Thursday, 15 December 2011

Jillian Cockburn: The GCDF, Diversity, and Me

Jillian Cockburn, GCDF's 2010/11 publicist and writer, lives in Guelph and is currently on mat-leave. You can also check out her blog. We welcome Jillian's insight here!

Jillian: In January 2010, my husband, Lucas, and I moved to Guelph after two months of backpacking through Europe and Central America.  Our stay in Guelph was supposed to have been brief; following the completion of Lucas’ work contract, our plan was to continue traveling ... indefinitely.  After only one month of being here though, we felt at home. 

Jillian Cockburn at Guelph's Goldie Mill. Photo by Angela Cockburn.

For me, the major draw was the city’s thriving arts community.  In those first few months, I made a point of experiencing as much as I could of what Guelph had to offer in terms of arts and culture.  And then in June, I experienced my first ever GCDF festival weekend.   

What immediately struck me was the GCDF’s commitment to and celebration of diversity --- both in terms of dance works that were being presented and the representation of artists.  As a former Torontonian, I never would have expected to see such a wide range of dance offerings featuring artists from across Canada (and around the world!) in a city of Guelph’s size.  It was both surprising and reassuring.  I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of what the Festival was doing.

In September 2010, I had the pleasure of joining the GCDF as both the company’s contract Publicist/Editor/Writer and Fundraising Coordinator.  Having the opportunity to be a part of a top-quality festival that embraces and promotes diversity in dance, pushing the boundaries of what this art form can mean and do for a community like Guelph, has been nothing short of amazing.  And though I’m currently on leave, I look forward to experiencing the 2012 Festival with “my little one,” and sharing with her all that the GCDF has to offer!  

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