Sunday, May 24, 2009

Looking for information on Luke Gaulton

Recorded at the Arts and Culture Centre, St. John's, Newfoundland, circa 1991. If anyone has any information on this man, or where he is from, please let me know.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Introduction to Exhibit Design Workshop

Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Workshop
Introduction to Exhibit Design
Thursday - Friday, 18 – 19 June, 2009
Location: Point Amour Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site, Labrador

This two day workshop is designed for museum staff and volunteers involved in the development and design of exhibitions. It is intended for those who have limited experience working on exhibit projects and would like to expand their knowledge and skills. Participants will receive an overview of the processes involved in creating a quality exhibition experience for the visitors.

Participants will explore:
- exhibit development from exhibit planning and concept development
- overview of exhibit design techniques
- exhibit resource and budget development
- the role of various media formats and interactive features in exhibition
- hiring and working with exhibit contractors and specialists.

Instructor: Marni Mahle, Interpretive Planner and Exhibit Designer
Enrolment Limits: Maximum of 15
Registration fees: $70 for MANL members, $95 for non-members
Registration Deadline: June 8, 2009

Catherine Rice
Professional Development Coordinator
Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
Tel: (709) 722 9034
Fax: (709) 722 9035

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Looking for information on "paderah"?

I had an interesting question from Kathleen Tucker, who is the researcher on SABRI's oral history project in and around St. Anthony. She asked if I'd ever heard of anything called "paderah" pronounced PA’-de-ra (rhymes with ‘ha’). I said it was a bit of a mystery to me, and she has written to the local paper asking for help. Here is her letter:

"Years ago when the fishery was in full swing, fishermen set aside their nets at dinnertime to cook a simple meal. Often the meal was cooked in a bake pot, either on board the vessel or on the beach. A fire was lit and salt pork was diced into the pot. When it was sizzling, the fishermen might have added onions, fresh cod, and fresh bread. The older fishermen often cooked up this marvelous meal while the younger fellows looked for driftwood along the shore to use as spoons. Once the meal was cooked, they’d all sit around the bake pot and eat their meal.

Would anyone be able to tell me if they cooked this meal, how they cooked it, and what they called it? The name for the meal might differ from community to community, but I’m sure many of you have enjoyed this simple dinner while fishing. And, perhaps many of you still do."

The dish sounds similar to fish and brewis, but made with fresh cod and fresh bread. If you have a memory to share, you can email me, or leave a comment on this post.

For info on fish and brewis, you can check out:

UPDATE: May 13, 2009.

William Lee of Petty Harbour writes, "when my dad cooked in the boat when fishing it was simply called a fish feed, and consisted of fresh cod, salt beef and salt pork,potatoes, the cod's tongue and roe sack (britchant), and hard bread. Some times they would add a mackerel or small salmon. The cooking was done aboard the boat, and the time would vary but mostly it would be around nine or ten AM ,as they were on the go from 3:30AM.
PS. the fire was contained in what we called a galley, which is simply an old metal wash tub with a sod covering the bottom."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Looking for practical experience in public sector folklore work?

Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is an important new development in the heritage world. Our living traditions, intangible ideas, customs and knowledge are important for cultural identity and community sustainability, and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is on the cutting edge of ICH work.

We are looking for folklore and ethnomusicology graduate students who are interested in getting involved on a volunteer level and gaining practical public sector experience of the sort that future employers love. The Provincial ICH Advisory Committee has spaces on three sub-committees who will be working to promote, enhance and further the provincial strategy on ICH.

There are three ICH sub-committees in need of volunteers:

  • Inventory and Documentation – working on projects to collect, record and conserve fieldwork material.

  • Transmission and Celebration – working on projects to commemorate and promote ICH and local tradition-bearers.

  • Training – working to develop practical, hands-on folklore and fieldwork training workshops.

    If you’d be interested in helping out with one of these groups, you can call Dale Jarvis at 739-1892 ext 2, or email and say which group you’d like to get involved with.
  • Saturday, May 9, 2009

    ICH Update for May 2009

    Put on your dancing shoes! This month's edition of Newfoundland and Labrador's ICH Update sees us take to the dance floor, with an edition all about the intangible cultural heritage of dance in its various traditions. Waltz on over and learn more about:

    - The Dance Heritage Think Tank Report
    - Scottish and English Country Dance in Newfoundland
    - Changing traditions of Bellydance
    - Reviving the Lancers in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, and
    - Memories of the Fisherman's Reel of Bryant's Cove

    Once your feet get tired, you can rest, download and read the newsletter from:

    The ICH Update is published once a month by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, as part of its work to promote, safeguard and foster an understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Sharing Community Oral History Workshop – West St. Modeste, Labrador

    On Thursday, 7 May 2009, a group of eleven women from communities along the Labrador Straits gathered at the Oceanview Resort in West St. Modeste to take part in a day-long workshop on sharing community oral history. The group included business owners, tourism operators, heritage volunteers and workers, oral history researchers and community development officers, all of whom shared an interest in preserving the oral traditions of the Labrador Straits.

