The Regional - Spring 2011

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Welcome to The Regional!

Bojan Fürst, Manager of Knowledge MobilizationWelcome to the first edition of The Regional! We’re excited to share some of the stories happening in our province.

When my family and I decided to move to Newfoundland and Labrador some three years ago, there were many raised eyebrows. Friendly advice ranged from warnings that the weather is unpleasant, to the ominous statements that “that place is going to hell in a hand basket, and that everybody with their head screwed on right is leaving for the greener pastures.”

Not that it matter much what they said.

We landed in St. John’s in 2008 and found a vibrant, welcoming community and blueberry covered hills. Our two-year-old couldn’t believe her luck.

Six months ago I landed the best job at Memorial University - manager of knowledge mobilization with the Harris Centre. It sounds like a mouthful, but don’t forget that this is academia you are dealing with - we never miss a chance to make simple things sound complicated. The job, and I’ll tell you a bit more about it, came with a major perk - I get to see Newfoundland and Labrador through a whole new lens of people who work across the province to make their communities and regions successful.

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Telling Tales: The True Story of the Placentia Institute of Newfoundland Studies

Placentia BayWith its rich history, I bet the town of Placentia would be great to chat with at a party.

For that matter, I feel the same way about Bill Hogan, the town’s mayor. In February, I had the chance to chat with him about The Placentia Institute of Newfoundland Studies, a major collaborative project between the Town of Placentia, Laval High School and Memorial University.

RC: So, what’s your vision for The Placentia Institute of Newfoundland Studies?

BH: My vision is big! This collaboration with Memorial and Laval High School has the potential to offer so many opportunities to our region, and to Memorial as well. Our main goal is to organize the history of the region, not only to attract visitors and businesses, but also to showcase our community’s role in the development of both the province and the country.

RC: How did you come up with the idea for the Institute?

BH: We’ve done a lot of work in the town in the past years, and while we were looking into the heritage of the community, somewhere along the way someone came up with the idea that with so much history here, an association with Memorial’s Department of Folklore might be a good idea. I made contact with Memorial, and eventually, a group visited Placentia.

We made a presentation, and once it was over, Mike Clair, from the Harris Centre, raised his hand and asked why no one had ever organized information about the history and culture of the region before. “Exactly,” we said! Once the partners agreed upon the idea, the town undertook to create The Placentia Institute of Newfoundland Studies and incorporated it as a charitable, not-for-profit organization. A board of directors, including representatives from the town, Memorial and Laval High School, is now in place.

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Hitting the Books with the New RPD Certificate’s first Student

Clyde WellsClyde Wells (no, not that Clyde Wells) spent most of his working career as an I.T. guy in Ontario, but these days he’s more likely to be found taking notes than solving computer crises. As one of the first students taking Memorial’s new certificate in Regional Policy and Development, Clyde has been spending time on-campus.

There’s no question he’s got the upper hand on his classmates when it comes to real-world experience in regional development: for over ten years he’s been a dedicated volunteer, first with the Cupids Historical Society, then the Regional Economic Development Board. Today, he’s the chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Economic Development Association.

For Clyde, community engagement has always been a way of life: “I grew up in a family where my parents were always involved in the community. It was big part of their lives, and my life as a young person growing up in rural Newfoundland. Like my parents, I always felt like I could contribute to the well-being of the community by being involved. And I became hooked on it. You see so much opportunity, and some days, so much frustration, it keeps driving you,” he says.

So why did Clyde decide to register for the course?

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The Harris Centre

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000