Building the Bridges: Report of the National Conference on Multicultural Education, November 11-14, 1981, Winnipeg, Manitoba


156 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-9690637-3-3




Edited by Abe Peters
Reviewed by Adele Ashby

Adele Ashby was the former editor of Canadian Materials for Schools and Libraries.


At first glance, this appears to be a noteworthy publication. There is a very great need for new materials on the phenomenon of multiculturalism, especially ones that have Canada as their context. The chapters appear to cover numerous important aspects of the phenomenon: prejudice and discrimination, cultural sensitization, the media and its impact, policy and programs, and so on. However, closer examination reveals a number of serious flaws. The first chapter comprises addresses from Jim Fleming, Gordon Fairweather, and Lloyd Axworthy that are, not unexpectedly, political speeches that have little impact. The introduction makes no attempt to pull the material together but instead discusses what is not in the book. The bulk of the text consists of abstracts of workshops that are next to useless out of context. Scattered throughout, one finds, “Paper … not available for further summary at time of publication.” One summary reads, in part, “The workshop examined whether knowing about another culture adds to one’s creativity or not.” An interesting question, however awkwardly phrased. But there are no answers. Not even a hint as to where the discussion led. Chapter XVI contains an analysis of the data from the conference evaluation questionnaire, complete with comments that make little sense to anyone not a participant. The final chapter is a resource list of materials and a list of presenters with names and addresses. There is no index or bibliography. The whole package is spiralbound, thereby adding ephemeral binding to ephemeral contents. Of interest only to librarians who feel they must have every new multiculturalism title and to conference participants.


“Building the Bridges: Report of the National Conference on Multicultural Education, November 11-14, 1981, Winnipeg, Manitoba,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,