New Sun Conference

New Sun Conference

$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

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, 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.

About You
About You
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Anastazia Krneta

About You, Your Group, or Your Organization

Carleton University

Please confirm that this project could benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples


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What categories best describe who your group or organization serves (check all that apply)

First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

What best describes your group or organization

University, Technical Institute or College.

How long have you, your group, or your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Define your idea / project in 1-2 short sentences

The conference honors and raises awareness of individuals whose work affirms contemporary Aboriginal experience and contributes to cross-cultural understanding.

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Established (it has been running for a while, has grown and know it is making a difference)

Social Impact
Please tell us about the social impact of your idea or proect

The Conference demonstrates a proven way to respectfully integrate into the academy an indigenous approach to learning.Conference presenters serve as cross-cultural role models; their talents and stature extend far beyond the Aboriginal community.

Anticipating the value of the New Sun Conference as a unique research forum with an engaging mix of personalities and personal narratives, all conference presentations have been videotaped and archived on individual DVDs in Carleton University’s MacOdrum Library.

A new website specifically for the New Sun Conference will not only increase the online presence of the Conference, but it will make the presentations available online and provide additional weblinks to presenters.

Your Future Goal(s): Tell us what you hope to achieve with your idea or project in the next year

Increased profile and accessibility of the New Sun Conference archive of presentations for student researchers.

In 5 years, what will be different as a result of your idea/project?

The primary goals for the next five years are 1) to expand the current New Sun Conference archive, annually adding presentation synopses, program notes, biographies, photos and feedback to the existing archive which currently documents presentations by more than fifty Aboriginal individuals from across the artistic spectrum; 2) to make accessible online videotaped New Sun Conference presentations currently available to Aboriginal student researchers on DVD in the main MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. Conference presenters serve as strong role models for Aboriginal students and online access to their inspiring presentations increases their ability to affect positive change in student lives.

Tell us about the people/ partnerships that are already involved and why they are important to your idea or project.

Joy Maclaren was given the name “New Sun” in 1995 by elders from the Blackfoot, Mohawk and Ojibwa nations at a special naming ceremony at Carleton University, to recognize her commitment to promoting Aboriginal culture and education across Canada. Joy Maclaren has generously provided partial funding for this conference.
Allan J. Ryan was appointed as the New Sun Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture in 2001. The first of its kind in Canada, the Chair is situated in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton. Dr. Ryan is founder and host of the annual New Sun Conference.

If there are other people/partners that you will reach out to tell us who they are and why they will be important to your idea or project.

Funds have been set aside through the generosity of Joy Maclaren and the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Carleton to continue the conference through to at least 2014 in its present form but additional funding will be required for any expansion such as the website.
Carleton is seeking individual and corporate sponsorship for the conference, which includes support for archival materials. At the same time, funds are also being sought to endow the conference outright to allow it to go on in perpetuity.

Describe the kinds of support you receive (other than money) or will need to support your idea or project (e.g.: donated, space, equipment and volunteers)

The success of the New Sun Conference depends on many volunteers and professionals who strongly believe in the positive influence of the conference. For example, the current archive on the website was generously created free of charge by a Carleton University graduate student, who continues to add to the site without charge each year. For the past five years a Migmag student has created the stunning posters and printed program for the conference which are also archived and reflect both artistic excellence and cultural respect. A photographer and Carleton alumnus documents the conference each year for the archives.

Do you currently have funding for your idea or project?

Yes (answer the next two questions)