Call for Submissions: Infrastructure of Dissent

International Women’s Day Concert at WAHC with Lacey Hill, Janice Jo Lee, Joni NehRita and Piper Hayes, 2017 by Kat Williams.

Call for Submissions:
Infrastructure of Dissent at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre

Submission Deadline: November 30, 2022 at 5 pm

From the participatory rebuilding of our permanent exhibits to a residency program, WAHC will begin a sustained exploration of the conditions that foster collective organization and mobilization in 2023. We are seeking submissions of diverse contemporary art projects examining the role of third spaces in creating communities of struggle for an exhibition this Spring/Summer.

Parks, bars and cafés, urban-scale Main Streets, cultural spaces and union halls. These are spaces that throughout history have seeded both formal organizing efforts and informal exchanges leading to collective action.

In sociologist Alan Sears’ writing on the infrastructure of dissent, he considers the ways activists develop collective capacities to learn, remember, celebrate and act, using the example of Drouillard Road in early-20th century Windsor as the site of networks of solidarity, celebration and informal knowledge exchange that nurtured the militancy of Ford autoworkers. At the dawn of the 21st century, through suburban development, individualized leisure and waning of worker mobilization, the role of such spaces has receded, but not disappeared. While the COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted the ways we gather, radical organizing–from labour organizing to Black Lives Matter to tenants organizing–has thrived locally and transnationally.

Sears proposes that “a new infrastructure of dissent cannot be rebuilt on old lines.” How have infrastructures of dissent shifted and persisted over time, in relation to austerity, geographical, technological, and generational change? How do past and present organizing spaces co-exist? What are the ways we maintain or rebuild infrastructures of dissent to foster community power, against all odds?

Members of UE Local 504 Gather at Woodlands Park, McMaster University, Ready House. Source: Workers’ City East End Tour, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre.

We welcome expressions of interest in all media responding to these ideas. All submissions must include the following in a single PDF:

  • A proposal or description of the project for consideration, 1 page maximum, including concept, and spatial and technical requirements
  • A CV, no more than 3 pages in length
  • A short biography, and your contact information

Please also include 3-5 images of your proposed project, or a rendering of your project if it is in development, in jpeg format, 72 dpi.

Send all materials to by November 30th at 5 pm with Your Name_IOD in the subject line.

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Workers Arts and Heritage Centre
51 Stuart Street
Hamilton, Ontario

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