About Ritallin

Greg Frankson a.k.a. Ritallin (photo by Julie Paré)

Biography: A. Gregory Frankson, OCT, B.Ed., a.k.a. Ritallin

Greg Frankson (a.k.a. Ritallin) is a spoken word artist, arts educator, creative services consultant, writer, musician and social activist based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Greg is a former National Director and currently the Vice-Chair (Communications) for Spoken Word Canada, organizers of the annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.  He was the Spoken Word Curator for Westfest for four years and is a co-founder of the award-winning Capital Slam poetry series.  He is a roster member for two arts education organizations – MASC, based in Ottawa, and Toronto-based Prologue to the Performing Arts – and a member of the League of Canadian Poets.

Ritallin self-published a political poetic memoir entitled The Halifax Chronicles in 2006 and has released two poetry chapbooks – Coast Poems in 2008 and Mindfull in 2010.  His debut book of poetry Cerebral Stimulation was released by BeWrite Books in 2006, and he was included in an anthology of spoken word poetry by Quattro Books entitled Mic Check in 2008.  He released the CDs Capital Thoughts in 2005, Poet Psychology Volume I in October 2010 and Poet Psychology Volume II in January 2011.  Ritallin appeared on the track “Can You Feel It?” on the 2007 CD It’s Great to be Fine by Ropeadope Records jazz-ambient band Antizario and the track “Uncomfortable” by Inuit hip-hop/spoken word artist M.O. in 2009.  Greg started the poetry and music ensemble Instant Release in fall 2008 and is the group’s lead vocalist/songwriter.

He has participated in major conferences and small gatherings alike in North America and internationally penning poetic reflections on the current state of global mental health systems.  He is the Poet Laureate of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and was the poet-in-residence at the Into the Light conference in Vancouver, hosted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in November 2009.  In the same month, Greg launched the Artists’ Alliance for Mental Health, an international initiative building parallel organizations in Canada and the USA to address issues that confront people living with mental health concerns through the transformative power of the arts.

In addition to his artistic achievements, Greg holds the distinction of being the first African-Canadian to serve a term as President of Canada’s oldest undergraduate student government, the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University, in 1996-97.  Since then, he has been a vocal advocate for the on-campus recognition of Robert Sutherland, Canada’s first known university graduate of colour and the first Black lawyer in British North America, and advised a student-led initiative in 2008 to name a building on campus in his honour.  In October 2009, Queen’s University officially rededicated its Policy Studies Building as Robert Sutherland Hall.  His community achievements were recognized in December 2010 when he was profiled by Who’s Who In Black Canada (www.whoswhoinblackcanada.com).

Through his creative services consultancy Cytopoetics, Greg works with young people in schools and community settings as a presenter and performer, and with businesses and social services organizations as a facilitator, keynote speaker and creative services consultant.

Past clients include: Ottawa Police Service, Ontario Federation of Labour, Ontario Music Educators’ Association, Canadian Conference of the Arts, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Council of Canadians, Canadian Labour Congress, University of Ottawa, Georgetown University, National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (U.S.A.), and the IIMHL.

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