Halifax, Nova Scotia


Art Evicted? Property, Policy, Politics and Potential in Halifax (community roundtable)

TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 5:30pm, at the Bloomfield Centre (2786 Agricola Street), free and open to the public

Facebook event page:

Join representatives of some of Halifax’s (semi-)autonomous art spaces for a community discussion of current developments. With the recent eviction of the The Khyber Centre for the Arts and the Roberts Street Social Centre, the relocation of the Eyelevel Gallery, and the precarious future of the Anna Leonowens Gallery, these seem like dark days for the independent visual arts in Halifax. Yet bold new ideas (like Platform Halifax) are being actualized and communities are being mobilized.

Meanwhile, old problems have new faces: the difficulties of sustaining artist-run and autonomous art spaces on the margin of Canada; the relationship of art/space to gentrification; the difficult dance of art, space, politics and policy; the power of money and the powerlessness of its absence; the vexed question of art’s responsibility to community (and community’s responsibility to art); and the state(s) and fate(s) of the arts in an age of austerity.

The Art and Activism at NSCAD group, in collaboration with The Radical Imagination Project, invite you to a discussion about the past, present and future.

Speakers (TBA) will deliver brief updates and positions, followed by moderated discussion.


Justseeds Collective member Meredith Stern: Workshop and Portfolio Exchange, Jan 10-11

The Art+Activism team is organizing a print portfolio that will be completed and exhibited at the Khyber Center for the Arts with an opening reception on April 25th, 2014. Consider this an open call for anyone who would like to create a print inspired by Nova Scotia’s past, present, or future social justice or labor struggles, victories, and anything in-between. More details below.

To kick off the creation of this portfolio Meredith Stern (, an artist and activist from Providence, Rhode Island will be visiting Halifax and NSCAD on January 10th and 11th. Stern is a member of the Justseeds Artist Collective, a decentralized network of artists committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance.

On Friday, January 10th at 5:30  (location TBA) Meridith will give a presentation about the projects and art works she has facilitated as a member of the collective. On Saturday, January 11th join us in the NSCAD printmaking studio for a workshop led by Stern. We’ll explore and discuss approaches to creating graphics inspired by the social and political climates that impact our lives as well as strategies for aligning this type of making with collective action.

Participation in this workshop is not limited to those who wish to be a part of the exchange, but those who would like to edition a print for the portfolio are encouraged to attend. Printmaking experience is not required as long as you are able to attend the workshop. Facilities and material access will be discussed. Please RSVP to

We anticipate that the edition size for the portfolio will be between 30 and 40 pieces. Everyone who participates will receive their own portfolio of the works created.

In addition to the exhibition at the Khyber, the portfolio can be exhibited by anyone who participates. The Art+Activism team will be pursuing the publication of a book to catalogue the works created accompanied by essays written by the team. Additionally, one of the portfolios will be reserved for the NSCAD archive.

It is our hope that this project will serve to connect members of Nova Scotia’s creative community with one another on the grounds of collective interest in the subversive and transformative power of expression.

Please direct all inquiries to


Queer Poetry Cafe – Dec 10, 2013

The Queer Poetry Café will be hosted by Karin Cope, Blonde Sparrow and Faizal Deen on Tuesday 10 December 6-9 pm at The Gender Pit (Anna Leonowens Gallery, Hollis Street), Halifax

In 1977, Audre Lorde argued that “poetry is not a luxury” but what “coins the language to express and charter…revolutionary demand….Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”

In our queer future, everyone is a poet, and poetry is not a luxury. Come make the future happen! No experience necessary. Beverages available for purchase; poetry, paper, mark-making and collage materials freely provided.

Karin Cope in disco drag in Greenland. Photo by Elisabeth Bigras

Karin Cope in disco drag in Greenland.
Photo by Elisabeth Bigras

Karin Cope teaches at NSCAD and thinks every day should contain both poetry and activism. Since 2009, she has produced the Visible Poetry blog at

Blonde Sparrow

Blonde Sparrow

Blonde Sparrow visits from Cape Breton Island with lines and rhymes for warmer times. What happens to those who don’t fly south?

Faizal Deen

Faizal Deen

Faizal Deen writes poetry in Windsor, Ontario under the supervision of Sabrina, an 11-year-old cocker spaniel. Look for Faizal in Kofi Campbell’s forthcoming, The Queer Caribbean Speaks.




