Thinking Rock Blog

This is where we share updates about the projects we are working on across the Algoma District.  Be sure to check back frequently for emerging news and photos!

Job Posting: Community Play Production Assistant

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Blogs, Updates | 0 comments




Full Time Contract Position June 5 – September 29, 2017 (16 weeks, 32 hours per week)



The Community Play Production Assistant will work closely with the Artistic Director of Thinking Rock Community Arts to undertake tasks related the production of The Rivers Speak Community Play to be produced in Mississaugi First Nation, in the Central Algoma region of Northern Ontario, in September 2017.

The Community Play Production Assistant will work directly with the Artistic Director of the Rivers Speak Community Play to undertake tasks related to the overall execution of the production, ranging from direct arts practice and facilitation to administration and project management.  The successful candidate will build skills in relationship management, arts management, marketing and communications, and project management (managing logistics, timelines, schedules, evaluation etc.). They will be closely mentored in this role but will also be required to think and work independently, and will need to employ highly developed skills in problem solving, time management and interpersonal skills.

Specific job tasks will involve:

– Evaluation and tracking.
– Marketing and communications
– Human resource management
– Logistics and project management
– Application of artistic skills to support production process



This position is funded by Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage.  In order to be eligible for the position, the applicant must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, or have refugee status in Canada. Note: Non-Canadian graduates holding temporary work visas or awaiting permanent status are not eligible.
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • Be between 16 and 30 years of age at the start of employment.
  • Have finished the school term at the start of employment.
  • Be registered in the YCW online candidate inventory (Register Here:
  • Be willing to commit to the full duration of the work assignment.
  • Not have another full-time job (over 30 hours a week) while employed as a YCW BCH intern.
  • Be an unemployed or underemployed college or university graduate, i.e. not employed full-time.
  • Be a recent graduate who has graduated from college or university within 24 months of the start of employment.
  • Not be receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits while employed as an YCW BCH intern.
  • Not have previously participated in or been paid under this or any other program funded under the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy.



We are seeking a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management, Theatre and Development, Theatre for Social Change, any Arts Discipline, Art History or a related field of study.

Other preferred qualifications include:

– Sound understanding and appreciation of Aanishinaabe, Metis and other Indigenous cultures, worldviews, and traditions
– Personally invested in concepts of reconciliation and decolonization
– Passionate about the arts’ role in community development and social change, familiar with and/or interested in learning more about community-engaged arts practice
– Passionate about working with stakeholders representing diverse cultures, ages, and sectors
– Proven experience in program planning, development, implementation
– Ability to work as part of a team as well as with minimal supervision
– Excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills
– Proven ability to time manage, prioritize and oversee multiple concurrent tasks
– Knowledgeable about using Social Media for marketing and promoting events
– Very familiar with Microsoft Office: Publisher, Word, Excel
– Familiarity with using Google Apps for Business a definite asset (Google Drive, Hangouts, etc.)
– Experience working with Adobe Creative Suite an asset
– Valid G license and access to a reliable vehicle

*** We strongly encourage and welcome applications from people who identify as Indigenous (Métis, First Nation, Inuit, on/off reserve), a person of colour, LGTBQQ2, living with a disability, or a religious minority.***


The Rivers Speak Community Play is the result of a four year community-engaged art-making process involving people of all ages from rural and First Nation communities in Central Algoma.  Its intent is to surface untold stories of the rivers and waterways in this region from Settler and First Nation perspectives, and in doing so begin to build positive relationships across cultures, ages, languages, and abilities.  

The production process will be guided by a team of local and visiting professional theatre artists trained in co-developing community-engaged theatre with non-artists as well as a team of local Anishnaabe Elders and Advisors.  It will be performed outdoors at the Mississaugi First Nation Pow Wow Grounds and will be performed in Aanishnaabemowin, French and English.


Thinking Rock is a non profit community arts organization based in Thessalon, Ontario that creates art with and for the people living along the North Shore of Lake Huron, from Spanish to Sault Ste. Marie and all points in between.  We invite people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to join us in playing, making and dreaming about this special place we call home – as it was, as it is, and as it might be.  

