On March 7-10, 2018, we hosted an exciting symposium and multi-day workshop, Manifesting Resistance: Conversations about Intergenerational Memory Work across ‘the Americas,’ in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough), on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg territory. This project was a collaboration between Aging Activisms (based at Trent University, led by May Chazan) and Critical MediArtStudio (cMAS, based at Simon Fraser University, led by Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda).
Over these four days, we gathered as a small group of scholars, artists and activists from across “the Americas” to begin a conversation about intergenerational memory work, resistance, and creative archive-making. We understand “the Americas” as a geographical demarcation constructed through colonialism: we use this imperfect language to acknowledge that participants hail from across Turtle Island and beyond, including from locations outside of the often singular, homogenous, US-centric conception of “America” and indeed outside of the “Global North.”
In our opening symposium, we grounded our conversations in the land and territory in which we gathered – learning about some of the important activist remembering underway in Michi Saagiig territory and in Nogojiwanong. We carried forward from this opening the question of how land, place, and territory might shape all of our different memory projects, in varied and possibly unexpected ways. We then facilitated a collaborative media creation workshop, working in smaller groups to interview and photograph each other, to share in a series of circle conversations, and ultimately to co-create a collection of short media capsules about our memory projects. This work aims to push the boundaries of how we conceptualize activisms, archives, aging, and the intersections of these.
Conversations about Intergenerational Memory Work across 'the Americas'
Nogojiwanong (Peterborough), March 7-10, 2018
About Alice’s memory work: The way I live my Life is a memory project and intergenerational work, from raising my children to the social justice work and art in the quilt making that I do.
Alice Olsen Williams
About Jenn: I am a scholar, artist and performer invested in working on the possibilities that arise when we admit that we don’t know things.
Heidi's MA research centres on the importance of Manómin (Wild Rice) gathering to inter-generational relationships and well being over the life course.
Michelle belongs to Skwxwú7mesh-ullh Uxwumixw and grew up in the village of Eslhá7an when it was known as Mission Indian Reserve #1. She is a critical communications scholar and decolonizing graphic interventionist.
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Gabriela is an interdisciplinary media artist and cultural historian with a research focus in Latin American media art history.
Mónica Mayer (Mexico, 1954) has developed an integral focus in her work that, in addition to performance, drawing and interventions, considers writing, teaching and community participation as part of her artistic production.
About Alexandra: I am abundantly curious about material specificities, post human wildernesses, and investigations of the anthropocene, as well as performative mediations in the land that work to revamp, dispossess, and/or harken earthly and bodily inscriptions.
Funké's research interests are in oral history, the history of education in Canada, black feminist thought and transnationalism.
A PhD Student at UofT’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Jess focuses on accessible approaches to creating performance in Canadian theatre for and by artists with disabilities.
Monique (Guna and Rappahannock Nations) is passionately dedicated to a theatrical practice as an act of healing, of reclaiming historical/cultural memory and of resistance.
Born in Chile, bilingual writer Carmen Rodríguez came to Canada as a political exile in 1974. Rodríguez has worked extensively as an educator across a range of disciplines and in a variety of settings.
About Pat: After spending most of my working life as an academic, retirement opened up exciting activist possibilities. I found my ‘home’ with the Grandmothers Advocacy Network.
Maddy's work as an emerging researcher and community organizer focuses on feminist oral history, the politics of migration, and settler solidarities.
Karen Cordero Reiman is an art historian, curator and writer. Currently she is working as an independent scholar and curator, as well as on personal creative projects that intertwine art, literature and history.
Our gratitude to:
May, Gabriela, and the research team are so grateful to everyone who shared so much in this work. We thank the storytellers, Alice Olsen Williams, Monique Mojica, Funké Aladejebi, Heidi Burns, Jenn Cole, Karen Cordero, Alexandra Draghici, Pat Evans, Maddy Macnab, Monica Mayer, Michelle Lorna Nahanee, Carmen Rodriguez, and Jess Watkin. We are also so thankful for those who joined us for the opening symposium: Elder Shirley Ida Williams Pheasant, Anne Taylor, Nadine Changfoot, Julie Cosgrove, Rachelia Giardino, and Lara Kramer. We would also like to thank our team of researcher-facilitators: Melissa Baldwin, Heidi Burns, Jenn Cole, Emma Langley, Maddy Macnab, Michelle Nahanee, and Jo Shin.
We thank the First People’s House of Learning, Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space, the Theatre on King, and Sadleir House for making space for us. We thank Grandfather’s Kitchen/the Gitigaan Project and Thomas Olszewski, The Seasoned Spoon and Aimee Blyth, and Black Honey and Lisa Dixon – for keeping us well fed. We thank Elder Shirley Williams for her blessings and ongoing support, Monique Mojica for her keynote workshop, the Peterborough International Women’s Day Committee (including the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, the Kawartha World Issues Centre, Lisa Clarke, Ziysah von Bieberstien, and others) for opening up their event to us, Brio Gusto, Karma’s Café, Hummingbird Chocolate, and Jeannine Crowe.
We would also like to thank our funders, which included: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Trent Centre for Aging and Society, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and Simon Fraser University.