Join fellow citizens and great thinkers for some serious fun at Spur 2016 and add your voice to the national conversation.

The 21st century has brought unprecedented change when it comes to personal freedoms. What were once
distinct, assigned roles are inhabited more freely. Many greet this fluidity — whether it be cultural, sexual or
political — with open arms. Others continue to seek firm identities, clinging to the tribes they most identify
with now more than ever. What does this mean for our communities here in Canada, and for the world?

From April 7-10, Spur Festival Toronto will explore Our New Tribalism during 12 events which range from debates and panel conversations, readings, a satiric talk show and an artistic performance.

Festival Director Helen Walsh who is publisher of the Literary Review of Canada says, “The 21st century has brought unprecedented change when it comes to personal freedoms. What were once distinct, assigned roles are inhabited more freely. Many greet this fluidity – whether it be cultural, sexual, or political – with open arms. Others continue to seek firm identities, clinging to the tribes they most identify with now more than ever,” she said. “To celebrate 25 years of the Literary Review of Canada, the 2016 Spur Festival explores what Our New Tribalism means for our communities here in Canada, and for the world.”

This year’s four-day festival brings together provocative thinkers, scholars, authors, artists, activists and journalists from Canada, the UK and Australia to debate and explore the theme of Our New Tribalism with seven subjects:

Transgender                                        Human Migration and the Changing Demographics of Canada

Racial Fluidity                                    Feminism

Political Tribalism                               Masculinity/gender distinction and expectations

Designing our Shared Landscape

Sessions will be moderated by journalists, broadcasters, authors and commentators: CBC’s David Common; U of T’s Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall; Globe and Mail’s Hamutal Dotan; Toronto Star’s Marina Jimenez; Samara Canada’s
Jane Hilderman; Susan Cole, NOW Magazine, Vicky Mochama, Canadaland; and, Literary Review Canada’s
Helen Walsh.

For the second year, in partnership with Diaspora Dialogues (DD), the Emerging Artists program engages
local spoken word artists who are under 30 and from diverse ethno-cultural communities, in artistic expression of festival themes. Up to 15 young artists from across the country will perform a short topical performance piece before festival events, integrating the artist’s voice into the conversation and building networks and exposure for the next generation of creative thinkers.

The RBC Emerging Scholars Program is an opportunity for youth under 30 in each Spur city to contribute to a national conversation on politics, art and ideas, through a residency in Spur’s inclusive, intellectually vibrant atmosphere. Up to 100 young thinkers and artists from across the country will participate this year, with special access to festival participants and exclusive events helping create a lasting network of young Canadians who will help write the country’s future.

Opening: Our New Tribalism, Thurs. April 7. 7 PM, sponsored by Toronto Public Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library. moderator: TBA, free, tickets required, reception follows

Hadani Ditmars, author, Dancing in the No Fly Zone, a woman’s journey through Iraq, editor and photographer
Irshad Manji, author, educator, New York University, founder and director, Moral Courage Project
Ben Rawlence, Wales, author, City of Thorns, Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp
Opening Poet: Omar Musa, award-winning author and rapper, Australia, 2015 Young Novelists of the Year.

Books that Spur: Fri. April 8, 7 45 AM (doors open at 7 30 AM) Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St.
moderator: Literary Review of Canada’s Helen Walsh (continental breakfast with ticket)

Clive Veroni, marketing strategist and author, Spin:how Politics has the Power to Turn Marketing on Its Head

Books that Spur: Fri. April 8, NOON Elmsley Hall, U of T, (box lunch with ticket)
moderator: Marina Jimenez, Toronto Star

Ben Rawlence, Wales, author, City of Thorns, Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Long Night: Fri.  April 8, 8 PM, The Tranza – hosted by Vish Khanna, Kreative Kontrol (tickets)

Guests: Hadani Ditmars, author, Dancing in the No Fly Zone, journalist, editor and photographer
Omar Musa, award-winning author, poet and rapper, Australia
Dr. Carys Massarella, ‘trans-warrior physician’

Book Bag: Sat. April 9, 10 AM  Hart House, U of T, Susan Cole, NOW magazine (tickets)