    The event was organized by SmartLabrador, an organization founded in 1997 to ensure effective utilization of information technologies (IT) in business, human resources and community economic development in Labrador. The goals of SmartLabrador include:

    - Increased awareness of the benefits and potential of information technology;
    - Equal access to the information highway, for all communities;
    - Skilled population to meet the demands of the knowledge economy;
    - Increased development of IT business opportunities and partnerships.

    Facilitated by Dale Jarvis, Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the day started with a discussion of local community memories and the material being collected as part of the Smart Labrador oral history project. Part of the goal of the overall project is to return the stories to the community, and to develop programs that see the collected stories shared and performed by community members.

    Participants talked about personal memories and the link between place and oral history. The group worked on a short individual mapping project, drawing personal maps of the communities of their childhoods, then guiding other participants through their map, eliciting stories and memories of those locations.

    The afternoon saw the participants work with some of the primary research material collected by the SmartLabrador workers. It also utilized material collected along the Straits as part of earlier oral history projects, particularly those related to adult literacy projects, such as the publication “Crooked Top of a Safety Pin” published by Partners in Learning. Using a basic six-frame storyboard process, the participants took the historical source material and shaped it into stories that followed a more narrative, rather than purely descriptive or anecdotal, format.

    The day concluded with a group discussion on next steps, returning to the issues raised at the beginning of the day. The group decided that they would hold a further organizational meeting by the end of the May, with the goal of holding a public oral history sharing event, or storytelling circle in June, possibly based on the community “Mug Up” model developed by the Labrador Institute. The “Mug Up” sees a theme or topic of discussion set, and then community members gather over a lunch to share traditional knowledge, stories and memories about that topic.

    Stay tuned for more news on the project as it progresses!

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Cupids 400 Cultural Tourism Forum - Arts Section

    Last week, I was in North River as part of the Cupids 400 Cultural Tourism Forum. In the afternoon, participants broke into groups to discuss issues of particular interest to them as business owners, volunteers, municipal officials and community leaders. I was asked to facilitate the group on the arts.

    The arts (visual, literary, performing arts such as theatre, music and dance) provide a great way to generate activity in a community by: drawing visitors, fostering and supporting the creative talent of youth and artists, enhancing the local quality of life, and giving new life to heritage structures.

    Participants brainstormed on possible arts related activities, and one thing we discussed were the key historic themes and traditions in the Cupids and wider Baccalieu Trail area. While not a complete list, some of the local traditions and themes participants identified include:

    Heritage train stations
    Pirate history (Hr Grace, Carbonear)
    Carbonear Island
    Rug hooking
    Fiddler traditions
    Lancers, traditional dance/ square dancing/ Scottish and NL dancing
    Quilting/knitting/spinning, trigger mitts, socks
    Boat building
    Lobster pot making
    Carving, scrimshaw, animal horn
    Furniture making
    Photography (modern and historic)
    Traditional music
    Ballad singing
    Mending nets
    Culinary arts – jams, recipes, rum, dogberry wine, moonshine, winery
    Wake recitations
    Wren boys
    Live oral history interviews
    Running the Goat
    Architecture, stages, root cellars
    Legends, folklore, ghost stories
    Mat painting
    Jam doughboys on Good Friday
    Colcannon, Hallowe’en

    Plenty of work there to keep a team of folklorists busy for quite some time!

    Culture Corner - The Folklore of Harbour Breton

    Mr Doug Wells, of Harbour Breton, is a board member of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. Following our board meeting last week, he sent me a series of articles on local culture.

    Wells writes, "I had my students to write on local cultural and historical events, etc. With a folklore background, I also encouraged students to write articles on folklore related practices. The attached articles are folklore/folklife related and represent Harbour Breton and some nearby resettled communities. Over the years of teaching Cultural Heritage 1200, students wrote approximately 150 stories. The stories were worth so much towards the student's course evaluation. They were also submitted to our local paper as well, the Coaster. Our class's section of the paper was called Culture Corner and was quite popular with locals, especially with seniors."

    With his permission, I've placed the scans of the original articles online.

    From curing warts to local legends, the articles give a wonderful introduction to the local folklore of Harbour Breton and area.

    Makkovik Elder "Uncle Jim" wins Rogers Arts Achievement Award

    On Saturday May 2, 2009, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC) held its 24th annual Arts Awards Show and Gala at the Reid Theatre in St. John’s. The annual Arts Awards honour the accomplishments of Newfoundland and Labrador’s artists.

