The goal is to break out of the ivory tower and really get in touch with communities. And I think art is something that a lot of people are engaged with in a lot of different ways. And it's something that I think is more accessible than a conventional panel,” says Lucy Boyd, coordinator of the Creative Counter-Memorializations Symposium when The Coast reaches her by phone. It’s crunch time for Boyd and her colleagues at the Counter Memory Activism group, a Social Science and Humanities Research Council-funded group that's shared between Kings’ and NSCAD: The escape from the ivory tower is happening this weekend, Nov 24-27, in the form of the organization’s symposium. Held at a smattering of locations, the symposium features artists’ talks, workshops and performances by a roster of visiting and local talent.
The point of the whole affair is creating an affirming space full of various perspectives where commonly held historical narratives can be questioned and countered—a real-life exploration of how history would look if it wasn’t taken at the colonizer’s word; a perfect antidote to the overly online conversations about inequity that many have spent the pandemic having. It sees, for example, nationally lauded interdisciplinary artist Liliona Quarmyne and Diane Roberts offering a movement workshop “that'll give folks a chance to unlock some of the ancestral stories in their bodies” and a community mapping project facilitated by Renée Brazeau. (You can read the full roster of events—along with their respective location details–on the symposium website.)
Adds Boyd: “Being able to, hopefully, take something home with you, in the form of something you can reflect on in a day-to-day way: If we've managed to do that, if we've managed to facilitate those conversations; If folks are reflecting on what it means for them to live where they live—and to maybe see connections where they hadn't drawn those parallels before—I think we’ll have done well.