We approached our first year with the goals of community consultation, conversation and relationship building and with those priorities were able to engage in, create and co-create many valuable projects. Here we’ve included a small description of each of our events, initiatives and collaborations, with separate, in-depth posts dedicated to our inter-realities and bordered-realities community consultations. If you have any questions about this work or are looking to partner with us on an emerging project, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feminist Caucus, September 11 2016 at Temps Libre Mile End
The caucus, which acted as C-FAR’s launch event, brought together 60 faculty, staff and students across disciplines and departments to share food and meet with one another in order to discuss the needs, challenges and barriers facing our community and strategize around initiatives working towards inclusion. The second part of the event was dedicated to facilitated brainstorming around the following projects as they relate to feminisms at Concordia: the Feminist Summer Institute, the Gender, Race and Sound pilot project, Communications and Technologies, Gendered Violence and Sexual Assault, Equity and Representation, Decolonization, and the establishment of a C-FAR Organizing Committee. If you would like to access the minutes from our brainstorming session please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Feminist Writing Retreats, December 14 2016 & February 20 2017 at Concordia University
Our feminist writing retreats offered a quiet collective space in which faculty and PhD students have the opportunity to connect with others. The goal of the writing retreats is to offer participants a much-needed opportunity to come together as feminist researchers to work together and meet one another. The silent writing retreat will present feminist researchers with an opportunity to build relationships across disciplines where research plans can be presented and ideas, findings and challenges can be shared. Additionally, the lunch-time discussion period encouraged members of the community to contribute to C- FAR’s direction and vision by speaking to their own needs, challenges, concerns and hopes for the university.
The retreats were sponsored by Concordia University’s Faculty of Arts and Science.
C-FAR Conversation & Strategy, December 2 2016 at 230 Laurier
Our Conversation & Strategy consultation event was hosted by Dr. Kristen Dunfield, Assistant Professor in Psychology with the goal of building faculty support for C-FAR, developing cross-faculty and cross-university relationships, and seeding new ideas.
This strategy session was sponsored by Concordia University’s Faculty of Arts and Science.
Community Meeting and ‘Identity & Inclusion’ Workshop with Dr. Raul Fernandez, January 15-16 2017 at Temps Libre Mile End / Concordia University
Over a two-day period, Dr. Raul Fernandez, professor in Education at Boston University, shared his expertise in building inclusive spaces in higher education. In his community meeting, students interested and working on equity issues at Concordia and in our Montreal community were invited to a strategy meeting and presentation by Fernandez about his work organizing around inclusive campuses. Participants were invited into facilitated discussion with Fernandez (and each other) around inclusivity, representation and equity issues on campus.
The ‘Identity & Inclusion’ Workshop targeted faculty, administrators and staff engaged in student service provision. Fernandez’ signature workshop Blind Spots, presented all over North America, is developed around collectively working through these three themes:
- General ‘blind spots’ training: working through the limits to understanding student experiences, accounting for how identity (race, gender, sexuality, ability) impacts the ways that students access their education and the specific challenges they face or needs they may have
- Teaching a diverse classroom: thinking about how to navigate content warnings, strategies for addressing equity and inclusion into your semester, how to work through disagreements out of differences, and understanding and addressing micro aggressions
- Campus climate: understanding how members of our community perceive and experience ‘campus climate’ or accessibility of campus space differently depending on identity and how they are situated.
These events were sponsored by the Committee for Equity and Visibility in the Academy (CEVA), the Concordia Student Union (CSU), the Geography, Planning and Environment Graduate Students Association (GEOGRADS), and Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and Office of the Provost & VP Academic Affairs.
Loudspeakers Conference, February 18 2017 at Concordia University
The LOUDSPEAKERS Conference, organized by Jo Mitrovic, was a one day conference exploring gender and race in audio technologies and music production both in academic and practical contexts.
After extensive conversations about gender and race with the department of Electroacoustic Studies, a small group of dedicated students wanted to invite others to the table and open discussions to the public. The music department’s BFA program has been open to improving the gender balance, acknowledging the barriers in the tech fields and going the extra mile to see change. After supporting the development of the Loudspeakers Conference, C-FAR will be continuing to work with the Electroacoustic Studies program in the Music department to foster inclusion and representation.
‘La route vers la liberté / Can you get to freedom?’ Black History Month programming, February 26 2017 at Paul-Gérin-Lajoie-d’Outremont High School
For 2017’s Black History Month, C-FAR partnered with the Committee for Pluralism within Outremont Schools to co-create children’s programming and popular education to engage elementary aged children in the history of Blackness and Black identities in Montreal and throughout Canada.
For details about the Committee for Pluralism and their recap of our Can you get to freedom? community pilot project visit the committee’s blogpost about the event, you can also read about the event through Concordia Events here.
Direct Action Tutorial, February 16 2017 at Concordia University
The Direct-Action Tutorial Series aims to offer a space to come together and collectively organize and strategize against racism, colonialism, heteropatriarchy, misogyny, homo/transphobia, ableism, Islamophobia and discrimination based on citizenship and status. This series of Direct-Action Tutorials will introduce and work through specific actions that can be taken up to (1) resist through collective political action and (2) support those currently working and resisting on the ground through acts of care.
This event was co-sponsored by the Committee for Equity and Visibility in the Academy (CEVA) and the Geography Planning and Environment Graduate Students Association (GEOGRADS).
