Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre-Media Centre
Festival artwork created by Relish New Brand Experience; Bridge logo design by Sarah Brazauskas.


The burning issue of climate change is tackled by four creative communities – authors, journalists, visual artists and musicians – in this engaging series of panel discussions.

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The Climate of the Written Word

Thursday, March 3 at 12pm CT

In this panel, authors will discuss how they have incorporated climate change and environmentalism into their work; and how as Indigenous storytellers their beliefs of Mother Earth are inherent to their storytelling. 

Panelists: Waubgeshig Rice, Brett Huson, Clayton Thomas-Muller
Moderator: Shelagh Rogers

Notes of Climate Change

Friday, March 4 at 12pm CT

Popular music has always captured the zeitgeist of the day. Musicians will discuss why their voices are important when it comes to driving the conversation forward and how their words and music can help inform their audience differently than a news article can.

Panelists: Emily Thoroski, Veronica Johnny, Jaxon Haldane
Moderator: Jolene Banning

Brushing Up on the Climate Crisis

Saturday, March 5 at 12pm CT

This panel brings together fine artists to discuss the themes of climate change and crisis in their work; and why as artists they are lifting their brushes to capture this living history on their canvases. 

Panelists: Kal Barteski, Isaac Murdoch, Soren Brothers
Moderator: Jaimie Isaac


Turning the Tide of Media Coverage

Sunday, March 6 at 12pm CT

Journalists discuss how their work has changed and evolved over the last two decades of covering environmental stories, how news stories have gone from specialty beats to everyday disasters, and why the words and images the media selects can turn the tide of how we see the “climate crisis.”

Panelists: Edward Struzik, Amber Bracken, Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty
Moderator: Sarah Lawrynuik




Jolene Banning is an Anishinaabe-kwe journalist, writer and storyteller with experience in documentary projects, podcasting and journalism (with bylines in the Globe and Mail and APTN: world’s first national Indigenous broadcaster) whose work highlights Anishinaabe resilience and culture, and how these intersect with colonialism in Northwestern Ontario and across Canada. With CBC Radio Thunder Bay, Banning is a syndicated columnist, where she runs Stories from Anemki Wajiw, a series of audio stories about First Nations people who are reclaiming their cultural knowledge. Banning is a founding member and producer at Makwa Creative. She is the host of Makwa’s newest podcast, Auntie Up!, a video series and podcast by, for, and about Indigenous Kwe across Turtle Island, co-hosted by Kim Wheeler.

KalBarteski.jpgKAL BARTESKI – Panelist

Kal Barteski is a Canadian artist. She is passionate about wildlife + sea ice. She paints polar bears + letters. She is a philanthropist, activist, TEDx speaker, published author + winner of a Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She created the Polar Bear Fund to raise money in support of innovative, non-invasive polar bear research. She likes her coffee black and her projects meaningful.

AmberBracken.jpgAmber Bracken – Panelist

A lifelong Albertan, Amber Bracken photographs primarily across western North America to represent the global issues in her own backyard. Her work explores intersections of race, environment, culture and colonization. She specializes in invested relationship-based and historically contextualized storytelling that centres people in their own stories. Recent work has focused on intergenerational trauma in Cree youth, Wet'suwet'en reoccupation and land rights fights, the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in homelessness, and interrogating the impact of race in her own family. Select clients include National Geographic, The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, Maclean's, ESPN and The New York Times. Select recognition includes The World Press, The Marty Forscher Fellowship and an ICP Infinity Award.

Soren.jpgSoren Brothers – Panelist

Dr. Soren Brothers is the Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. He is also an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. Soren’s research examines the effects of climate change on lakes, and how changes in aquatic systems can influence their greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. More broadly, he is interested in understanding how feedback loops and the transdisciplinary study of lakes can help us better understand and predict global tipping points that may accelerate anthropogenic climate change.

JaxonHaldane.jpgJaxon Haldane – Panelist

Winnipeg-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer Jaxon Haldane has been performing professionally as a musician for three decades. Music has more recently taken a backseat to a career in energy and construction. He spent the past five years working in solar power and has degrees in Renewable Energy and Construction Techniques from Oklahoma State University. Jaxon is also a LEED GA and Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) under PhiUS.

BrettHuson.jpgBrett Huson – Panelist

Hetxw'ms Gyetxw, also known as Brett D. Huson (he/him/his), is from the Gitxsan Nation of the Northwest Interior of British Columbia. Growing up in this strong matrilineal society, Brett developed a passion for the culture, land and politics of his people, and a desire to share their knowledge and stories. Brett has worked in the film and TV industry for over 16 years. The award-winning series Mothers of Xsan is Brett’s first series of books and part of a larger vision he has in sharing the worlds of the Gitxsan Nation. As Brett creates art and works on books, he also works with the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg to connect science and Indigenous Knowledges.

JaimieIsaac.jpgJaimie Isaac – moderator

Jaimie Isaac is a curator and interdisciplinary artist, member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Treaty 1 Territory and is of mixed heritage. She is the Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria since September 2021. Isaac is dedicated to making space for womxn, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ voices and decolonizing art and cultural institutions. She served as the Indigenous and Contemporary Arts Curator at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for more than six years and has been in leadership positions in arts and cultural organizations as well as many independent projects. Isaac holds a degree in Art History From University of Winnipeg and a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia, with the thesis focus on Decolonizing Curatorial Practice.

