Under The Mountain's Shadow
This project is a combination of research and art; it is funded through the Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) Self-Directed Research Scholarship.
It looks at some of the social issues facing resort towns, specifically sexualized violence, domestic and intimate partner violence, and issues of mental health and addictions. The final piece will combine the research as well as found items/trash collected from around Banff into a partially abstract landscape collage of the town of Banff and surrounding mountains. A section of the in-progress image is shown above. The goal of the finished piece is to start and carry-on difficult conversations around social issues facing the Bow Valley.
For more information see full project description below.
The survey is intended to gather informal information and experiences from current and previous residents of the Bow Valley, as well as visitors to the town who feel they have experiences to share. All responses will be kept anonymous; if you choose to share contact information, this too will be kept private and will be retained only for the purposes of this project. Any comments included will not be shared if the respondent indicates that they do not want them included in the final artwork.
Lastly, before you begin, please be aware that this survey covers sensitive topics. Share only what you are comfortable with. There are resources available to you or anyone in need of support. Some resources are listed below - for a more complete list visit the YWCA Banff Resources page.
Please take care and thank you for your time.
“Sexualized Violence is a broad term referring to the spectrum of sexual offences, including sexual assault and harassment.” *
“Sexual Assault: is any unwanted sexual act done by one person to another, or sexual activity without one person’s consent. Some examples would be unwanted kissing, butt slapping, sexual activity had under pressure, and forced oral sex.” *
"Sexual Harassment: any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation. Sexual harassment can and does occur in many contexts like workplaces, on the street, and in schools. Some examples would include unwanted flirting, jokes about sexual orientation or identity, and sharing sexual images without consent.” *
* “The Harmony Project.” YWCA Banff Website, ywcabanff.ca/programs-services/harmony-project. Accessed August 2021.
YWCA Banff Resources
Sexual Violence Response Program
The Harmony Project - "“offers compassionate support services to anyone who has been impacted by sexualized violence. Our services are free, confidential and available 7 days/week to anyone in the Bow Valley Area.”
Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Support
Bow Valley Victim Services Association
Urgent Mental Health Walk-In Services:
Banff & Canmore Hospitals 7 days/week, 2 – 9pm
Alberta One line:
Text or call 9 am-9 pm daily
Distress Line – 24 hours
Family Violence Helpline – 24 hours
Kids Help Phone – 24 hours
Suicide Crisis Line
Addiction 24 hours Help Line
Family Separation/Divorce Support
Alberta Health Services, Addiction and Mental Health Services
All Resource information from "Resources." YWCA Banff Website. ywcabanff.ca/resources. Accessed August 2021.
The Mountain's Shadow
This artistic research project funded though the Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts formerly ACAD) Self-Directed Research Scholarship. It explores, and attempts to bring awareness to, the challenges that face residents of, and visitors to, resort towns that are rarely discussed and even more rarely publicly acknowledged. The beauty of the place and the ‘Peter Pan’ attitude towards life in a resort town has a shadow—a darker side that results in increased rates of sexual assault, overdoses, addictions and struggles with mental health. This topic is profoundly personal, I grew up and have spent much of my life in Banff, and while I deeply love my home, there are experiences and losses that are unfortunately part of life here. These issues are even more challenging because, along with the high turnover of people, most businesses and employers in resort towns rely on the tourist industry and its accompanying pristine image of natural beauty—leaving little space to acknowledge, discuss, or improve the social issues facing resort towns.
The research will consist of 1) gathering statistics on rates of sexual violence, overdose, and mental health and addictions in Alberta, 2) having discussions with support services and community members attempting to tackle these issues, 3) reaching out on social media to gather informal statistics and anecdotes of experiences in the Bow Valley, the good and the bad, and 4) collecting found items and trash within Banff that when combined with printed/written statistics and anecdotes will be collaged into a large landscape series of Banff and surrounding mountains. The research and the refuse will be layered to build up a classically beautiful image of Banff but on closer inspection will reveal the very real challenges faced by resort communities.