Landscape of Hate Residency Currently Underway

Landscape of Hate Artist Residency Performance Poster. Reads: 7 interdisciplinary artis and ten days of collaboration. An audiovisual experiment in hope/less horizons and horizon/less hopes.Seven sound and visual artists — Jessie Beier, Annabelle Brault, Owen Chapman, Nik Forrest, Veronica Mockler, José-Luis Cortés Santander, and Vivek Venkatesh — are currently in residence at Concordia’s 4th Space, exploring hope/less horizons and horizon/less hopes in our current landscape of hate.

We invite all in the Montreal area to come share in their audiovisual experimentation as they surf the boundaries of affective intensities, negotiating the tensions and discomforts of desire and control. The residency lasts until August 19th.

Access is free and the 4th Space is open to all from 10:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday to Friday.

Special performances at the end of the residency will provide a window into the culmination of their interdisciplinary collaboration. These performances will be held August 17th and 18th from 4:00-5:00PM, as well as August 19th at 12:00PM/noon.

Concordia’s 4th Space is located within the J.W. McConnell Building:
1400 Maisonneuve Blvd W, Montréal, Quebec H3G 1M8

Special thanks to Marek Detière-Venkatesh, Nathan-Gabriel Guerrette, Catlin W. Kuzyk, and Mairin Miller for their production assistance, as well as Jessie Beier for the poster.

Concordia event listing here

Facebook event here

Blog post: Jessie Beier Reflects on the BAM x Landscape of Hope Workshops

What does this have to do with anti-racism?” This was one of the final questions posed by one of the (over two hundred!) youth we worked with in a recent Landscape of Hope workshop hosted at the Bennett Centre in Edmonton, Alberta in March of 2022. Over two days of workshops, which were part of two broader Youth Summits hosted by BAM (an alternative educational network within Edmonton Public Schools), we worked with several groups of youth to create sounds maps, experiment with collaborative beat-making and record our voices to creatively respond to the following question: “what does hope sound like?”

This somewhat abstract but provocative question about the sound of hope was contextualized in relation to the broader themes and questions of the Youth Summits: day one centered on the idea of “Ways of Knowing,” where students were tasked with thinking through the epistemological lenses that structure how we learn to care (or not) for one another, for the land, and for ourselves; and day two was focused on “Anti-racism,” where students were brought together to collectively propose actionable projects committed to creating anti-racist schools.

The question posed by our young friend about the workshop, about its links and commitments to anti-racism, was raised in the final moments of the last workshop when we gathered as a group to discuss how working with sound might offer insights into some of the broader Summit themes. The question, which continues to reverberate for me well beyond the walls of the workshop classrooms, offered an important interference, and, in my mind, an integral opening, to really dig into why and how something like a 75-minute arts-based pedagogical workshop matters, if at all, when it comes to countering something like the colonial and white supremacist systems of oppression that continue to structure spaces of schooling.

In the moment, I took a back seat in responding to this crucial question; instead of sharing the eruption of thoughts elicited in my own mind, I asked the group what they thought. Several hands shot up right away. As the question percolated throughout the room, the youth responded in all sorts of ways, offering powerful insights on, for instance: how art and expression can create a sense of belonging; how having a space to use one’s voice in emergent ways can be empowering; how making things together requires active practices of listening and collective experimentation; how sound offers a “language” that stretches across boundaries, changing those boundaries in the process; and, how performing for peers can highlight the deep well of knowledge and “excellence” that already exists in communities. I was blown away, but perhaps not surprised, by their responses, which continue to roll around in my head now weeks after the event.

While there might be an impulse here to collect these responses as important “data” for demonstrating the impact of our project, and by extension the power of art and/or arts-based approaches, I am reluctant to treat this moment as a research “finding” or “outcome.” Data, after all, works through reduction and generalization, in turn factoring out the vicissitudes of entanglement that make up relations in the world. Indeed, both quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis, such as those used within educational research, tend to prioritize consistency over contingency, standardization over difference and thus the reduction of complexity in favour of tidy causal determinations and straight-forward correlations. Whereas quantitative data practices often necessitate the discrete division between subject and object or researcher and object of study, in turn creating “a fantasyland in which databases and correlational numbers have served as substitutes for realities” (Snaza & Weaver, 2015, p. 9), in qualitative research, the subject-object invention supported by data protocols has led to an apologetic posture wherein the researcher must “mourn his or her inability to capture an uncertain, confusing, complex, and always shifting reality” (Snaza & Weaver, 2015, p. 9). In both cases, researchers dissimulate behind data while nevertheless proclaiming access to a world where data “speaks” for itself.

