iEngage Conference Invites Participants of All Ages

iCreate Cape Breton Pilot, a newly formed and funded collaborative, community research and public outreach project is holding its iEngage Conference on May 1-3 at Cape Breton University in the Verschuren Centre. iCreate Cape Breton received $62,270 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections Program, as well as a grant from Fulbright Canada, and support from other funders and partners. The iEngage Conference will begin with an art opening in the Verschuren Centre on Friday, May 1 from 6-8 PM, showcasing Jill Woelfer’s exhibit, Music is My Life: An Art Exhibit by Homeless Young People. The event will continue with presentations and workshops on May 2-3 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 PM.

“This will be a great opportunity for youth to get their hands on some art supplies, develop new skills, and give voice to their experience of life in Cape Breton,” says Dr. Sheila Christie.

Throughout the conference, youth, scholars, elders, and other community members will come together to discuss and learn about the long-term effects of environmental degradation in Cape Breton. Then, participants will take part in creative, hands-on workshops involving the visual arts, theatre, music, writing, radio, film, and the scientific process.

The iEngage Conference is the first stage of a larger pilot project. iCreate Cape Breton is currently seeking both youth (ages 10-24) and elders (individuals over age 24) to participate in both artistic and scientific projects that address the economic, environmental, and social pressures faced by youth in Cape Breton today. These projects will emerge out of the iEngage Conference, and will continue on a weekly basis until June 12. Ultimately, each group will present their creations in a closing symposium for the community.

“We’re so excited to bring everyone together for the beginning of the iCreate Cape Breton pilot project,” says Dr. Marcia Ostashewski. “Over the next six weeks, we'll be working to create an intergenerational, multidisciplinary dialogue about environmental issues in the community, while fostering youth resilience through creative expression. And we hope to establish a long-term research program in the future, to continue the momentum of iCreate Cape Breton.”

iCreate Cape Breton is working in collaboration with a number of local community organizations, and will draw upon the research and expertise of scholars from across arts, humanities and scientific disciplines.

The iEngage Conference is a free event, and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, contact either Marcia Ostashewski at 780-264-7624 (, or Sheila Christie at 902-563-1156 ( For more information please visit