Why baking is therapeutic in times of crisis

Arts and crafts provide healthy ways to deal with our disrupted daily lives, says U of A occupational therapist

Why baking is therapeutic in times of crisisBy Rob Curtis Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine University of Alberta There’s a good reason people are buying all the baking supplies in grocery stores and posting their freshly made bread, buns and desserts on social media as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, says an occupational therapist and associate professor at the University of Alberta. “Engaging…

Staying connected and building spirit in isolation

We’re living proof that people are naturally active and creative, when given the time. COVID-19 has given many of us that time

Staying connected and building spirit in isolationThe COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for many of us. We’re used to interacting freely and going where we want to go. Now many of us are forced to work from home and others are not able to work at all. Our movement is limited, we have to practise social distancing and we’re constantly…

New vision for CRTC is dangerously radical

Critics believe recommendations have the very real potential to limit how freely Canadians can access the Internet and what content they’ll be able to find when they do

New vision for CRTC is dangerously radicalConcern is growing over proposed changes to the federal approach to governing broadcasting in Canada. After two days of almost baffling silence following the release of a report calling for sweeping changes to how – and over what – the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) exercises its regulatory powers, pundits and politicians are starting…

Imagine only having opinions that made you happy

Readers are starved of simple stories that make human happiness seem once again possible for regular folks

Imagine only having opinions that made you happyLast week I wrote about how happy making art makes me. It got 83 ‘likes’ in 24 hours. So what does that mean? Interesting to me is the total focus of the piece on happiness. Over the past several hours, I’ve been thinking about whether opinion pieces have simply become too negative, too querulous, too…

Letting your creative spirit loose

Back in the studio after a lifetime of sporadic art lessons, embracing the spirituality and fun

Letting your creative spirit looseMaking art is fun, spiritually soothing and a wonderful outlet for non-verbal, non-scripted creativity. At least that’s what I think after nearly seven decades of observing, sketching and painting. Each of several defined periods of my life was led by one or two talented art teachers, including my mom Frankie Robinson and her pal Peg…

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litter

The movie offers a fun-house-mirror examination of our souls and why we've allowed this kind of cultural plundering to go on for years

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litterCats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn. What’s been dropped at the paying public’s shoes is a cinematic blood sample so horrifying it could make Old Possum’s…

Embracing the unfamiliar down home

The East Coast isn’t quaint, slow, lazy or anything else others in the rest of Canada might assume. But it does tend to defy expectations

Embracing the unfamiliar down homeIf you live in one of Canada’s muscular metropolises, you might think about the Atlantic provinces once, maybe twice, a year. And when you do, you might be tempted to dismiss them as welfare states – unlike, say, Calgary. After all, most people “down home” draw unemployment at least half the year. They’re just as…

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wall

Canada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wallCanada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide behind a big wall of regulations aimed at protecting them from foreigners. A recent study by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design, entitled  Watchtime Canada: How YouTube Connects Creators and…

De Adder cartoon controversy is no laughing matter

Michael de Adder's contract termination by Brunswick News makes one wonder how far free speech and free thought truly go on a modern newspaper page.

De Adder cartoon controversy is no laughing matterMichael de Adder is one of Canada’s most well-known editorial cartoonists. Yet his recent involvement in a cartoon controversy is no laughing matter. His biting, satirical work has appeared in the National Post, The Hill Times, Halifax Daily News and Halifax Chronicle-Herald, among other papers. He’s also syndicated internationally through Artizans.com. De Adder parted ways…

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevant

The world of arts and culture offers lots of examples of gross expense and imported notions of what’s important. But there are alternatives

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevantHow are the National Post and the Globe and Mail doing in your neighbourhood? In Powell River, the big Toronto newspapers are on their last boomer gasp at the newsstands. In their place, piles of the weekly Powell River Peak and monthly Powell River Living fly off the counters and adjacent distribution boxes. The local…

The fine (and disappearing) art of handwriting

What does an illegible scribble say about the writer? Certainly more than it tells anyone trying to decipher those disjointed lines

The fine (and disappearing) art of handwritingI once worked with a man who took everything slowly. His coffee. His work. Even stuffing an envelope took a day and a half. It had to be just so. The man’s excruciating deliberateness in everything was annoying and seemingly pointless – except when it came to his handwriting. He carved museum pieces with his…

Comic superheroes are the modern era’s version of Greek gods

In this new religion, heroes speak the truth and model the behaviours, values and norms of an increasingly diverse society

Comic superheroes are the modern era’s version of Greek godsThe movie Captain Marvel is a stunning box office success. Finally, it seems, an historic wrong has been arrested. Females have broken the male hegemony on physical violence and taken their rightful place in the annals of warrior gods. Females aren’t the only new members of this celebrated superhero club. There’s Black Panther, Moon Girl,…

The nomadic life of retirement tourism

Among the many fascinating people found in San Miguel de Allende was a couple who sold everything to travel the world

The nomadic life of retirement tourismI’ve just returned from San Miguel de Allende full of interesting new experiences gathered in a 475-year-old Mexican central highlands town renowned worldwide for its hospitality to culturally creative folk. Those visitors like to rent 300-year-old casas, practise speaking Spanish and participate in a nuanced cosmopolitan life. The local media refer to this phenomenon as…

Alberta College of Art + Design becoming a university

Will officially become the Alberta University of the Arts on Feb. 1.

Alberta College of Art + Design becoming a universityThe Alberta College of Art + Design will officially become the Alberta University of the Arts on Feb. 1. It will be the province’s first university dedicated to fine arts and design. And the change comes at an opportune time in Calgary’s history as the city looks at different ways of diversifying its economy following…