Sydney Pickering on Tanning Hides, Rekindling Connections and Learning from the AGP’s Changemakers

Sydney Pickering 005 ECU 2020 12 02


By Perrin Grauer | filed in Staff, Students, Aboriginal Gathering Place, Research

Posted on December 03, 2020 | Updated December 03, 2020, 9:26AM

The Aboriginal Gathering Place provides a ‘home away from home’ for Indigenous students, says the artist and ECU student.

Sydney Pickering, artist, researcher, activist, family archivist and community advocate, whose work both defines and defies each of these titles, sits in the Aboriginal Gathering Place (AGP) midmorning on a rainy Tuesday.

The AGP is quiet, though working steadily in each of its three offices, just behind Sydney’s chair, are the women who run Aboriginal Programs and provide access to culturally specific learning for Indigenous students at Emily Carr University: Brenda Crabtree, Director of Aboriginal Programs and Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives; Connie Watts, Associate Director of Aboriginal Programs; and Angela Marston, who recently joined the team as Aboriginal Program Coordinator.

Technically a transplant from the prairies, Sydney is Vancouver Island-born, and a once-distant daughter of the Coast Mountains, now returned. Currently in the final stages of her undergraduate degree at Emily Carr, she was recently hired on as a paid researcher for the AGP. And while her work in that role has kept her plenty busy, she’s been keenly observing everyone around her.

“It’s been really humbling to see how they work and make changes happen — changes that I didn’t think were happening before,” she says of Brenda, Connie and Angela. “It’s been really eye-opening to learn from them, to just sit here, listening, watching.”

Full article by Perrin Grauer: