24 August 2008

Bridges is looking for community partner organizations interested in making presentations showcasing the richness and diversity of Prince George arts and culture.

The festival will take place at the University of Northern British Columbia on June 11th-13th, 2009. There will be displays and performances of original work by Prince George visual artists, writers, and musicians; academic presentations on the cultural economy of small cities and the culture of small cities, with a focus on Prince George; and workshops for both artists and community organizers. Local artists and arts organizations will be in the spotlight as they share audiences, network, and build new partnerships with one another.

Bridges represents one aspect of a larger project being undertaken to explore the key cultural realities and mediations that give form and meaning to life in Prince George. That project aims to employ knowledge about cultural organization and expression, sense of place, and community development to help understand the relationship between culture and quality of life, to document community stories, and to identify cultural assets and processes. In this way, we seek to bridge Prince George's cultural past, present, and future, its several arts scenes, and its different generations of artists and audiences with UNBC's arts and cultural institutions.

The foundation for this project was laid in late 2005, when Thompson Rivers University (TRU) put together a Community-University Research Alliance (CURA). This proposal built off of an earlier very successful CURA project involving the Arts community in Kamloops and TRU. The goal of this second CURA was to work with other small cities, including Prince George. The Community Development Institute at UNBC offered to coordinate UNBC's involvement.

To move this involvement forward, Greg Halseth, Willow Brown, Tracy Summerville, Rob Budde, Si Transken, Jeremy Stewart, and Joanna Smythe have partnered to coordinate activities leading toward the Bridges festival. Our activities will develop according to the dual themes of the TRU CURA project--the cultural economy of small cities and the culture of small cities--and focus specifically upon Prince George. Over the next year, various cultural research inquiries will be undertaken in partnership with the members of Prince George's arts and cultural community to showcase and demonstrate its multi-faceted contribution to the city. A number of projects focusing upon creative cultural expression will also be undertaken through individuals, the UNBC Arts Council, and community-based organizations. The festival will feature a mix of cultural studies and cultural expressions, bridging the arts and the academy.

Come help us celebrate and strengthen the artistic and cultural communities in Prince George. To discuss your organization's potential involvement, or for more information, please contact Jeremy Stewart at jeremydstewart@gmail.com, or check out our website at www.unbc.ca/cdi/bridges .