Last summer, we asked our community to support the creation of a new project to fund local journalists’ big ideas through our inaugural editorial fellowship program. Peterborough showed up in a big way, and we were able to fund the projects of two journalists. And we’re so happy to announce them today.
Below you can read letters from Dan Morrison and Leina Amatsuji-Berry, our new editorial fellows.
Meet Dan, our editorial fellow reporting on sports communities
Hello Peterborough Currents readers! I am Dan, and I am very excited to be working as one of Peterborough Currents’ editorial fellows for the next few months. Like Leina, I once passed through Arthur Newspaper as a co-editor, and since then I’ve hopped around a few different journalistic roles.
I’ve worked on the Globe and Mail for Pagemasters North America, and I now edit a start-up food and agriculture magazine called Sliced and sub edit for Zitamar News, which publishes reporting and analysis on Mozambique. The fellowship will take me in another slightly different direction, but to my very first love — sport.
It was sport that awakened my political consciousness, and through sport that I first properly participated in my local community. Sport is inherently political and it is vital to communities, representing and reproducing social bonds, while creating new ones, too.
My fellowship reporting won’t focus on scores, results and league tables — although some of Peterborough’s lesser known sports may get a one-minute match report in the newsletter — but on stories and what sport means to communities. You’ll learn as much, if not more, about the volunteers behind the scenes as you will about a club’s competitive performance.
Through my reporting, I hope I can bring new communities to Peterborough Currents readers, and ask important questions about community building. How do you actually build a community institution?
I first came to Peterborough as an exchange student at Trent University from the UK in 2015, and I came back to live here in 2017. Of course, my natural sporting interests are not necessarily the most popular North American sports. I grew up playing and watching lots of cricket, soccer — still getting used to saying that instead of football! — and tennis, while following sports as varied as rugby, (American) football and snooker.
Having played cricket seriously and everything else just for the love of it, I am keenly aware that the heart of any sport lies in the community it serves, represents and entertains. I hope that my perspective will enable me to ask new questions about sport in Peterborough and Canada, and bring new teams, sports and perspectives to you.
Meet Leina, our editorial fellow reporting on people of colour in the arts
Hello! My name is Leina Amatsuji-Berry, and I’m very honoured to have been chosen as one of Peterborough Currents’ editorial fellows!
If you’ve seen my name before it was probably with Trent University’s Arthur Newspaper, which I was one of the co-editors-in-chief for for two years after graduating from my undergraduate degree. Since then, I’ve been taking a bit of a break to pursue my Masters degree at York University in the Communications and Culture program, and volunteering my time on the Sadleir House Board of Directors. As someone from Peterborough born and raised, I’m excited to jump back into local journalism!
For my fellowship, I am going to be focusing on the local arts scene. Music, visual art, drama and performance, film and photography, material crafts, prose and poetry – I count this all as artistry and I’m invested in it all, as well as the administration of the incredible arts festivals and events that Peterborough has a reputation for hosting.
While it’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability for artists and their audiences to meet face to face, I’m interested in if and how these obstacles are being mitigated on a local level by both artists and arts organizations.
I’m especially keen to showcase local artists of colour. I think it’s safe to say that cultural conversations around race and Indigeneity have been prevalent in the past few years – whether it’s about the role of the police in communities, climate change and environmental destruction, the pandemic at hand, or simply recounting historical injustices. However, it’s difficult to “measure” what impact these conversations have had without talking to those most affected by issues of representation, (re)conciliation, and oppression. Since these issues are often explored in artistic works, speaking with artists of colour seems like the natural route to pursue.
Moreover, a precursory glance at the major arts organizations in the city reveals a pattern of white artists holding paid staff positions while artists of colour play volunteer governance roles on boards. While to an extent there’s some solace in knowing that people of colour are involved in these organizations at all, certainly this raises the issue of whose labour is valued, as well as when and where. My goal is to ask questions in these veins to local artists to understand how artistic practices and/or careers in Peterborough are being impacted and point to solutions that keep the arts scene flourishing diversely, and to communicate them with you and the community more broadly.
Peterborough Currents gratefully acknowledges the support of the Inspirit Foundation which has contributed grant funding for the editorial fellowship program. The Inspirit Foundation funds media and arts for social change, supports young content creators, and invests their assets to align with their mission.
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