Caroline Woolard, NSCAD Art and Activism Artist in Residence, January 2014 (talk: Jan 16)

We at the Art and Activism at NSCAD project are thrilled to announce that Brooklyn-based artist and community organizer Caroline Woolard will be resident at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in January 2014.  Events are currently being planned that will see Caroline make classroom visits and present a workshop/public talk on her phenomenal and inspiring work. Caroline’s residency is made possible with the support of many bodies at NSCAD: The Division of Foundations Studies, the Division of Media Arts, the Multimedia Centre, the MFA program, and the Student Union (SUNSCAD).

UPDATE: Caroline will deliver an artist’s talk on January 16 at 6:30pm in NSCAD’s Bell Auditorium:

Called MoMA: Exchange Cafe, this social space was dedicated to artists and activists that engage in cooperative, alternative, and non-market economies. Parasitic tea from the Feral Trade Network, prison abolitionist milk from Milk Not Jails, and local honey from BeeSpace—products that directly engage the political economy—were be available by exchange only. Instead of paying with legal tender, Exchange Café patrons were invited to make a resource-based currency. MoMA: Exchange Cafe asked: What exchanges are (im)possible here?

Artists Statement for the Exchange Cafe:

In 2013, I waded through MoMA’s collection, hoping to find 20th c. precedents for one-on-one artistic practices of reciprocity that inspire me to heal, dream, and struggle against stagnant wages and austerity measures. I uncovered a few artworks, neither singular nor static, that revolve around voluntary, reciprocal commitments for small groups. Rather than sitting alone on a pedestal, these artworks embrace dialog and labor, making meaning in action as two or more people gather. These artworks refuse to separate production from objecthood; political economy from the presentation of ideas.The Exchange Cafe is dedicated to presenting these works alongside contemporary practices of cooperation and exchange in the arts.

From Caroline’s website:

Caroline Woolard ( is an artist and organizer based in Brooklyn, New York. Making sculptures, furniture, and events, Woolard co-creates spaces for critical exchange, forgotten histories, and plausible futures. Her practice is research-based and collaborative. In 2009, Woolard cofounded three organizations to support collaborative cultural production; three long-term infrastructure projects to support short-term artworks: a studio space, a barter network, and Trade School. Woolard has a studio in the Queens Museum, teaches at the New School, just finished a Fellowship at Eyebeam, and spends time organizing footnote systems as well as candid lectures on failure and incommensurability when she’s not in the archives at the Museum of Modern Art reflecting on a project at MoMA that just closed. By 2018, Woolard hopes to establish a community land trust in New York City with community organizers, computer engineers, and artists who are dedicated to lifelong commoning. Get updates every four months by emailing with subject: “quarterly list”, listen to a talk, look at images, or go to an event listed below.



“In the Same Boat” screening and discussion with the film-makers Marth Stiegman and Sherry Pictou (Dec 4, 1pm)

InDefense-2The Art+Activism@NSCAD project is very pleased to host a screening of the film In the Same Boat, followed by a discussion with the film-makers Martha Stiegman and Sherry Pictou, Wednesday, December 4 at 1pm in the auditorium of the Dalhousie School of Architecture (across Spring Garden Road from the public library.  Map here:

A brief overview.

Two neighboring fishing communities – one Mi’kmaq, the other non-native – both struggling to defend their ways of life.

Shot on Nova Scotia’s legendary Bay of Fundy, In the Same Boat? explores the common ground between indigenous and non-native communities, while showing the very different role fishing plays in both cultures.

Part One, The End of the Line, is a portrait of Terry Farnsworth, the last handliner on the Bay of Fundy. Handlining is the most ecological fishing technology around. It was the foundation of the rural economy in this part of the country; and for Terry, it’s a vocation. These days, most fishing licenses have been bought-up by big companies. As fish stocks plummet, will Terry be forced off the water?

Part Two, In Defense of our Treaties, follows the struggle of Bear River First Nation as they stand up to pressure from the Department of Fisheries (DFO) to sell their treaty rights for a ticket into the commercial fisheries. For the Mi’kmaq, fishing is a right that comes from the Creator, and is protected by the Treaties. In 1999, the Supreme Court recognized those rights, and DFO has signed agreements with 32 of the 34 First Nations in the region. The deals offer money to buy into the commercial fisheries, as long as the Mi’kmaq fish under DFO’s jurisdiction. That’s not good enough for Bear River, one of two communities refusing to sign.

