Créatique: Connecting Creative Practices and Research

On Feb. 16, the English Department of Concordia University launched Créatique, an event featuring a discussion with PhD students about their creative writing and research practices

I attended this gathering held inside the Richler Library seminar room, located in the LB Building of Concordia University. The evening’s host, professor Jason Camlot, gave me more insight into the origins and the objectives of Créatique

Initially, he noticed that there were a high number of talented poets who were pursuing PhDs in the English and Humanities departments. In the Creative Writing program, students study literature, so they have to explore the connection between literary creation, literary criticism and reflection.

“We thought it could be useful and interesting to have a forum where they could talk about the relationship between their creative practice and their research practice,” said Camlot.

This is an opportunity for people who are not familiar with poetry to learn more about creative processes. At each event, two research artists are invited to read from their work, reflect on it critically and explain their process of incorporating themes and concepts into their writing.

Charlotte Wetton, an AHRC-funded (Arts in Health Research Collective) PhD candidate from the University of Manchester, and Professor Alexei Perry Cox of Concordia’s English Department were the two speakers last week.

Wetton’s poetry focuses on labour, more specifically the impact of gender roles and social class in society. Her creative work addresses concepts from eighteenth-century literature. Wetton’s passion for poetry began when she read novels as a child. The pleasure of reading sparked a curiosity about finding the proper words to express herself.

“When I started writing, it was just so satisfying to find the right words to express something, capture moments and experiences,” revealed Wetton in an interview after the event.

When she began her career, Wetton was unable to find many poems about labour. She decided to spark meaningful conversations about work that were lacking in literature in her opinion.

“Actually, I always feel very nervous before readings. Reading any kind of creative work puts you in a vulnerable place. But when I start, I feel very confident because these are the words that I’ve committed to paper and I enjoy sharing them,” she added.

Professor Cox’s creative work focuses on nationalism, immigration, liberation, and the search for identity, among other subjects. Cox’s curiosity about life and finding ways to escape reality with art fuels her passion. We spoke about her experience that evening and ambitions about poetry.

“I love being in the thrill of it and feeling that exchange of energy with the folks who are present,” said Cox.

“As an academic and creative writer, you’re able to gather and bring ideas together. Those ideas can then become more expansive through activism and have impact daily on larger conversations, especially in terms of policy-making,” she said.


Writing about sports in a year without them

I wasn’t expecting my first year as Sports Editor to look like this

My experience with The Concordian these last two and a half years has probably been the best thing that has happened to me since starting university.

As a huge sports fan, I‘m always looking to share my passion with people, and quickly got the chance to do so when I was offered the Assistant Sports Editor position in my first year on campus. I started covering Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) games, interviewing athletes and coaches, and had to look for a story to write about each week.

After two years in that position, I applied for the Sports Editor role. I was lucky enough to get it, and embrace this new challenge in front of me. I would be lying if I told you that my goal, when starting out with The Concordian, wasn’t to end up leading the sports section one day.

I was looking forward to learning all the duties of the Sports Editor position, and getting experience in that position for later. I was excited about the fact I would be the one deciding which Concordia Stingers games we would be covering each week as well.

However, this challenge came with a second one: I was going to write about sports in a year where there practically wasn’t any. COVID-19 forced most sports leagues to cancel or postpone their seasons and playoffs, and I was therefore stuck with an interesting problem at hand.

What was I going to write about? For me, there was no way I was only going to give COVID-19 updates for the different sports leagues and events. I was also wondering about my weekly Colour Commentary piece, where I would usually give thoughts on relevant or important things that happened recently in the world of sports.

Despite all that — and, of course, a bit of sadness at first — this has been one of the most enriching experiences of my time at Concordia. From ways to stay active from home to online competition stories, I quickly learned that you can find sports stories everywhere. The Concordian’s staff, especially our Creative Director Chloë Lalonde, have been doing a great job to help me find ideas. The challenge of writing for sports during the pandemic made me realize I sometimes had to get out of my comfort zone, which is actually what you need to do if you want to succeed.

My Assistant Sports Editor Liam Sharp has literally exceeded every expectation I had. In his first year with The Concordian, he’s brought some of the most original stories I’ve seen for our sports section since I joined the staff. That shows how much you can find stories even without the Stingers or major sports leagues filling out your section. Having learned all of this, if I ever had to restart my year as Sports Editor, but without the pandemic, I’d definitely  make sure to write more often articles that differ from what we’re used to reading. Try new things, and be open to ideas —  that’s probably what I’ll retain the most from these past months, and that’s something I’d suggest everyone to do.


Graphic by Lily Cowper


An opportunity for youth to inform policy change

If you have ideas on how to improve policies and laws concerning our digital future, now is your chance to share them.

The Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CJE NDG) alongside the Goethe-Institut and ThinkYoung has received funding from the European Union for a transatlantic dialogue exchange project called “Our Digital Future — C’est ICI.” ICI stands for inclusion, collaboration and inspiration.

“The mission of the project is to produce policy recommendations to make the digital future safer and more inclusive for everyone,” said Ekaterina Fatkulova, the project coordinator.

This Thinkathon aims to bring the policy recommendations of youth forward to governments on all three levels: municipal, provincial and federal. Participation is available for youth between 18 to 30 from all backgrounds. It is a chance for youth to share their ideas and be heard.

“The online Thinkathon has a purpose to recruit 3,000 youth from Canada and Europe to work on this online platform,” said Fatkulova. “It’s to accomplish the same thing as we do in our 24-hour events but they do it online without a 24-hour deadline. They really have more time to produce these policy recommendations.”

All participants need to do is create a profile on the website, select a topic from six themes and create a PowerPoint highlighting their ideas for policy change. Participation can be done alone or in teams of up to four people. The themes are citizenship 4.0, social relations, smart & fast-expanding cities, security, education, and culture and entertainment.

Participants have until April 12 to create a profile and submit their ideas. Once all ideas are submitted, everyone who signed up online gets to interact with a mentor. “The mentor gets to say ‘that’s a good idea but it’s missing this.’ They are going to direct [the participants] into making their idea more concrete,” said Fatkulova.

Participants vote for the winning team. Winners are sent to Brussels to present their policy recommendations. The participants from Europe will travel to Ottawa to present theirs. The ones who win second place obtain $500 per team member.

“This project is designed around the basis that young people will have a chance to get in contact with people who will take their idea seriously to inform their policy proposals,” said Lynn Worrell, a youth worker at CJE NDG and communication outreach coordinator of the project.

Last year’s 24-hour Thinkathon connected 50 participants in Montreal with 50 ones from Brussels. They had 24 hours to come up with policy recommendations. One of the policy recommendations brought forward last year was universal access to digital literacy education.

According to Fatkulova, the 50 participants believe that government officials at the provincial level should allocate the necessary resources to funding programs that would help expand universal digital literacy while making sure that vulnerable and excluded citizens are prioritized.

“This is a project that is designed for people who are going to be future leaders to have an opportunity to practice how to inform policy change—how to give their ideas to policymakers,” said Worrell. “I think that this is so important because we have to make the future a lot easier for young people to regain control over their destiny.”

To participate and share your ideas in the online Thinkathon, you can create your profile today at


Photo courtesy of Ashutosh Gupta


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