Ep. 1: Anna Shah Hoque and Jade Sullivan

Episode 1 January 09, 2023 00:52:37
Ep. 1: Anna Shah Hoque and Jade Sullivan
To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive
Ep. 1: Anna Shah Hoque and Jade Sullivan

Jan 09 2023 | 00:52:37


Hosted By

Anna Shah Hoque

Show Notes

Welcome to a new season of To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive! We kick off this season with a conversation between host Anna Shah Hoque and Jade Sullivan, host of the podcast My Intersectional Opinion (@myintersectionalopinion).

This first episode serves as a framework for Season 3. In the next eleven episodes we will talk about diasporic longing and ancestral inheritances. We will think together about how we make memories with each other for each other, and tune into stories that were set to the side.

We’ll also talk about the community building that is possible for Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, work that evades borders and barriers. This season is an opportunity, broadly speaking, to put our truths and the journeys to ourselves on air.


Season 3 graphic created by Hunter Dewache. Custom intro / outro sounds created by Bucko aka Chris Binkowski. Podcast editing is by Fin-xuan. This season of To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive is generously funded by a Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.


Jade Sullivan (she/her) is a feminist geographer and intersectional activist currently learning, loving and living on unceded and unsurrendered Kanien'kéha Nation, also known as Montreal (Tiohtià:ke). Jade focuses her advocacy on creating safe and sustainable spaces for systemically marginalized people, using an anti-oppressive, decolonial, gender-transformative feminist lens. She is a storyteller on her podcast My Intersectional Opinion, a Director and Advocacy Lead at Feminitt Caribbean, and board member of Planned Parenthood Ottawa. On her time off she is usually painting, (trying to) baking gluten-free treats, reading or taking cute pictures of her cat, Princess.

You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @ohmyjadie and find her podcast My Intersectional Opinion on Spotify, Youtube and Apple Podcast on Instagram at @myintersectionalopinion. To contact her, feel free to email her at [email protected]

Anna Shah Hoque (she/they) is a South Asian-Persian bi-queer femme curator, producer, visual storyteller, educator, and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Feminist & Gender Studies, University of Ottawa. Her dissertation examines the relationship between decoloniality, visual arts and archive-making among Indigenous and South Asian artists and curators in “Canada.” She is the producer and host of To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive, a podcast series that shares stories, memories, and practices of Ottawa-based artists, community organizers, and activists. She co-curated To Be Continued: Troubling the Queer Archive, presented at Carleton University Art Gallery, which highlighted stories of queer communities long excluded from local public history: Indigenous, Black, and racialized queer and trans peoples. They serve on the Board of Directors at G101 and as a member of Firegrove Studio, a visual storytelling arts collective. Anna holds a Master’s degree in Communication and a BA. Combined Honours in Communication Studies and Canadian Studies, Minor in Sexuality Studies from Carleton University. She has published in the Canadian Journal of Communication and the Capstone Seminar Series (Re)Negotiating Artifacts of Canadian Narratives of Identity. She has forthcoming publications in An Atlas of Global Media, an edited collection through Amherst College Press and in the journal of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas.

