[csaa-forum] BANFF RESEARCH in CULTURE (BRiC) / Research Residency Program Banff Centre for the Arts / University of Alberta

jennifer pybus jrpybus at gmail.com
Wed Nov 3 07:14:44 CST 2010

BANFF RESEARCH in CULTURE (BRiC) / Research Residency Program
Banff Centre for the Arts / University of Alberta

THEME: On the Commons; or, Believing-Feeling-Acting Together

Application deadline: December 1, 2010

Guest Faculty: Lauren Berlant, Michael Hardt, Pedro Reyes
Organizers: Imre Szeman, Heather Zwicker, Kitty Scott

Program dates: May 9, 2011 - May 27, 2011
Email contact: bric at ualberta.ca

(Note: There are only 25 spots available in the residency program this year)

The commons has emerged as one of the key concepts around which
social, political, and  cultural demands are being articulated and
theorized today. Harkening back to the  displacement of people from
shared communal spaces and their transformation from public  into
private property — a central act in the development of European
capitalism in the  18th and 19th centuries — the commons insists on
the fundamentally shared character of  social life: that everything
from language to education, from nature to our genetic inheritance,
belongs irreducibly to all of us. As an increasingly rapacious
capitalism  draws ever more elements of social life into its profit
logic and renders seemingly every  activity and value into a
commodity, thinking with and through the commons has become an
important means of generating conceptual and political resistance to
the multiple new  forms of enclosure that continue to take place
today, and which need to be confronted and  challenged forcefully and

The commons is a concept used in analyses and interventions in popular
culture, art, new  media, political philosophy, social theory, law,
literary studies, and more. The ease  with which neoliberal ideology —
which celebrates the supposed rationality of  privatization and has
managed to transform taxation into an act feared above all else — has
become embedded in the beliefs and lived structures of everyday life
demands an  intensive examination of how and why we have come to
prefer enclosure to the commons in  almost every area of social life.
Just as importantly, it also requires us to investigate and invent new
ways of being-in-common--ways of believing, feeling and acting
together,  of creating the commons that seem everywhere to be receding
from view.

The aim of this year’s Banff Research in Culture workshop is to give
scholars, cultural producers, and artists an opportunity to explore
how we believe, feel, and act together, and the ways in which we are
prevented from doing so. How might we shape new collectivities and
communities? What are the capacities and dispositions essential to
producing new ways of being? What lessons can we learn from history as
well as contemporary struggles over the commons (from challenges to
intellectual property to indigenous struggles)? What concepts and
vocabularies might we develop to aid our  critical and conceptual work
with respect to the commons (e.g. Alain Badiou’s revival of  communism
or Jacque Rancière’s reconfiguration of equality and democracy)? How
does  artistic and cultural production participate in the production
of new collectivities and  defense of the commons? Where do we go from
here-a moment in which neoliberalism seems to  have stumbled and lost
its forward momentum? We welcome projects dealing with the full range
of issues and topics related to being-believing-feeling-acting
together today.

On the Commons will run concurrently with the thematic residency La
Commune. The Asylum.  Die Bühne led by artist Althea Thauberger,
providing opportunities for interaction and  collaboration with
artists in residence.

Developed by Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies
and Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of
Alberta, Heather Zwicker, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) in the
Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, and Kitty Scott,
Director of Visual Arts at the Banff Centre, On the Commons is part of
Banff Research in Culture (BRiC), a new residency program designed for
scholars engaged in advanced theoretical research on themes and topics
in culture. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty,
and practicing artists from across Canada and beyond will convene at
The Banff Centre to pursue their work — and, ideally, to incubate new
collaborations and creations — for three weeks. During the residency,
participants will attend lectures, seminars, and workshops offered by
distinguished visiting faculty from around the world, each of whom
will stay at Banff for a week or more and will be available to discuss
projects and ideas. Participants will also be encouraged to present
their work to colleagues through readings, talks, and presentations
held over the course of the program.

As a residency program, BRiC is designed to allow participants to
devote an extended period of time on their own research in the company
of others with similar interests. In addition to giving researchers
and creators from different disciplinary and professional backgrounds
an opportunity to exchange opinions and ideas, it is hoped that
participants will develop new artistic, editorial, authorial, and
collective projects during their time at Banff, both individually and
in connection with others. We are especially pleased by the
opportunity that BRiC affords visual artists and researchers to work
together on issues of common interest.

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