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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Creating a Cutesy Squid Painting to Cheer Up A Friend

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

The World Reflected in the Odenabe/Otonabee

I’m so thankful to be able to live near this mighty river whose name means “River that beats like a heart” in Anishinaabemowin.

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Sunset and Moonrise During Hot Days in Peterborough

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Continuing to Build My Window Display for Kids in the Community

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Another Fun Writing Workshop With Brilliant Writers

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Lawn Ducks

Well, ducks have returned to live on my lawn. It’s great to see nature returning

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative Nael Bhanji's Narrative

Eyes on Peterborough

Nael and Derek decided to add a little bit of fun to Peterborough’s downtown by sticking googley eyes on various objects that looked like they had faces. It was a fun way of bringing smiles to downtown Peterborough and to bring laughs to people in a stressful time.

The google eyes were attached with tape, so could easily be removed without damaging property.

We spent the day searching for a variety of possible expressions, looking, in particular, for holes in cement, knots in wood and openings that looked like different smiles and frowns. We even found a couple of objects that looked like they had big eyebrows to give a stern expression to a few objects.

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Art is Messy!!

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Raccoons, the Mascots of Coronavirus

I saw a really fun meme recently that suggested that raccoons were the mascots of Coronavirus because they always wear a mask and wash their hands and food regularly…. so I had to do a cutesy painting of a raccoon.

Here are a few different stages of my painting process and the final painting of the raccoon. The painting is acrylic on canvas

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Derek Newman-Stille's Narrative

Writing Workshops as a Way of Creating Community

Living in quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak has meant that people are relying on the arts even more than normal. The arts are providing entertainment during social isolation… but they are also providing a sense of collective healing and allowing us to work through anxieties and concerns through the symbolic media that art provides.

More and more during this outbreak, I have seen the potential of creative and artistic acts to help us get through this. Our society often positions creativity as something frivolous, but we rely heavily on creative changes and creative solutions when we encounter problems (like COVID) that don’t have a simple solution.

I have been trying to organize communities of creativity as a way for people to connect through stories, art, and shared acts of imagination. One of the ways I have been doing this and trying to give back to the arts community is through organizing creative writing workshops. I have taught creative writing workshops through Trent’s Continuing Education department and wanted to make some of the materials I had previously taught available to writers for free through my digital humanities hub Speculating Canada .

Today I taught a workshop called “Speculative Futurisms” where we explore ideas of the future and think about the way we talk about possible futures. We also explore relatively new and innovative technologies and explore the impact they could have on society. This is where a lot of really powerful speculative fiction comes from – imagining the impact of technological change on society. I had also hoped that this workshop would be a chance to imagine possibilities around COVID-19 and imagine the lasting social and cultural impact of the pandemic.

The participants in the workshop were absolutely brilliant. Asking deep questions and sharing experience, knowledge, and dreams together. Although it was a writing workshop, it felt like a coming together of people of like minds to question things together and think through new ideas together. I can’t describe the powerful sense of community that the workshop evoked and the excitement we all felt at engaging our creative selves. I feel very fortunate to have gotten the chance to work with such amazing people.