Workshop Schedule

4:00 – 4:30 Welcome

4:30 – 6:30 Concurrent Sessions 1

1.1   Neoliberal Models and the New Democratic Party of Manitoba

Presenters: Tyler Pearce, Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, David Camfield, Daniel Levin

1.2   Solidarity Activism

Presenters: Leah Decter, Krista Johnston, Alex Paterson

1.3   Winnipeg, Identity, and Community

Presenters: Ricardo Lopez Aguilar, Levi Foy, Melissa Chung, Kate Sjoberg

6:30 – 7:00 Supper

7:00 – 9:00 Concurrent Sessions 2

2.1 Resistance through Memory, Oral History, and Art

Presenters: Sarah Story, University of Winnipeg Oral History Center, Milena Placentile

2.2 Anticolonial study and work

Presenters: Monique Woroniak, Liz Carlson, Cheryl Sobie with Mellisa Kent, Regina Muckle, Candace Horseman, Sabrina Frampton, Mary Keeper, Kim Chastellaine, Liz Siebrecht, Justina Cook

2.3 Winnipeg Geographies

Presenters: Amelia Curran, Owen Toews, Elizabeth Comack, Katerina Tefft

9:00 – 9:30 WEproteSTern

Performance Art by Coral Maloney and Ian Mozdzen. More info here.

9:30 – 10:00 WEproteSTern Artist talk



4:30 – 6:30 Concurrent Sessions 1

1.1  Neoliberal Models and the New Democratic Party of Manitoba

  • Taking Back the Labour Market Tyler Pearce

The study of labour markets has long indicated that race, location, access to transportation and networks, among other factors, highly impacts success in entering or “succeeding” in the job market. Yet most labour market policy tends to ignore such factors. Neoliberal labour market policy, especially policies directed at people at the bottom of the income ladder, welfare recipients and retrenched workers, tend to circumscribe available programing to the narrowest of interventions: mainly, essential and technical skills upgrading. What’s more, funded interventions are set at the bare minimum, whether in terms of time and monetary investments in skills upgrading.

Somewhat hidden from view, non-profit organizations accessing funding that stem from such policy, there can be a gap between what can be called “funder time and activity” and the wider range of activities and micro-practices that proliferate within such organizations. Aiming to have us think about how communities and individuals can expand the scope and depth of labour market interventions, this presentation suggests that we not discount all such unfunded (“illicit”) activities. Drawing on the postcapitalist political strategies developed by the community economies study group*, I suggest a closer look at such practices is a fecund site to think about how communities can “take back the labour market”.

* See, for example, Gibson-Graham, Cameron and Healy’s  2013 “Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Community”.

  • Criminalisation and the Politics of Social Welfare in Historical Perspective  Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, PhD Student in Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center

Crime prevention programming in Manitoba under the Provincial NDP Government is focused on providing recreation opportunities, social skills, and job training for Indigenous youth who are constructed as being potentially criminal as long as they are lacking proper integration into mainstream society. This reflects the dominant explanation for Indigenous over-incarceration: that the failure to properly integrate Indigenous children produces Indigenous criminals. I wish to challenge this explanation by situating crime prevention programming in the context of a history of similar interventions which imagine the assimilation of Indigenous youth to be benevolent and just, and take the settler colonial social order to be inevitable. My research is motivated by a reading of Canadian history which suggests that Indigenous incarceration is produced not by the failure of Indigenous people to properly integrate into society, but by the fact that Indigenous people continue to be systematically excluded from, and continue to resist and reject, the racist and colonial political and economic arrangement known as “Canada.”

  • Street Gangs in Winnipeg; Inner-City Youth Prevention Programs as Sites of Resistance?  Daniel Levin, MA student in Sociology at the University of Manitoba

Daniel will present his MA thesis proposal in which he plans to critically assess how “success” is defined with respect to street gang prevention. He is interested in how community based street gang prevention programs, especially ones that are working toward decolonization, define success and contrast this with the government’s neo-liberal risk-reduction framework centered around providing youth with the ability to make “smart choices.” He is also interested in to what extent programs working within and seeking funding within this risk-based neo-liberal framework have the potential to be successful.

  • Neoliberalism in Manitoba under the NDP  David Camfield

David’s presentation will address the following questions: What is neoliberalism? How has neoliberal restructuring happened in Manitoba, especially since the NDP was elected in 1999? What has 14 years of neoliberal NDP governments done to the Left in Winnipeg?

