I adore small utopian ventures that inspire change. Here are some examples.

Rockin’ the Coffin A CBC short doc by Cailleah Scott-Grimes

A contrarian’s guide to the good death. Also a family collaboration, with Ron Grimes (subject), Cailleah Scott-Grimes (director and illustrator), and Bryn Scott-Grimes (music).

I was on chuck wagon duty for this one.

Passionate Heart Dance Writing Workshop with senior dance artists Suzanne Sherman and Michele Green (Guelph, Ontario).

What dancers know instinctively, writers do not.

Why is it so hard to write about the body?

“Sleeping with the Author,” New Quarterly Online Exclusive

An editor-author conversation in which the editor (me) confronts the author (my husband) about going public with brutal family stories.

See also “The Barn and the Lab” with Ron Grimes in his Rite out of Place: Ritual, Media, and the Arts (Oxford University Press, 2005).


Multi-arts collaborations among immigrants, Indigenous, and settlers. With roots in the global north (Montreal) and south (Chile).

My first collaboration with NI founder Carolina Echeverria was The Arpillera Project for Spanish-speaking immigrants new to Montreal. The arpilleras documenting women’s lives were first exhibited in Waterloo, Ontario (1999).

TNQ’s diversity project, with co-mentors, Jagtar Atwal, Leonarda Carranza, Tamara Jong and their CNF writing group brought this to our readers.

“On Rejection” is rooted in conversation with writers who invited TNQ editor, Pamela Mulloy, and me to engage in deep listening, and to face up to who has access to publishing, and why.

O Mother, Where Art Thou?

A quirky glimpse of the woman writer video project with Bryn Scott-Grimes (2011).

Our Visions, Our Voices women writers tour

Unorthodox women writers with roots in the greater Latter Day Saint traditions read at five public universities throughout the US West (March 2010). Spearheaded by Joanna Brooks (The Book of Mormon Girl) and Holly Welker (Best American Essays), with support from participating institutions Arizona State University and the Mormon Studies Program at Claremont University.

The University of Utah’s Marriott Special Collections Library now houses the writings collected on this historic tour throughout the Mormon heartland.

The Artist as Activist and Creative Communities twin issues: The New Quarterly’s joint publishing venture with Alternatives: Environmental Ideas + Action (2006-07).

Teaming up with Canada’s top environmental mag to produce twin issues, a public forum, and a workshop for gifted youth.

In partnership with Waterloo Unlimited at the University of Waterloo.

Followed by a residency at Wildbranch Writing Workshop, in Creative Commons, VT, sponsored by Orion Magazine.

On the road with a national treasure, the visual artist Wesley W. Bates.

“’Out of Hand’: The Life and Times of Rural Water” prints exhibit, part of the Ontario Society of Artists 2003 province-wide Water Project; also, We in Glass Houses and Urban-Rural Link interdisciplinary arts projects.

Walkerton Water Stories Project (WWSP) and its offshoot The Stories Project (SP). Award-winning Community Arts projects that sprang up in response to the 2000 E. coli outbreak–the environmental crisis that changed the course of water history in Canada.

Projects co-founded with storyteller, Mary-Eileen McClear, and visual artist, Wesley W. Bates, in partnership with Walkerton Healthy Community Initiative and supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the Walkerton Community Foundation.

Featured artists with the WWSP included installation artist and water activist, Basia Irland (The Water Library), and singer-songwriter, James Gordon.


2004 Community Arts Ontario Best Practices Award

2003 Community Arts Ontario’s inaugural Entering into Print Dialogue Award

2001 Ontario Arts Council Community Arts/Artists in the Workplace Grant

Legacy: community and conference workshops, academic papers, consultations, touring exhibits, storytelling festivals, community water festivals, guest lectures, performances and publications, including The New Quarterly 103 with CD.

Today: the 34 Water Stories Prints are on permanent display at the Walkerton Clean Water Center (WCWC), where water managers the world over are trained.

The projects’ ethnographic materials (interviews, etc.) are archived at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton, Ontario.

See the hands-on resource guide I wrote for artists and the general public here.

Opening New Doors in the Waterloo Region oral history project

Two years collecting life stories of adults with developmental disabilities (1998-9) culminates in the “My Heart is Full” storytelling gala at the Maureen Forrester Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University.