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Reading Groups

May 11, 2019 - August 14, 2019

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Reading Groups, part of Archiving Unrest, will seek to reflect on forms of collective action, while questioning the nature of collectivity itself.

Challenging the spectacle of much of the documentation of social and political unrest, shifting our focus from the charismatic speaker in the foreground to the crowds in the background, the participatory project Reading Groups will take the form of a discussion group that will discuss a pre-selected text that considers group dynamics, collaborative practices and collective action, with the texts then added to a modular library structure within the gallery. The different Reading Groups sessions will be facilitated by a compliment of activists, academics and artists who have all considered group dynamics, collaborative practices and collective action.

All are welcome! Free! Read as much or as little as you want, and feel free to bring your questions. All readings are available here, and also will be made available in the modular library structure as part of the exhibition Archiving Unrest during regular public hours.


Saturday, May 11, 2-4 pm
Michael DiRisio
This session will consider the first 7 paragraphs of Judith Butler's Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street, which reflects on what it means to gather together in public space, as well as the way that spaces are made public through this gathering. Paying particular attention to collective actions and demonstrations, Butler considers the significance of visibility and appearance in these actions, engaging with Hannah Arendt's notion of the "space of appearance," while challenging the limits of Arendt's theory and asking who is continually excluded from these public spaces. To watch or listen to the reading: video.

Michael DiRisio is a writer, curator, and visual artist. His recent work explores labour, social histories and the construction of value, through photo, video and installation-based projects.


Saturday, May 18, 2-4 pm
Emily and Alex of the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network, will focuses on the possibilities for collective organizing by tenants in response to gentrification and displacement pressures. We’ll talk a bit about how gentrification works in general and about the role real estate capital plays in post-industrial cities like Hamilton. We’ll also talk about recent examples of housing struggles in Hamilton, including the seven-month rent strike waged by tenants of the Stoney Creek Towers in 2018. Readings available here.

The Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network is a grassroots network linking tenants across Hamilton, Ontario to build tenant power and fight against the forces of displacement.


Saturday, June 8, 2-4 pm
Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (HPU) will be leading an Itinerant Reading Group to discuss a chapter from Karen O'Rourke's Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers, focusing on the political practice of perambulation and critical cartography (walking depending on weather). Reading available here; supplementary reading here.

The Hamilton Perambulatory Unit is a group of artists, writers and educators, co-founded by Donna Akrey, Taien Ng-Chan and Sarah E. Truman. The HPU orchestrates participatory events to engage with historical and current ideas around perambulation, and to explore walking in conjunction with artistic practices and research-creation.


Saturday, June 15, 2:00-4:00pm
Sherri VanSickle’s session will review the TRC Calls to Action as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People with some poetry by indigenous writers.

Sherri Vansickle is from the Eel Clan, Onondaga Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a faculty member at Brock University and a certified secondary school teacher working as the Native Education Counsellor with Six Nations students who attend high school in Brantford.  


Wednesday, June 19, 7-9 pm
Luis Jacob's session will discuss Spaces of Learning: The Anarchist Free Skool by Jeffery Shantz, which considers the Anarchist Free School in Toronto, and questions of collective DIY and temporary autonomous zones.

Luis Jacob is an artist who studied semiotics and philosophy at the University of Toronto. In 2003 he was part of the Anarchist Free University collective, and from 1998 to 2000 was part of the Anarchist Free School collective in Toronto.


Unfortunately, this Reading Group has been cancelled
Syrus Marcus Ware’s readings will deal with blackness and trans identity and how we can imagine creating a world where black trans lives are cherished and able to thrive. Readings available here.

Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. 


Wednesday, July 17, 7-9 pm
Anthony Marco has selected Paula Kelly's article, written in 2016 entitled Looking for Mrs. Armstrong, which provides an overview of Helen Armstrong, a key figure (often-overlooked) in the history of the Winnipeg General Strike. Through the reading and discussion of this article, we hope to provide some evidence as to the crucial roles that traditionally-female union groups and leaders had during this landmark moment for the labour movement. Helen Armstrong was far more than a footnote to the Winnipeg General Strike, and in many ways was a key to the sustainability of direct action in Winnipeg through 1919 and beyond. Reading available here.

Anthony Marco is the President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council representing 50,000 affiliated union members across the Hamilton area. He is a high school teacher and a member of OSSTF District 21. 


Saturday, August 10, 2-4 pm
Alejandro Tamayo’s readings explores the action of laziness and its creative potential. In addition, it includes a contemporary account on laziness by art historian Sven Lütticken and Paul Lafargue and the radical reading of Duchamp’s laziness by sociologist and philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato. Additional readings here.

Alejandro Tamayo is a visual artist and writer who lives in Hamilton. His diverse practice encompasses sculpture, installation, drawing, photography, and digital and electronic media.


Wednesday, August 14, 7-9 pm
Steacy Easton’s readings are about the bath house raids in Toronto and Edmonton, plus bath houses intended for hygiene in Montreal and Ottawa. Discussion will focus on how we construct third spaces, how public spaces are policed, how sexuality emerges as a social reality, and the liminality between hygiene and vice. Steacy's selected readings are from Valerie J. Korinek, Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930-1985; Chapter 8, pages: 377-386. Reading available here and here. Also, the following links provide additional readings: https://archive.org/details/bodypolitic75toro/page/8 and https://archive.org/details/bodypolitic71toro/page/12, as well as this video.

The Public Baths of Ottawa, Meredith Stuart: A Public Reconsideration: https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/64708/vol40_no1_83_96.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Modernity, Sanitation, and the Public Bath, Berlin as Archetype. Social Design: The “bains publics” of Montreal. 127-137. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EN0vgJecpFO2jHkHaCBvIeyI5SVBwP8W/view

Steacy Easton is a writer and artist, who grew up in Edmonton and is now living in Hamilton. They are mostly interested in sex, class, country music, and their intersections.


This program is part of Massive Disruption: Commemorating the Winnipeg General Strike.

WAHC acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts and the Socrates Project for its support of the Main Gallery exhibition program, as well as the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton and the Province of Ontario for its on-going support.

For more information, contact Hitoko Okada, Interim Program Coordinator at hitoko@wahc-museum.ca or (905) 522-3003 ex. 29

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