But as the aforementioned question and its myriad responses highlight, what is spoken, in an educational workshop for instance, cannot so easily be captured as “data”; for what is missing in my above description of this seemingly powerful pedagogical moment are the whirring sounds of the room, the “hmmmm”s that accompanied the nodding heads, the giggles from the corner, but also everything we didn’t hear, everything we couldn’t hear: the internal dialogues, the blank stares, the unasked questions, the confusions and contentions, the sound of the not yet and the no thanks. It is this unheard dimension that cannot, and perhaps should not, be captured through “data,” through research, but that nevertheless impacts how we might grapple with questions such as: “what does hope sound like?”

Thinking back to the provocative student question that opened this reflection, then, what sticks with me now is perhaps not just how this expression of curiosity provided an intrusion into our tidy debrief activity, and not just the insightful responses it elicited, but how it worked, and continues to work, to frustrate the assumptions that often undergird purportedly transformative educational initiatives (not to mention their well-intentioned researchers), in turn impacting how we might collectively create landscapes of and for hope.

Text by Jessie Beier, photos courtesy of Jay Procktor

Landscape of Hope x BAM Workshops

A group of Black children crouch on the floor around a microphone.In March of 2022, two members of the Landscape of Hope team — Jessie Beier and Owen Chapman — joined forces with the incredible folks at BAM (Bennett-Argyll-Metro), an alternative education program in Edmonton, Alberta, to host a workshop for youth centred on learning to listen differently

 Youth (aged 15-17) involved in the workshop came together from high schools across the Edmonton Public School district to discuss a range of topics related to contemporary issues in their schools, asking questions such as how to actively create anti-racist schools and how to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing into current spaces so as to confront and resist colonial epistemological frameworks. These questions were explored through discussion but also through collaborative creation. Prompted by the question “what does hope sound like?,” Jessie and Owen worked with over 200 youth over two days to create sound maps, make collaborative beats and sounds, and record responses to the above question in order to create an impromptu, collective DJ mix. 

Three adults (a woman wearing a veil and a mask, a white man with glasses, and a young Black woman with a mask)stand around a sound mixing table.

This collaboration between BAM and LOH was built upon the pedagogical work that Jessie has been doing with administrators, teachers and students in Edmonton, where they have been working together to experiment with alternative educational programming that places student voice at the centre of not only daily classroom instruction, but decision-making at the system-wide level. These sound workshops have set the stage for future collaborations, where Jessie and Owen will continue to work with students to create performances, installations and other creative expressions aimed at positioning students as artist-researchers whose own questions, curiosities and investigations will impact the broader Landscape of Hope project.

Text courtesy of Jessie Beier.

Photos courtesy of Jay Procktor.

Project Someone funded EDI portal is launched

Home page of the "Je te vois, je t'entends, je t'écoute" website (portraits of 12 adults)On May 31st, 2022, the EDI portal titled “Je te vois, je t’entends, je t’écoute” (“I see you, I hear you, I am listening to you”) was launched. This portal, which is described as a “self-educational” and interactive learning tool, was designed by the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion department at Ahunstic College in Montreal, and partially funded by Project Someone. A diverse group of students, graduates, staff members and employees of the College who identify with various ethnocultural, Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities were interviewed as part of the portal’s tools and tell their story through the portal’s series of themed interviews.

The goals of the portal are twofold:

  1. First, to encourage listening, reflection, and dialogue around the testimony of people from various ethnocultural, Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities;
  2. Second, to equip teachers and facilitate the adoption of approaches that are conducive to the safety of students from all backgrounds.

The portal includes 150 short video capsules, as well as links towards more than 400 external resources that will allow learners and teachers alike to find answers to their questions about a wide variety of EDI-related topics, such as multiple identities, systemic discrimination, Indigenous cultural safety needs, ally postures, resilience strategies, body and neurological diversity, etc.

Project Someone is pleased to have participated in the creation of such a unique learning tool.

Watch the portal trailer

Visit the portal

Episode 2 of the Landscape of Hope podcast episode is now available

How does sound making provide an embodied way of knowing and feeling? In what ways can sounds express feeling and how does this become reinterpreted by listeners? Landscape of Hope explores some of these possibilities as they relate to discourses of hope and hate, but rarely do we discuss the residual effects of their media creations.

After all, making music with experimental sounds is a dialogue. This episode invites Landscape of Hope collaborators Angus Tarnawsky, Caitlin Chan, Piper Curtis, and Devon Bate to channel their reactions toward hate (as expressed in Landscape of Hope recordings) into new creations. Their improvised jams become sites of exploration into their own unique choices as creators. In this process, each collaborator provides context around their approach to sound making. The usual Landscape of Hope dialog is turned inside out as its creative output now becomes the source for further criticism and inspiration for new creative interventions.

Originally produced June 2021
Written, edited, and presented by Lou Raskin
With contributions from Angus Tarnawsky, Caitlin Chan, Piper Curtis, and Devon Bate
Special thanks to Owen Chapman, Vivek Venkatesh, and Jessie Beier

Episode 1 of the Landscape of Hope Podcast is now available

How can hate be expressed and reclaimed? How can a performance provide a new form of expressing complicated, even paradoxical feelings related to hate and hope? How is listening connected to feeling?

