This summer I had the pleasure of meeting CURRA Researcher Pam Hall. She is a remarkable individual with adept artistic talent and her initiative will help us all continue to experience and Live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.
The following article is being distributed from “The Western Shorefast Fall 2010” Newsletter:
My [Pam Hall’s] PhD research explores art as a form of making and moving knowledge. Traditionally, we have seen science as the main and often the only source of knowledge in western society, and my research will work to expand, deepen and make visible many others forms of knowledge that have been undervalued and consequently under-used. My work with CURRA will involve a major collaborative creative project that will take place in communities throughout Bonne Bay and the Great Northern Peninsula. It is called Towards an Encyclopaedia of Local Knowledge and hopefully will include participants from school children to elders, who will share their own knowledge to be included in the Encyclopedia.
Often, we think of “knowledge” in narrow ways that exclude many kinds of knowing and many kinds of knowers; my work as a scholar and an artist begins with the assumption that everyone knows something interesting and important about where they live and how they live there. My goal is to make that knowledge visible so it can be shared and used within and beyond the communities where it emerges.
Even children “know things” about their homes and communities, whether it be which are the fastest paths home or where there are good places to hide or where important things happened. Fishers and hunters know a lot about their local ecology but also about how to make things, find things, or interpret the weather. Some women know not just where to find berries, but how to preserve them: some know not just who their relatives are, but where they came from, and what their ancestors did in previous generations. Schoolteachers, convenience store workers, grandparents, mechanics, teenagers, union officials, waitresses, nurses, fishers, truck drivers, and carpenters, ALL have particular ways of knowing their place and know particular things about it.
Everyone has some expert knowledge and Towards an Encyclopaedia of Local Knowledge will gather ecological, social, historical, technical, material and cultural knowledge from voluntary “experts” up and down the west coast of the Province. It will build on, expand and extend some of the community-specific knowledge that already exists and make it visible, alongside new knowledge -so it can be shared and presented- honoured and celebrated.
Everyone who participates will be acknowledged as a co-author, and many kinds of traditionally “invisible” forms of knowledge will be included. For example, local and CURRA researchers have already begun to gather fishermen’s ecological knowledge (FEK), which, in the Encyclopaedia can be set beside I am excited to begin the search for women and men up and down the Northern Peninsula who will share their time and knowledge to help me create the Encyclopaedia of Local Knowledge.For more information on my work as an artist, visit http://www.pamhall.ca and for more information, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.Pam Hall, CURRA