Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre-Media Centre
The Bridge: A Festival of Ideas

In Conversation With...

Your favourite cousin Rosanna Deerchild brings her 25-year career of asking questions and listening intently to extended conversations with some of the top thinkers, artists and visionaries in Canada. Join Rosanna as she delves into the lives and thoughts of visual artist Kent Monkman; Jesse Wente, chair of the Canada Council and executive director of the Indigenous Screen Office; Dr. Julie Nagam and Dr. Heather Igloliorte, co-chairs of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Indigenous Advisory Circle; and beloved playwright Tomson Highway.

Thursday, March 18 at 1pm CDT
GUEST: Tomson Highway

Friday, March 19 at 1pm CDT
GUEST: Jesse Wente

Saturday, March 20 at 12pm CDT
GUESTS: Heather Igloliorte, Julie Nagam

Sunday, March 21 at 12pm CDT
GUEST: Kent Monkman

Click for festival schedule

Rosanna Deerchild.jpgROSANNA DEERCHILD


Rosanna Deerchild (She/Her) is Cree, from the community of O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. She is a storyteller with more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, broadcaster and a poet. Most recently, she has been heard as the host of CBC Radio One’s Unreserved for six seasons. Currently, she is creating a podcast called This Place, which will focus on Indigenous history in Canada. Her debut poetry collection this is a small northern town shared her reflections of growing up in a racially-divided place. It won the 2009 Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. Her second book, calling down the sky is a collaborative work with her mother who was forced to attend Indian Residential School. She is also writing her first play with Royal MTC’s Pimootayowin Creators Circle and her third collection of poetry.

Tomson Highway.jpg​Tomson Highway


Tomson Highway is a Cree writer and pianist/songwriter from Northern Manitoba. Among many others, his best-known works are the plays: The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, and the best-selling novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen. He lives in Gatineau, Quebec with his loving partner of 37 years where, together, they are busy, and very happy grandpapas of two angelic young children. He is working on a hot new book that will be sure to shock the living daylights out of the world. You must read it.

Heather Igloliorte.jpg​DR. HEATHER IGLOLIORTE


Dr. Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk from Nunatsiavut, holds the Tier 1 University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts and is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at Concordia University in Montréal, where she directs the SSHRC Partnership Grant, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership and co-directs the Indigenous Futures Research Centre. Her research on Inuit and other Indigenous art histories, critical museology and curatorial practice has been published by Duke University Press, TOPIA, Art Journal, and McGill – Queen’s University Press, among others; she has co-edited special issues of both PUBLIC 54: Indigenous Art: New Media and the Digital (2016) and RACAR: Continuities Between Eras: Indigenous Arts (2017). Her essay “Curating Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Inuit Knowledge in the Qallunaat Art Museum,” was awarded the 2017 Distinguished Article of the Year from Art Journal. Heather has been a curator for fifteen years; her exhibition SakKijajuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut received an Award of Outstanding Achievement from the Canadian Museums Association in 2017.

Kent Monkman.jpgKent Monkman


Kent is an interdisciplinary Cree visual artist. A member of Fisher River Cree Nation in Treaty 5 Territory (Manitoba), he lives and works in Dish With One Spoon Territory (Toronto). Known for his provocative interventions into Western European and American art history, Monkman explores themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience – the complexities of historic and contemporary Indigenous experiences – across painting, film/video, performance and installation. His gender-fluid alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle often appears in his work as a time-traveling, shape-shifting, supernatural being who reverses the colonial gaze to challenge received notions of history and Indigenous peoples. His work has been exhibited at institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Denver Art Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Royal Ontario Museum, The National Gallery of Canada, Hayward Gallery, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Musée d’art Contemporain de Rochechouart, Maison Rouge and Palais de Tokyo. He had two nationally touring solo exhibitions in Canada – Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience (2017-2020) and The Triumph of Mischief (2007-2010).

Julie Nagam.jpgDr. Julie Nagam


Dr. Julie Nagam (Métis/German/Syrian) is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Winnipeg. She is the inaugural Artistic Director for 2020/21 for Nuit Blanche Toronto, the largest public exhibition in North America. Dr. Nagam’s SSHRC research includes digital makerspaces and incubators, mentorship, digital media and design, international collaborations and place-based knowledge. As a scholar and artist she is interested in revealing the ontology of land, which contains memory, knowledge and living histories. Dr. Nagam’s scholarship, curatorial and artistic practice have been featured nationally and internationally. She was the Concordia University and Massey University (NZ) Scholar in Residence for 2018/19, and will be the Terra Foundation Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney (AUS) for 2021/22. Dr. Nagam is the Director of Aabijijiwan New Media Lab and Co-Director of Kishaadigeh Collaborative Research Centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Jesse Wente.jpgJesse Wente


Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, speaker and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, and a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Best known for 24 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival, seven years as director of film programmes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Metis and Inuit art. He has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, the Cultural Summit of the Americas, and many universities and colleges. Served on the board of directors of the Toronto Arts Council, The ImagineNative Film and Media Festival and Native Earth Performing Arts. Appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts (only First Nations person to hold the position). Currently finishing his first book for Penguin Random House Canada. First Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in 2018. Playback Magazines trailblazer of the year for 2020, included on Maclean’s 2020 Power List and Toronto Life’s 2020 list of the most influential Torontonians.


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