These questions are layered with no readily available answers. Instead, Landscape of Hope dives into these ideas through mostly-improvised multimedia performances that mix sampling practices with live music, synthesizers, and projections. In order to adapt these critical and creative interventions into a podcast format, the Landscape of Hope podcast team use their reactions to live recordings as a springboard into deeper inquiries relating to the project’s formation. With co-founders Owen Chapman and Vivek Venkatesh, the podcast reflects on the open-ended process of working through and with hate via arts- and performance-based practices.

Originally produced May 2021

Written, edited, and presented by Lou Raskin

With contributions from Angus Tarnawsky, Caitlin Chan, Piper Curtis, and Devon Bate

Special thanks to Owen Chapman, Vivek Venkatesh, and Jessie Beier

Ghayda Hassan and David Morin nominated to be part of an expert advisory group on online safety

Project Someone is pleased to announce that two of our collaborators, Dr. Ghayda Hassan and Dr. David Morin, have been selected by the Government of Canada be part of an expert advisory group on online safety which will provide advice on a revised approach to combatting harmful online content. This task is highly important, given that currently, “harmful content, such as hate speech, sexual exploitation of children and incitement to violence, is published online every day. There are no broad regulatory requirements in Canada that apply to platforms regarding their responsibilities in relation to such content.”

The creation of the committee was motivated by the fact that Canadians are spending more time than ever before online and are therefore exposed to a higher volume of harmful content. The expert advisory group, drawn from a variety of fields and areas of expertise, will be tasked with providing advice on a legislative and regulatory framework that will effectively address harmful content online. Drs. Hassan and Morin are uniquely qualified to participate, given their expertise in the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism.

As explained by David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, “Too many people and communities are victimized by harmful online content that is often amplified and spread through social media platforms and other online services. The Government of Canada believes that Canadians should have protection from harmful online content, while respecting freedom of expression. The creation of the expert advisory group on online safety shows our commitment to taking meaningful action to make our online environment safer and more inclusive for all Canadians.”

We are immensely proud that two of the twelve selected experts to do such important work are Project Someone collaborators. Congratulations Drs. Hassan and Morin!

Vivek Venkatesh invited by UNESCO to participate in a Regional Technical Consultation

Project Someone director Vivek Venkatesh has been invited by UNESCO to participate in a Regional Technical Consultation for Europe and America. This consultation, which will involve proposing changes to be made to the Recommendation concerning education for international understanding, co-operation and peace and education relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms (1974 Recommendation), will be attended by other experts, professional networks and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Dr. Venkatesh has been invited to participate because of his expertise and involvement with education, human rights, and freedoms in North America and beyond.

Dr. Venkatesh looks forward to the consultation and is grateful to be able to have the opportunity to share his thoughts on the various crises the world is facing, and how education can contribute to their resolution. Much of Dr. Venkatesh’s work with Project Someone involves supporting vulnerable groups through education (see the ISP Project) and promoting lifelong learning and media literacy (Landscape of Hope, the From Hate to Hope Massive Open Online Course, etc.). These activities align with the changes and updates UNESCO wishes to make to the 1974 Recommendation.

Stacey Cann and Victoria Stanton featured on the Concordia website

Stacey Cann and Victoria Stanton, who both collaborate on Project Someone’s Innovative Social Pedagogy project, were recently interviewed for the Concordia University website. In the article (linked below) Stacey and Victoria discussed the importance of incorporating the slow movement to the university setting, and how creating the Bureau of Noncompetitive Research was an important step in this direction.

As Stacey explains in the article, “[…] when people work cooperatively, they come up with better ideas. When we overemphasize competitiveness and the speed of getting things done, there’s no longer space for that. In reality, Victoria and I are competing for a limited amount of funding. The bureau is about creating a place where we can think together rather than compete with one another.”

Congratulations to Stacey and Victoria!

Read the article here.

Call for participation: pedagogy and time

The Bureau of Noncompetitive Research (Stacey Cann and Victoria Stanton) is seeking co-researchers in the greater Montreal region to explore themes of slowness, dialogue, collaboration, and pedagogy (in the broadest sense), via the creation of workshops between March and June, 2022 (with the possibility of extension). This call is open to students, professionals, artists, and others, and a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds are welcome.

Potential themes that may be a starting place for inquiry (not an exhaustive list):

  • How do we engage students in their own learning?
  • Is it possible for ethical exchange from diverse power positions?
  • How do we make space for diverse ways of knowing & learning within the classroom?
  • How does slowing down change our relationship with our students and coworkers?
  • How do pressures from institutions affect the way we can or cannot slow down in our teaching practices? In our research practices?

Read the full call for proposals here.

Submit your proposal here: [email protected]