Brenda Niskala has been employed as the Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Publishers Group for seventeen years and has also tried her hand at being a crisis counselor, a legal aid lawyer in the north, a writer in residence and a branch representative for ACTRA. In 1998, she taught two consecutive classes for Common Weal Community Arts through the Street Workers Advocacy Program. The classes evolved into a writing and support group, The Survivors, which she mentored until 2006. A modified version of the group still meets. She has served on editorial boards for Grain, Briarpatch, and NeWest Review magazines, as well as Coteau Books, and volunteer boards including the executive of the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Reprography Collective (Access), and the Minister's Advisory Committee for the Status of the Artist in Saskatchewan (1993). She has taught Creative Writing for the University of Regina Extension Department (Youth and Seniors), the Festival of Words (Youth) and Sage Hill Writing Experience (Youth) and presented hundreds of readings and workshops in schools and libraries throughout the province over the last twenty years. In 1998 Brenda toured across Canada, from Fredericton to Nanaimo, with four other poets. In 2003 she represented Canada at the Lahti International Poetry Festival in Finland. Brenda Niskala's novella Of All the Ways to Die (Quattro) was published 2009; her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and literary journals. Her poetry has been published in chapbooks, the co-authored Open 24 Hours, and collected in Ambergris Moon. For the Love of Strangers (Coteau Books 2010) is her first book of short fiction.
Cheryl L'Hirondelle is one unique and much sought after interdisciplinary artist and musician from this land now known as Canada. A nomadic mixed-blood (Metis/Cree-non status/treaty, French, German, Polish) originally from Alberta, her creative practice investigates the junction of a Cree worldview in contemporary time and space with projects that spans a wide array of disciplines including: music, performance art, storytelling, spoken word, theatre, audio art, installation, public art and new media. Since the early 80's, L'Hirondelle has created, performed and presented work in a variety of artistic disciplines, including: music, performance art, theatre, performance poetry, storytelling, installation and new media. In the early 90's, she began a parallel career as an arts consultant and programmer, cultural strategist/activist, and director/producer of both independent works and projects within national artist-run networks.. Most recently, she received the 2006 Award for Best Female Traditional Cultural Roots Album and the 2007 Best Group Award from the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, for Fusion of Two Worlds, the first CD from her Aboriginal Women’s ensemble, M’Girl. Her own solo recording project entitled Giveaway has recently been included in the 2nd edition of the Encyclopedia of Native Music. She is now working on a new collection of songs she’s writing with women in prison.
Cheryl L'Hirondelle is the primary artist with the Pine Grove Creative Circles Program
Rachael Van Fossen is a theatre artist, former artistic director, teacher, arts consultant, and researcher whose particular focus has been the development and promotion of engaged community arts practices. She has frequently acted as a consultant for community-engaged theatre projects across Canada, and has traveled to England, Ireland, France, Greece and Australia to lead workshops and/or speak about her work. She was the founding artistic director of Common Weal, a company acknowledged as a Canadian leader in community-based arts. During her tenure as Artistic Director of Black Theatre Workshop (2001-2005) she successfully integrated community arts programming into the life of this Montreal professional theatre company. Rachael is on faculty in the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College (Vermont) and teaches in Theatre and Development at Concordia University, a program for which she contributed to development of curriculum. She is also a co-founder and artistic associate of the Collectif MOYO in Montreal.
Rachael Van Fossen is a Primary Writer for the Connect Publication
Lynda Monahan is the author of two collections of poetry “a slow dance in the flames” and “what my body knows” both published by Coteau Books. She has had work published in a number of Canadian literary magazines and several poetry sequences broadcast on CBC radio. “what my body knows” was recently shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Book Award for poetry. She is presently at work on a collection of original lullabies titled “through a sea of stars. She studied creative writing at the University of Saskatchewan and at Sage Hill writing Experience. She is a founding member of the poetry group Sans Nom which has been in existence for ten years. She teaches creative writing classes at SIAST Woodland Campus in Prince Albert for what is not the tenth year and has facilitated various creative writing workshops.
Traci Foster is a Regina-based artist and educator who explores and develops her work through a blend of Fitzmaurice Voicework, extending vocal technique, movement and mask. Her latest area of creative focus is as the founding member and Artistic Director of Lunacy, an interdisciplinary collective. Currently, she is co-writing Twelve Crows, an original multidisciplinary theatrical work and installation. Traci is a faculty member of the University of Regina Conservatory of Performing Arts, Youth Ballet of Saskatchewan Summer Intensive, and Regina Public School Board’s Learning Through the Arts Program. In addition to study at the Banff Centre for the Arts and University of Regina, Traci has engaged in extensive training and mentorship experiences with founding member of the Roy Hart Theatre Group and extended vocal technique visionary, Richard Armstrong of New York City; renowned mask and clown leader, Sue Morrison of Toronto, Dora Award-winning vocalist and writer, Fides Krucker of Toronto, and founding member of the Toronto Dance Theatre, Amelia Itcush of Saskatchewan. Her acting credits include The Attic, The Pearls, Three Fine Girls, Room with Five Walls, and Pretty Girl Ugly.
Michèle Mackasey’s work addresses issues in humanity and social justice, a reflection perhaps of the world that entours her. Her current work is deeply rooted in her concerns as a single mother, portraying single parent women with their families through large scale, life-size figurative portraits. Michèle graduated with Honours, from of the Ontario College of Art & Design in1991, having specialized in drawing and painting. As a student, she focused on figurative studies and was awarded several scholarships. She has had her work displayed in both solo and group exhibitions in Saskatchewan and Ontario and greatfully acknowleges funding received from the Saskatchewan Arts Board for her recent project. Michèle was born in Chibougamau, in northern Québec, and grew up in both Toronto and in Timmins, in northern Ontario. She now lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with her two children of Dene heritage and holds deep ties to Patuanak, a Dene community in Northern Saskatchewan, while maintaining her Francophone indentity.