A new festival of ideas will take centre stage in Guelph with the ArtsEverywhere Festival this month, and the University of Guelph will be part of the three-day event.

Taking place Jan. 19-21, the festival offers lectures, conversations, music, artistic performances, literary readings and walks in the city. Several of the events will be livestreamed on ArtsEverywhere.ca.

The event is run by Musagetes, an organization that promotes the arts and artistic creativity in community-building.

Suzy Lake

U of G professor emeritus Suzy Lake, School of Fine Art and Music, will deliver the Big Ideas Lecture in Arts and Culture, a free event Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Guelph. Lake, whose artistic interests are identity and representations of the body, will discuss performance, feminism and identity.

“I will be showing images of my art work that reflect social concerns from the late ’60s to the present, including how the use of materials and conceptual strategies can provide meaning,” said Lake, whose artistic practice spans nearly 50 years.

“Art can open different modes of perception and visual pleasure, or reveal ruptures in our culture to initiate a form of dialogue.”

Musagetes executive director Shawn Van Sluys said Lake’s talk will focus on how relationships between the individual and society form identities.

“Having a renowned artist such as Suzy Lake open the festival sets the tone for the topics that will emerge over the three days, particularly focusing on the struggles and joys of living together across difference,” said Van Sluys.

Musagetes will provide complimentary festival passes to 30 graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Guelph.

“Students will find the festival particularly valuable because the conversations are likely to complement their academic pursuits, whether in the arts, environment, sciences or humanities. It’s an ideas festival — and we know that students are full of them,” he said.

U of G president Franco Vaccarino will introduce the annual Guelph Lecture—On Being Canadian, which will feature a discussion of human relationships with each other and with the land. There will also be a talk on Canada’s Chinese restaurants and a performance by a group of First Nations musicians.

Other events will focus on reconciliation with indigenous peoples, including a workshop and panel discussion, and a talk about the role of clowns in reconciliation.

“Over its 14 years to date, the Guelph Lecture—On Being Canadian has become a recognized and celebrated offering to Guelph’s life of ideas,” said Van Sluys.

“We hope to build on that and expect that over time the festival will grow to include more events, more artistic work and more ways for festival-goers to contribute all year long.”