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:09 Welcome to season three of to be continued troubling the archive. In today's episode, Jade Sullivan and I are in conversation. We'll talk about origin stories, community building that's possible for black and brown and indigenous communities, and more broadly speaking are truths and journeys to ourselves. Speaker 2 00:00:33 The podcast was known initially as to be continued, a Stone Croft Symposium podcast. Um, and it was primarily, uh, funded by COGS Endowment Fund, the Stoner Symposium, where this season funded by the County Council for the Arts, as well as with Qug support. And I'm so excited to roll this season three with my friend and, you know, uh, fellow cat lover, um, Jade Sullivan. Um, my name is Anna Sha Hawk. I go by she and they, and I'm a curator, podcaster, um, you know, doing a dissertation on the side. And, um, this podcast series is really for this season. It's an opportunity to have conversations with folks to think about dipo longing, ancestral inheritances, and how we make memories with each other for each other, and sometimes seeking other memories to learn more about others. Um, so I'm gonna ask Jade to sort of jump in, introduce themselves, and we're joined also by my friend and rad technician, Finn's son, who is doing all of the technique like the technical know-how that I would inevitably panic about if they weren't here. Um, Jade, take it off. Speaker 3 00:01:53 Hi everybody. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you for, um, bringing me in on the space. I'm super excited. Um, yeah, so a little bit about me, Jade Sullivan. She, her pronouns, they them, if you want to give it to me. Um, I am currently living, loving and learning in Montreal. Um, I, hmm, what should I label myself as? I don't know. I am a cat lover, a plant lover. Um, I am a novice and a lot of books and novels, especially the online ones, I'm getting into them recently. Um, I am also a intersectional feminist geographer. I do a lot of work in, um, transnational NGOs across, um, Canada and in the Caribbean, working on different mandates such as like comprehensive sexual education, working, um, against, um, violence against women working, um, in sustainable climate justice spaces. And also just like living life as a regular 20 something year old <laugh>, diasporic child coming out of Trivago. Um, trying my best <laugh>, that's what I'm gonna say. I'm trying my best <laugh>. So yeah. Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm super excited to have these conversations. Speaker 2 00:03:08 I think like, uh, trying our best is really, uh, a really good space to start cuz a lot of times we're so hard on ourselves to be like what we are doing oftentimes we're so mean to ourselves, like we're so cruel. Um, and it's nice to, to like, I think recognize like self-validation, to be like, look at all of the things that I'm doing trying to do, um, that it's an important place to like, make space for, um, as you're talking, I'm like trying to remember like our origin story. And funnily enough, like, um, Jade was introducing me to a friend of theirs, uh, via email and was like, oh yes, Anna was my TA at one point. And I'm like, wait, what? When did this happen? Um, and it was, it was so funny because for me, our origin story starts with like being part of the Bipo student collective, um, for the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at U of O. And like, that was such like, that was the place where I'm like, I imagine that was our origin. Um, and then to be like, wait, we've had this other interaction. Um, and it just like made me cackle because I feel like Ottawa is a space where like black and brown folks, like our our origin stories sometimes blend in to the point where like, it blurs mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, yeah. Speaker 3 00:04:25 Yeah. I feel like in Ottawa there's been like so many paths that I've crossed that I've not realized that I crossed their paths until like, I don't know, a couple years later I'm like, wait, we went to school. We were in the same class together. Like, I've seen you most of like the last four years. But it's just like, I don't know, Ottawa is just a very, um, blurry city. It's beautiful to call that blurry, but also like very transitional city. I love it. It's good and it's has its downfall. Sometimes <laugh>, but honestly great space. Speaker 2 00:04:57 Yeah. And someone like would frequently run away to Doja to Montreal. Like, I'm joining you all from like guga territory and I'm split between Algonquin and Guga territory and like it's, uh, I remember the running away and then the coming back too. And what like, you know, for me, Ottawa is a space that is only special because of the people in it, because of the communities and friends that make up my life there. Um, and with, with the exception of that, it can be a really isolating space as well. And I think back to like our first sort of, um, what I imagined our first meeting, uh, which was the Bipo collective and it was the kickoff to Panorama life and how deeply isolating that experience has been and continues to be to a certain extent. Like even though we're kind of going back to the, the before lands, um, you know, there is, there, there was so much, um, to process and so much to do all, all of a sudden inside our own homes. Speaker 2 00:05:58 And for me, that student collective, like graduate students and undergraduate students coming together specifically like indigenous, black and brown students coming together and having conversations from the most mundane to like strategies of like how to, you know, how to get through the drudgery of like a reading to like, how are we dealing with our mental health? It was such an important space to be part of as a closed circuit, you know? Um, and I, and I think like that's kind of where I wanna start our conversation is, you know, for me this season more, I mean, I appreciate what every season of this podcast is brought, but for me this season is really thinking through about like Ivy P lives, how we make joy, how we share our stories with each other. And I'm an insta nut. I love Instagram. I, um, I story frequently, it's like my version of what people do journaling. I do, I do Insta, storying, um, <laugh> and I, and I think back like a, a couple of weeks ago, uh, I saw you post a story and you were making something super delicious. Do you wanna tell folks what you were making? Oh, Speaker 3 00:07:07 Ok. Okay. So yeah, of course. Thank you for that beautiful little introduction into this. Um, so a few weeks ago, as I am a Trinidadian Trinidad is very infused with, mul is very multicultural place. So I grew up eating alota. I grew up eating all sorts of food. So that's one of my favorite comfort foods. It's fairly easy to make. Um, I'm kind of like a bread connoisseur, I'll just say that, <laugh>. But also, um, it was really easy to make a very nourishing and like, fulfilling food makes me feel good inside. So I made that and <laugh> funny enough, and I like said, is that Alu perta <laugh> is you, is that, what is that? Like? I was just like, yeah, like, but honestly, I don't know, in my head I don't think about how connected everybody is because I'm just like, yeah, this is just my childhood. Speaker 3 00:07:55 This is just something that I did and something that I ate. Nothing important. But it's so like connecting cuz not only you, but there are other, a few other people who are like, oh my goodness, you eat that as well. How'd you know how to make that? Like where did that story, like how did your your dots connect? You know? And I'm just like, hmm. It's just like a very like, funny thing just to realize how much of us have so much in common without even realizing it. And like, I'm telling you people from all ends of the world and like