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Spotlight on our vibrant COM-Unity

Published on December 16, 2020

The COM-Unity project continues to go from strength to strength. It’s been so exciting to watch the transformation from the conceptual stage to the vibrant events and initiatives that are taking place today. In this post, we take a look at two more COM-Unity partners.

Black Community Resource Centre - Bridging Language and Culture in Quebec (BLACQ)

Bridging Language and Culture in Quebec (BLACQ) is a collaboration between three English Speaking Black Community organizations in Quebec and the Black Community Resource Centre (BCRC). The three groups will explore the contributions of English-Speaking Black communities and strengthen and promote their cultural history through online events and productions.

First up is Lecture Logos Reading, a monthly bilingual reading series co-hosted by H. Nigel Thomas and Maguy Métellus. The series will bring together Quebec’s Black Anglophone and Francophone writers, both established and beginning, to build bridges to each other and Quebec’s many cultural communities. Several events will also feature an open mic session!

BCRC will team up with the Black Theatre Workshop (BTW), Canada’s longest-running theatre company dedicated to the works of Black and diasporic communities, for the Arrivals Belonging project, a series of online workshops to celebrate Black English histories in Quebec. The project will guide participants through an embodied archival process that engages them in unravelling public and personal historic sources to create new interdisciplinary works that explore legacy and belonging. By exploring their ancestral lineage to awaken a sense of belonging, participants will immerse themselves in the Arrivals Personal Legacy process led by founder Diane Roberts. The Arrivals method is a combination of “Afrisporic” influenced performance traditions (dance, voice, movement, alignment, balance), contemporary story weaving, and improvisational techniques. Stay tuned for details on how you can view the finished product in March 2021!

And finally, BCRC is collaborating with West-Can Folk Performing Company to offer a series of Caribbean Folk Song, Storytelling, Folk Dance and Drum workshops. West-Can Folk Performing Company is a long-established Afro-Caribbean performing group in Quebec. When it was founded most members were recent immigrants to Canada and their vision was to showcase Caribbean culture abroad. Now, the group consists mostly of first-generation Canadians who continue to learn and demonstrate aspects of Afro-Caribbean folk culture learnt from their parents and elders.

Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network – Belonging and identity in Quebec

Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network’s (QAHN) contribution to the COM-Unity project is Belonging and Identity in English Quebec. Community groups from around the province have partnered with QAHN to preserve and share local historical knowledge, with special emphasis on Quebec’s English-speaking history and culture. The project supports the development of museum and heritage-learning activities and highlights the historic contributions of Quebec Anglophones in the Eastern Townships, Montérégie and Lanaudière regions, as well as on the Gaspé Peninsula and the Magdalen Islands.

Preserving and sharing local history

In the Eastern Townships QAHN will help bring an outdoor mural to life on Main Street in Richmond in collaboration with the Richmond County Historical Society, and the Richmond St. Patrick’s Society. The mural will celebrate the different groups of people who call Richmond home, including those with Irish, French and Dutch ancestry. Other projects in the area include online presentations and panel discussions on Missisquoi County history, organized by the Missisquoi Museum; self-guided audio tours of Stanstead and Rock Island, presented by the Colby-Curtis Museum in a mobile phone application; and a bilingual photo exhibit focused on the early settlement of Orford Township, curated by the Société d’histoire du Canton d’Orford.

In the Outaouais, QAHN has partnered with the group ‘Cantey 1889’ to purchase and install a commemorative plaque at Blackburn Cemetery to raise awareness about the site’s historical significance as an early pioneer burial ground in the Gatineau River Valley.

In New Carlisle on the Gaspé Coast, the Kempffer Cultural and Interpretation Centre managed by Heritage New Carlisle will partner with QAHN to erect bilingual outdoor interpretation panels that tell about the legacy of two remarkable Gaspesians: Frederick Ludwig Kempffer, a German soldier in the pay of the British during the American Revolution who settled on the Bay of Chaleurs in 1786; and Dutch-born surveyor William Vondenvelden, whose maps of the southern Gaspé influenced the pattern of colonial settlement across much of the region.

In collaboration with QAHN the Hemmingford Archives will develop a series of travelling displays on the key heritage sites in the area and the history of the region’s celebrated apple orchards; and the English Community Organization of the Lanaudière, is producing a documentary on the Mascouche Seigneurie, a unique heritage property dating back to Quebec’s historic French and English colonial periods. The Lennoxville-Ascot Historical and Museum Society (LAHMS) will be able to breathe new life into six outdoor interpretative panels thanks to the support of QAHN. The panels tell the English-speaking history and heritage of cultural sites in the villages of Huntingville, Capelton and Milby. LAHMS will also erect an entirely new panel on the St. Francis Street Bridge in Lennoxville, highlighting the importance of the St. Francis River in the historical development of the area.

Lastly, the “Belonging” partnership will support the Council for English speaking Magdalen Islanders (CAMI) to create a searchable register of their historic artifacts. The project is part of ongoing efforts to modernize heritage interpretation sites at Entry Island and Old Harry that provide information about the history of local Anglophone communities In the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

What’s next?

Stay tuned as we take a look at the stories of English-speaking seniors who have chosen to stay in Quebec through changing times brought to life by Seniors Action Quebec, and as the English Language Arts Network delves into the complex identities within Quebec’s English-speaking communities and our sense of belonging.

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