It’s a new year, and it feels like many among us are ready to shake off the dust of 2017 and start anew. 2017 was indeed a hard year, with rising global conflicts, increasingly extreme weather events showing the fruits of global climate change, and a seemingly never-ending stream of depressing news coming over our southern border.
It was a year that hit Peterborough hard too, with continuing clashes between the local government and its people, over casinos, parkways, police boards, and slogans. The music community suddenly felt a lot smaller too, with the closing of the Spill, the Pig’s Ear, and Catalina’s, and the loss of performance spaces and incubators for young artists that those venues brought.
But to say we’re ready to cast off the old year and start anew feels suspiciously like a repeat of what we were all saying at the end of 2016.
Instead of learning from our mistakes, we went in fresh to 2017, only to discover that none of our problems had actually been solved, and many had been made worse by pretending they were gone.
Electric City Magazine also went through a bit of a crisis in 2017. The magazine has been growing steadily since we started—but growing slowly, and this is a high-cost business, started in a time when media is suffering like never before. Canada got a sobering reminder of that fact in the last month of 2017, as a bizarre deal between media giants Postmedia and Torstar resulted in the closure of over 30 local newspapers. Part way through the year, it was looking increasingly like Electric City Magazine might suffer the same fate.
However, the tide started to turn for the magazine when we began conversations with the Resonance Centre for Social Evolution. They expressed an interest in purchasing the magazine, and this issue is the first result of that. As you’ll see, not much is different: we still have the same editors, the same writers, and the same coverage.
The main change will be that we’re adding focused coverage on four themes of great importance. We’ll be writing about these month after month in the paper, and we’ll be working with the Resonance Centre and Peterborough Dialogues to host summits and workshops to speak about those themes with the community and help develop coverage in the magazine. As a sampler of that, we’ve included four short articles on those themes on pages 6 and 7 of this issue.
We know this partnership is… unconventional, and some people have (understandably) been a bit suspicious of this fiercely independent publication getting bought out. That kind of questioning is a good thing—it’s the same questioning we’ve been going through as we worked out the specifics of the deal, and it’s the same critical eye we try and bring to our coverage, and hope our readers engage in generally in their lives.
But perhaps this is a time that demands unconventional solutions. Certainly that’s true in the media landscape: we don’t know if this kind of hybrid will be the solution that saves media, but we know that the old model is failing, and something needs to change.
And maybe that’s true for the world too. Simply ignoring our problems, and trying to repeat the same patterns that got us into this situation, has brought us to this point: the close of yet another awful, exhausting year, with a world that feels worse and more confusing.
Instead, maybe what will push us forward are unconventional solutions, weird experiments, and unlikely partnerships. We can’t keep the world the way it was, but maybe we can find new solutions to address a changing world.
So here’s to 2018. It’s going to be a weird year, and probably an exhausting one, but maybe not as bad of one as the two years before.
Photo by Yvonne Hollandy.