For more information, check out:


“Race is a Four Letter Word” screening and discussion with the film-maker, Sobaz Benjamin (Nov 12, 10am)

Race-is-a-four-letter-word_52227_LGThe Art and Activism at NSCAD project is pleased to host a screening and discussion of the film “Race is a Four Letter Word” ( with the film-maker Sobaz Benjamin, Tuesday November 12 at 10am at the Dalhousie University Art Gallery (6101 University Ave).

From film’s NFB website:

Speaking biologically, ‘race’ is a spectral concept. Black, brown, red, white, and yellow, considered purely as skin colours, merit no more significance than a tattoo. The ‘skin your’re in’ is about as meaningful as ectoplasm.

Scientists remind us that not only are we all essentially the same, but we all have the same genetic ancestor. Eve was a black, African woman.

Nevertheless, history and politics, sociology and economics, transform skin colour – ‘race’ – into either a golden sheathe or a leaden prison of shame.

In Europe and North America, blackness can still seem a burden. It can still brand its possessors as uncivilized, exotic, and menacing. But it can also be prized, lusted after and viewed as a precious enhancement, like gold foil.

In Race Is a Four-Letter Word, director Sobaz Benjamin highlights Canadian contradictions and conflicts around race. Heroically, he exposes himself, too: a black man who grew up hating himself, trying to bleach his skin with chemicals, and then struggling to appreciate the meaning of his culture and heritage as an ‘Afro-Saxon’ Briton, then Grenadian and now Haligonian-Nova Scotian-Canadian.

Courageously, Benjamin strips away the masks and armour of race, of blackness and whiteness, to reveal the vulnerable and human, including that very sex that inspires so much primal envy and dread. This brave film forces us to unmask and to look unflinchingly at our real selves.

Sobaz Benjamin showcases the stories of a white man who is culturally and psychologically black; of a black woman who wants to be considered iconically Canadian; of another black woman who retreats to England rather than continue to face Canada’s racial cold war; and of himself, a black man who has learned to love his complexity.

In the end, Race Is a Four-Letter Word teaches us that the soul has no colour. Yet, we also learn that race is a marathon we are all forced to run.

Race Is a Four-Letter Word was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.


Oct 2-5: Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis

The Art and Activism at NSCAD Project is part of the team (led by The Radical Imagination Project) bringing these speakers to Halifax:


Silvia Federici is a world-renowned feminist scholar, writer and activist. A veteran of the international Wages For Housework campaign and anti-nuclear struggles, she is author of Caliban and the Witch: Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia 2005) and Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (Common Notions/PM Press 2012).
More information:

George Caffentzis is a scholar and activist based in New York City. A member of the influential Midnight Notes collective he has written on capitalism, technology, education and the nature of money. He is the author, most recently, of In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism (Common Notions/PM Press 2013) and he is an organizer with the New York-based Strike Debt movement.
More information:


Wednesday, October 2

7pm – George Caffentzis speaks on a panel on THE POLITICS OF WORK

hosted by the Dalhousie Platypus Society (
Dalhousie University Students Union Builing (6136 University Ave), room 224.

Thursday,October 3

12noon – Silvia Federici speaks on FEMINISM, GLOBAL CAPTIALISM AND THE COMMONS
Dalhousie University Students Union Builing (6136 University Ave), room 307


hosted by the Dalhousie Students Union ( and the Student Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (
Dalhousie University Students Union Builing (6136 University Ave), room 317
Out of the ashes of Occupy Wall Street, a new generation of activism has emerged to contest the power of debt over our lives. Is student debt a legitimate “investment” or is it a form of economic coercion that unfairly constricts our individual and collective horizons? In this presentation Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis, New York-based anti-debt organizers and scholars, share their experiences and insights into student debt and the role of the university in capitalist society.

Saturday, October 5


to close the Celebrate the Common 250 Festival ( and Solidary Halifax’s People’s History of Nova Scotia Conference (
RBC Auditorium, the Halifax Infirmary (Summer St.),

George and Silvia’s visit has been made possible with the assistance of the departments of Women’s Studies and Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Saint Vincent University, and by the Student Union and the Art and Activism Project at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

For more information, please email mhaiven [at] nscad [dot] ca, or call 902-494-8261



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