From “Train of Thought” to “Terrain of Thought”
Train of Thought is an evolving community arts journey from west to east coast, with on-board activities and over 20 stops along the way. At each stop, a travelling company will get off until the next train comes through. Local arts organizations will host interactive events, and add to creative tasks. Additional travellers will hop aboard to join in conversations and art-making en route….Train of Thought takes a counter-colonial route to collect and share stories, buried histories and imagined landscapes of the land where we live: as it might have been, as it is, as it could be: drawing on perception, memory, history and imagination; merging whimsy and serious intent, bringing together artists and community members, the land’s first people and all those who have found refuge here over the years and generations.
In 2015, the Train of Thought embarked on a journey across Canada, linking places and people in a creative and discursive adventure. It all began when a group of community play producers imagined a community play on a cross-country train. From there, the idea grew and became a multi-year scheme for national community arts development with Train of Thought as a culminating event. It’s become HUGE! Today, in 2016, the journey still hasn’t ended. On May 5, 2016, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Train of Thought at the Jumbles Theatre (Toronto), with works that have branched out the journey thus far. Still going strong with their word playing game, the event was titled “Terrain of Thought”. There, Alt.theatre magazine launched a two-part special issues (12.3 and 12.4), titled “Community Arts and (De)Colonization”. These special issues, curated by editor-in-chief Nikki Shaffeeullah and the alt.theatre editorial team, in collaboration with Jumblies Theatre, brings together artists, activists, and community leaders from the 90+ organizations involved in Train of Thought to reflect on the project and share ideas on the potential of art to facilitate intercultural collaboration and decolonial action. (From Terrain of Thought Facebook Event Page) Alt.theatre magazines are available online for subscribers through their website here. In case you’re curious about what some personal experiences and impressions of those involved in Train of Thought, check out their Traveller’s Blogs.
“Train of Thought takes a counter-colonial route to collect and share stories, buried histories and imagined landscapes of the land where we live: as it might have been, as it is, as it could be: drawing on perception, memory, history and imagination; merging whimsy and serious intent, bringing together artists and community members, the land’s first people and all those who have found refuge here over the years and generations”
And photos! Terrain of Thought also highlights its photography exhibition, curated by artist Liam Coo, in Contact Photography Festival Exhibition featuring images from the Train of Thought journey shared on social media with the hashtag #TofTCanada Works by Nani Bell Gonawabi, Lindsey Bond, Liam Coo, Shifra Cooper, Iehente Foote, Alana Forslund, Braiden Houle, Kelty Jean, Aaron Leon, Jackie Omstead, Jamie Oshkabewisens, Adrienne Marcus Raja, Nikki Shaffeeullah, Arie van de Ven and many more were on display at the launch. 375 photos from 21 different travellers!
— Jumblies Theatre (@jumbliestheatre) April 27, 2016
Train of Thought will ask many questions: What’s not on the map? What other forms of mapping are there? How can we see the places where we live through new eyes? What protocols are there of arrival, gathering and departure for the territories we pass through? What place names can we learn and imagine? What stories are important to pass across the country? How can we grieve and celebrate together in the shadow of colonialism? How can community-engaged arts help us enter into these questions?
Other related articles: Train of Thought: Tracking Change – Via Community Arts Council of Vancouver Alt.theatre magazine “Train of Thought Goes Off the Track” – Via Alt.theatre and Ange Loft