Spring 2023 Programming at the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre

Hannia Cheng, The FUTURES of SPACE (2021), still from the short film about the Chinatown Anti Displacement Garden.

This season, WAHC investigates third places as sites of community organizing through two new exhibitions.

Infrastructures of Dissent

In WAHC’s Main Gallery
Presented as part of the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts

Tings Chak 翟庭君
Hannia Cheng
Lynn Hutchinson Lee and Ingrid Mayrhofer
Rana Nazzal Hamadeh
Anthony Youssef with Alan Sears

Curated by Mitra Fakhrashrafi and Tara Bursey

May 12 – August 5, 2023
Opening Reception and Curator’s Remarks: Friday May 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

In 1945, Ford auto workers in Windsor went on a 99-day strike and won. Leading up to this historic win, workers and their families gathered in the nearby restaurants and cultural centres of Drouillard Road to learn, to dance, and to act. In his writing on the infrastructure of dissent, sociologist Alan Sears suggests it is these forged networks of solidarity and celebration that nurtured the militancy of the strikers.

Rana Nazzal Hammadeh, The same place and time (series detail), Photographs from protests, funerals, vigils, and marches in Ramallah, Palestine (2018-ongoing)

Infrastructures of Dissent pays tribute to the parks, restaurants, kitchen tables, shisha lounges and cafés, clubs, sanctuaries and union halls that have seeded both the formal organizing efforts and the informal knowledge exchanges that lead to collective action. Across geographies and against all odds, we ask: what ways can we rebuild infrastructures of dissent and foster community power?

Join us for a series of ancillary programs presented in support of Infrastructures of Dissent.

Saturday May 13, 2023, 1 – 4 pm | Second Saturday Family Workshop, Tiny Gore Park, with Annie Webber

Saturday, July 8, 2023, 1 – 4 pm | Tatreez Circle: Gathering around Palestinian embroidery, dissent, and labour with Razan Samara

Installation view, People, Power & the Park, Allan Gardens park, Toronto (2022)

People, Power, & the Park

In WAHC’s Community Gallery
Presented in partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University, Office of Social Innovation

May 12 – August 5, 2023
Opening Reception: Friday May 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

An exhibition of dioramas and banners celebrating the history of Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto as a site for community organizing and activism.

For over 125 years, Allan Gardens has welcomed communities including nineteenth century suffragists and World War I veterans in the depression, to twenty-first century environmentalists, antipoverty and gay rights activists. Indigenous communities have lived and gathered there for millennia. In the park, people have come together through time to celebrate their communities and advocate for their causes.

People, Power, & the Park features a structure composed of thirty individual display cases each telling a story about individuals, organizations, and events related to this storied history of the park. It celebrates Oronhyatekha, Canada’s first Indigenous physician; Milton Acorn and his fellow poet-protesters; the healing ceremonies of the Native Women’s Resource Centre; the persistence of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty; the resilience of the street nurses of Toronto’s downtown east, and more.

Museums are important third spaces where ideas and experiences are exchanged. Work with us to re-imagine how we represent the stories of working people!

In 2019, we stripped our walls of 20-year-old exhibits representing labour history in Hamilton and beyond. These exhibits privileged an industrial workforce, and realities of work and life that look and feel distant for many.

Inspired by principles of design thinking, Work In Progress consists of a series of interactive prototype exhibits produced by WAHC staff. We invite you to share your ideas and experiences of work, labour, and activism through innovative guided encounters with our prototypes. These prototypes will evolve over the next year, and inform how we redesign future exhibits.

Experiences and understandings of labour and work are always shifting. This is echoed in our view of cultural spaces as valuing process over permanence – we see our Centre as a work in progress. Help us challenge how work and labour is understood, and represent your experiences so that others may learn from them.

Interested in having your workplace, class, union local or community group take part in Work In Progress? Contact Sylvia Nickerson at sylvia@wahc-museum.ca for more information, or to book a guided tour.

Work In Progress is made possible through the generous support of the Hamilton Community Foundation.

WAHC wishes to acknowledge the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario, CUPE National, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, the Canada Council for the Arts and OSSTF for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.

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Workers Arts & Heritage Centre
51 Stuart Street
Hamilton, Ontario

Workers Arts and Heritage Center is fully accessible. For more information, visit wahc-museum.ca/accessibility/

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