Sharing the Fire – Uncivilisation Gathering on Vancouver Island Aug 2015

by Kim Goldberg May 14, 2015
When: August 28-30, 2015
Where: Thistledown Farm, 2869 Cedar Road, Nanaimo, BC V9X 1K3
What: A creative think-tank of writers and artists
Accommodation: Mostly tenting
Cost: $60 (US or Canadian funds) – includes basic food ($20 for Saturday only)
Registration: Make cheques payable to Sharon English and mail to: 706 Indian Road, Toronto, ON, M6P 2E3.
Join us this August at an organic farm and nature sanctuary on Vancouver Island near Nanaimo for “Sharing the Fire” – an Uncivilisation Gathering in the spirit of the Dark Mountain Project’s Uncivilisation Festivals held in the UK in recent years.

What is the Dark Mountain Project? “The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it. The Project grew out of a feeling that contemporary literature and art were failing to respond honestly or adequately to the scale of our entwined ecological, economic and social crises. We believe that writing and art have a crucial role to play in coming to terms with this reality, and in questioning the foundations of the world in which we find ourselves.” (

Owl blind in wooded nature sanctuary at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Owl blind in wooded nature sanctuary at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Our Uncivilisation Gathering on Vancouver Island will be a 3-day creative think-tank for 25 writers and artists who share this vision. The gathering will include workshops, storytelling, dream-sharing, discussion, shared meals, music, brainstorming, creative exploration, evening drumming around a fire and much communing with nature. There is even a full moon on Saturday night. 

Click here for the downloadable Program. As you can see, it is still very open because we hope the participants will help shape it. The weekend will be a collaborative, egalitarian venture.  More information about Thistledown Farm is here:

As far as we know, this is the first Uncivilisation Gathering to be held in North America. It is being organized by five Canadian authors involved in the Dark Mountain Project:
Patricia Robertson (Whitehorse, YT) Joanna Lilley (Whitehorse, YT) Sharon English (Toronto, ON) Kim Goldberg (Nanaimo, BC) Heidi Greco (Surrey, BC)


We'll circle up the chairs around a fire in the evening

We’ll circle up the chairs around a fire in the evening

Participation for the full weekend is limited to 25 people, available on a first come first served basis upon receipt of your $60 registration fee (Canadian or US dollars). Please make your cheque payable to Sharon English and mail it to: 706 Indian Road, Toronto, ON, M6P 2E3. Cost includes basic meals for the three days and a place to pitch your tent.

Single-Day Participation
Those wishing to come just for the full day’s program on Saturday may do so for $20 (basic meals included). Pre-registration is appreciated here too so we will know numbers. But it is not essential. You will not be turned away if you just show up on Saturday with $20 for the single day.

Accommodations & Amenities
While this is primarily a tenting weekend for most of us, there are a few bunks and couches available in outbuildings. And we will have access throughout the weekend to two fully equipped kitchens, four indoor toilets and two showers. Water and electricity are readily available. 

Shaggy Mane mushrooms at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Shaggy Mane mushrooms at Thistledown Farm, Nanaimo, BC

Your $60 registration fee will include BASIC food from Friday evening through Sunday morning: fruit, cereal, soups, cheese, bread, butter, jam, coffee, tea, juice, milk, cream, almond milk, plus salad greens and sandwich fixings. Everyone is advised to bring additional food, either for yourself or to share potluck style. 

It is a short drive to a supermarket, several cafés and a lovely British pub in the country with garden seating and indoor seating. So there are some other food options.

Getting Here

Ferries that carry vehicles sail from Vancouver to Nanaimo, and from Seattle to Victoria. (From Victoria, it is a 90-minute drive north to the farm.)
Kenmore Air has direct flights from Seattle to Nanaimo. We will do our best to get people who arrive in Nanaimo without a vehicle out to the farm.

Questions? Suggestions?
For questions or suggestions for the program, please contact:
Sharon English:
Patricia Robertson:

We hope you will join us this August for “Sharing the Fire”.

About Kim Goldberg

Kim Goldberg is a poet, journalist and the author of 8 books of poetry and nonfiction. Latest titles: DEVOLUTION (poems of ecopocalypse), UNDETECTABLE (her Hep C journey in haibun), RED ZONE (poems of homelessness) and RIDE BACKWARDS ON DRAGON: a poet's journey through Liuhebafa. She lives in Nanaimo, BC. Contact:
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1 Response to Sharing the Fire – Uncivilisation Gathering on Vancouver Island Aug 2015

  1. Pingback: Nanaimo Regional District Tries to Banish Writers | Pig Squash Press

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