Literary and film representations of our province have been flashed before the eyes of wondering audiences through adaptations of books such as The Shipping News, Rare Birds and Random Passage. During the summer a group from the Faculty of Education offered more to these wondering minds - a learning vacation.
Between a Rock and a Great Place took place Aug.11 -17, 2002. The idea of a learning vacation has been in the minds of Dr. Roberta Hammett and Dr. Alice Collins for more than a year. With the success of The Shipping News, Dr. Hammett decided it was time to put the idea to work and approached others in the Faculty of Education to see who else was willing to work on such a project.
Joined by Mike Coady, Bernadette Power, Dr. Clar Doyle and Dr. Andrea Rose, and by corporate partner Maxxim Vacations, the group combined traditional tourist pursuits such as whale-watching and dinner theatre with not so traditional activities like lectures and presentations. The purpose was to offer a learning experience that was fun, while at the same time challenging, and discussed how Newfoundland is represented through popular media.
Eight tourists - three from the U.S., three from Ontario, one from Italy and one new Newfoundlander - met at lectures and activities including a walking tour of St. John's led by historian Dr. John Fitzgerald, who described the richness of St. John's art and architecture. Other lecturers given by Memorial faculty included the topics of folklore, dialect, botany and architecture.
"I was pleased with the support of other faculties and departments. We're well aware of the expertise within the university to support our venture, and we'll try to involve many others next year," said Dr. Hammett. "I think we may even have some return visitors next year."
"I'd say that the week achieved our goals," added Dr. Collins, "we engaged fully in discussions of representations of place, particularly Newfoundland and Labrador, and we were involved in public pedagogy which moves education into the community in dynamic and creative ways."
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