even your neighbor who you didn't know that had the same thing in common, you know, you're just like, wow, we all share like a little diasporic joy <laugh> like, or a little thread that's we through all of us, you know? But yeah, that's one way we connected again. Speaker 3 00:08:35 We're like, Hey, we have like some commonality. And honestly that commonality I would've never guessed. Like truly, I honestly, I wouldn't even, like, I would never have thought of that ever being a conversation starter in my life. Cause I was just like, yeah, I'm hungry. I'm just gonna make something. But clearly. But honestly I feel like that was like, I'm so happy, happy. I have like the privilege of knowing how to make those certain foods and like connects with my culture in that way because it's so like, um, I don't know, it's kind of like in the like, of passing of knowledge, but like maybe tangibly passing of knowledge and like connecting with my ancestors and like my family and you know, going down memory lane. But just having the ability to do that is like very gracious and gra uh, grateful for that. Cuz I don't think everybody's able to do that, you know? Speaker 2 00:09:23 Yeah, no, I just, I, I immediately got pulled into like Alita as one of my favorite foods on the face of the planet. Um, Bengali, you know, my, uh, you know, my family's like gone through two different levels of, of partition and like now it's like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan. But like, you know, I grew up with hearing stories and seeing my grandma like my nnu and my dadu making dishes. My mom, when we came to Canada as political refugees, like the food was where, and how I stayed connected to my communities because in diaspora all of a sudden, you know, we now will, will, will very much casually use like third culture kid or be like, I, I grew up in diaspora, but like for me, like there was such deep, there weren't words to express the grief or like the feelings of joy that was attached to like territory, to, to, to smell, to taste. Speaker 2 00:10:17 And food was such a sort of easy and also so instantly gratifying of a window, a portal to feel like transported, right? To like being around family, to be around, you know, uh, familiar or really favorite memories of like, you know, that first moment where the oil would sizzle and the theta would hit the pan and you wait for that boldness, uh, and like the flip over. And then my, my nano my grandma would be, would be like, come close to the stove so you could have it hot. You know? It wasn't like waiting for all of them to be done. So your story took me to so many memories in the span of a few seconds. And, um, and at the same time there was, you know, it's, it's, it's like odd like knowing despite the fact that there's all these transnational connections, you know, I can, I can from afar theorize and be like academic and I understand how things travel. Both the stories of, of like grief, joy, all of it mixed in together of, of how it circulates, how, how these stories and recipes and people circulate. But at the same time there's this sense of like proprietary of like, wait, how do you know this desy dish? You know? And I'm like, tell me more. In fact, I don't even know how to make olive. I know how to eat it. I don't know how to eat it. <laugh>, I dunno how to make it <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:11:39 No, but I love that. And also, I just love the point that you brought up that like something so simple as just a story that you see online can like transport you to like a completely different place. Like it can change your entire, not your entire perspective. It might, but like also I can just change like, or like, uh, transform your day and your viewpoint on like, so many things. Like personally, I don't think we would have that connection if you didn't just see that story and be like, oh my God, you do that too. Or you eat that and you know this. But also just being able to, like, for me, like going through like other people's Instagram stories, your Instagram story and seeing like people connect with culture also, like giving me that reminder, Hey, connect with your culture a little bit more. Speaker 3 00:12:15 What else? Um, like look into your culture sometimes, like, even if it's not completely relevant, because I am Tridian and Jamaican, I, I see people of various other backgrounds and I see their life and I'm just like, oh, this kind of like resonates with me. Like a, a reminder. Um, an idea that's popping into my head is people who are starting to get back into like their, um, traditional religions or traditional practice spiritual practices. And I'm like, oh, we also have that very similar thing that we do here too. Or, oh, I need, so think this was bad. But we all do that. Like, I don't know, there's just little things that like pop in my head and my grandparents are very, like, they were very spiritual as well, but not like traditionally Christian. They were, um, something called Spiritual Baptist, which is like a sect in the Caribbean. Speaker 3 00:13:02 And just like seeing when I was younger, I was just like, didn't understand it and I kind of like fell off the earth. I'd never cared about it afterwards when I grew up. But like now as I grew up, I'm like, oh, I see some other people practicing it. And I'm like, oh my goodness, how do you know how to do that? Why do you know something that my grandmother who's like 70 knows how to do? And there's that connection even though we have no other, um, intersections, you know? I don't know. I feel like it's very funny and like the internet stories like allow that to be so tangible in a reality so quickly. It's just, I love it. I feel like if we didn't have platforms, like social media wouldn't have that privilege of being able to be like, connect so easily with everything. Especially being diasporic children who are growing up in places like Canada, as lovely as it is, there's so much like segregation in the sense of like connecting with your culture, connecting with people who are like similar to you culturally or, or just diasporic other differences, like depending on where you are in Canada, it's very hard to have those connections. So like being able to have that immediately online and like also being able to curate your space is such a, such a privilege and I'm very happy to have it and also to influence those. Speaker 2 00:14:16 Yeah, it's true. And I, I like, I wanna add to and think about it like as such a, as a sight of healing. Like, so oftentimes social media, whether it be Instagram or TikTok, before that it was Facebook and you know, the critique would be you're curating your aesthetic or you're curating the best parts of your life, you know, and so you're not necessarily seeing, uh, the shambles that everything else is around you because you know, you're highlighting the joy. And I think especially when, when I, when I'm, when I think of it in relation to like black brown lives and realities, like how oftentimes mainstream spaces don't actually celebrate us, don't actually make space for, that's not where the origin story begins, you know? And so social media platforms, the instantaneous sort of access to seeing similar stories or even coming across, like for me as a diasporic kid, like being able to, to understand the relevance of certain cultural rituals or even being able to ask someone to say my name, the way I would like to hear it, the way that my mom calls me, you know, for, for a really long time it was so anglicized because I gave up, I gave up on trying to be like, this is how you say my name. Speaker 2 00:15:27 Not the way that you immediately anglicize it, right? And so like, advocating for those micro shifts, even that boost of courage came through all the stories I watched on Instagram, the stories that I, before