Vincent Doyle, Madrid, author, Making Out in the Mainstream: GLAAD + the Politic of Respectability (first full length study of LGBT media activism)

Human Migration and the Changing Demographics of Canada Sat. April 9, Noon, Hart House, U of T Moderator: CBC’s David Common (tickets)

Dr. Ratna Omidvar, Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University, co-author, Flight and Freedom, stories of Escape to Canad, Chair, Lifeline S

Margret Kopala, writer, public policy analyst, Ottawa, past president Centre for Immigration Policy Reform

Kim Banerjee, University of Toronto dept. of political science doctoral candidate

Trans-Canada: Sat. April 9, 2 PM Hart House, U of T. Moderator (TBA) (tickets)

Dr. Carys Massarella, physician, McMaster University, Hamilton and St. Catherine’s, ‘trans-warrior physician’
Hershel Russell, Toronto psychotherapist/counsellor, transgender man
Vivek Shraya, Toronto, artist whose body of work includes several albums, films and books
Opening Poet: Trish Salah, feminist writer, educator. Books of poetry: Wanting in Arabic, Lyric Sexology Vol. 1

Masculinity: Sat. April 9, 5 PM, Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre,
Moderator: author, educator Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, U of T (tickets)

Michael Reist, commentator, author Raising Boys in a New Kind of World, Raising Emotionally Health Boys
Rachel Giese, writer, author, Boy: Becoming a Man in the 21st Century, Chatelaine editor at large and columnist
Dr. Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology, University of Toronto and clinical psychologist
Jeff Perera, speaker, activist, founder, ‘What Makes a Man’ conference and Higher Unlearning website
Opening Poet:  Bardia Sinaee, Iranian-born, Canadian-raised, Carleton University student.

Feminism Sat. April 9, 8 PM, Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (tickets)
Moderator: Vicky Mochama, freelance journalist, editor, Canadaland’s Not Sorry

Dr. Constance Backhouse, legal scholar, historian, author, University of Ottawa Research Chair
Kim Anderson, associate professor Wilfrid Laurier, author A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood and Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings and Story Medicine co-editor, with Bonita Lawrence, Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival (2003)
Stacey May Fowles,  novelist, essayist, author Be Good, Fear of Fighting, Infidelity, books and television columnist, na Peters, activist, educator, arts facilitator, founding member of Black Lives Matter Toronto, workshop facilitator on rape culture and colonialism, anti-racism, and femmephobia.
Opening poet: Emma Healey, author, Begin With the End. Has appeared in Toronto Life, Little Brother, Maisonneuve, The Puritan.

Designing our Shared Landscape, Sun. April 10, 11 AM Hart House, U of T, Moderator: Globe and Mail’s Hamutal Dotan (tickets)

Greg Spearn, interim president and CEO, Toronto Community Housing
Joe Berridge, urban planner and city builder, Urban Strategies

Political Tribalism 1:15 PM, Hart House, U of T, Moderator Samara Canada’s Jane Hilderman (tickets)

Susan Delacourt, author, political journalist, Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau
Eric Grenier, blogger ThreeHundredEight.com contributor CBC, columnist Hill Times, Ottawa
Martin Patriquin, Quebec Bureau Chief, Maclean’s
Opening Poet: David Alexander, non-profit leader. His poems have appeared in Poetry WLU and The Steel Chisel. Chapbook, Chicken Scratch

Spur is a festival of politics, art, and ideas and is a catalyst for change in Canada produced by the Literary Review of Canada and Diaspora Dialogues.  Feisty, multi-partisan, forward-looking, and solution-driven, this national railway of ideas provides Canada with vital new cultural infrastructure for the 21st century. Founded in 2013, Spur prides itself on its community partnerships, cultural connections and a focus on accessibility and diversity. 2016 Spur Festivals discussing Our New Tribalism will also be held in Winnipeg (May), Halifax and Ottawa in the fall.

Individual event tickets are $10 to $20. Early bird festival passes for all 12 events are $75 until March 15. Regular price festival passes for all 12 events are $100. The opening event on Thurs. April 7 is free but tickets are required. Info and tickets: spurfestival.ca, @SpurFest, facebook.com/SpurFestival.

More info here.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.