In 2018, Blue Metropolis developed a unique project to bring together communities from across Montreal and elsewhere in Canada. My Roots/Mes racines, a two-phase project, began last January and will end next fall.
As part of the pan-Canadian phase of the project, writing and photography workshops facilitated by professional authors and photographers allowed close to sixty new Canadians and refugees living in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver to communicate what their experience of immigration and becoming part of Canadian society has meant to them. The writing and photography produced in these workshops can be found on this website as well as in an anthology, a copy of which has been given to each participant. The workshops, which took place in February, March and April, were produced with the collaboration of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. In Montreal, these activities brought together people of all ages and cultures at Montreal City Mission/Mission communautaire de Montréal, at Maison Haïti and at Espace Mushagalusa.
The second phase of the project took place April 29, during Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, with a day devoted to ‘‘My Roots/Mes racines’’ that involved three major activities. First, a multicultural activity brought together new Canadians, refugees and festivalgoers for the launch of the anthology, as well as for a performance by a storyteller, who had been coached by a professional in the field; a roundtable discussion featuring three authors who are themselves new Canadians; and the unveiling of a triptych created by Charlem, a visual artist, who was inspired by writing produced by participants in the workshops. Guided by Charlem, the participants also took part in creating a fourth panel, thereby transforming the triptych into a four-part work that includes both writing and painting. This collective work, currently on exhibit at the Bibliothèque Saint-Michel, will go on to tour Maison Haïti, Espace Mushagalusa and Montreal City Mission/Mission communautaire de Montréal.
The day devoted to ‘‘My Roots/Mes racines’’ continued at the McCord Museum, with award ceremonies for the Diversity, First Peoples and Words to Change Prizes, which were presented, by Blue Metropolis, to outstanding authors. At the same time, a series of encounters, exchanges, lectures and roundtable discussions took place at Montreal City Mission/Mission communautaire de Montréal, featuring musicians and specialty foods from the world over.
Other activities will take place in the fall as part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Winnipeg International Writers Festival.