Showing posts with label open letter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label open letter. Show all posts

Monday, August 20, 2012

An Open Letter to Occupy NL

Dear Occupy NL,

I would like to help implement a think tank model for OccupyNL or an affiliated group. I believe there is a gaping hole downtown in this city for intellectual and theoretical applications of common good. OccupyNL has the capacity to render high political thought in text, image and action in this city and say goodbye to the failed Arts Faculty at Memorial, whom I’ve been waiting for to take the lead. I have waited for 25 years for Newfoundland culture, heritage and tourism to benefit more people economically than it currently does; that this has not happened, especially in the outports, means it is time for a change.

The oil industry has done more harm to Memorial culture than any other single event or leanings; it has rendered the Arts at Memorial at the St. John’s campus completely moot philosophically or as a body in relation to city culture, impact or social progression. Occupy NL can fill this gap as a body with some specific strategies. Occupy NL has the knowledge base and the writing skills to do this.

In the early 1990s I worked for the U.S. National Park Service to collect folklife and lore regarding the railroad, steel and coal heritage in the devastated, post-industrial American wasteland of southwestern Pennsylvania.

The project’s mandate was to document occupationally-based folklife in the region and then use the data to create tourism products filtered through an actively de-politicized

government commission. Folklorists were very naive when we began working with public money in the 1980s in the US.

Newfoundland provincial policy has caught up, so to speak, with very bad tourism sector models from elsewhere. The trickle down economic model local governments use rarely trickles down to those who most need it. There are alternative models available to us, some that can be customized for Newfoundland and other, original models will undoubtedly be created.
If anyone would like to join me in this I would love to hear from you. . The group could meet at my house. I’m looking to gather people who 1) want to explore government policy in tourism, economics and heritage as it stands, for its impact on everyday life in contemporary Newfoundland; and 2) provide independent, non-governmental, meaningful alternatives for communities or individuals. If there was someone or two in Labrador who wanted to participate via computer, on behalf of Big Land cultures, he or she would be very welcome. I think these sessions could act like internal sit-ins.

~Kathryn Foley
Older Posts Home