VeronicaJohnny.jpgVeronica Johnny – Panelist

Veronica Johnny is a Cree Métis, multi-­disciplinary, Two-Spirit artist from Thebacha, Denendeh (Fort Smith, Northwest Territories). Ms. Johnny is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and presently lives in Northern Ontario. She’s a performer, visual artist, writer, musician, producer, manager and lead singer of multi-­award-nominated hard rock band, The Johnnys. She is also a solo singer–songwriter and Indigenous hand drummer who shares teachings, hosts drum circles and sings for water and all life everywhere. Veronica facilitates workshops through her business IndigenEd, including themes of visual art, music, self-empowerment and wellness, through an Indigenous lens.

@TheJohnnysRock – Fun, energetic, raw, retro-­rock
@VeronicaJohnnyMusic – Multi-­disciplinary, genre-defying Two-­Spirit artist

@IndigenEd –­ INDIGENousEDucation for all

KatliaLafferty.jpgKatłįà (Catherine) Lafferty – Panelist

Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty is a northern Dene/Cree/Metis writer. Her memoir Northern Wildflower is used as a teaching tool in Indigenous literary studies across Turtle Island and her novel Land-Water-Sky/Ndè-Tı-Yat'a was nominated for a 2021 Indigenous Voices Award. Katłįà’s freelance work has been published in the Toronto Star, National Geographic, CBC North, Briar Patch, the National Theatre of Canada, Council New Chapter, Grain Magazine, Reasons to Be Cheerful, Indiginews, The Narwhal and The Tyee. Katłįà’s northern homeland and matrilineal lineage informs her storytelling. Much of her work is dedicated to informing readers on the importance of place-based teachings, caring for the land and water, and advocating on issues that impact Indigenous peoples. Recently Katłįà was appointed as the inaugural climate writer-in-residence at the West Vancouver Memorial Library.

SarahLawrynuik.jpgSarah Lawrynuik – Moderator

Sarah Lawrynuik is the senior producer of the national news podcast CANADALAND and continues to work as a freelance multimedia climate change journalist. She's reported on the climate beat for several years both as a freelancer and for the Winnipeg Free Press. She's also working towards completing her MSc in climate and energy policy from the University of London.

IssacMurdoch.jpgIsaac Murdoch (Bomgiizhik) – Panelist

Gnoozhe doodem
Nimkii Aazhibikoong niindaa

Isaac Murdoch is from Serpent River FN and is from the Fish Clan. He has four beautiful children and seven grandchildren. He is an artist, musician and storyteller. He currently lives at Nimkii Aazhibikoong in his traditional territory.

WaubgeshigRice.jpgWaubgeshig RicE – Panelist

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from the journalism program at the university formerly known as Ryerson in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and two sons.

ShelaghRogers.jpgShelagh Rogers – Moderator

Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast-journalist at CBC Radio, currently the host and a producer of The Next Chapter, the program devoted to writing in Canada. In 2010, Native Counselling Services of Alberta presented Shelagh with their Achievement in the Aboriginal Community Award. In 2011, she was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As a witness, she committed to sharing the truth of Survivors and their families at every opportunity so that Canada never forgets its true history. Manitoba is the land of Shelagh’s ancestors on her father’s side. She wishes she could have known her great-grandmother Edith Rogers, the Métis first woman, and the first woman, elected to the Manitoba Legislature. Shelagh is a member of the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria.

EdStruzik.jpgEdward Struzik – panelist

Edward Struzik is a regular contributor to Yale Environment 360, an international online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. He has been covering environmental issues for more than 40 years. His articles, essays and photographs have appeared in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, The Revelator, The Walrus, Narwhal, Tyee, Globe and Mail, National Post and Macleans. He has been featured in documentaries such as National Geographic’s The Last Ice, and Frozen Obsession, which aired on PBS. Mr. Struzik’s long list of awards includes the US-based Grantham Prize for environmental writing and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, which goes to one person each year who has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of science in Canada.

ClaytonThomasMuller.jpgClayton Thomas-Müller – Panelist

Clayton is a member of the Treaty #6-based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, also known as Pukatawagan, located in Northern Manitoba. Based in Winnipeg, Clayton is a senior campaign specialist with Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive global movement for energy and climate justice. He serves on the board of the Bioneers and the Wildfire Project. He has been recognized by Yes Magazine as a Climate Hero and is featured as one of 10 international human rights defenders in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Clayton is a campaigner, award-winning film director, media producer, organizer, facilitator, public speaker and bestselling author on Indigenous rights, and environmental and economic justice.

EmilyThoroski.jpgEmily Thoroski – Panelist

Emily is a Canadian singer-songwriter and wildlife biologist who is passionate about using music to inspire people to get involved in environmental conservation. She is a graduate student at the University of Manitoba working on completing her Master of Environment degree with a focus on environmental communications. Emily received the 2020 Conservation Education Award through The Wildlife Society for her song "We Decide" and her short film "Why Do Wildlife Matter?" Emily also goes by her artistic name, The Environmental Musician. She welcomes you to join in her adventure of helping to conserve and protect the planet and its resources! Follow her on Instagram @the_environmental_musician and on Facebook @TheEnvironmentalMusician to stay updated on her music.


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