    NLAC Chair Camelita McGrath said, “This year’s winners represent artists who are achieving excellence in their fields both at home and away."

    The winner of the Rogers Arts Achievement Award was Uncle Jim Anderson of Makkovik.

    James Anderson of Makkovik has been taking pictures for over six decades. Last May an exhibition of his work, James Anderson: Over 50 Years of Taking Pictures, was presented at The Rooms Provincial Archives. It consisted of 80 large colour photographs along with numerous sound recordings of Anderson.

    His photographs are a legacy of a lifestyle now gone; they capture candid moments, everyday work activities, and the special events of Makkovik. Church services, jamborees and get-togethers; buildings, industry, and the passing seasons; men and women fishing in boats, working on wharves, and riding snowmobiles.

    The complete collection contains some 297 black and white photographs; 1700 slides; 75 hours of VHS cassettes, and 84 hours of 8mm and Hi8mm tape analogue recordings.

    Known to many as “Uncle Jim”, he has long been a central part of life in Makkovik: as the dog-team mailman, a fisherman, the post master, an elder at the church, and a musician. For 40 years he helped his late wife Susie run a boarding house.

    He was introduced to photography as a teenager, when an English missionary taught him how to develop black and white photos. He bought a Kodak Jiffy 35 mm camera from the Eaton’s catalogue and started to capture the moments he thought important. Self taught and intuitive, his use of angle, perspective, contrast, focus, composition, and framing have evolved by trial and error, experimentation, sensitivity, and perseverance.

    He says he never gets tired of looking at his pictures. “They comfort me,” he says, “It’s a contribution I hope will give joy to my viewers.”

    His relentless artistic drive and the resulting collection of photographs are unmatched. It’s an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of this province.

    Photo of Uncle Jim getting his award here:

    CBC Radio Podcast of Weekend Arts Magazine's Angela Antle introducing Uncle Jim, and his thank you speech:

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    10th Annual “Sharing our Cultures” Celebrates the Province’s Cultural Diversity

    About 600 Newfoundland and Labrador students in rural schools will experience several world cultures as they visit a multicultural and educational fair at Marystown Central High School in Marystown.

    On May 7 and 8, students in Grades 4 to 12 will participate in the 10th annual Sharing our Cultures. This event offers intercultural exchange between students from rural schools and students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds residing in St. John’s. Marystown Central High School has partnered with Sharing Our Cultures to bring this unique multicultural experience to the Burin Peninsula.

    The public is invited to the official launch of Sharing our Cultures in Marystown, from 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 at The Gymnasium of Marystown Central High School. Admission is free. On Friday, May 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. the event is open only to the media and to students and teachers who have registered.

    The theme of this year’s event is “Music, Dance, and Stories.” About 30 new Canadian, immigrant, refugee, and international students have created cultural exhibits to bring alive the history, culture, language, dance and music of 12 countries. Performers include Bosnian, African, and Colombian traditional dancers and audience participation in Bamboo dancing.

    Visiting students will engage in bilingual cultural activities and interact with host students who will share their culture in music, dance, and stories. By visiting government and community information booths, students will learn about Canadian citizenship and identity, multiculturalism, immigration, resettlement, and integration.

    This project is sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association and supported by the federal Departments of Canadian Heritage and Citizenship and Immigration Canada; the provincial Department of Education; the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism (Human Resources, Labour and Employment); the Eastern School District of Newfoundland and Labrador; CBC Radio-Canada, and École des Grands-Vents.

    For more information please contact:
    Lloydetta Quaicoe, Executive Director (709) 727-2372
    Marystown School Administration(709) 279-2313

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Wanted: May Bushes!

    Photo courtesy Dr. Philip Hiscock, Dept of Folklore

    Today is the first day of May, and in some parts of Newfoundland, that meant that May bushes would soon be seen. These would be spruce or fir saplings stripped of most of their limbs, except for few near the top, which would be festooned with strips of coloured cloth or ribbons.

    “When I was a primary or elementary school kid at a Catholic school, each May students wore blue ribbons pinned to their clothes in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Blue ribbons showed up around our neighbourhoods, too, on May bushes – saplings with most of their branches cut off, except for the few left around the top with the ribbons on them. This tradition can be traced back to the ancient Celts, who used maypoles or boughs as part of springtime rituals and to bring good luck, especially for agriculture."
    - Lara Maynard, Torbay

    While this tradition isn't as popular as it once was, there are are few places where May bushes still make an appearance. If you see one, or know of someone who is keeping this old tradition alive, please email me at or call 1-888-739-1892 ext 2. I'd love a picture if you have one!

    Read Lara Maynard's article on Newfoundland May Bushes here: