News Release

REF NO.: 143

SUBJECT: MMaP lecture explores First Peoples’ residential school experiences

DATE: March 20, 2012

 Memorial University’s Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP) is holding its final lecture of the season on Monday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the MMaP gallery, located on the second floor of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.              
 Invited lecturer Dr. Dylan Robinson will present Reconciliation’s Senses, a talk examining residential school experiences by our nation’s First Peoples. He is a postdoctoral fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he is part of the Indigeneity in the Contemporary World project.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provides a forum for First Peoples across Canada to share their experiences of attending residential school. From 2010-14, the TRC’s national events will bring together survivors and the Canadian public to witness this testimony along with performances by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists, musicians and storytellers.
Dr. Robinson’s lecture will specifically look at the role the senses play in survivor testimony, performances at the TRC and residential school experiences. 
“Dr. Robinson works in theatre and multimedia artistic contexts as both an artist and a scholar. He is attuned to the way our senses work together in such contexts to provide intense and moving experiences,” said Dr. Beverley Diamond, Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology and a professor in Memorial’s School of Music.
Dr. Diamond and Dr. Robinson are both part of a research team for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project titled The Aesthetics of Reconciliation in Canada. Another recent project of Dr. Robinson’s is the dramaturgical development of a new opera with mezzo-soprano Marion Newman (Kwagiulth) and composer Anna Höstman, based on contemporary and historical interactions between the Nuxalk First Peoples and Norwegian settlers in the Bella Coola area of British Columbia.
Dr. Robinson has previously held positions as a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music and at the University of California Berkeley as a John A. Sproul Research Fellow in Canadian Studies. His publications include the co-edited collections Collision: Interarts Practice as Research (Cambridge Scholars, 2008) and Opera Indigene (Ashgate, 2011).
“His current work looks at the role of multisensory expression in the work of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools,” said Dr. Diamond. “Artists have been asked to respond to the trauma of their experiences through art-making, and the testimonies and expressions of reconciliation that take place at the commission’s events sometimes include image, song, dance and other sensory expressions.”
Dr. Robinson’s lecture is free and open to the public.
 “It is important for everyone to understand how such expression can promote healing and enable ongoing dialogue to take place between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people,” said Dr. Diamond. “The 130-year period during which the residential school operated is a historical era that we all need to understand.” 
The Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology, in conjunction with the School of Music and the Department of Folklore, inaugurated this interdisciplinary
lecture series in 2002-03. Distinguished scholars from the academic community are featured in a series of presentations regarding historical and contemporary musical practices. Members of the general public, as well as the university community, are cordially invited. The Music, Media and Culture lecture series for 2011-12 is grateful for financial support from the Office of the President at Memorial University.

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