spaces-of-contestation-talk-series-imageSpaces of Contestation Speaker Series
Talk 4

Riot Dogs and Research Labs: Poetry and Struggle
by Stephen Collis

Wednesday March 12, 7pm
World Art Centre at SFU Woodward’s (149 West Hastings)

What is poetry for in a time of spiralling struggle? Sometimes it’s just a riot dog, at best maybe able to bite a cop’s leg, or at least warn you when they are at the door. Sometimes it allows us to think differently about the spaces we need to contest. Poet and activist Stephen Collis will explore some of these spaces, inside and outside of poems—from the streets, to urban and suburban “commons,” to the conceptual space of the future and the pervasive and interconnected spaces of resource extraction that enclose such futurity in diminishing climate returns.

Stephen Collis is a poet and professor of contemporary literature at Simon Fraser University. His many books of poetry include The Commons (Talon Books 2008), On the Material (Talon Books 2010—awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), and To the Barricades (Talon Books 2013). He has also written two books of criticism and a novel, The Red Album (BookThug 2013). His collection of essays on the Occupy movement, Dispatches from the Occupation (Talon Books 2012), is a philosophical meditation on activist tactics, social movements, and change. In September 2013 Coach House Books published DECOMP, a collaborative photo-essay and long poem written with Jordan Scott.

Upcoming speaker: Kirsty Robertson (April 16)

Spaces of Contestation is a series of talks, performances, public actions, publications, and an exhibition that examines the collective walk/protest/public demonstration as both a performance and a social formation and fosters discussion about issues related to urbanism, community activism and politically engaged artistic practice. The project is curated by Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte and presented through UNIT/PITT Projects. The core of the project is in four collaborations between artists and community organizations, that initiate community engagement and democratic use of public space via the realization of site-specific participatory performances.

The speaker series is co-presented by UNIT/PITT, the SFU Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the SFU Institute for the Humanities. The project is supported through the BC Arts Council’s Arts-Based Community Development Program and by the Hamber Foundation.

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