social media sort of became part of it. All the different sort of indigenous scholars and authors that I would read. And so much of the insistence, especially in the context of Canada, like coming across communities and folks who are like very much talking about practices, cultural practices and linguistic reclamation and how powerful that was as someone coming from a geography where like, you know, it's, the language is post-colonial and not really thinking necessarily actively about like how the colonial constantly haunts us at the every day at the contemporary, how like people have internalized colonial mentality and where like local, you know, local place-based knowledge, local pa place-based rituals are not seen with the same sort of value, um, as, as something that's quote unquote western. Speaker 2 00:16:31 You know? Um, so like I, I found like that extra push of both courage and, and like, and I think you said it really beautifully, you know, like seeing someone do something, being like, how'd you know that? You know, I, you know, I like for, for me it's like if I have a cold and like I know what my mom would be like, go boil some water, put some fresh ginger in, I put some turmeric, drink it with some honey, you know, uh, and, and make sure you do like three to four cups of that through the day. And you know, I'd be like mm-hmm <affirmative>, okay. You know, it's just like so common place in the household, but never really thinking about the ancestral knowledge that it holds in it. Until I watch a story on Instagram or TikTok and someone's like placing it in the historical context of where does this information come from, you know? Yeah. Speaker 3 00:17:19 No, but I love that too because that same like cup of tea is like passed down through so many generations, but also so many people. I think my mom used to always gimme that cup of tea and I hated it because I was just like, ew. But also I think one of my, one of my best friend's mom also made that for us when we got sick and I was just like, how do you know this? Why are you using the exact same recipe? But also I just love it because like, even though I didn't take value in it before, like being able to like understand that knowledge now, and I use it all the time cuz it's an amazing cup of tea <laugh>, even though I hate it, it's an amazing cup of tea. It works. But um, being able to pass that knowledge down and being able to like share that with other people is like so important to me. Speaker 3 00:17:59 Like being able to, I don't know, to recognize like it's like, I don't know, my therapist said something recently to me and it's like coming home to yourself or something like that. Like, it's kind of like coming home. It's kind of like peeling back the layers, realizing what's like you and what's not you, what you like redefining or re understanding your culture. Um, finding your identity, finding the confidence to like actually wear your identity with you. Like I know I'm seeing a lot of things <laugh>, but it's all placed together <laugh>. Um, but no, like, it's like coming home to yourself. I love that. Like, um, and as you were talking about earlier, like reading and like seeing all these, um, great activists and educators, like sharing where the historical background come from, where this is important, how we can apply them to our dealer, all those things. Speaker 3 00:18:50 And also just, just basic, just showing the thing. Just being like, Hey, this is something I do, this is something you do, this is something people do. I don't know, it just uh, helps, helps me kind of ground myself in, in who I am. I don't know how to explain it, but it's like I find, I find like a grounding from the ability to like watch other people and see them practice their cultures, see them practice their identities, carefree and um, judgment free in that sense. Shamelessly is the word I want. Shamelessly <laugh>, seeing them practice their selves shamelessly is just like a beautiful and it like confidence boosting thing for me. Cuz I can see another like black, brown, indigenous person doing that and I'm like, wow, I can do that. I can, maybe not the exact same thing, but I can also like be confident and step in my, my own righteousness. Speaker 3 00:19:41 Especially like as you said, like in a post-colonial, post-colonial society. Um, it's very, I don't know, it's usually not welcome to be like your full authentic diasporic self, but it's grounding knowing that there's so many people who are like doing it day by day. And I don't think I would've had that ability to like know this without like the, um, the informal passing of knowledge that we see on our Instagrams that we see on our Twitters that we see on all of our other social medias. And even just like in conversation with other people being able to see that I'm like, wow, I am thoroughly motivated <laugh> to become the best myself. Because I feel like personally, I feel like as when I, when I was younger, you know, I had to hide that a lot. Like the cultural part being like, oh no, I have to fit in. I have to blend in, you know, and then you reach your point, you're like, why am I blending in? This is not fun. This is not me. And the rediscovery is such a beautiful journey still on it, but such a beautiful journey. Speaker 2 00:20:41 Constant, like the constantness of it. Yeah, no, I think like, I especially like turned so much, much to like activists and artists who are like critiquing settler colonialism, right? In the context and like in, in acts of decoloniality to really unlearn, undo and also just reject and interrupt the cycles, like the ideas of like what constitutes quote unquote normal, right? And how oftentimes like as diasporic kiddos or like assimilation isn't framed as like violent, you know, uh, it becomes, but it is, it's such a violent act. Like you, you contort yourself and turn yourself inside out to try to fit into a space that doesn't honor you the way that you are, doesn't celebrate you the way that your community sees you or wants you to, to, to like carry on the stories. And I think like the last sort of, I think the last, the, the more that I've been coming into these sort of conversations both through the literature I'm reading through the, the social media that I'm consuming, it makes me want to pause more on the stories that my mom tells me. Speaker 2 00:21:46 You know, like I, I go back in my mind of like also memories and conversations with my grandma and, and my granddad and like how oftentimes I thought of them as stories and not stories that was information laden, you know? Uh, and so when I revisit those moments after seeing someone else talk about, uh, something on social media, whether it's like a conversation that they're like, how do we decolonize food? How do we decolonize, you know, what constitutes joy? Like how do we define our joy that's not needing to be recognized by dominant sort of white standards? Then, then that becomes a moment of such deep self-reflection to want to pause and, and like unwrap and unwind the, the sort of knot that I like for me, I can always speak for myself, but like that knot that's happened and how to undo the knot to try to, as you say so beautifully, to come home to myself, you know? Speaker 2 00:22:39 Um, and I think stories are so important. Like I I I I love what both the auditory but also the visual element of, of like TikTok and Instagram does. And I, you know, um, I imagine as the audience listen to you and they're like, why are we talking about Instagram and t and TikTok? But I, I, I find, uh, and I mean add on to this jade, but I do think like there's something really powerful, um, in that sort of instant connection that can happen where like, I can, and I, I'm gonna say Desi, so to talk about like Pan South Asian identity, but when I see a desi from another completely different