We believe that if Central Algomans of Indigenous and Settler descent come together to co-create community arts projects and presentations, relationships will be built across cultures and communities, and opportunities to live, work and play in the arts will increase across the region.  Ultimately this will lead to more inclusive, vibrant and resilient communities across Algoma.

Applicants are asked to send their resume and cover letter to by Friday May 26, 2017 at 5pm.


YSI Algoma – Let’s Tend the Fire Gathering

Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Blogs | 0 comments

Moving Forward, Stronger and Brighter

By: Jon Cada

The YSI Algoma Nest hosted a gathering at Searchmont Resort in August, featuring a mixture of young community change-makers, adult allies and decision makers to develop meaningful conversations and relationships around several key challenges and barriers that young people face in Northern Ontario communities.

The gathering used the theme ‘Let’s Tend the Fire’ to focus on how the YSI Algoma community can continue learning about the values of shared leadership, facilitation and promoting the value of conversations so that young people feel empowered to host community conversations and develop action items from them. This theme followed last year’s YSI Algoma gathering, ‘Let’s build a Fire’ which brought young people from across the Algoma District together for the first time to discover where their hearts are for their community and how they can develop the skills they need and feel empowered to share them with others.

Meeting to share reflections and thoughts

Photo Credit – Jessica Bolduc

Since last year’s gathering, young people have benefited from the development of the YSI Algoma Nest by having a chance to share their reflections, share updates in their work and exchange ideas with each other while helping develop a community of support in the process.

Networking, another key development that has taken place in the Algoma Nest, gives young people a new outlet and confidence to ask questions and get feedback from different members and supporters so that they can push their ideas forward.

YSI meeting on the last day to talk next steps

Photo Credit – Jessica Bolduc

Some takeaways to share from this year’s gathering include a small group of young people wanting to utilize new tools, knowledge and communication strategies to build a community of people that can better support an emerging music scene in Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding areas. Individuals from Manitoulin Island and Thunder Bay, ON also attended and feel supported by the YSI Algoma Nest to begin bringing together key people in their communities so that conversations can be had around building a community of support and shared leadership in their respective regions.

YSI HeARTful harvest skit

Photo Credit – Jessica Bolduc

40 people attended the weekend event including individuals from Toronto who also count themselves as members of the provincial YSI community. Individuals from Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Goulais River, Batchewana First Nation, Echo Bay, Desbarats, Mississaugi First Nation, Serpent River First Nation and Manitoulin Island also represented their communities. Representatives from the Sault Ste. Marie Arts Council, Sault Ste. Marie Indigenous Friendship Centre and local federal party candidates also attended to learn about this exciting work. 

Funding and support for YSI Algoma’s ‘Let’s Tend the Fire’ gathering comes from the Laidlaw Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Social Entrepreneurship Evolution, Children’s Mental Health Ontario, Thinking Rock Community Arts and the YSI community outside of Algoma.

Also, a shout-out goes to Gore Street Cafe, Cafe Naturathe Downtown Association and Mississaugi First Nation for providing space to meet, plan and coordinate the logistics of this gathering.

Gathering hosting team planning

Photo Credit – Jessica Bolduc

More about the YSI Algoma Nest:

The YSI Algoma Nest first started as a conversation in 2013, that included young people within Sault Ste. Marie and neighbouring areas to talk about how they can learn from one another and develop positive working relationships and collectively learn about the process of being in community with one another from across different backgrounds, fields of work and areas of interest. The provincial YSI initiative conversations originated out of Toronto in 2009 and includes individuals from across Ontario in on-going conversations to continue learning about what’s needed for young people to feel supported and empowered to create healthy changes in their community.

For more info about the YSI and how to get involved in this work, visit: or find news about the YSI on facebook.

Community Arts in Canada

Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Blogs | 0 comments

Reflecting on an Inspirational Journey

By: Jon Cada

To me, community arts has the the feeling of being a different form of conversation.  The connection between community conversation and art is as follows: conversation leads to ideas, ideas lead to plans and plans lead to leadership and development. Community Arts takes this prototype by hosting conversations in the community so that the community can have a chance to explore who they are and where their passion is in their community. The next step is taking those conversations and bringing them to life through art. The outcome here begins to change depending on the artists leading the project and the art forms they specialize in, but the work is not done by the artists themselves. Participants and volunteers in the community come together to shape the art by giving it a voice, a presence and a soul.

