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DIRT: Intersectional Approaches to Messiness
November 10 & 11, 2017

Archives are dirty. Though scholars have critiqued the idea of an archive as dusty and disorganized, their contents often challenge the very boundaries that try to contain them. The 2017 Activist Media Archives Symposium will interrogate the idea of DIRT by “departing from the planned coherent borders of the ‘archival’” and refocusing our attention to the “trashy, dirty, disgusting, and untidy disorganization of bodies, things, and emotions” (Manalansan 2014: 94). This symposium will bring together artistic, activist, and scholarly communities to highlight these kinds of messy, dirty, and alternatively-organized archival practices.

We are pleased to announce that our keynote this year is activist Chris Ramsaroop from Justicia for Migrant Workers. He will be giving a talk titled: “Canada’s migrant worker programs, a managed model of migration or a system of indentureship and apartheid: stories from below”

There is a registration fee of $100 for faculty and $25 for students, which includes coffee and snacks throughout the day, and a catered lunch. If this fee would be a barrier to your attendance, please contact the Studio at thestudioformediaactivism[at]gmail[dot]com or message us here on Facebook. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Both the School of Image Arts and the Sally Horsfall Eaton centre are wheelchair accessible. Thanks to the generosity of the School of Disability Studies, we will be able to provide ASL interpretation for the entire symposium.

To register, visit our Eventbrite page.

*If you require ASL interpretation, please contact thestudioformediaactivism[at]gmail[dot]com no later than November 7*

This event is made possible with support from the Ryerson Yeates School of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Communication & Design, the RTA School of Media, the School of Disability Studies, and the School of Image Arts.


Tentative Schedule (subject to change) 

November 10

School of Image Arts
122 Bond Street
Room 307
FREE to the public (no registration required)

7:00pm-9:00pm Opening Film Screening: Passiflora (Canada, 1985, 85 min.)
Presented in partnership with Ad-Hoc and the School of Image Arts
First screening of the rarely-screened and controversial National Film Board production in Toronto in nearly a decade.

From Mediaqueer.ca:
“An historically significant experimental feature, Passiflora(co-dir. Dagmar Teufel, 1985, 85) almost lost to the archive. On the eve of the great NFB turnaround, this daring graffiti essay on the Pope, Michael Jackson, the Olympic Stadium, and the manipulation of the masses gave a spunky glimmer of hope in a decade of institutional complacency. Named after the anesthetic tropical passion flower, Passifloradeploys animation, ‘new music,’ street theatre and dramatization laid over its observation of the two media stars’ simultaneous visit to their Montreal faithful. It celebrates resistance by a coalition of the disobedient: gays, transpeople, the young, battered women, the “psychiatrized,” and abortion activists and clients.”

November 11

Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre
99 Gerrard Street East
Room 560 

8:00am-8:45am Registration & Coffee
8:45am-9:00am Opening Remarks (Eliza Chandler, Interim Director, The Studio for Media Activism & Critical Thought)
9:00am-10:00am Keynote Address
“Canada’s migrant worker programs, a managed model of migration or a system of indentureship and apartheid: stories from below”
Chris Ramsaroop, Justicia for Migrant Workers

10:00am-10:15am Coffee Break

 10:15am-11:45amIn the thick of it: Dirty Theories and Practices
Leveraging the Leak: Possibilities and Threats in Contesting Boundaries.

Alysse Kushinski, York University
A Turn to Mud.

Ned Randolph, University of California San Diego
Settler Colonial Archives: The Case of Canada

Jane Griffith, Ryerson University
Sediment in the Biosphere

Madhuri Shukla, The New School and Timothy Nest, McGill University

 11:45am-1:00pm Catered Lunch and “Dirty Talk: Research Network Building”
1:00pm-2:30pm Operation Dirt: Perspectives on Toronto

Other Histories and Alternative Archives: About Alternative Toronto.
Lilian Radovac, University of Toronto

Sorting Through Pages of Resistance: Learning from Anti-Racist Activities in 1990s Toronto.
Sylvia Nowak, Ryerson University

Airing Dirty Laundry: Messiness of Internal Differences with the LGBTQ Movement.
Nick Mule, York University.

 2:30pm-2:45pm Coffee Break

2:45pm-4:15pm Digging Up Dirt in the Archive: Activism through Research Creation
Invisible Disabilities: Where are the Artistic Archives?
Anne-Marie Santerre, York University

Uncanny Aesthetics of a Forensic Archive: Katarzyna Mirczak’s ether project.
Justyna Hanna Budzik, University of Washington

Revisiting the Family Tree through the Memory and Trace of Home Movies.
Joëlle Rouleau, Université de Montréal

4:15pm-4:30pm Coffee Break

 4:30pm-6:00pm Dirt Everywhere: Expanded Archives

Space, Tooling, and the Internet of things – Dirt and Agency in Archives Old and New
Daniel Elkin, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Staging Bemusing Narratives and Rhizomatic Archives with Banksy and Punchdrunk.
Natalja Chestopalova, York and Ryerson Universities

Online Images, Space, and the City of Ciudad Juarez: The “Feminicidos Reclassification” Project Archive.
Chiara Bernardi, University of Stirling

6:00pm-8:00pm Reception & Mixer, Page One Cafe & Bar, 106 Mutual Street