geographic context, but they're talking about, you know, um, uh, like burning incense and what that means for them, like immediately it takes me, we could have, we definitely not could have, we definitely have very different exposures and experiences, but in that moment, the incense is what connects that moment of like, what could healing, what does healing with fire look like? You know? And it brings all these other older stories that I've had around me for so long, but maybe they were so muted, they were so muted and I didn't, didn't turn up the volume on them, and now I want to. And there's, I find that really like productive and encouraging to have a different relationship to the stories that I've always carried that maybe I just wasn't tuning into the right, right. Radio wave or the radio wavelength, you Speaker 3 00:24:00 Know? Yeah. Speaker 3 00:24:07 Like memories are stories, you know, like just those memories of seeing like, uh, your, your grandparents in practice of doing anything, just living life or having conversations or, you know, old, old cultural phrases and then applies to your life now. And then you're like, oh my goodness, this actually, maybe I should have paid attention. Maybe that actually was applicable or maybe, I don't know, little things like, um, I have a memory of like a distinct memory of my grandmother. She always used to peel the skins off her oranges and let them dry on the counter and then she'd boil it because one, it was like a natural, um, like air purifier, not purifier, but like a nice scent in the air and then it may teeth. I know it sounds like where did that come from? But as like, it's just a playback memory in my head. Speaker 3 00:24:53 And then I started doing it recently and I'm just like, there's something about just doing it, just the act of doing it that is so like, comforting. It's just so like tethered in my, in my soul. I don't know how to explain it. But you know, when you get back into those practices, get into the memories, like I feel like <laugh>, I feel like I'm slowly becoming my mother and my grandmother. I like, I really do. I feel like I'm just morphing into them very slowly, but it's very good and comforting. I'm just like, yeah, I'm finding myself because I feel like before, or a lot of us, um, can be like a, but this is like, as growing up as humans we like are not completely ourselves, you know, we're not like completely understanding who we can be or our capabilities and the more that we Speaker 3 00:25:40 Like accept who we are, but also the more we have access to accept who we are, I feel like is, you know, leveling up in a sense. <laugh>, like, and also to like loop in what you were talking earlier about like social media and like that instant like gratification of that knowledge. Very, I feel like if we didn't have that, we would not be at this place right now. I feel like a society could not have gotten to this face of a pace of development, of like social awareness or also cultural awareness without being able to have these instant like, um, graphs of knowledge. Cuz like on TikTok, there's not just only like teenagers and like young adults just making noise on sounds. We, yeah, we do that most of the time, but it's a lot of educators. It's also a lot of people who are sharing their knowledge. Speaker 3 00:26:23 It's also a storytelling, all these things that if I did not have these applications and if these people did not have these applications, I would've never heard this story. Even if the story doesn't directly affect me or it doesn't directly relate to my life, there's always like usually a connection that I can make. You know, it's like, um, I can see somebody in practice from America, just somebody from America, a a another black or brown person, and they'll do something that may just, they may tell a story that drives a connection. They may, um, okay. I have one exactly in mine, a story that has been like, go looping in my head, and this is gonna sound so foolish <laugh> just a little bit, but you know how the Little Mermaid just came out <laugh>, and there's um, the conversation about like, oh, the fact that she's brown, uh, she's a black black girl, she shouldn't be middle America, whatever. Speaker 3 00:27:14 And then there was a bunch of stories that started coming up on TikTok about like, um, like, uh, folklore or mythology around mermaids being from different places around the world. And then there's like off the coast of Africa, Haiti, and like these discussion on like black mermaids. And honestly, I've heard that discussion before when I was younger. What talking about mermaids and like the folklores around it and like them being scary and whatever, but I never really cared. You know, you just like, oh, whatever, you know, the folklore when you're younger. But as I heard it again, I'm like, and these are from people from like places that are not Trin out, Invega or Jamaica. I was just like, wow, how do we all have the same story one, but also like, I don't know it, that one thing brought in so much like connectivity aga amongst like multiple continents. Speaker 3 00:28:03 Like multiple areas of people like yes, we're connected. Yes, because maybe like historically, um, connected through colonization and all these things, but otherwise there would be no connection. And I would've never heard these stories and I would've never had this like, urge to know more. And then from that urge I was like, oh my God, I have no idea about like, the folk player that comes from my place or my culture is, honestly, it's not, I don't really wanna know about it too much because it's scary. It is scary. But, um, <laugh>, it's very like enlightening cuz then I go back into my culture and I'm like, oh my God, there's so much. I don't know, like, I've done a lot of research, I've done a lot of just like, quick Google searches. I'm like, oh, what is this? What is, where does this come from? What's the relevancy? And I'm just like, connects more slowly but surely, you know? And now I have like knowledge I can pass on to somebody else. I don't know why I'll pass on to mermaids. But, you know, <laugh> Speaker 2 00:28:51 <laugh>, I, I think like why not mermaids really though? Uh, I'd be curious, but I feel like there's also some stories that are so like powerful that are meant to not know, like in awful details. And, but the fact that so many communities also know of them of know about it without the assistance of social media <laugh>, you know, and that there, there is something to that too. Um, I kind of wanna go back to like, when you're talking, like, I was laughing when you're saying like, you know, you find yourself turning into your mom and your grandma, and I'm like, I'm laughing because I, it reminds me of like little rituals that I do now that like 15, 20 years ago, I would be embarrassed as f like I would forget embarrassed actually. I think I would like not have the capacity to understand the value of that ritual. Speaker 2 00:29:39 Like, I remember, remember like as a kid, like when I, when I lived in Chigong, my, my nanu, my grandma, my mom's side, um, she would wake up and after her first prayer in the morning would go through the whole house with a coconut husk in her hand, and she would smoke the house, she'd like burn, um, herbs and she would like cleanse the house and set it up with good intention for the day. And it was something that rain, shine, monsoon, it did not matter. It was gonna happen every single day after she was done her first prayer. And I could never understand the understand it. I just thought it was so fussy. Like, I'm like, why? Like, why are we disturbing everyone who's sleeping with <laugh> going into rooms and doing this? You know? And you know, lo and behold, fast forward a couple of decades later and I like wake up and the first thing I do is walk around the