Writer in Residence Anna Marie Sewell opens the By Heart event on November 5.

Spoken-word event celebrates creativity and cultural diversity

November 8, 2019 | Arts & Culture

When Anna Marie Sewell began as MacEwan University’s writer in residence, she knew she wanted to host a multilingual event, and when she suggested the idea to Dr. Lana Krys, the Kule Chair in Ukrainian Studies and assistant professor in English was immediately on board. On November 5, Anna Marie and Lana hosted By Heart: A Spoken and Sung Celebration, in 9 Languages.

The event brought together faculty members, students and artists in the community to celebrate cultural diversity through language, literature and creative spirit.

“I wanted people to immerse themselves in the sonic beauties of the languages, to let go of striving to understand via the mind, and instead let meaning rise first via the heart,” says Anna Marie. “Mind you, I also designed a set of projections with English translations, to reassure the mind (and not incidentally, to remind us of both the craft and art of translation, the ways details may change, but the heart of the message shines through). I wanted people to come away relaxed and energized for the winter to come.”

Lana explains that her mandate as Kule Chair is to introduce the MacEwan community at large to Ukraine (culturally, historically, socially and politically) and to connect with other cultures and traditions in order to spark intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogues.

“When I first met Anna Marie, I learned of her interest and past experiences with hosting multilingual events, and I was so inspired by her involvement with Shumka’s Ancestors and Elders production that featured the historical union of Cree and Ukrainian cultures,” Lana says. She adds that they are already planning to host a similar event in the Winter term.

“The importance of an event that brings together writers working in various languages is that it reveals the richness of cultural traditions that we hold as a community, and the many possibilities humans find for speaking and singing of beauty,” says Anna Marie. “It's uplifting.”



Writer in residence wants to help you explore connections in your own writing

Anna Marie Sewell finds connections between all things, and explains her inspiration, process and what she hopes to offer aspiring writers.

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