Feminist Summer Institute: Mobilizing In/Visible Bodies, May 14-19 2017 at Concordia University
C-FAR collaborated with the Simone de Beauvoir Institute and wider Montreal community to co-produce our first Summer Institute, hosted at Concordia University. The institute is a week-long and multi-disciplinary intensive course consisting of panels, discussions, and workshops led by a diversity of instructors and speakers coming from within and outside of the academy.
Bodies can be visible or invisible or both. In/visible bodies can be disappeared, murdered, imprisoned, medicalized, othered, racialized, veiled, gendered, trans, queer, disabled, aging, migrating, sex working, creating, performing, and resisting. Through feminist pedagogy, embodied learning and the sharing of embodied knowledges, the 2017 Summer Institute focused on, and mobilized participants and instructors around women/bodies that intersecting systems of oppression render in/visible.
Bodies that are taken seriously are seen within institutions of power. The core idea is to mobilize people and to address the in/visible body as an inscriptive surface and a site of activism. Scholars, activists, and artists from Concordia and from various organizations working with marginalized communities in Montreal convened to explore, together with students, the intersections of gender, bodies, and the politics of visibility. The Summer Institute constituted a form of mobilization, aiming to alter perceptions, give space and visibility to in/visible bodies and, by so doing, further collaborations and activist initiatives in Montreal and beyond.
Online & Onstage: Four Young Trans Artists Discuss their Work, August 16 2017 at the Pride/Fierté Montreal National Conference
Considering the homophobic and transphobic discourse circulating in our public and private spaces (now, and always) and the ongoing threats to LGBTQIA+ identities, expression and even lives, we believe that this is an important moment to represent our students on a national stage as we discuss and strategize around resistance, resiliency and representation.
Our panel featured a dynamic discussion between four trans artists and responded to the work and resilience of marginalized trans artists in our community navigating a political climate in which Canadian provinces have increasingly recognized the rights of transgender youth while at the same time, transgender people have also experienced frightening backlash. Read more about our four panelists below, and if you missed the panel check out the links to their work:
Sophie Labelle is a trans author, cartoonist and public speaker from Montreal. She is mostly known for her webcomic Assigned Male. Labelle grew up in rural Quebec, is an ex-elementary school teacher, and was the camp co-ordinator for Gender Creative Kids Canada. She is active in the trans rights movement and gives conferences about trans history and transfeminism. Labelle has written many children’s books about gender identity and expression, and wrote the foreword to Tikva Wolf’s book, Ask me about Polyamory: The Best of Kimchi Cuddles.
Kama La Mackerel is a tio’tia:ke/Montreal-based performer, writer, poet, story-teller, curator and multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores aesthetic practices as forms of resistance and/or healing for marginalized communities. Using photography, film, textiles, prints, performance and digital arts, Kama’s work is both deeply personal and political, articulating an anti-colonial praxis through cultural production. Kama is the co-founder of Qouleur, an annual arts festival that brings together queer and trans artists of colour, and the founder and host of GENDER B(L)ENDER, Montréal’s unique monthly queer open stage. Kama is presently completing an 8-months artist residency in the Faculty of Education at McGill University.
uppercaseChase1 is Chase Ross’ personal channel. This channel started off as a safe place for him to document his transition and talk about things he was going through. In 2012, he posted the “Sh*t Trans* Guys Say” video which increased his visibility in the community. Ever since then, Chase has been making advice videos and talked about controversial topics within the community such as: detransitioning, going off hormones, having a lack of dysphoria, problematic aspects of Caitlyn Jenner, and much more. Chase uses his channel in order to educate people in and out of the community. Chase Ross is currently completing his Masters in Sociology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, spoken word artist and therapist based in Toronto and Montreal, unceded Indigenous territories. Her first novel, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir was recently published by Metonymy Press, and her first full-length poetry collection is due from Arsenal Pulp Press in April 2017. Her children’s book, From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea is forthcoming, also from Arsenal Pulp, in December 2017. She performed on stages across the continent. Kai Cheng loves lasagna and lipstick.
This panel was sponsored by Concordia’s Sustainability Action Fund.
Workshops for Social Science Research (WSSR), Concordia University (ongoing)
In this workshop-based program of learning we have collaborated with the Department of Political Science to use WSSR’s developed platform as one in which students can receive training in intersectional feminist methodologies, approaches and frameworks. This training is meant not only to help our students become better equipped to take up the challenge of creating and expanding the work of C-FAR, rather it will also help them develop skills they can take into their activism and professional lives following graduation. We plan to invite scholars who variously specialize in Indigenous research and feminist action research methodologies, and with particular expertise in intersectional gender-based analysis.
This initiative was sponsored by the Concordia University’s Faculty of Arts and Science, if you have suggestions for workshops and facilitators, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interviews with Equity Practitioners, Canadian Universities (ongoing)
C-FAR has been thinking about and strategizing around the establishment of an equity office at Concordia University, we recognize the importance of institutional space committed to equity while understanding that institutional approaches to equity often actually reproduce injustice rather than address it (see Canada’s first large-scale analysis of this contradiction in The Equity Myth). We’re curious about how other universities are institutionally supporting equity work, while also hoping to gain insight to the barriers and challenges of this work. We’ve interviewed equity and diversity practitioners at York University’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, Ryerson University’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Social Equity and Diversity Education Office at McGill University and are hoping to continue this research to contribute to our equity incubator model.