Artist in Residence

Cape Breton University (CBU) acknowledges that it is built on and operates in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources. They recognized Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

2024 Artist in Residence

Meagan Musseau is a L’nu woman, artist, and dancer from Elmastukwek, Ktaqmkuk (Bay of Islands, Newfoundland) currently living in Sydney, Unama’kik. She nourishes an interdisciplinary arts practice by working with customary art forms and new media, such as textiles, basketry, beadwork, land-based performance, drawing, painting, video and installation. Meagan works with natural and synthetic materials as a way to interweave stories of adaptation, continuation, and resilience into artistic creation. Her works explore themes of kinship, harvesting, connection to land, and matriarchal empowerment. Meagan creates contemporary art exhibitions that have been shown in galleries such as grunt gallery, Vancouver; Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, Edmonton; AKA artist-run centre, Saskatoon; and the Mi’kma’ki Artists’ Spotlight space at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax. Meagan’s artwork has also exhibited internationally at the North Atlantic Triennial which travelled to Portland Museum of Art, Maine, Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland, and the Bildmuseet Art Museum, Sweden. She participated in artist residencies at Indigenous Arts Intensive, University of British Columbia Okanagan campus (2022), Dreaming the Land (2021-22), Neighbourhood Dance Works (2019), Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2017 & 2018), and the Indigenous Emerging Artist Program (2015-16).

I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit, learn, and share as an Artist in Residence at CBU this year. I believe the arts is incredibly important to personal and collective wellness through creative expression and storytelling. During my residency, I will be active within the campus community and I hope that the art forms and professional experiences I share may lead to inspiration for students, community members, and artists.

I’m excited to work on a new project during my residency at CBU. This project is focused on storytelling through Mi’kmaq basketry and drawing. I will create a large scale drawing that depicts a story of basket makers as a way to honor the passage of knowledge. Being able to witness the process of a basket maker is really beautiful and empowering. It is that story that I want to create through visual artwork; a Basket Woman in Creation.

Curated Community Events

February 6 – 6pm to 8pm- McConnell Library, Sydney
Creating an Art exhibition

Meagan Musseau’s artist talk will focus on the stages of creating a full body of artwork, from initial inspiration to exhibition, as well as the many pieces that go into a professional arts practice. The goal of this artist talk is to be a resource for anyone passionate about creating and sharing their artwork in community as well as on regional or national levels.

March 6 – 6pm to 8pm- Membertou Heritage Park
Exploring Materials in Contemporary Indigenous Art

What is materiality and activation? Meagan Musseau’s artist talk will focus on a collection of artwork and the ways she uses materials to explore different themes in her practice. From textiles to photography as well as Mi’kmaw basketry and land-based performance, Meagan’s work takes on a variety of forms using customary and contemporary materials.

January 25, February 27, March 28 – 11:30am to 1:00pm – Centre for Sound Communities Studio, CBU
Workshop series : Beads and Pitewey

Join Meagan Musseau for a series of beadwork sessions. She will be providing a beadwork kit and skills to create your own artwork. Participants can work on their beadwork during each session or independently. The goal of this workshop is to create a space to gather and bead while drinking pitewey (tea).

Check for dates and times.

Past Artists in Residence

2023 Artist in Residence

Cape Breton University is excited to announce Ellen Furey as the University’s 2023 Artist in Residence. Furey’s artistic path began in Unama’ki/Cape Breton, and at the age of 18 she left the Island to study music, theatre and dance, eventually turning toward experimental dance and theatre. As CBU’s Artist in Residence, Furey hopes to connect with new people, build on cohesiveness and break away some of the leftover isolation from the first years of the pandemic.

Each year CBU hosts an Artist in Residence who joins the campus for a four-month term during which they pursue creative projects, connect with students and employees and engage with the Island community. The initiative was developed to create partnerships with artists who share a passion for enriching the creative arts experience. During her residency, Furey will be offering a variety of workshops and classes for CBU students and the general public.

Throughout the past 11 years, Furey has had the opportunity to present her work in England, USA, Belgium, France, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland and Austria. Cultural exchange and creating in different contexts has been an important element in her understanding of a wider artistic conversation. Furey has worked in co-authorship with UK artist, Malik Nashad Sharpe, on their last two major performance works, and with a range of independent artists in different ways over the past decade. She has been a part of several projects as a dance dramaturg and artistic advisor. Since 2019, Furey has been working formally as an advisor, co-curator and now consultant of Montreal dance organisation, Danse-Cité. Over the past two and a half years, her two areas of focus have been intuitive/spiritual practice and conflict management.

2022 Artist in Residence- Sons of Membertou

Cape Breton University is pleased to announce the University’s 2022 Artist in Residence, Sons of Membertou. The Mi’kmaq drumming and singing group, formed in 1992, will be celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year and are eager to bring their experience to CBU. Their hope is for members of the campus community to learn from one another through cultural performances.

Sons of Membertou began with just four members and has since grown to include more than 15 members throughout its existence. The group has performed all over the world, always carrying with them the original goal of finding identity and sharing Mi’kmaq songs and culture with others. When restrictions are lifted, they will be hosting a series of events involving additional presenters and performers. The proposed schedule includes an Indigenous theatre project, an evening of storytelling, drumming and singing, a retrospective in the Art Gallery, a drum making workshop and more.

“The drum represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth so we come together on one drum, one people,” says member Graham Marshall. “What I hope to achieve during this residency is for CBU students from around the world to come together virtually so we can learn from one another both academically and culturally.”

Four Month Creative Partnership

Each year, CBU hosts an Artist in Residence who joins the campus for a four-month term during which they pursue creative projects, connect with students and employees and engage with the Island community. The initiative was developed to create partnerships with artists who share a passion for enriching the creative arts experience.

The Artist in Residence program is just one way CBU is working to foster creative arts on campus. Students are invited to participate in workshops and attend performances when they begin to learn about topics such as treaty education, resilience, healing, storytelling and environmental practices.