1.2   Solidarity Activism

  • As yet untitled  Leah Decter, PhD Student, Cultural Studies, Queens University

In this presentation I will discuss elements of my art/research practice that contend with Canada’s colonial history and present through a critical white settler lens.  I will touch briefly on several bodies of work I have undertaken in the past 8 years, with a focus on my strategies of tampering with iconic elements of Canadian visual culture, and enacting interventions into tropes of Canadian land/scape as ways of challenging, and rendering counter narratives to, colonially constructed mythologies and identities.

  • From Settler City to Solidarity City: (De)Colonizing the City of Toronto  Krista Johnston

This presentation will highlight the findings of in-depth research with anti-colonial activists in the city of Toronto. This data documents moments of collaboration and cooperation, as well as limitations and challenges of urban based activism against settler colonialism and neo-liberalism as identified by research participants. The implications of research findings in Toronto for anti-colonial and anti-neoliberal movements in the context of Winnipeg will be considered.

  • Counter-Power and Alliances: Overcoming Our Generation’s Solidarity Deficit in White Communities  Alex Paterson

What successful historical and contemporary revolutionary organizing models can white/settler working class people look to to integrate (or combine) their collective struggles against neoliberalism/capitalism with the fight for an anti-colonial future?

1.3   Winnipeg, Identity, and Community

  • Love and Activism  Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar

“When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment.” – bell hooks.  The pain can even come from relationships that have yet to form.  This talk will address the boundaries to love we as activist set up against the people who might benefit most from it, and the limits it places on the effectiveness of our work and out growth.

  • Levi Foy

This presentation is the reflection of a two-spirited half-breed who has at various times and places has called Winnipeg home. I intend to use humor and social criticism to reflect on the things about Winnipeg that perplex me yet make me proud of the city. By doing so I hope to engage the audience in a personal reflection on what Winnipeg means to the individual and how those reflections paint a rich mosaic of collective identity.

  • Melissa Chung

Melissa’s paper complicates the Indigenous/immigrant dichotomy by approaching the topic from the perspective of being of both Aboriginal and immigrant decent. As a Métis person and a second generation Chinese Canadian, Melissa undertakes a literature review that assesses the current status of Indigenous and racialized newcomer relations in Canada and provides recommendations for future research, government policy, and grassroots organizing. The literature review attempts to contribute to the unsettling of insider/outsider, minority/majority, Indigenous/settler, and black/white binaries, which are pervasive within the racialized and colonized Canadian society, and build dialogue and cross-cultural collaboration in anti-racist activism and scholarship.

  • “After we got here…” Kate Sjoberg

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7:00 – 9:00 Concurrent Sessions 2

2.1 Resistance through memory, oral history, and art

  • Historical Memory as a Means of Community Resistance: Ideas from South Africa on how to Build Memory Resources, Consciousness, and Resistance in Inner-City Winnipeg  Sarah Story

The reconstruction of memory has been used to counter dominant narratives, build relations and understanding, and support processes of reconciliation. Building activist and community-driven memory resources in post-apartheid South Africa has been used to nurture community consciousness, encouragement local resistance, and support social justice initiatives that seek to address the spatial imbalances and economic inequality that continue to characterize South African society. Drawing upon examples of memory programs in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, I will highlight the ways Winnipegger’s might re-conceptualize museums and archives to build public spaces of resistance, and creatively use memory resources to counter neo-liberal and colonialist forces in our city.

This workshop will briefly introduce Oral History as a research method and instrument for individual and community empowerment. The presentation will demonstrate how oral history research has been used by indigenous peoples, women, migrants, working people, minorities, communities, organizations to find out about their own past, to tell stories, organize and to “write” themselves (back) into history. The presentation will also provide resource material to how community members can start their own oral history projects.

  • Milena Placentile

Making time to defend access to independent arts and culture is difficult to do when there are so many more pressing issues in the world, but I’d like reflect on why culture is actually more pivotal than we might think by addressing how the ruling elite use culture as a form of social control  I will briefly talk about how they benefit from both the narrow scope of ideas and images promoted through mainstream media and cuts to the public funding education and the arts. I will also touch on some of the ways the concept of “creativity” is being used against us. Most importantly, I will offer some ideas on how to reclaim time and space to imagine a better world.

