With panelists Craig Heron, Stephanie Ross, Vincenzo Pietropaolo and Nahed Mansour
Moderated by Florencia Berinstein, Executive Director, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
In celebrating WAHC’s 20th anniversary, we convene a roundtable discussion to explore the ways that cultural production has engaged with workers and issues of labour, to both tell their stories and history, as well as inform a wider dialogue on art, politics and the citizen artist. We will examine the changing definitions of labour and workers throughout the last twenty years, to encompass a greater demographic of workers, and a more inclusive definition of labour.
The panelists’ will offer different perspectives on these and other questions surrounding labour arts within the historical context of the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. Before the panel talk, members of WAHC’s new Youth Council will lead attendees through highlights of the 20/20: Vision/Hindsight exhibition.
CRAIG HERON has taught History and Labour Studies at York University since 1982, where he has recently spearheaded the creation of a Public History initiative within the History Department. He is the author of many articles and books on Canadian social and working-class history, most recently Lunch-Bucket Lives. He has been vice-chair of the Ontario Heritage Foundation and president of the Canadian Historical Association. He was a founding member of the original board of WAHC in 1988, and served as chair or co-chair and member of the program committee for many years. He also curated three WAHC exhibitions and served as historical advisor on several more.
NAHED MANSOUR is a Toronto-based artist that works in performance, installation, and video. She draws from personal and historic archives to address representations of gender and racial relationships. Nahed Mansour graduated from Concordia University’s MFA program and is currently the Director of Mayworks Festival-Toronto.
VINCENZO PIETROPAOLO is a Toronto-based social documentary photographer whose lifelong mission is to document Canada’s immigrant communities, workers, working-class culture and social justice issues. He has distinguished himself as a photographic bookmaker, combining photographs with his own original writing. Active as a freelance photographer since the 1990s, Pietropaolo has published eight books of photography, including Harvest Pilgrims: Mexican and Caribbean Migrant Farm Workers in Canada. He has exhibited internationally, his work is included in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, and he is currently featured in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. He has an MFA degree from Ryerson University, and writes frequently on photography in POV Magazine. He has had two previous exhibitions at WAHC, has chaired the programming committee and currently sits on the Board.
STEPHANIE ROSS is Associate Professor of Work and Labour Studies in the Department of Social Science and co-director of the Global Labour Research Centre at York University. Her research and teaching focuses on public sector unionism, union renewal, and democracy in working-class and social movement organizations. Current areas of research include public sector unions’ unique sources of power, the strategic implications for unions of deindustrialization, anti-union sentiment in Canada, and the emergence and potential of new forms of worker organizing. With Larry Savage, she has edited two books, Rethinking the Politics of Labour in Canada (Fernwood 2012), and Public Sector Unions in the Age of Austerity (Fernwood 2013). She is also president of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies.
FLORENCIA BERINSTEIN is currently WAHC’s Executive Director. She has over 15 years’ experience in the arts and culture sector working as both an arts administrator and a visual artist, in deep collaboration with a broad range of workers and community groups. Florencia was the Festival Director of Mayworks Toronto from 2001-2012. She has extensive experience in developing and executing community arts projects with labour and community groups that address issues of social justice including with women, youth, LGBT, and immigrant communities. In 2003 she received a prestigious Chalmers Professional Development grant from the Ontario Arts Council to complete her Master’s degree in Australia, and is also the recipient of the 2002 K.M. Hunter Award in Visual Arts from the Ontario Arts Council Foundation.
This program is part of 20/20: Vision/Hindsight, Celebrating 20 Years at WAHC. This roundtable discussion kicks off 4 months of events throughout the fall!
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council in making this exhibition and its programs possible.