inclusive, and collaborative space for all its residents.
Ubuntu Music Collaborative
The Ubuntu Music Collaborative seeks to create a music collective where the rich spiritual and oral music culture of the African community can be cultivated and shared to enhance the multicultural landscape of Hamilton through sounds around us, celebrate diversity, trust in the participants’ voices and bring them forward on behalf of harmony, justice and peace. Additionally, the collaborative would like to introduce the intimacy of traditional African and contemporary gospel music and the excitement of engaging different cultural music into the daily lives of Hamiltonians at large.
A Shared Table
A Shared Table celebrates and platforms the creative and cultural genius of ethnic and racialized minority communities by setting a table of food + stories + art. A Shared Table hosts storytelling events and community meals that invite participants to share their stories around the table as a practice of re-imagining more diverse, equitable communities.
Jill Kooymans proposed mounting a production of Fun Home by Alison Bechdel in conjunction with Hamilton Pride. The musical follows the life of Queer artist and activist Alison Bechdel as a coming of age story in 1940s and 50s America. The production seeks to provide jobs for Queer BIPOC and push the boundaries of representation for theatre in Hamilton.
With Tongues Like These
John Hill is a queer Indigenous working-class writer and artist born and living in Hamilton. In his project With Tongues Like These, Hill developed an epic poem/performance essay on queer Indigenous poetics and has been working on disseminating his piece via a digital format.
Hamilton Arts and Letters Issue Twelve.1 Re:Creation Stories
Hamilton Arts and Letters produced issue twelve.1 titled Re:Creation Stories with Guest Editor Johannah Bird (settler-Anishinaabe), which features visual art, poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction by Indigenous writers, several of which from Six Nations, Hamilton, and surrounding area, including Kaitlin Debicki, Sara General, John Hill, Alyssa General, Janet Rogers, Daniel Lockhart, Jenny Ferguson, and more.
Simon Orpana and Matt McInnes launched their broadsheet on the ways art both helps shape, and is shaped by, our sense of place. The first installment of the broadsheet features artwork by David Collier, James Collier, Calla Churchward, Simon Orpana, and poems by Darrell Epp and Calla Churchward. Simon Orpana and Matt McInnes assembled the broadsheet and organized the first Placing Attention Long Table. The Long Table and broadsheet are the first of each in the themed series.
Jeremy Hannah with Michelle Peek of Art Not Shame made three short films to tell the stories of Art Not Shame participants. Art Not Shame exists to support people with mental health challenges through collaborative art making.
Peter Cockett (McMaster) of Agile Films Collective coordinated the film training of a group of McMaster students on a web series entitled Witches Bitches. CCENA supported the making of a trailer for the project featuring queer and youth of colour students as part of their film-making internship.
CCENA supported the Hamilton Tenant Solidarity Network’s (HTSN) first newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is to share the stories of working-class tenants in Hamilton and offer inspiration for the collective struggle for better conditions in their homes and lives. Click the above links to visit the HTSN website and read the newsletter.
In celebration of the Hamilton Arts & Letters’ 10th year, the magazine launched a series of special issues, primary among them featuring an exchange between disabled poets in New Brunswick and Hamilton.
Short Film for Art Not Shame
CCENA supported the making of a featurette film that Art Not Shame can use to promote their work in suicide prevention among youth via art-making workshops.
Placing Attention Series and Broadsheet
Simon Orpana, Matt McInnes, and other artists will explore how we attend–to place, to others, to things–in a series of Long Tables and a broadsheet.
Spare Time? Reading Group
CCENA supported the making of Bahktinian Fridge Magnets to feature the reading group’s work at a conference.
Stories from Hamilton
This project, facilitated by artist Lisa Pijuan-Nomura, involved workshops in which community storytellers received performance and drama instruction as they develop storytelling skills.
CCENA contributed to the production of Defy the Silence, a digital book of poems published by Hamilton Arts & Letters. Friends of CCENA have been involved in all stages of this work, from Kim Echlin, who was a speaker at our very first Long Table gathering and who did the English poetry translations, to Paul Lisson, CCENA advisory committee member and organizer of countless narrative arts initiatives in Hamilton. Click the link above to read Omran’s collection.
Simon Orpana and Matt McInnes have been conducting interviews and focus groups with people who lived in the remarkable neighbourhood of Brightside, which lies under what is now the Stelco lands. They have been connecting stories with mapping methods to re-animate our memories of this key neighbourhood in Hamilton’s history.
Fellowship for Klyde Broox, Inventing the Performance Essay I
Klyde Broox has the extraordinary gift of being able to philosophize the tradition of dub even as he performs it. He has been inventing a new form, which he performed at the CCENA Long Table gathering: the performance essay.
Sarah, Paul, and Jeremy studied the impact of CBC’s Canada Reads program on a wide public’s reading habits by tracking online blogs, book sales, book clubs, reviews, and other big data sources. You can view photos of their Long Table presentation on our website by clicking the link above.
Artist and photographer Margaret Flood asked people on the Bruce Trail in Hamilton to give her a round object they found on the trail, plus a little story about the object or the trail. She spoke at a Long Table about the exhibitions she assembled from the impromptu community that gave her objects. The first exhibition was at the Assembly in 2017, and a second occurred in Summer 2018 at the Hamilton Public Library. View photos of her Long Table presentation and the series on our website.
Art, Philosophy, and Community-Based Innovation
CCENA brought inspiring social innovators Gord Tulloch (posAbilities, Vancouver), Nadia Duguay and Maxime G. Langlois (Exeko, Montreal), and Sarah Schulman (Inwithforward, Toronto) to Hamilton for a very special panel on the role of the arts in generating social inclusion, intellectual emancipation, and grounded change with these three out-of-the-box leaders in creating vibrant communities
Klyde Broox, Ode to My Postal Code
Klyde worked with a community of emerging poets, spoken word artists, and storytellers, creating a celebration of their codes & odes in a Long Table.
Red Hill Stories of Struggle
Jane Mulkewich and Scott Neigh headed up the project Red Hill Stories of Struggle. CCENA helped make connections with McMaster and public library archives to find the right home for the reams of documents retained from the actions of the environmental Red Hill protest groups of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Paul Lisson and Fiona Kinsella, Hamilton Arts & Letters, received support for special issue 9.2 on the lifetime achievements of activist photographers Cees and Annerie van Gemerden. CCENA sponsored the hiring of eight essayists to write on the work of the van Gemerdens for HAL, the hosting of a celebration/exhibition of their work, and the funding of editing of the special issue of the magazine.
Click here to read more about the van Gemerdens.
Fellowship for Rick Hill, Tuscarora Artist, Historian, and Curator
CCENA supported Rick Hill’s work on a book on Haudenosaunee artist’s renderings of the Six Nations creation story. CCENA paid out Rick’s salary so he had a month of writing time to complete the manuscript for this book, which is now being worked in with Six Nations scholars’ collation of versions of the Creation Story.
CCENA enabled honoraria for six writers to produce essays and for the editing of this special issue, drawn from former CCENA Research Assistant Melissa Tanti’s experience working with CCENA and researching theory and practices of community engagement.
Writing Life: Bryan Prince Bookseller Interview Series
CCENA linked our local independent bookstore with grad students who could interview the store’s major incoming author for each fall. Before Bryan Prince closed in Spring 2018, we sponsored interviews with Eden Robinson and David Chariandy. Watch and listen to Kaitlin Debicki interview Eden Robinson on our website.