Saskatoon

Esperanza Symposium in Saskatoon explores the themes of hope and waiting

A multilingual, multicultural symposium in Saskatoon brought together artists and different communities to explore the idea of ‘Hope and Waiting’ through panels and school workshops in Saskatoon on Saturday. The event was held mainly in French but it also had simultaneous interpretation services.

Event held in both French and English simultaneously

Zoe Fortier is a visual artist and co-ordinator of the Symposium Esperanza held in Saskatoon on Saturday. (CBC News)

A multilingual, multicultural symposium in Saskatoon brought together artists and different communities to explore the idea of 'Hope and Waiting' through panels and school workshops in Saskatoon on Saturday.

The event was held mainly in French but it also had simultaneous interpretation services.

Zoe Fortier, a visual artist and co-ordinator of the Esperanza Symposium, said hope and waiting are both intricately tied to the notion of time.

The concept of what time is differs both from a social and cultural perspective.

"We are linking both concepts of hope and waiting through a conversation about time," Fortier said. "How time is a part of our oral traditions, our folklore, but also how time is a representation of our privilege and also some of the discrimination we might face."

Janet Carmona-Figueroa, a teacher with Saskatoon Open Doors Society, encourages her students to embrace their cultural heritage. (CBC News)

For example, Fortier said people who are more privileged can pay to have services such as urgent health care, something they want to buy or just paying the rent.

"They don't necessarily have to wait for their salary to come in," she said. "They have the means to pay for things right away."

On the other hand, there are those that lack the privilege of time.

"People who work multiple shifts and who don't have vacation time… you don't have control over your time and you are not allowed to have time to rest and have a healthy lifestyle."

Janet Carmona-Figueroa, a teacher with Saskatoon Open Doors Society, brought a number of her students that are soon to become citizens to the symposium.

"This multi-cultural panel of hope, (Esperanza in Spanish), has been wonderful. I too, can connect with a lot of the stories."

Carmona-Figueroa said newcomers to Canada should not forget where they are from or their language, but actually embrace it, and move forward by learning something new.

The first two days of the symposium were school workshops that also explored the idea of waiting and hope.

About 20 Grade 9 students from the Gustave-Dubois Pavilion of the École Canadienne-Française in Saskatoon participated in the creating four podcasts around that theme.

With files from SRC's Gregory Wilson