Drawings capture participant’s memories

Margaret Gissing’s drawing from the train trip. (Photos by John Longhurst)

Some people journal about their experiences on “Memories of Migration: Russlaender Tour 100.” Others take photos. Margaret Gissing is drawing sketches.

Gissing drawing.

Gissing, 29, is a communications associate at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. Wherever she goes she has her sketchbook in hand, chronicling aspects of the tour.

“I’m on the tour to learn more about my family history,” said Gissing, who is one of a number of young people sponsored to be on the tour.

At the same time, she is interested in hearing the stories of others as they share their family histories, she said.

As for why she is drawing, it’s because she likes to learn in a visual way, she said. “I like reading, but this is more engaging for me . . . I’ve always liked drawing and sketching.”

She also likes “being in places where things happened,” like the visit to Grosse Isle.

Through her sketching, Gissing is trying to “capture moments” she can go back and visit again to process the various experiences from the tour.

By day four of the first leg of the tour—the only leg she is participating in—Gissing had completed 10 pages of sketches, some of which she had gone back and coloured in with watercolours.

“It’s my scrapbook of the journey,” she said.

Margaret Gissing’s drawing from her visit to Grosse Isle, Quebec.

John Longhurst is a freelance writer from Winnipeg who is blogging about the tour.