house, smoking it out because I wanna start the day with good intentions. Speaker 2 00:30:34 And I think of like the, the, that that moment though, that welcoming or the receiving of that, of that practice that I rejected so vehemently before only came through to me as something I wanted to embrace. Having witnessed like people smudge in the context of, of like the, like what's Canada now or in the context of what's the US and learning so much about like traditional practices and the value that's embedded in them and how much we need to like recenter or decenter our center now in order to recenter other forms of knowledges. And I like love that that's like, that it lets me have a different appreciation for the histories that came before me in a way that like, I never really saw in the same sort of way. Um, and I think like every time I see something on, on Instagram or on TikTok or like I read a poem, diasporic poetry, there's nothing more gut-wrenching than when you read something that like just speaks regardless of the geographic context you're coming from. Like, that speaks to the longing that speaks to the, the grief and the, the, the seeking out of like, where are my reflections? Where are the images that make me feel seen, heard that I also want to see and hear, you know? Um, Speaker 3 00:31:54 Oh, I love that. Oh, I also, I love the idea of like, um, also like seeing yourself in different places also. Okay. One, I feel like diasporic, um, individuals have such a, they're in such like a gray zone or in a, a fringe area where they're like, oh, I'm from here, but I'm also from here and I'm, parts of me are here. And like for example, Canada, parts of me are in Trinidad. Like, you know, you're separated in a sense or like divided. But, um, I feel like we kind of have to like see our reflections everywhere, like as multi dynamic multidisciplinary people and like also transnational folk. Like we are everywhere at the same time. I don't know, I feel like it's, um, it's a very unique space that we don't talk about a lot and that like has never really been given the highlight of that. Speaker 3 00:32:49 Like the longing to find your, your home or your, your center, the space that is yours, while also like, I don't know, accepting where you are right now, like deciding whether right now, right where you are right now is actually where your, your home is, or if it's somewhere else, or if it's somewhere completely different. Like, you know, just that longing and being desirable, like where is actual foundation. I feel like that's a lot of, um, a lot of our experiences, especially Dias work, youth who, I mean dpo people who are unable to go home or like, don't have the capacity to go home. It's just such a, a desirability. But again, with social media, with like the ability to access stories, just see as you said, like just seeing like a fellow friends smudge, seeing fellow friends, like, um, do traditional practices with their family going to weddings like <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:33:46 So many things that actually like ground me and like allow me to see like, okay, I can be this and I can be that. And like, even though I'm here, I'm still there in te in terms of like spirituality and like what I am as a culture, maybe, you know, it's, it's, it's very like fragmental and I feel like it's such a difficult space to be in as like a diasporic person in a huge post-colonial country like Canada, where like it's very pushed to be westernized, but we're all still trying to be individuals. I feel like Canada's like such a funny place. I feel like di diaspora could be like represented in Canada. And like, what, what I mean by that is that like Canada is so multicultural, like I feel like majority of Canada is, is is immigrants, refugees and people from the diaspora, but we're still like kind of confined in this little box to be like western Canadians. Speaker 3 00:34:46 And I put very big quotas in the wrong Canadians, um, <laugh>. But yeah, I feel like it's a, it's a funny space to be in for a lot of us, but we're all like kind of figuring it out where, where we belong inside of that space. And the, the a piece of me feels like as diasporic individuals, like our space is like all of diasporic space. Like, and like I, my space is your space, you know, like I can still find me in your space and you can still find that pieces of you in my space and anywhere anybody else is just because like, just that longing, that like desire to be culturally connected that like, um, rejection of assimilation is all like traits that we all have and that we all like share in terms of like community. And we could build community up based on that, just alone. Just trying to like reject assimilation, just trying to find ourselves and also longing. So yeah. Speaker 2 00:35:45 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think like there's like the, the like added element of like entering into what's, what is an active settler colonial state like, also presents this idea that like the diversity is somehow welcome, but it's happening at the expense of constant ongoing like violence and dispossession of like so many indigenous communities, so many indigenous, uh, like practices. And so then like there is there like, I think for me, like there also becomes this conversation of like, you know, here I come, like if I'm talking at the personal level here, I come with like all these other experiences with different va variations of colonization in the context of South Asia. And I come in and I bring that inheritance, but I'm also coming into a space where there's this structure that's already happening that like doesn't account always for indigenous realities. And so then how do I, as a, a racialized person who's entering into an occupied occupation, how do I navigate those dynamics? Speaker 2 00:36:48 How do I like build solidarity with, you know, uh, folks who are experiencing the state and experiencing power dynamics in a way that's far different from mine, right? It's, it's like much more viscerally, uh, complicated and difficult to maneuver. Um, how do we, like what does then collaboration and solidarity look like? Not with necessarily dominant society, but like as black brown folks with indigenous folks. What kind of conversational spaces? What kind of community spaces do we like build with each other? You know, um, knowing that the, there are these complex histories and presence that exist. Um, and like where then where do stories then fall, right? How do stories become a way to be like what you said just a little while ago, so beautifully. Like I, you can see yourself in my life, in my space, and I can find some remnants of me in your life, in your space. Speaker 2 00:37:42 And that is a bridge that is a bridge that is not, you know, sanctioned by the state. It's not sanctioned by some official being like, you know, I see a common thread. We see each other and we find the thing, you know, we find the commonalities. We also celebrate the differences and know that like we're coming in with two very different backpacks of knowledge and backpacks of information and challenges. And that that is a meaty and productive zone to meet with each other because it means that we're learning from each other in a way that like is not about, you know, not always centering necessarily like some other sort of political and like social, like dominant sort of space. It's, and I think like, like our, our creative spaces, especially as like, especially in the context of Ottawa, I find like as a brown queer person, it's a hard city. Speaker 2 00:38:32 It is not easy, you know, and then it just like, like kind of, it also because of the way that people flow in and out of that city, you lose this, you lose ties and you have to feel like you have to invent connections even though queer