2.2 Anticolonial study and work

  • Whose Winnipeg? Whose Struggle?: Growing Strategies for Effective Indigenous Ally Activism  Monique Woroniak

A strong resistance movement against the neo-liberal structuring of Winnipeg’s urban spaces – and the social and economic relations they are related to – is one that requires an equally strong decolonizing movement. Monique will share her thoughts about what decolonizing efforts (could) look like, as well as share strategies and practical suggestions for white settlers looking to build meaningful activist relationships with Indigenous peoples.

  • White colonial settler epistemes and social work  Liz Carlson

In this session, I will discuss a brief overview of my candidacy paper titledWhite Colonial Settler Epistemes and Social Work. This will include characteristics of white settler ways of being, doing, knowing, and relating; how these may have developed historically; how these operate and are reproduced; and how these permeate mainstream social work. Some thoughts an anti-colonial social work and decolonizing transformation will also be briefly discussed

  • Women’s right to the city  Cheryl Sobie with Mellisa Kent, Regina Muckle, Candace Horseman, Sabrina Frampton, Mary Keeper, Kim Chastellaine, Liz Siebrecht, Justina Cook

We are a group of women advocates who have been working together over the past year and a half on a research project titled ‘Women’s right to food’ to investigate the challenges of living on a low-income and the unjust systems and structures (i.e. Employment Income Assistance, Manitoba Housing, Child and Family Services, Winnipeg Transit, Charitable Food System, etc.) that impact women’s lives in Winnipeg and their ability to be food secure. We will share key recommendations that we have developed on what we believe would improve people’s health, well-being and the right to a dignified life in Winnipeg. We will also share information about our experience working together on a feminist action research project, our current and future plans for sharing our research and the outcomes we hope to achieve.

2.3 Winnipeg Geographies

  • Gang Territories as spatial forms: challenging Euclidean models Amelia Curran

Extending the work of Doreen Massey (2005) through post-Actor Network Theory methodologies (Mol 2003), this paper rejects the assumption of singularity underpinning theories of space in favour of understanding space as multiply and interactively enacted. Gang territories are used as a case study to demonstrate the impoverished view of space proposed through Euclidean models and to show the possibility of other spatial forms.

  • Born Again Urbanism: New Missionary Incursions, Aboriginal Resistance and the Barriers to Rebuilding Relationships in Winnipeg’s North End  Owen Toews

This paper (co-authored with David Hugill) describes the controversy that followed state funding for Youth For Christ in the predominantly Aboriginal North End of Winnipeg, Canada in 2010. It follows Cole Harris (2004) and Patrick Wolfe (2006) who call for researchers to trace the functioning, persistence, and transformation of colonial practices and mentalities in actually existing times and places. Based on eleven interviews with local activists, politicians, and service providers in 2011 as well as a close reading of a range of political documents, the paper identifies two key logics of governance at the heart of what unfolded. The first is a pervasive neoliberalization that pursues regressive redistribution, austerity, and privatization, encouraging non-state actors to deliver public services. The second is the persistence of a colonial logic grounded in denial, disregard, and violence. The paper focuses on two manifestations of this logic.  First, a problematic politics of time that quarantines the colonial in a historical past, obscuring the ways that colonial dynamics continue to shape contemporary relationships. Second, a colonial politics of space that works to circumscribe and limit what might be considered space where settler governments have an obligation to consult and negotiate with Aboriginal peoples. We argue that events in Winnipeg recapitulate colonial processes through which Aboriginal spaces are seen as inherently violable (Smith 2005). We conclude that such logics must be abolished and redressed if we are to avoid reproducing more of the “changing same” in Canada and settler societies elsewhere (Jones/Baraka 1967).

  • Racialized Policing  Elizabeth Comack

Elizabeth will share notes from her research about the racialized nature of policing in Western Canada. She recently published a book on this topic titled Racialized Policing: Aboriginal People’s Encounters with the Police.

  • Katerina Tefft

I would like to talk about how the mainstream Canadian justice system is failing Aboriginal people and continuing the legacy of colonialism. My presentation will explore what I believe is the heart of the problem with the system: a lack of legitimacy in the eyes of Aboriginal people that can only be corrected by Aboriginal self-government and a return to traditional restorative justice. I would also discuss the reasons why the current justice system’s attempts to incorporate select elements of restorative justice undermine traditional non-hierarchical values and only serve to further extend state control into Aboriginal communities.

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9:00 WEproteSTern

Performance art by Coral Maloney and Ian Mozdzen. More info here.


9:30 – 10:00 WEproteSTern Artist talk


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One response to “Workshop Schedule

  1. I’m looking forward to attending. The organizers have produced a program that will, I’m sure, stimulate my thinking on these topics.

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