Keynote Lecture: Claudia Rankine, Plus Conversations and an Artist-Led Tour

Art Museum at the University of Toronto

Presented in conjunction with exhibitions Conceptions of White and THE COUNTER/SELF, on view until March 25, 2023

Photo by Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times.

Keynote Lecture: Claudia Rankine
Wednesday, March 1, 6pm–8pm ET
Online on Zoom

Award-winning poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine will share her own research into racial constructs and Whiteness within (art) institutions, expanding on and reflecting additional perspectives on the study of White identity.

Claudia Rankine is the author of five books of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric; three plays including HELP, which premiered in March 2020 (The Shed, NYC), and The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019; as well as numerous video collaborations. Her recent collection of essays, Just Us: An American Conversation, was published by Graywolf Press in 2020. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. In 2016, Rankine co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Claudia Rankine joined the NYU Creative Writing Program in Fall 2021. She lives in New York.

Presented in partnership with the Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto; and the Canadian Art Museum Directors Association of Canada/Organisation des directeurs des musées d’art Canadiens (CAMDO-ODMAC).

Installation view: Deanna Bowen, White Man’s Burden, 2022 in Conceptions of White, January 11–March 25, 2023, Art Museum at the University of Toronto. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Conversation: Institutional Perspectives on Whiteness in Cultural Spaces
Saturday, February 25, 2pm–4pm ET
Online on Zoom

As executive directors of the three art galleries presenting the touring exhibition Conceptions of White, John G. Hampton (MacKenzie Art Gallery), Barbara Fischer (Art Museum at the University of Toronto), and Anthony Kiendl (Vancouver Art Gallery) will reflect on urgent questions and strategies for dismantling the White institution, changing the traditionally White frameworks of art museums, and imagining a decolonized visual space.

2Fik, Fanion #6 (Charte), 2019, digital print. Courtesy of the artist.

Artists in Conversation: Enacting Identities
Wednesday, March 8, 6pm–8pm ET
Online on Zoom

Engaging from specific cultural positions, Jeremy Bailey, Jennifer Chan, 2Fik, and Stacey Tyrell—exhibiting artists from Conceptions of White and THE COUNTER/SELF—will discuss the nuances of identity formation and perception, trajectories of research, and new outlooks that have resulted from their investigations.

Artists in Conversation: The Subversive Power of the Alter-Ego (Part 1)
Thursday, March 16, 6pm–8pm ET
Online on Zoom

In an informal conversation, THE COUNTER/SELF artists Meryl McMaster, Adrian Stimson, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Jamie Griffiths will discuss their strategies of deploying alter-egos to foreground absented perspectives and counteract colonial narratives, articulating forms of resistance or alternative ways of being counterparts in genuine dialogue.

Artist-Led Tour: The Subversive Power of the Alter-Ego (Part 2)
Saturday, March 18, 2pm–4pm
In-person at the Art Museum–Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

THE COUNTER/SELF artists Helio Eudoro, Julius Poncelet Manapul, and Sasha Shevchenko will address the ways in which their characters highlight diasporic perspectives and counteract socio-political constraints, proposing alternative ways of defining one’s self free of gender normative, geopolitical, or colonial impositions.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information and to register, visit

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Art Museum at the University of Toronto
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
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