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Jessica is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Her mother is a Lamondin, with roots in the Georgian Bay Métis Community from the verified Métis family lines of Solomon and Berger/Beaudoin. Her father’s family were settlers to the Britt area in the early 1900s. 

At two weeks old, Jessica Outram visited her grandparents on Georgian Bay and she has spent as much time there as possible ever since. A full-time educator for 25 years, Jessica is System Principal of Program in Indigenous Education, supporting all schools in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. She is the author of a novel for middle grade students, Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold, and of the poetry collection The Thing with Feathers. Her play Once Upon a Rocking Chair has been produced twice to sold out audiences. Jessica is an instructor at Trent University in the Indigenous Bachelor of Education Program. Jessica currently lives in Peterborough, Ontario. Jessica was the 4th Poet Laureate of Cobourg, Ontario from 2019-2022.

Jessica is a writer with a deep respect for ancestral knowledge. Through her writing she explores land, water, ancestors, healing, spirit, and the reclamation of Métis identity and pride. She celebrates the spirit of place and reflects on the lessons that are offered through her family history. Following the traditions of storytelling, Jessica looks to stories, both traditional and from life-experiences, to better understand what it means to be human. 

She is an avid learner of Métis knowledge, history, perspective, and culture. Jessica looks for ways to connect her own family's experience of being Métis within a broader context of Métis from communities beyond the Georgian Bay area. Her writing draws from her lived experience, including her relationship to land, language, family, Métis culture, ancestral knowledge, community, Treaty relationships, and being a woman. Jessica uses her writing as a way to preserve the spirit of her family's story so that it isn't lost again.

 

Her work in Indigenous Education focuses on supporting educators with holistic approaches to decolonizing classrooms and schools, leading a team to support and advocate for Indigenous students, and guiding educators to bring Indigenous knowledge, perspective, culture, and history to life in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum.

Bridging her career in education and as a writer, she has looked for opportunities to utilize peace education in classrooms, schools, and in story. Focuses include critical literacy, social justice, environment and sustainability, arts-informed inquiry, and Theatre of the Oppressed. With a special emphasis on the pedagogy of voice, she explores how nurturing self-expression and creativity can lead to social change.

Jessica is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. She has a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education and Community Development from University of Toronto.

As co-host of The Hummingbird Podcast with Catherine Graham, Jessica explores poetry, identity, place, and creativity.

In May 2024, the Georgian Bay Concert Choir performed the world premiere of 'Windblown Group of Seven,' composed by Dorothy de Val. Lyrics by Jessica Outram.

Recipient of the Gordon Johnston Award for Artistic Excellence, Trent University.

Recipient of an Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grant.

Please use the contact form in the footer if you are interested in booking Jessica for a reading, talk, or workshop.

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Examples of Past Talks, Readings, and Workshops by Jessica Outram

Peterborough and District Wapiti Métis Council 

Reading of Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold

Ontario Principals' Council

Indigenous Connections Series: Introduction to Métis Perspective, Culture, Knowledge and History through Story.
Indigenous Connections Series: Holistic Approaches to Indigenous Education

Sifton Cook Heritage Centre

My Métis Family Story and Poetry

Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs Conference, Humber College

Opening the Jar: Autoethnographic Reflections on Teaching and Developing Resiliency

Northumberland Festival of the Arts

Playwriting 101

Brockton Writers Series

The Four Seasons of Story

Storytellers of Canada

Indigenous Storytelling: Hope, Humour, and Healing Concert

Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre, Northumberland.

Labyrinth Creative Living Plan

Northern Reads: True North Aid

Poetry Reading, The Thing with Feathers

Art Gallery of Northumberland

Featured Book Launch of The Thing with Feathers

Trent University

48th Annual Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering

Featured Book Launch of Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold

Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Holistic Approaches to Indigenous Education
The Story of Indigenous Education, K-12.
Indigenous Student Success
What's at the Centre of Indigenous Education?
Awareness and Action for MMIWG2S: Sisters in Spirit
Land-based Indigenous knowledge and perspectives: Making connections to Special Education and Mental Health
Indigenous Voices: Teaching Poetry in Grade 11 English
Trent University: Regularly invited to the School of Education to Guest Lecture in various courses

Publication History

​Books

  • 2023. Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold by Jessica Outram. (Middle grade novel inspired by my Métis family story). Second Story Press. 

  • 2022. The Thing with Feathers by Jessica Outram. (Poetry collection about healing from trauma through the four directions of the Medicine Wheel). Piquant Press.

  • 2022. Sunsets in Britt by Jessica Outram. (Photography book). Sunshine in a Jar Press

  • 2014. The Writing Spiral: Learning as a Writer by Jessica Outram. Sunshine in a Jar Press.

  • 2013. Songs of Sunshine and Snowflakes by Jessica Outram. (Poetry chapbook).

  • 2011. From the Cottage Porch: An Anthology. Edited by Jessica Outram and Ewa Krynski. Sunshine in a Jar Press.

  • 2008. Once Upon a Rocking Chair: A Play in Two Acts by Jessica Outram. Sunshine in a Jar Press.

Academic

  • 2023. Holocaust Education Teacher Guides (designed three guides to support novel studies). Second Story Press.

  • “It Takes a Village: Supporting student well-being using a collective impact model.” Ontario Principal’s Council Register, Summer 2016. Vol. 18. No. 2.

  • 2011. Opening the Jar: Autoethnographic Reflections on Teaching and Developing Resiliency by Jessica Outram. Master’s Thesis, University of Toronto.

