Grants: the invisible labour of Narratives in Space + Time Society
Over the last four years, I’ve been involved as a founding member of the research-creation group, Narratives in Space + Time Society. Our first project together was at the international Differential Mobilities Conference held in Montreal in 2013, which is described elsewhere (including on the Nis+TS website). There, we were pleased to involve 75 people from around the world in a series of activities located in the abandoned and highly resonant former Blue Bonnets Raceway.
Since then, we have kept a focus — and conducted several public art walks, involving more than 50 other collaborators and, now, over 100 participants at each event — on the upcoming centenary of the December 6, 1917 Halifax Explosion.
In the past several months, and as part of the lead-up to the centenary events, we have been applying for and receiving grants and commissions for an incredibly diverse range of activities. These include a recently announced Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant of $22,000 to conduct a symposium and additional research with some experts in the field on October 22-23, 2016. It also includes a series of grants from Arts NS over the last three years, which has supported the development and growth of our innovations in the walking practices of artists. There has been one modest ($5,000) but very crucial grant from the City of Halifax Community Grants to help us develop the blueprints for a software application to support the kind of work that we do as artistic practice, including storytelling. There has also been a commission from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to support a walk addressing themes and stories of their exhibit, Terroir. And we are finalizing details on a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage — Community Anniversaries, which, along with in-kind support from the City of Halifax, we will be able to leverage for the production of some exhibition objects, and the presentation of the 2017 walk. There are another five or six grant applications that we will prepare between now and December 2017 to help realize an overarching vision to understand how to tell undertold stories here, and how to work within and outside the city to ensure that the traumas of the past resolve into productive ways forward for all of us.
The amount of work required to apply for, administer and report on these grants is substantial, and it is all on a volunteer basis. But we are committed to seeing this project through — what we learn from our collaborators and the communities within which we are situated is incredible and worth sharing on an ongoing basis.
We will also be putting together two exhibitions in Halifax for December 2017. One is at the Dalhousie University Art Gallery, and the other is at the Nova Scotia Archives, one of the many provincial museums and archives that have been incredible resources for this project. There will be workshops, talks, artifacts and traces of all our walks and research presented in these two spaces — and it will change over the course of the exhibitions.
Join us when you can. We are delighted to host you, and look forward to your stories!