Thursday, 19 April 2012


Toronto Free Gallery Presents


How Precarious Labour Breeds Competition

A dinner & talk about work in the cultural sector

this is the seventh talk in the Toronto Free series: The Bridge

Saturday April 21, 2012

Dinner & Talk: seating at 7 pm


Toronto Free Gallery

1277 Bloor Street West


$15/person for dinner (vegan) & talk (meaty)

Seats are limited. Please contact to reserve your spot.

“Precarious cognitive workers are forced to think in terms of competition. You can become friends with another person on Facebook, but genuine friendship is difficult under conditions of virtual isolation and intense economic competition.”

- Franco Berardi Bifo, “Cognitarian Subjectivation”

This Bridge is the second of three talks that ask the question, “What is Work Worth?” in order to begin a dialogue about the value of work. The first talk (Don’t Feed the Interns) questioned the increasing normalization of unpaid internships, while this second talk focuses on competition in educational institutions, and the effect competition has on workers as a social and political body.

How can we encourage collective research when access to positions and funding is so competitive?

What kind of research is privileged in a market that focuses on competition?

"The Bridge" is Toronto Free Gallery's monthly speakers' series that uses the format of a sit-down dinner as a site of engagement and conversation about gaps in racial, social, and economic inequality, and equal representation. We're interested in activating lively, productive conversation in an informal setting that will help to bridge the divide.


Rodrigo Martí is a Mexican-Canadian artist working between sculpture, performance and drawing. His practice looks at and involves itself in the cultural and aesthetic dimensions of political struggle. He is presently focused on the 'barricade sculpture workshop' a collaborative participatory sculpture which erects and demolishes walls of 'stuff' within public and private spaces as an expression and embodiment of collective power. Rodrigo received his MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA and is presently based in Toronto, Canada.

Derek Liddington works and lives in Toronto. He obtained his MFA from the University of Western Ontario and BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Liddington’s work has been exhibited in numerous public settings, most recently at the opening night of Art Toronto 2011 where he staged Dandy Gangs. In 2010, Liddington staged Allegory for an Opera as part of Nuit Blanche. He had his first solo show, titled Coupe de Grace, at Clark and Faria Gallery in 2010. Liddington’s work has also been exhibited in group shows, most recently in Meet us on the Commons, curated by Elizabeth Underhill for the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Derek has received project support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the London Community Foundation. In 2011, Derek Liddington was shortlisted for the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Artist Prize.

A former affordable housing and food security planner, Heather McLean’s doctoral research is situated in current debates on the neoliberalization of arts and culture in Canada and the rise and spread of “creative city” policies in arts and culture policy and urban planning politics. Specifically, her work investigates the founding, funding, and staging of Toronto blockbuster arts initiatives and how they are interconnected with real estate development priorities and exclusionary efforts to “clean up” urban spaces for particular residents. She is also currently a research assistant on a Toronto-based anti-poverty, participatory action research project investigating the impact of gentrification on commercial spaces in two neighbourhoods.

Tannis Nielsen is a Metis, of Sohto, Dene and Danish descent. As a practicing professional Indigenous artist, and academic, Tannis has focused her research interests upon the examinations of an anti-colonial, Fourth World / Indigenous paradigm, as well as the Western / Euro-centric paradigm, in order to further understand how certain theories born from the European Enlightenment period, have served as “an attempted justification” for the imperial domination over Indigenous peoples. In class, the pedagogical objective is to elucidate the negative effects of these theories, by utilizing the study/practice of (both Indigenous and Western) art, as a decolonization methodology.

As an academic, Tannis has created / taught a variety of course listings, in both the Faculties of Arts and Liberal Studies at OCAD-University. As an educator she is located within the praxis of a critical method of instruction that places emphasis towards the ideas of political, cultural, spiritual, social and environmental justice. As an artist, Tannis has exhibited her works at such galleries as the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and has curated exhibitions such as the Enacting Emancipation show at A Space Gallery, with Vicky Moufawad-Paul as co-curator. Tannis has also written a number of articles on arts and culture, some of which include “Re-materializing the Matriarchy” for Spirit Magazine. The Conundrum of Critical pedagogy in Community Arts Education”


Amber Landgraff is an artist/curator who uses community and political engagement as an integral part of her curatorial and artistic practice. She has an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practices, and has facilitated, and collaborated on such events as Building Together, FEAST Toronto and Toronto Free Gallery's The Bridge series. She is currently the director at XPACE Cultural Centre, a not-for-profit artist run centre that focuses on supporting and offering professional opportunities to student and emerging artists.

Curated by Amber Landgraff

Toronto Free Gallery is pleased to receive support from:

Canada Council for the Arts & Ontario Arts Council

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