Animating Communities Around Culture
After spending seven months meeting community cultural leaders from around the province – from Willow Bunch to Waterhen First Nation, the three Community Engagement Animateurs unanimously confirmed that “Saskatchewan is alive with culture”.
In 2015, SaskCulture hired three Animateurs to go beyond working towards just Culture Days. They were asked to engage with and encourage cultural leaders to explore ideas of cultural dialogue and development in their communities. The Animateurs encouraged these leaders to connect with community members, participate in cultural activity, discuss opportunities and learn about the SaskCulture programs and services that could support their future plans.
Carol Daniels, a First Nations artist, musician and storyteller based out of Regina Beach, who had already served as a Culture Days Animateur in 2013, hit the ground running with engagements scheduled in communities around the province. Carol’s ability to engage groups of all ages– through storytelling, crafts, drumming and song – enabled her to spark new cultural interests with many groups from Yorkton, to Frenchman’s Butte, to Meadow Lake and beyond.
Kristin Catherwood, a storyteller, writer and folklorist raised in rural Saskatchewan, brought individuals together to talk about what others needed to know about their respective communities. Her love for rural heritage inspired her to challenge communities to identify the stories, or other intangible cultural heritage, that made them unique. These stories became starting points for further community engagement initiatives.
Kevin Power, Saskatoon actor, writer and storyteller, returned for another year as an Animateur to capture more Saskatchewan stories for the SaskScapes series of podcasts available at iheartculture.ca. He produced podcasts such as The ‘60s Scoop with guest Dr. Raven Sinclair, The Meadow Lake Story Slam, Urban Canvas, Intangible Cultural Heritage with Kristin Catherwood and many more.
In total, the three Community Engagement Animateurs were able to engage over 11,000 people in 77 communities, along with the many others who accessed more than 15,000 downloads of the SaskScapes podcasts.