The Annual New Sun Conference on Aboriginal Arts is a unique and innovative inter-cultural learning experience inaugurated in 2002 by Dr. Allan J. Ryan, the New Sun Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture at Carleton University. Now entering its 11th year, the New Sun Conference has brought together in a public forum on traditional unceded Algonquin territory, creative individuals from various First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities, as well as from the non-Native community.
Themes such as “healing through the arts,” “transforming traditions,” “engaging authenticity”, and “inspiring resilience” have been explored in a collegial and communal atmosphere that encourages dialogue on important cultural and artistic issues. The conference honours, and seeks to raise public awareness of individuals whose work affirms contemporary Aboriginal experience and contributes to increased cross-cultural understanding.
Over the last decade the New Sun Conference has developed its own distinct character, acknowledging the indigenous importance of the oral, personal, experiential and relational. The conference is less formal than a conventional scholarly conference, yet more academic than a traditional cultural festival. It is “Something Else Again!”, to cite the theme of the 9th annual conference. Drawing from both indigenous and western pedagogical traditions, the Conference strives to be entertaining, educational, communal, and inspiring.
Presenters have demonstrated expertise in a range of artistic endeavours – from photography, painting, sculpture, and film making, to acting, musical performance, arts education, literature, architecture and even the culinary arts. Notable among the participants have been: Jennifer Podemski, Michael Greyeyes, Don Kelly, Christi Belcourt, Rosalie Favell, Douglas Cardinal, Nadia Myre, Gerald Vizenor, David Ruben Piqtoukun, Taqralik Partridge, Jeff Thomas, Ron Noganosh, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Maria Campbell, Drew Hayden Taylor and Joseph Boyden.
Presently, the New Sun Conference archive is housed at www.trickstershift.com, the personal website of Dr. Allan J. Ryan, founder and host of the Annual New Sun Conference. Additional funding will allow for the development of a standalone website specifically tailored for the needs of the Conference, participants and attendees.