What people have said about James Raffan…

James Raffan is that marvelous amalgam: the soul of a poet, the stage-presence of a born raconteur, and the painstaking accuracy of a professional historian.  When he makes a presentation his photos captivate you, taking you to another time and place. He interweaves imagery, music, and storytelling in a way that is engaging, entertaining, and in a wonderful way quite educational. He has the relaxed stage presence of an experienced entertainer and leaves the audience always wanting one-more-story. (When you were a kid, he would have been your favourite uncle.)  James’ artistic vision is very wide – he was the artistic director of the CanoeSongs 1 and 2 albums, which are iconic encapsulations of the Canadian North, as well as many books. His audiences always end up captured by The Lure of Faraway Places—one of his very own titles. Yet as a historian his works are resources of considerable value, much-quoted and recognized for their informed understanding of the Canadian North.  An evening with James Raffan is one to treasure. You just might learn something, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy it.

Dave Hadfield

Singer/songwriter, Retired Air Canada Captain

The Raffan presentation received rave reviews.  There was superb photography together with an articulate discussion of various frontiers that only the canoe can reveal.
Michael McKeown

Arts and Letters Club (est. 1908) Toronto

Hilarious, quirky and at times touching … [your] descriptions and anecdotes fleshed out the world into which this incredibly significant collection of canoes and kayaks was born.
Jeremy Ward

Curator, Canadian Canoe Museum, Responding to illustrated lecture entitled “Canoe Country: A lovingly skewed geography of Canada

I loved the variation in his presentations. Whether speaking to the staff, to the students in school assemblies, or to individual classes, he had something valuable to offer. He is interesting, witty, and extremely personable. A fabulous choice!
Staff Member at Westminister School in Adelaide Australia.

Master story teller.
Anne Jansen

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Dr James Raffan thoroughly engaged delegates at the Biennial conference of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia in October 2011. His topical keynote address entitled “Education as Story: The Power of Narrative”, developed the central theme of the conference, Culture 2 Culture, through providing insightful examples of how the characters of young people are developed by placing them in situations that challenge their comfortable world view. In many cases this does not occur within a traditional, formal educational setting but instead it is most successful in those environments that involve some risk and where the young people have to delve deeply into their inner resources. Dr Raffan’s extensive experiences in leading wilderness canoeing expeditions in the interior of Canada, combined with his academic intellect provided a perfect platform for Heads to contemplate the importance of using these experiences to develop the personal narrative of students’ lives whilst simultaneously contributing to the culture of a school.
Lester Saegenschnitter

Principal, Concordia College, Adelaide, South Australia

When I first heard of James Raffan, it was through one of those bio’s that read like a ‘70s Ronco ad — ‘It slices, it dices, it will wash your car, it’s the life of the party, it is a party!’ Well, this one read, ‘teacher, author, musician, artist, historian, photographer, consummate wilderness traveler …’ I thought give me a break! Well, without further adieu, I introduce to you, teacher, author, artist, musician, historian, photographer, consummate wilderness traveler … and now, add music producer to the list. Ladies and gentlemen, James Raffan.
Andy Convery

Sedbergh College, Papineauville, Quebec

You were informative; you were philosophical; you were funny; you were entertaining … it made for a delightful evening enjoyed by all.
Janice Griffith

General Manager

James’ presentation to our outdoor education philosophy class was of immeasurable value to our students and the staff that attended. James presented a stunning audiovisual display and his own values and philosophy that framed perfectly further classes. He was entertaining, challenging, and engaging. I think many students were thinking that they would like to have him for a professor!
Dr. Graham Dodd

University of South Australia

Clearly your presentations in Havana were well received by all the participants. I’m thrilled to know our contribution to their program finished on such a high note. Congratulations and thanks.
Cam Collyer

Evergreen Foundation, Canadian Liaison to Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Humanity in Cuba.

James Raffan is a skilled storyteller, whose passion for the northern landscape and its people, wilderness travel and Canadian culture is clearly evident when he speaks. Both informative and inspiring, James is able to convey his knowledge to others in a manner that is accessible and refreshing. When presenting the closing keynote at our recent conference, his careful preparation was apparent, as he seamlessly interwove current and past issues within our field with boarder national topics and his own experiences, whilst also artfully paying special homage to our conference dedicatee.
Kyle Clarke

Horwood Conference Convenor