people have been in the city always, but it doesn't feel that way, right? It just feels kind of lonely, you know? And so there's all of that, all of that sort of desire for connection that's frequently there. And I think in spaces that don't automatically make space for indigenous, black and brown sort of lives and connections, there's so much labor. Like if, let's go back to like where we started this, this, you know, we, I mean, for folks listening in, like, you know, uh, Jade was like, you know, it's been a day I feel fatigued. I'm like, that's the thing. Like we carry fatigue with us at our baseline. Like, that becomes such a thing that we don't even actively talk with each other about necessarily because we're, we look at each other like, yeah, we know the, the bo the baseline is tired. Speaker 3 00:39:33 We all are like, as you were saying, like labor is kind of like our baseline and what we always do exhaustion, but that's kind of where we kind of meet each other. Not in terms of exhaustion specifically, but like we meet each other at our, I wanna say struggle points, but I don't wanna mean like struggle points, but technically like, you know, the isolation, we meet each other at the, the longing, the needs, like what we're missing out and or like what we've done too much of, like all everybody I know, every black, black, brown, indigenous person I know is always tired, is always overworked. It's always trying to like build community. But the building of community is exhausting. It's truly exhausting. If it was facilitated and like somebody already made the community and I was just there, that'd be great. The snacks would already be there, I'd be happy just chilling. Speaker 3 00:40:17 But unfortunately we have to build the community ourselves. We actually have to like sacrifice our time or energy even just like doing what we're doing right now. Just the conversation. Like it's, it is a lot of work. And, but that's where I think we meet each other <laugh> often. Maybe it's not the best place to meet each other. Maybe we should meet each other, like kind of less tired, a little bit more rested <laugh> like in the middle. But currently, as, as we know as people living in the settle colonial societies, this is where the only space that we have to meet each other is most of the times. Or luckily if you don't have to do too much labor, you can go on your Instagram, but there's still labor involved in that. But like going on your social media just to connect and being like, okay, is there another like per, personally for me, my favorite time is just like going through the stories and seeing people who are just like me and whatever they have to put on their story. Speaker 3 00:41:07 A meme could be them talking, them, eating food, getting a coffee, it doesn't matter. It just feels so great to see that representation, see those people like living, I don't know if it's like, I like to see the idea of their existence and not in like a mor way. Just be like, oh my goodness, there are people out there who look like me, who are like me, who are doing things to like better themselves or whatever. Even just to exist and just beautiful to see because especially, um, with the pandemic, with having to be inside with all the isolation for like, it's been a couple years now, <laugh> okay. It's, it's very, um, exhausting on one's mental health. Especially I feel like being like a black or brown person or indigenous person being in Canada, like, you're especially isolated and probably the only people you see are maybe not black, brown or indigenous folks in your work life. Speaker 3 00:42:01 So, you know, when you, when I have the ability to go online or just access that quick, like instant gratification of like seeing people like me or having that like quick communication and connection feels amazing. It's like a little high you get cuz it's just like, wow, okay, existence is here. Like, you know, when you pin yourself and you're like, okay, I'm alive, <laugh> I can feel still. It's kinda like that feeling. And even though it's like so minute, I know not only me, like I, I know other people feel that way, especially with the isolation, especially with like, um, I wanna say like this, this like weird age. Like there, there's like, I feel like no, no, no. There's, I feel like there's a developmental age. Like I feel like from like 16 to 35, no 38 <laugh>, we're all like developing a lot. <laugh>. We're still trying to figure it out. Speaker 3 00:42:49 We're still trying to like create who we are. And I feel like having that like as like a 20 something year old, I'm super happy to have that instant like look at, be like, okay, yeah, I can't, I can exist just like this. Like it's fine. I'm getting the, not the approval, but like, kind of like the go ahead from other people. Like when I see um, like black and brown people of various body sizes, of various abilities of various ages, like living their authentic truth, living and like connecting with their culture, um, being carefree, being queer, being uh, I don't know, hairy <laugh> for example. Just living like that. I feel so like validated in my existence and I'm just like, yeah, it is okay. Cuz sometimes I don't feel like that, honestly, especially with social media, like as great as social media is, there are downfalls such as it being very, um, over representative of like white cis people. So like having to access that quick gratification of like, um, of like black, brown indigenous people is like beautiful, you know? Yeah. So, Speaker 2 00:43:55 Yeah. Yeah. No, I love it. I like, I think of it as like in the before life it was like going to like a, a gathering where you could meet people. Like I'm very introverted, but like, I would love those spaces cuz it would be this one to three hour window. You see everyone, you know. And it's not always like, everyone's not like, I'm amazing. It's like, you know, I'm struggling or, and you see, you echo back and you feel like you're like, I feel you. And I, with pandemic that shifted a bit more to where a lot of those feelings of like wanting to see the every day of each other became only viable through social media. It only became, and then it grew to something really, really necessary because it was also not just a place to talk about like, you know, I'm having a hard day, but it was also like the place where someone put on a new lipstick and I'm like, yeah, tell me about what that color is doing. Speaker 2 00:44:45 Like that is amazing. You know, it's cat content. It's like, you know, show me all of the cats all the time. I won't get enough of it. Tell me about that sofa that you found. You know, like it's the th it's the everyday thing. Like in the span of a day, no matter how crummy it might get, there's something that's gonna happen in your day that's gonna make you smile or make you feel something like, that'll take you away from where you are in time and space. And I feel like it's through other people's stories and it's so important and it's so like, it's so mundane, but it's also so, so powerful. Um, yeah. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:45:21 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I agree with you. Like there, there's really empower in like, in social media. Like I get the, there are problems with it as there's problems with everything in life, but like social media has, has been like a very great tool. Honestly, I feel like I don't know where my life would be without social media as like, maybe <laugh> sounds a little Doos, but no, I feel like my, my life really is being beautifully shaped by social media, like could be a great tool. But also you talking about like, just like the easy access to like speak to people and like, um, like access, you know, their existence and just being able to see that kind of connection. I draws me back to the Bipod caucus where we, where we actually met for the second time, but I'm gonna let you think. It was the first <laugh>, um, where like, it was, uh, it was literally a space facilitated to have people like just check in and like talk didn't have to be about anything important. Speaker 3 00:46:12 It didn't have to be about anything pressing. Yes, there were topics that could have been like that, but overall it could have just been like, how are you doing? Is your day okay? And just like that, having that check in that safe space that just like, uh, safety to exhale is so great. And I feel like it's so like un like even now I kind of miss it. I'm just like, wow, I miss having this space where I can just like sit on a call with like a bunch of black, brown indigenous people and be like, Hey, how's life? It's hard. Did you <laugh>, how are you surviving this week? You know, like, did you do your readings? No, I didn't do my readings or just mean like, I, I hate working in communication with certain people and it's fine. Like, you know, just having that space and I feel like a lot of us don't have that space. Speaker 3 00:46:56 Like, even for me personally, like as a, as like, uh, my phase that I'm in now, I don't live with my family. I don't live with like, like they're not down the street. I can't talk to them. And most of the, most of my family lives a plane ride away. So just like having that like space with people who are like me to have like just a, hey, just a check-in is so, so there's a word. There's not even a word for it. Uh, I'll use the word blissful and like beautiful at that point, but like, it's more than that. It's very like a, a warm place Speaker 2 00:47:35 To, I feel it like it soothed me so much. Like, it was so soothing. Like even if someone was like literally having the crappiest day ever in there, using the spaces a way to like just get that out of the system, it felt so soothing. I know that sounds so weird, but like, it just felt like nice to not have to put on a face to be like, everything's great. I don't have to explain how I was exhausted. I'm just gonna, you know, be shiny even though I feel the la the farthest thing from shiny. And so like, conversations and stories in those closed spaces meant so much and they continue to mean so much. I do miss the caucus space, you know, and I think about like how it's funny like we're here in this moment, but I feel like our relationship only really got stronger because of the way we slid into our dms over cat love, over alo, perrota over like the most mundane of things, you know? Speaker 2 00:48:26 Uh, it or like a great outfit and being like, that looks amazing. You know, and it's just, there's something beautiful in that, in those sort of micro moments that are, that seem like they're so like small and like they're so mi like minute, but yet they have such volume, they have such value and weight to your day, you know? Um, yeah, I wanted to, um, I wanted to say thank you so much for like joining us today. I like, I'm so stoked that we had this chance to talk and like, you know, revisit the alota moment, uh, which I, you know, I'm, it's on my wishlist for my mom to make me some the next time. Except they gotta be gluten free. Speaker 3 00:49:11 We'll get back to the gluten free version. I'm telling you, we're gonna find the loophole for this cause I need it as well, <laugh>, but I'm very happy to like, have joined this conversation. I love conversations like this and very like, I love discussion around community and like, like community, social media, like all of that. I feel like it's very underappreciated conversation that is always needed. And I feel like everybody who always like says social media is bad for us. Listen to listen to this podcast, listen to this conversation. Cause yes, they're a K's mom. I understand, but <laugh> it is it, no, it's really such a beautiful space to cultivate community and like just those instant one, one off slides in the dms really do like, help a lot of people. Like I know personally I'll speak for myself, like, I feel so happy when I get like, oh my God, you look good today. I do feel good because like somebody who I, in my community who I share space, space with actively said, you'll look good. I know I look good, but thank you. You know, or just like being able to share space. Say, oh, I thought of you when I thought of this or I saw this. Or like, oh, just anything. It's just such a, a space that would've never happened if we didn't have like the resources with technology as we do now, which I'm very grateful Speaker 2 00:50:22 For. Same, same, same. Speaker 3 00:50:24 How would we have been through the pandemic without social media, you Speaker 2 00:50:27 Know? Oh yeah. That and cats. Let's not forget, where would we be without cats? <laugh>, Speaker 3 00:50:32 She's my emotional support Speaker 2 00:50:34 <laugh> as my eldest cat is just like sleeping <laugh> very, very invested in catching the last bit of sun Speaker 3 00:50:41 <laugh>. Love that. They're really like sun bathers, huh? Yeah. They just like soak up the sun no matter where it is. My cat's in front of the sun too, but love it. <laugh>, they teach you something, they teach you to go and go in the sun a little more Speaker 2 00:50:53 <laugh>. I I think you and I had a whole conversation once about like how, I mean we're gonna wrap this up soon, but like really how the, the fur babies that we share our lives with are such fountains of knowledge, how much they patiently share with us about cultivating patients, about cultivating care, about cultivating. I mean, cats are terrible at listening, but really how we need to listen to them, you know, <laugh>, Speaker 3 00:51:18 They listen when they want to, you know, I'm not gonna blame them. They don't always wanna listen, but they really, they taught, they teach you self-preservation for sure. That's a tactic. That's definitely the skill that they teach you to relax and rest. Speaker 2 00:51:30 Yep, a Speaker 3 00:51:31 Hundred percent. Make sure you eat <laugh>. I know. Thank you again. Speaker 2 00:51:37 Yeah, of course. Thank you. And with that, I hope the rest of the evening brings some rest and relaxation and some cuddle times with fur. Baby. Speaker 3 00:51:45 She, she's fine. She had it a lot today. I, I need to shave her so she's not in my, my friendship zone right now. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:51:52 So you are gonna be giving guilt treats for like the next three days plus some therapy lessons. She's gonna be like, I need a therapist after all of this. Speaker 3 00:52:00 She always come on. Thank you so, so much Speaker 1 00:52:09 To be continued troubling. The Archive is hosted and produced by Anna Hawk. Technical support for the show comes from Fin's son. A major thanks goes to Hunter Dee for their wonderful work in creating the logo for the series. The Intro and Outdoor Commission works by artist Chris Bukowski. The show would not be possible without the support of Qag and the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now Grant.

Other Episodes

Episode 1

December 08, 2022 00:01:58
Episode Cover

To Be Continued: Troubling the Archive - Season 3 Trailer

CUAG invites you to join host Anna Shah Hoque and guest producers Aedan Corey, Matt Miwa, Kole Peplinskie, Keegan Prempeh and Summer-Harmony Twenish for...



March 29, 2021 00:42:31
Episode Cover

Ep. 8: Keegan Prempeh, Jade Byard Peek, Lydia Collins and Pomaa Prempeh

Welcome to Episode 8 of “To Be Continued: A Stonecroft Symposium Podcast”!  In this episode, Keegan Prempeh talks with Jade Bayard Peek, Lydia Collins...



May 07, 2021 01:23:22
Episode Cover

Ep. 10: Jade Byard Peek and Fae Johnston

Welcome to Episode 10 of “To Be Continued: A Stonecroft Symposium Podcast”!  In this final episode, Jade Byard Peek and Fae Johnston share stores...