Paul Brandt signs on as Storyteller-in-Residence at MRU
Canadian country music entertainer and eight time JUNO Award winner, Paul Brandt, is taking on a new role with Mount Royal University to serve as a resource for students working on social justice projects.
On Monday, Brandt was at the institution to accept the position of ‘Storyteller-in-Residence’ and will work with students over the next two years.
“We’ve done all of the stuff that we’ve done around the world, touring and playing for people and this idea came up that we could use everything that we’ve done over the last 20 years to help the students to see a new side of business,” said Brandt. “A part of it is a mentorship role and a part of it is taking these experiences that we’ve had over the years and figuring out a way to make connections with the students to get them excited so that we can do things that are going to have impact.”
This semester, Brandt and the students will take part in an awareness campaign called ‘W: at MRU’, to bring awareness to human trafficking and missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.
“Getting to see these young, excited minds get completely zoned in on these issues and figuring out how they can tackle them, it’s a way for me to use the experiences that I’ve had, to pass them on, and have them get into finding solutions as well and making differences using their own talents and skills,” said Brandt. “This is something that I’m really excited that people are going to remember. This is something that I know will have an impact on the student’s lives, they’re going to take the things that they learned with us working together and they’re going to change other people’s lives as well.”
The senior students will showcase some of the exhibits related to the project at various locations around campus.
“He’s a huge humanitarian and it’s been remarkable. He helps us, he helps guide us and it’s been great,” said student Sonia Marreiros. “He has come to class and worked with us many times and he tells us stories, which impact us, and we’ve had guest speakers.”
“He is an incredible storyteller and I think a lot of us know him as an artist and a performer and a musician, not necessarily as kind of like a mentor and a storyteller and it’s been incredible to hear his stories and his first-accounts of interactions with women and children that have been affected in Cambodia and he’s really opened our eyes to the issues and it’s been a real treat to work with him,” said Bryton Udy.
“The energy is amazing. It really is. Working with students and introducing concepts, to me that now have become old hat, things that it’s like, well of course this is the way that the world works, from what I’ve seen, and they’re looking at you like, okay, tell us more. To see how hungry they are for that kind of knowledge, is very exciting. I’m really enjoying it and I’m finding that it’s pushing me too,” Brandt said.
Brandt is a graduate of Mount Royal and has been nominated for Country Album of the Year at this year’s JUNO Awards, which will be held in Calgary on April 3, 2016.