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Building Possibilities: Guest Talk with Davina DesRoches

June 9, 2023 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

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Join us for Transformative Possibilities, a guest talk delivered by Davina DesRoches, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Winnipeg.

Transformative Possibilities: The New Arts and Heritage Labour Movement with Davina DesRoches

Friday, June 9th, 2023   |   4:30 pm - 5:45 pm

Free. All are welcome. No pre-registration required.

On an international level, arts and heritage cultural institutions in the non-profit sector are increasingly subject to the importation of private-sector rationalities and practices, a situation exacerbated in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this, how can arts and heritage organizations in Canada sustain their activist intentions and engage in progressive action, both within their own workplaces as well as the broader community?

This talk draws on examples from the international context to explore an emerging politics of cultural labour in which arts and heritage workers are experimenting with new forms of collective action to agitate for improved livelihoods, greater social protections, and a more equitable workplace. In the process, these workers are attempting to thwart the art world’s own exclusivity in a way that could have lasting and widespread impact, and are building possibilities for the creation of national and international networks of socially engaged practice and activism.

Davina DesRoches is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. She holds a PhD in sociology and a Master’s degree in Canadian Studies with a concentration in heritage conservation. Her work examines a variety of cultural forms – everything from museums to cities to advertising – from a political economic perspective (meaning, she is interested in how power and money shape culture and cultural practices). Her current research project explores how museum workers are responding to changes in museum workplace organization, and documents the strategies that these workers use to expose and resist increasingly insecure employment, declining levels of compensation, and shrinking labour protections.

This lecture is presented as part of Building Possibilities: Labour Arts and Labour Heritage in Canada, a conference co-presented by the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, Laurier University, and McMaster School of Labour Studies. Building Possibilities is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


51 Stuart Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8L 1B5       905.522.3003       Public Hours: Click here