Community·CREATIVE Q&A

Ian Campeau on the theme 'roots' and creativity

Ian Campeau is January's CreativeMornings Ottawa speaker, exploring the theme of 'roots' at the Ottawa Art Gallery on Friday, January 31.

CBC Ottawa is proud to partner with CreativeMornings Ottawa

Campeau will speak on the theme 'roots' at the Ottawa Art Gallery. (National Speakers Bureau)

If you're an early riser and a creative thinker in the Ottawa area, you might've heard of the CreativeMornings breakfast series. 

With chapters in more than 200 cities around the world — from Oslo to Ottawa — CreativeMornings hosts free, monthly events for the creative community, featuring a short talk and a bite to eat. Each month's talk has a global theme, such as: courage, wonder or tradition. January's theme is 'roots.' 

Ottawa has been hosting gatherings since 2012, welcoming speakers from such varied occupations as psychologists, architects, artisanal sign painters and brew masters.

CBC Ottawa is proud to partner with CreativeMornings Ottawa to share creative Q&As and conversations with the community. 

[Creativity] will come when it needs to, so be patient.- Ian Campeau

January's speaker is Ian Campeau, also known as DJ NDN and Migizi Bebaayaad. He's the co-founder and former member of the music group A Tribe Called Red who now draws attention to issues of racism, gender-based violence, stigmas of mental health and other forms of oppression through art and activism. 

In the lead up to Campeau's talk on January 31, we asked him to answer a few questions by email about the role creativity plays in his life.

His answers have been edited for clarity.

What does this month's theme 'roots' mean to you?  

To me 'roots' means a connection to the land. It's where you're from and how you started. 

Why do you think 'roots' is important to talk about in Ottawa?

Roots are important to share. It's about sharing your story, your history and the connection and perspective you have. 

Campeau will speak at CreativeMornings Ottawa on January 31. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

What's one piece of creative advice or a tip that you wish you could give your younger self?   

A tip I wish I could give my younger self about creativity is that it can't be forced. It will come when it needs to, so be patient.

When you get stuck creatively, what's the first thing you do to get unstuck?

When I get stuck creatively, I try to get inspired by reading or listening to podcasts. I get my mind off of what got me blocked for awhile, and then come back to it. 

What makes Ottawa a creative city?

Ottawa is a creative city because it's constantly changing. Scenes die out when people leave, but that leaves the doors open for someone else to do something new. 


The next CreativeMornings Ottawa will take place on Friday, January 31.

Keep checking creativemornings.com/cities/ott for details.