(Photo by Camilo Fuentealba, Intro by Whitney Robson)
She’s an adventurer, a loyal friend, and a fearless creator. Not one to be restrained by convention, her never-ending curiosity about the world is inspiring. The bravery and dedication with which she pursues her endeavors is admirable. Whether she’s writing, directing, acting, or blogging – she does it whole-heartedly.
And while she seems she could be at home almost anywhere, she has chosen the prairies, which has left an indelible mark on both her and her work, visible in her most recent project – Kindred Cities -a blog dedicated to helping connect the communities of Saskatchewan’s two largest cities.
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce to you this amazing woman and my dear friend. Lovers, meet Jennifer Sparrowhawk.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
My main project right now is Kindred Cities. It’s a blog I created via Tumblr a year ago with vital contributions from
Zoë Schneider. It features two portraits every other week –those of a Saskatoon citizen and a Regina citizen.
This summer I wrote and directed a short film called Lily and Sage which features local cut-ups Kristina Hughes and Dakota Hebert, and will be screened sometime this year as part of The Great Saskatchewan Timelapse project initiated by Berny Hi and The Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative.
I am also in the very earliest stages of planning a comedic web series which will deal with the zany themes of racism, classism, and sexism in Saskatchewan.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
I am currently without a day job, but most recently I’ve worked as a graphic designer/printer operator. Before that I mostly waited tables, and mostly in hotels. What I enjoyed about working in hotels is meeting lots of different kinds of people from all over the world, from all different backgrounds. What I found challenging was interacting with the wildly entitled guests, and the sexual harassment.
KC: What’s important to you?
It’s important to me to work at being aware of current systems in our society that are in place to benefit a small group of people and that oppress the most vulnerable.
Being a white, straight, cis woman - I’ve had the privilege of not always recognizing the forces at work that harm people of colour, queer people, trans people and people with different ability than mine. It’s important to me to be cognitive of my advantage so I can avoid participating in this oppression, and act by resisting it.
Creativity as a means of challenging the status quo is important to me. I believe art can be a powerful channel in communicating complicated ideas on a visceral level, and most importantly, it can help rewrite societal narratives to include and honour everyone, not just a privileged few.
KC: What do you like most/least about Saskatoon?
What I like most about Saskatoon are my friends. I’ve been lucky enough to collect quite a menagerie of funny, smart, compassionate, supportive, conscientious humans over the years.
What I’ve always hated about this province as a whole is its resistance to acknowledge and make amends for the genocide that colonialism inflicted upon the indigenous population, and its continued acts of colonization, presently, as well as its reluctance to evolve in the areas of decolonization, xenophobia, climate justice, and gender equality.
The conservative climate is the main reason why I always thought I’d leave Saskatchewan for good. I think creating Kindred Cities was a manifestation of my coming to terms with the idea of staying here. I knew that if I was going to be happy living here I’d have to build relationships with the people who are working towards making it a better place to live -and become one of them.
I look forward to becoming more engaged and active in my community. I’ve recently met some truly welcoming activists here in Tracey Mitchell, Janelle Pewapsconias, Nadya Karas, and Priscila Tayna, with whom I hope to work more in this new year.
KC: What is your impression of Regina?
KC: How do you survive the winters?
I am susceptible to depression at times and winter can be tough. I’ve been trying to sell the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) party theme where all in attendance would sit amongst a mass of SAD lamps and inject each other with Vitamin D, but it hasn’t caught on yet.
I find swimming and steaming at the Y helps, as does binge watching Broad City, 30 Rock, and American Horror Story. I’ve heard that spooning with someone or something furry helps too.
KC: (From The Proust Questionnaire) What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being enveloped in a cozy gathering of friends with delicious food and good music. Feeling useful, respected, and considered. Cat gifs.