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Creative Publics: Art + The Federal Election

September 11, 2015


Does art make politics more interesting? This is the question behind Creative Publics, a roving, pop-up, voter engagement project bringing together artists, students and community members in Vancouver to make art inspired by political issues leading up to the Canadian federal election in October 2015.

“We’re told how important it is to be politically engaged, yet we are only ever asked to make one decision every four years that consists of picking between political parties who continuously ignore the issues important to young Canadians,” says PhD student and creator of Creative Publics, Tara Mahoney. “Young people are concerned about issues such as university tuition, affordable housing, childcare, the environment, government surveillance; yet, we are rarely asked for our opinions.”

Targeted at the demographic of young Canadians notoriously disengaged from the formal electoral process, Creative Publics is an effort to give young people new spaces to creatively express their perspectives on election issues beyond just casting a vote at the ballot box.

From Sept. 11, 2015 - Oct. 2, 2015, Creative Publics will host four-mixed media collage workshops in collaboration with Tin Can Studio, a mobile project space housed in a vintage 18ft Streamline trailer. The workshops will be held from 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses of Simon Fraser University (SFU), and in downtown Vancouver. These free public sessions will be held in collaboration with Simon Fraser University, Gen Why Media, and Check Your Head: Youth Global Education Network.

The collages created at the workshops will be mounted on five-foot-tall, free-standing block letters that spell the word VOTE, contributing to a public art installation that will be built in collaboration with the Wood Shop workers cooperative. The VOTE installation will be set up in front of the Belzberg Library at SFU Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver, Oct. 12-16, 2015. While showcasing the art work of the Creative Publics participants during the week leading up to the election, it will also remind people to vote. Samara Canada who will be on-site with information on how to register to vote.                                                                                              

Creative Publics is an initiative of the Art for Social Change (ASC!) research project, a five-year, national research initiative on art for social change and the first study of its kind in Canada. Hosted by SFU, the initiative developed out of the seminal work of the International Centre for Art for Social Change (ICASC), a partnership created by Judith Marcuse Projects (JMP) and SFU in 2008.

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