By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
This summer, you could go to the beach, read a book, and listen to music. Or you could do all of that in Atlantic Canada for course credit as part of Douglas College’s first ever Canadian Maritime Field School! With courses in biology, literature, and music, this 11-credit program focusses on the region’s natural wonders and cultural arts, running from May 4 to June 20 at Douglas College and Dalhousie University.
“The fact that we’ll be there, seeing and experiencing and talking to people who have been involved in some of the different things like fishing, mining, and all of that is a wonderful way to bring the literature alive,” said Jasmine Nicholsfigueiredo, instructor for the field school course English 1102 – Themes in Literature.
The course explores the cultures that influenced Maritime literature as well as the cultures that Maritime literature has affected. Nicholsfigueiredo’s example of this is the character of Anne from Anne of Green Gables, who has become a popular icon in Japan where girls dress up as her. As part of the program, students will get to visit Green Gables in Prince Edward Island and see memorabilia from the book’s author, L. M. Montgomery.
The program’s music course, Performing Arts 1136 – Introduction to Music, focusses on the migration of people and the evolution of music as they travelled. Course instructor Hazel Fairbairn’s example of such evolution is how a Scottish fiddle tune went from its original sound in Scotland to a faster beat in the colder Maritimes once the people migrated there, to a slower tempo when the people later migrated to warmer Louisiana.
“That’s the kind of musical journey that this course traces,” Fairbairn said. “I’m not going to ask you what key that’s in. I’m not going to ask you what instrument you play it on. I’m going to ask you to think about the people who are making the music.”
The English and Performing Arts courses will also include attending cultural events and social gatherings that highlight Maritime life, such as a traditional ceilidh with Gaelic folk music and dancing.
For students interested in the sciences, Biology 1110– Principles of Biology: The Biosphere introduces students to evolution, ecological systems, and marine biodiversity, with a focus on Atlantic Canada’s unique features, such as New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.
The Maritime portion of the course will feature field trips, tours, and activities, while the classes completed at Douglas College will cover the required lab assignments, according to biology instructor Todd Harper.
Prospective students are invited to learn more about the program at the Canadian Maritime Field School info session in room A1170 at the David Lam campus on September 24.
For information about the program, costs, schedule, and more, check out hazelfairbairn.com