Welcome back to Week 5 of LA COMMUNE 2021, a virtual free school experience hosted by Roxanne Panchasi (a.k.a. RP) in collaboration with UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness. If you’re just joining us this week, you might want to take a look at the content from the previous four weeks to help get you situated. You can also dip into and out of the content as you like, in whatever order appeals to you. Free really means free!

The Paris Commune erupted in the spring of 1871 following more than a century of political, social, and economic transformation in France. After months of war and siege, the French capital’s working-class population rose up in March, holding elections, and forming their own government. The revolutionaries of the Commune attempted a complete overhaul of all aspects of life in the city. Instituting political and economic reforms, they also pursued a program of universal public education, the separation of church and state, and the promotion of a radical culture.


Our free school TIMELINE includes a number of key events that may help to situate events chronologically and within the broader history of nineteenth-century France. We’ll be adding dates to the timeline each week, following events from March through May as we go.

RADIO 1871 

Each week of LA COMMUNE 2021 is anchored around an episode of radio 1871, an audio series created for a seminar in History at Simon Fraser University in 2021 with subsequent release via this free school in mind.

This week, listen to RP’s conversation with Dr. Clint Burnham. Clint is a poet, literary and art critic, and a professor in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. The episode explores the role of art and artists during the Commune, touching on figures like Gustave Courbet, and the “Manifesto of the Federation of Artists” that appeared this week 150 years ago, on April 15th, 1871. Clint also shared his thoughts on the political intentions and meanings of art, artists and activism, and the purpose and effects of public art. The episode closes with the song “Creatures,” by Casey Wei, performing as “hazy” (with permission of the artist).

Check out a recently published work of Clint’s on The Capilano Review’s see to see— reviews section, On Evan Lee’s Fugazi which showed at SFU Galleries’ Teck Gallery in 2020.


“Manifesto of the Federation of Artists, Red Wedge (April 15, 2016)

“Courbet and the Commune,” Musée d’Orsay

French artists during the Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune” Books & Boots blog post

“How the Paris Communards made their lives luxurious,” an interview with Kristin Ross, People and Nature (July 28, 2015)

“Survival of the Paris Commune: an interview with Kristin Ross,” Roar Magazine (March 18, 2021; originally published in 2016)

Anne Rigney, “Why Monuments Matter (And When They Don’t)” ReAct (June 6, 2020)

“Photograph installed on Vancouver power substation return Mi’kmaq artwork to its home,” Globe and Mail (April 8, 2021)

Check out these more recent stories of art and resistance… 

BRING HER HOME SACRED WOMXN OF RESISTANCE, a showcase of contemporary expressions of Indigenous resistance in response to the colonial foundations of the MMIW epidemic. 

Urban Art Mapping’s George Floyd Anti-Racist Street Art Database or Covid-19 Street Art  & this corresponding article in Smithsonian Magazine, How the Death of George Floyd Sparked a Street Art Movement


Don’t forget to check out the HAPPENINGS & HEADS-UPs section!

We are especially excited to have a La Commune 2021 event coming up on Thursday April 22nd: “Poems for the Paris Commune, an evening of readings and discussion with Cecily Nicholson, Mercedes Eng, and Stephen Collis.

The section also includes  information about other Paris Commune-related & Commune-spirited events taking place in various sites during the period of the free school.