Agnes Presents the People’s Symposium

The theme of the inaugural People’s Symposium is Restorative Relationships with Land, Community and Archives

February 29, 2024, 9am – 4:30pm
In-Person at the Great Lakes Museum, 55 Ontario St, Kingston
Free and open to all. Sign up to save your spot >

Agnes Etherington Art Centre presents the People’s Symposium, a platform for the dissemination of local and regional histories centering Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, queer and trans stories in Kingston, Wolfe Island and surrounding areas. Bringing community together, the People’s Symposium invites Indigenous knowledge keepers, local historians, independent researchers, academics and artists including Alejandro Arauz, Scott Berthelette, Maureen Buchanen, Emelie Chhangur, Nasrin Himada, Jennifer Dysart, Cathie Jamieson, Qanita Lilla, JP Longboat, Jennifer Smith, Sheldon Traviss and Winsom Winsom together in a public forum to share and elevate knowledges typically erased from mainstream representations which tend to emphasize Eurocentric colonial histories of English and French settlement.

Read speaker biographies and check the schedule for the day >


We begin this first symposium by gathering as an urban community in this special place which was once known as Mississauga Point, a former Anishinaabe village. Today, we come together in partnership with the Great Lakes Museum to sit at the village site and share stories about the ancestors who lived here before us while imagining healthy futures for the next seven generations. We are living in the time of restoration and of transformation. Embedded in the words restoration and restorative is the word rest. Our Mother Earth is tired and working overtime to restore balance in our out of balance home.

What good lessons and teachings can we (re)visit and (re)learn from within the archives of natural law, our bodies, communities, and spirits?

Curated by Sebastian De Line, Associate Curator, Care and Relations

In partnership with the Great Lakes Museum. Supported by Queen’s University Faculty of Arts and Science EDII Fund


As an ode to the first known Black-owned business owners in Kingston, James and Maria Elder, who opened the People’s Saloon on the Royal Mail Line Warf in 1844, the People’s Symposium is intended to become a platform for invited speakers and artists. An iteration of the People’s Saloon, a contemporary platform, today the People’s Saloon activates spaces of minority solidarity, visibility, joy and future thinking.

The People’s Saloon is an artistic platform surfacing from curatorial research on local Black history conducted by Qanita Lilla, Sebastian De Line, Emelie Chhangur, Tianna Edwards and Philip Monk in 2023. A series of socially-engaged artistic activations in public spaces will be performed at various sites.


Agnes with Heart logo

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Situated within territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a curatorially-driven and research-intensive professional art centre that proudly serves a dual mandate as a leading, internationally recognized public art gallery and as an active pedagogical resource at Queen’s University in Kingston. By commissioning, researching, collecting and stewarding works of art, and by exhibiting and interpreting visual culture through an intersectional lens, Agnes creates opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.

Agnes is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that centre the artistic expression and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Agnes promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces.

36 University Avenue
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
agnes.queensu.ca

Agnes is an accessible venue.

Facebook: @aeartcentre
Twitter: @aeartcentre
Instagram: @aeartcentre

For inquiries, contact Kate Yüksel, Communications Coordinator.

Image credits:
1. JP Longboat’s performance Relighting the Fires—a place of an ancestral Haudenosaunee Longhouse at Fort Frontenac on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: Sunny Kerr
2. People’s Symposium watermark, designed by Vincent Perez
3. People’s Saloon watermark, designed by Vincent Perez