2022 Art + Memory + Justice Symposium

Resilient Cartographies: Everyday strategies of social justice that (re)emerged during pandemic times

2022 Social Justice Institute (SJI) Art + Memory + Justice Symposium

Panel 4: Reflections, praxis and explorations of community struggles and resilience during pandemic times

Panelist Cheryl-lee Madden, UBC:
Mapping of Unchartered COVID-19 Evictions: Are Women Disproportionately Affected by Job Loss?

As a panelist, I responded to the following questions on women in gendered work spaces of power and safety in precarious “essential” front-line retail food service jobs (I worked in food retail as a UBC student in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic and experienced lockdown demands):

*What are some strategies, gestures, or care work that you’ve uncovered to continue doing your work in response to the pandemic? How does this intersect with the need to cope, resist, protest, confront the inequalities that have been heightened/exacerbated during COVID?

*How have these themes of resistance and struggle during pandemic times become everyday strategies and gestures of care?

The presentations was followed by an opportunity to ask each other questions, followed by a moderated conversation between the panelists, and a Q&A.

Symposium description:

This symposium explored the contingent, emergent, resilient gestures of care that have emerged during global pandemic times, and  illuminates their entanglements with memory and art practices. While sociopolitical and economic ruptures have no doubt devastated many, we also have witnessed how communities have galvanized grassroots efforts to care for communities, while also fomenting  shifts toward social justice.  This symposium invited guests to contend with the everyday collective strategies of care as hybrid and interrelational spaces where experiential and transgenerational knowledge condense with the urgency and the creativity to  imagine and generate diverse formats to cope, confront, or transform the ongoing precarization of life as well as rethink and shape possible futures.

The symposium interrogated the conditions that place art, memory and care to the private and consanguinity sphere, leaving the work of memory to the past, and relegating the social practice of facilitating community care as an illegible, non-artistic practice. Through contending with these intersections, we explored the transformative potential of collective strategies of care.

How have art and cultural initiatives that have emerged through strategies of care, been enacted by communities during the pandemic?

What everyday care acts can be made visible through arts practice? How have structural and historic senses and orders been disrupted through collective strategies of care?

Click here for full Transformative Memory Symposium Poster

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