Abandonment Issues

Toronto Free Gallery
October 29
7:00 pm

Join a group of Toronto activists in a panel discussion about mapping the wasted and abandoned buildings, lots, and spaces in the city. Their maps and research support a campaign for a ‘Use It or Lose It’ bylaw that would push for abandoned buildings and underutilized public spaces to be expropriated by the City and redeveloped as badly needed affordable housing and social centres.

For more information see Abandonment Issues.

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Migrants, Borders, Citizenship

Part of ‘A Potential Toronto’
Initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI)

More info: www.t-sci.ca

Tues., 23 Oct. 2007
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East (two blocks w. of Broadview)

Fleeing marginality and harm in their native countries, many Torontonians continue to live on the margins in their new one as non-status migrants. At the same time, migrant groups have created and spearheaded myriad safe spaces, deep community networks, and countless cultural initiatives throughout Toronto, transforming established norms of citizenship in the process.

What networks of affinity are emerging between self-organized migrant groups? How are politicized groups of non-status migrants redefining citizenship? How are regularization initiatives addressing human rights and migrant safety? How are legalization campaigns like ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ facilitating new security for Toronto’s non-status residents?

Join us on Tues. Oct. 23 as Peter Nyers (McMaster University, Citizenship Studies Media Lab), Cynthia Wright (York University), Patricia Diaz Barrero (Colombian Forced Migration Project), and members of No One Is Illegal (Toronto) open a collective conversation about how citizenship is being rethought within the city’s migrant communities.

About Invited Guests

No One is Illegal (Toronto) is a group of immigrants, refugees and allies who fight for the rights of all migrants to live with dignity and respect. NOII believe that granting citizenship to a privileged few is part of racist immigration and border policies designed to exploit and marginalize migrants. NOII work to oppose these policies, as well as the international economic policies that create the conditions of poverty and war that force migration.

Peter Nyers is Assistant Professor of the Politics of Citizenship and Intercultural Relations in the Department of Political Science, McMaster University. He is the author of Rethinking Refugees: Beyond States of Emergency (Routledge 2006) and is the Associate Editor of the journal Citizenship Studies.

Cynthia Wright is an activist, trade unionist, and contract faculty person at York University. She has been involved in diverse campaigns in Toronto including those aimed at challenging the state production of “illegality”. Together with other academic activists as well as frontline workers, she has prepared studies on the history of state regularization programs and on the access of non-status people to basic city services. Her articles include: “Against Illegality: New Directions in Organizing by and with Non-Status People in Canada“.

Patricia Díaz Barrero is a doctoral candidate in Social and Political Thought at York University. An immigrant from Colombia, she has carried out research with Latin American exotic dancers/stripers and Colombian refugees in Southern Ontario. She is the Ontario coordinator for the international research project “Forced Migration of Colombians: A Comparative Study on Fear, Historical Memory and Public Representations”, and has been an activist in the Latin American women’s community in Toronto. Her latest publication is: “Stripers, erotic and exotic dancers: Immigration and identity in the construction of the Canadian nation-State” published in Cuadernos Pagu, 2005.

About A Potential Toronto
A Potential Toronto is an event series and exhibition spotlighting alternative economies, minor spaces, and organizing strategies. It is a preliminary step in a longer-term counter-cartography project which would render currents of radical energy visible, audible, and tactile.

Youth Generated Autonomous Spaces

A Conversation with Catch da Flava, Trans_Fusion Crew and Sue Ruddick

Part of A Potential Toronto
Initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI)
More info: www.t-sci.ca


Thurs., 18 Oct. 2007
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East (w. of Broadview)

Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre’s Catch da Flava Youth Magazine, Radio show and Regent Park TV, Trans_Fusion Crew (Supporting Our Youth)’s Transmission Zine and Handy Trans are inspiring examples of the creative projects, programs and services created by and for youth in this city. These youth-driven centres are autonomous spaces for racialized and marginalized youth to explore their identities, voice their experiences and create their own narratives of self. Coordinators and participants of these programs will join Sue Ruddick (University of Toronto) to talk about the possibilities and challenges youth encounter in acts of self-representation.

Catch da Flava will launch the September/October Election’s Issue of their Youth Magazine, a bi-monthly publication established in 1995 to give culturally diverse youth living in the Regent Park area a voice on issues that impact their lives. The Elections issue features a variety of articles on the theme of voting. Participants include Emmanuel Kedini, Steve Blair, Adonis Huggins, Tyrone MacLean-Wilson, Iftekhar Chowdhury.

About Catch da Flava (Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre)
Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre is a youth driven organization that is motivated by the belief that community based media practices can play a vital role in building and sustaining healthy communities. The organization is founded on an integrated model of leadership development whereby youth are trained to act as mentors to other youth as they work in leadership and decision making positions. Youth are not only the program participants they are also the staff facilitators in the media-making process.

About Trans_Fusion Crew (Supporting Our Youth)
The Trans_Fusion Crew is a project of Supporting Our Youth (SOY), an exciting, dynamic community development project designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto through the active involvement of youth and adult communities. SOY works to create healthy arts, culture and recreational spaces for young people; to provide supportive housing and employment opportunities; and to increase youth access to adult mentoring and support. The Trans-Fusion Crew is currently working on Handy Trans- a series of skill building workshops on things like carpentry, clothing repair, cooking, and more.

About Sue Ruddick
Sue Ruddick is something of an interdisciplinary scholar. Her initial training was in architecture, followed by a Master’s in Geography and a PhD in Planning. She has practiced as a planner in Montreal (coop housing) and Los Angeles (homelessness) and now teaches in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. She is fascinated by questions of space, power and political subjectivity, and has written on these questions as they relate to young people, their marginalization and struggles, most recently in a series of articles in Public Culture and Gender, Place and Culture.

About A Potential Toronto
A Potential Toronto is an event series and exhibition spotlighting alternative economies, minor spaces, and organizing strategies. It is a preliminary step in a longer-term counter-cartography project which would render currents of radical energy visible, audible, and tactile.

Housing Rights, Safe Spaces, Collective Actions

A Talk and Film Screening with Women Against Poverty Collective

Part of A Potential Toronto
Initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI)
More info: www.t-sci.ca

Thurs. 11 Oct. 2007
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East (w. of Broadview)

The Women Against Poverty Collective believes that in order for housing to be sustainable, it must be safe, and in order for housing to be safe, it must be controlled by women and for women.

Exposing the connections between poverty, violence and homelessness in women’s lives, Shiri Pasternak talks with Jennifer Plyler (WAPC) about their ongoing campaign to create safe, controlled housing for women at risk in Toronto.

Film Screening: ‘Women’s Housing Takeover’ (2007)
The film documents WAPC’s 3 Jun. 2007 takeover of an abandoned house in downtown Toronto.

**There will also be an opportunity to make a donation to WAPC.

About Women Against Poverty Collective
WAPC aims to win housing for survivors of violence. WAPC complements their squats and occupations with art in order to be visible/interactive/noisy and gain media attention. Such creative actions include song, clothes-line installations, street theater and interpretive dance. Most recently, WAPC conducted a stencil workshop as part of a new graffiti campaign to identify and draw attention to abandoned buildings in the city that could become housing for women who have experienced violence.

About A Potential Toronto
A Potential Toronto is an event series and exhibition spotlighting alternative economies, minor spaces, and organizing strategies. It is a preliminary step in a longer-term counter-cartography project which would render currents of radical energy visible, audible, and tactile.