One of the things that tends to happen (and I love it every time) is when someone gets involved in a community arts project for the first time. The more they participate, the more they learn about themselves and want to try new things. Dealing with shyness and is something a good community artist knows how to accommodate; they give space to try things like painting, writing down ideas, simple drawing exercises and encourage people to share hidden talents they might have and appreciate their courage to try.

Thinking Rock Team back from BC

Each member of the Thinking Rock family has contributed to the growth of the organization and possess diverse experience as practicing artists, arts administrators, community organizers and facilitators, but community arts as a field of practice remains a relatively new idea and concept for most of us that we’re always learning about and sharing. Our first community play project, The Rivers Speak, has evolved from the feedback in the communities we work in and has become very much about supporting and empowering the cross-cultural history, understanding, and relationships within the area we share and call home.

Because of this work, we were invited to present at the Tracks: 7th Canadian Community Play and Arts Symposium in Vancouver, BC in May. We were excited (even a little intimidated at first) to be invited to attend as presenters. Our staff and our work is fairly green compared to other participants and organizations that we knew were attending from across the nation. However, we understood that our work means a lot for many people and it deserves the voice we have created for it. We were prepared to share our work, even as emerging artists and facilitators. This opportunity we gave us a chance to meet several West Coast First Nations communities and individuals that support community arts. Our work with First Nations communities in Ontario has mainly been through Ojibway culture and tradition, so we were interested in the perspectives from the Squamish, Musqueam, Tsilhqot’in, Splatsin and Coast Salish peoples.    

Jumblies Theatre, our mentor organization, worked hard to get us to British Columbia as part of their incredible Train of Thought tour, and our travel was generously supported by Schools Without Borders, who provided funding for our flights through our work with them as a “Featured Learning Partner”.

Jumblies was looking forward to us learning more about the work happening across Canada and that we may share our project with everyone there and develop connections. Ruth Howard and several key members of the Jumblies family have always been helpful and supportive of the work that Thinking Rock has been doing in our Northern Ontario communities.


For Thinking Rock, I saw this event as an opportunity to show that we are ready to call ourselves the next generation of young artists who are ready to use the arts as a tool for raising awareness of and challenging social barriers in the communities where we live.  

The event was a tremendous success and we all got an opportunity to meet some inspirational artists and organizers who shared with us the passion they have for their community.

We hosted a presentation at the symposium to highlight the work being done by young artists and social entrepreneurs in rural communities across Northern Ontario where relationship building and networking are crucial in supporting the arts. This presentation went very well as young people in British Columbia are looking for models of success from young people to base their own projects from. In the same day, we partnered with Dale Hamilton, one of the early practitioners of community arts in Canada, for a project at the symposium. The project involved a life size game board with interaction from the audience to explores and reflects on the challenges of starting and maintaining a non-profit organization in the arts. This opportunity was very exciting for Thinking Rock as it highlighted many of our organizational challenges as a young organization and also demonstrated how we have managed to meet those challenges while choosing to do the work in Northern Ontario.  


Oh Oh board game project with Dale Hamilton and Aiyana Maracle


The Thinking Rock team then traveled with the Train of Thought tour to Enderby, BC to visit Runaway Moon and Artistic Director, Cathy Stubington. Cathy’s relationship with the nearby communities which are of both Indigenous and Settler origin was very inspirational for the work we’re doing in the Algoma District. It’s especially an eye opener to see how much we still have to do, but that we’re certainly on our way there. I cannot wait to see how our work will grow because of that experience.


Cathy Stubington - Runaway Moon Community Tour


One thing I found on this trip is that meeting people through the arts is one of the most unique ways to learn about your community. You get a chance to learn how others look at their community and work in it. It also gives you an opportunity to feel more empowered by the community you come from and understanding your role in it. Thinking Rock’s The Rivers Speak project has come a long way already and I look forward to sharing more about this work as the community continues to shape it and learn about where they live. *