U of G Hosts Talk, Screening With Filmmaker

June 29, 2010 - News Release

Award-winning writer, director, filmmaker and Arctic educator John Houston will participate in a free public lecture and film screening at the University of Guelph July 12.

He will discuss a project involving U of G graduate students that uses digital media to document and archive indigenous knowledge and oral histories. The noon-hour film screening and talk, which also features Ree Brennin, an Arctic biologist and educator, will be held in Room 384 of the McLaughlin Library. It’s free and open to the University community and general public. There will be a short discussion, followed by a screening of Houston’s film Kiviuq, which tells the legend of an epic hero alive during the time of creation, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Houston has worked in the film industry for more than 30 years. He has directed and co-written documentaries about life in Northern Canada, including the award-winning Songs in Stone, Nuliajuk: Mother of the Sea Beasts and Diet of Souls. He is also an Arctic guide and adventurer; curator of the Houston North Gallery in Lunenburg, N.S.; founding president of Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association; and a member of the National Directors Division committee of the Directors Guild of Canada.

Brennin is a researcher, field biologist and eco-tour guide who is an expert in marine and Arctic ecosystems. She has worked as a consultant for Environment Canada and has spearheaded numerous community-based conservation and sustainability initiatives. She has worked as an adjunct instructor at Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa.

Houston and Brennin will be in Guelph as part of the “Changing Climate, Changing Health, Changing Stories” project, which is using digital media to assess the impacts of climate change on health and well-being in an Inuit community in northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

The project involves U of G doctoral students Ashlee Cunsolo Willox and Sherilee Harper, along with Victoria Edge, an adjunct professor in the Department of Population Medicine and a senior epidemiologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada. The research project is based in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. More information

Currently, the Rigolet community is creating the “My World: Storytelling and Digital Media Lab,” which will be dedicated to using digital media and storytelling to share information about Inuit culture, history and lifestyle.

Three of the lab’s staff members will visit Guelph for a 10-day training period with Cunsolo Willox and Harper, a visit that will culminate with Houston and Brennin’s arrival in Guelph.

Besides speaking at U of G, Houston and Brennin will attend a film screening and discussion at 7 p.m. at Ed Video in downtown Guelph.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

Filmmaker John Houston and Inuit elder Samson Quinangnaq, one of the storytellers in the film Kiviuq
Filmmaker John Houston and Inuit elder Samson Quinangnaq, one of the storytellers in the film Kiviuq.

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