For those who have been following this blog, you will know that over the past 18 months I have been putting a lot of time and effort into a project to preserve the history and traditions of my ancestors, the Doukhobors who settled in Saskatchewan from Russia almost 120 years ago. Since the start of the year I have been on a bit of a sabbatical after leaving my role with the federal government. It has given me a chance to both recharge my batteries and have some focused time to work on moving the Doukhobor project forward. I’m currently planning to stay “on sabbatical” so to speak until at least the end of June – so stay tuned for more updates on what is next for me professionally in the coming months.
For now, the focus is on this passion project of mine and I’m happy to report that we have some updates to share. Before diving in, I want to mention that we have set-up a new mailing list for those who have contributed to, or are interested in, this project about the Doukhobor community in Saskatchewan. While I will occasionally provide updates here at RyanAndrosoff.ca, if you would like to receive more frequent updates about the project and sneak-peeks of new content as we get closer to launch, please sign-up for the mailing list using the form below.
…now on to the updates!
First, we have updated the title of the project to the “Saskatchewan Doukhobor Living Book Project”. While the focus remains the prayer service and spiritual practices of the Doukhobors in Saskatchewan, we have through the course of our work over the past 18 months collected a large number of oral history interviews. Our interviews reflect a range of Saskatchewan Doukhobors’ perspectives, with participants ranging in age from 10 to 93. We believe the Doukhobor concept of the “Living Book” fits well with what we are trying to achieve with this project and our hope is that this will become a truly “living” resource that will continue to grow over time.
Secondly, we have launched a website for the project which you can find at: http://DoukhoborLivingBook.ca – we are just starting to load content onto the site and over the coming months it will continue to grow. Here, you will be able to find the various video and historical products that we will be releasing as the project continues.
Finally, we have just made available the full recording of the prayer service that was taped at the Blaine Lake Doukhobor Prayer Home as part of this project. You can access it via the DoukhoborLivingBook.ca website or directly via YouTube.
In the meantime, work is continuing on the two major products that are being produced as part of the this initiative:
Documentary Film: “We’ve Concluded Our Assembly”
This film will capture the oral history and spiritual traditions of the Saskatchewan Doukhobors by incorporating interviews with more than two dozen members of the community, a recording of a Doukhobor prayer service, and archival footage and photographs that help tell the story of how the Doukhobor community in Saskatchewan has evolved over the years. We are hoping to have the film ready for an initial premiere by this Fall.
Spirit Wrestler Soundscape
The recording of a Doukhobor prayer service will be used to create an immersive exhibit suitable for a museum or gallery that will allow viewers to experience being a part of the prayer service itself through using multiple audio and video tracks to create a 360-degree auditory and visual experience as people move throughout the exhibit space. We are working with our partners to have the Soundscape ready for public display in the Saskatoon-area for sometime in mid-2019.
We are also continuing to raise funds to cover the considerable costs involved in a professional-quality project of this magnitude. Currently we have a number of grant applications in with provincial and federal organizations which we are hoping will cover the vast majority of post-production expenses. In the meantime, we are continuing to accept individual donations to help offset our costs. If you or friends or family wish to contribute, they can find information on how to do so on our website at the following page: https://doukhoborlivingbook.ca/donate
Thank you to all of you who have supported and contributed to this project in ways large and small over the past couple of years! While there is much work left to be done, it is gratifying to be past yet another milestone and we couldn’t have gotten this far without the help of so many people along the way.