 

Articles and Anthologies

  • 2022. Hill Spirits V: In Celebration of Resilience. An Anthology by Writers in Five Counties in Eastern Ontario. Edited by Susan Statham. 

  • 2021-22. Letters to a Poet by Jessica Outram. Monthly column in Cobourg Now.

    • Poetry is About Discovery (featuring Jenni Burke)

    • Poetry is About Connection (featuring Marion Fuessel)

    • Reading Poetry Can Connect Us (featuring Doug Langille)

    • Story is at the Heart of Poetry (featuring Gwynn Scheltema)

    • The Gifts of Poetry in Community (featuring James Pickersgill)

    • Poetry Inspired by Geese (featuring Marie-Lynn Hammond)

    • Talking to Cats, Birds & Myself (featuring Linda Hutsell-Manning)

    • April is National Poetry Month (featuring Antony Di Nardo)

    • Poetry is Summertime (featuring Katie Hoogendam)

  • 2019-2022. Poetry Present edited by Jessica Outram. Curated a weekly email series featuring local poets.

  • 2022. The Story of Water edited by Jessica Outram. (Community e-chapbook). Sunshine in a Jar Press.

  • 2021. Lessons from the Earth edited by Jessica Outram. (Community e-chapbook). Sunshine in a Jar Press.

  • 2021. Cobourg Present edited by Jessica Outram. (Community e-chapbook). Sunshine in a Jar Press.

  • 2020. Our Pandemic Times: A Journal in Times of Pandemic and Lockdown edited by Felicity Sidnell Reid and Kim Aubrey. Blue Denim Press.

  • 2020. Light in My Eyes edited by Jessica Outram. (Community e-chapbook). Sunshine in a Jar Press.

  • 2012. Local Lot VI: The Cobourg Poetry Workshop 2012 Anthology. Three poems. Wiki Metaphor. eliot and envelopes. Without Flight.

  • 2012. Hill Spirits: An anthology by writers of Northumberland County Edited by Gwynn Scheltema, Felicity Sidnell Reid, and Susan Statham. Two poems: Peace Builder. Living Fossil.

  • 2011. Our Family History of Bingo by Jessica Outram. The Country Connection Magazine, Summer/Autumn.

  • 2011. Bare Elements: A Collective Approach to Narrative Nonfiction Edited by Summer Book Collective. Memoir: Family Picnic Magic.

  • 2007-present. Sunshine in a Jar. Blog. www.sunshineinajar.com 

Feedback from Workshops

"I'm so glad I attended Jessica's workshop on Creativity! It was impressive and light-filled with her own inimitable respect and encouragement for all participants. She speaks from the heart and from the wisdom of many sources including her Métis origins and writers such as Bell Hooks and Emily Dickinson. I especially liked the suggestion that we include the four elements earth/air/water/fire in our story creations, and I have already mentally planned a memoir piece using these elements - to honour our connection to oceans, plants and photosynthesis. Thank you, Jessica, for the inspiration." Diane Taylor

"Cornerstone had the pleasure of working with Jessica at a recent wellness workshop for our staff. She provided our staff with a guided workshop on finding creativity in everyday. Jessica provided staff with a beginners lens of how to be mindful and notice the beauty in different ways in the world around us. It was a great way to kick off our day together and I look forward to working with Jessica again in the future." Janelle Eisler

"Jessica's approach to creative coaching is unlike anything that I have ever experienced. It is always original, every topic is so beautifully researched, with information, questions, artwork, and prompts that nudge your brain into a space that you would not have thought of on your own. The classes are filled with interesting people also exploring their creative boundaries, so the classes are lively and discussion is rich. Highly recommended!" Marie Anderson

"I joined Jessica's "Creative Spiral" live chat on zoom, and expected it to be fun and casual (which it was!) - but it was so much more. Her level of professionalism, wisdom, and willingness to both share and listen was inspiring. Her content was on-point, and I left the chat feeling ready to create! If you are a creative person who needs to move through a block, join us! If you are new to creating, and want support and inspiration, join us! Thank you Jessica for sharing your creative spirit and knowledge with us. I wish I could join alllll your events." Jennifer Anne Burke

"Capturing Jessica's expansive talent, skill and creative expression in a short blurb is no easy task. She has an ability to make 'creativity' an every day lived experience that enriches all parts of daily life. Whether I am thinking through the most mundane of experiences or taming the excitement of a diffusive idea, Jessica's approach is playful and no-nonsense. She has been my creative go-to for many years and I highly recommend her to anyone looking to see life, projects and big bold ideas from a new, actionable and authentic perspective." Chantell Tunney

"As a sixty five year old man during an epidemic, I found Jessica Outram's energetic and prolific work on the subject of creativity to be a wake up call. New ideas and old memories have blended together to open up my mind again. I recently participated in a workshop about revising creative work, and it helped me to focus on what I wanted to achieve with my latest project. Stepping back, seeing the big picture, and targeting objective. Thanks to Jessica Outram.I'm also grateful for the positive atmosphere in the Creativity Coaching Canada environment. Thanks!" Lawrence Kosowan

"Jessica is one of the most creative people I know. Every time I connect with her, I am inspired with new ideas and different ways of thinking. She is an experienced coach and excellent communicator. A real treasure to us all." Pat Skene

"Now I am creating." Carol Anne Caswell

"Jessica is a fantastic teacher. Very good at getting the important points across and helping to understand how best to be creative. Very very beneficial." Garret Lee

"Jessica's creativity workshops are motivating, encouraging, supportive, clever, encompassing. I appreciate them greatly. I was in a bit of a lull with my writing although with your spirals of creativity I am now back at writing full force." Ken Bond

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