Morris Lum, documentation of Friends of Chinatown Toronto’s development sign

Whose Chinatown?

A Virtual Conference

APRIL 10 – 11, 2021 | LIVE OVER ZOOM

REGISTER ONLINE TODAY:

DAY 1: http://bit.ly/2NK2vch
DAY 2: http://bit.ly/3pxCsDj

Download the virtual conference brochure here.

Whose Chinatown: A virtual conference brings together a weekend of collaborative panels and talks facilitated live over zoom, brought to you by Griffin Art Projects, Centre A, The New Gallery and the Asian Canadian Writer’s Workshop with collaborative support from Tea Base, aiya哎呀 and Youth Collaborative for Chinatown. Join us for a weekend of conversation, connection, and solidarity as we celebrate Chinatowns across the country and engage with topics that range from cultural heritage and revitalization to gentrification, economy and the changes that have swept across Canada’s Chinatowns due to development and population, prior to and post-COVID.

SATURDAY APRIL 10, 2021

2-3 PM MST | NICE TO MEET YOU

Join us as we kick off our virtual weekend with a warm welcome and introductory remarks from the team! Join Griffin Art Projects’ Director Lisa Baldissera and guest curator Karen Tam, The New Gallery’s Director Su Ying Strang, Centre A’s Interim Executive Director and Curator, Henry Heng Lu and the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop’s Executive Director Allan Cho, to learn more about the vibrant institutions they lead and their hopes and goals for this virtual weekend together.

3:15 – 4:45 PM MST | ARTIST TALK: WILL KWAN

Centre A’s curator and Interim Executive Director Henry Heng Lu will be in conversation with Toronto-based artist Will Kwan about his exhibition Exclusion Acts at Centre A. This exhibition brings together a number of new photo, text, and media-based works that take an unflinching look at the systemic and absurd ways that economic ideology shapes social relations and beliefs. The works examine a range of conditions, from the racialization of low wage and precarious labour, to the financialization of housing by private equity, to the fanatical neoliberal rhetoric used to support the supremacy of the economy. Seen in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the works in the exhibition portray not an inflection point, but systems and minds trapped in a recursive state—inertia, entrenchment, business as usual. This virtual conversation will discuss different manifestations of inequality explored in the exhibition.

Presented by Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

5 – 6:30 PM MST | VANCOUVER’S CHINATOWN: THEN & NOW

CINDY CHAN PIPER | ELWIN XIE | SID TAN | WINNIE CHEUNG

The artist and poet Jim Wong-Chu once remarked that Chinatown is all in our imaginations, for each generation who has lived or interacted there remembered it differently or had different experiences according to their place in time. What first began as a ghettoized space by colonialists used to contain and segregate a predominantly displaced Chinese male bachelor society from the rest of society, Vancouver’s Chinatown has hardened to survive major threats to its existence —race riots, the TransCanada highway, and gentrification— and has now become a contested space between real estate developers, small businesses, and those who reside there. As Chinatown is very much a cultural and historic relic of Canada, the city of Vancouver and the province of British Columbia have pushed to have Chinatown designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the future of Chinatown is uncertain in the midst of a global pandemic. Join us as our four speakers whose roots and history with Chinatown discuss and share their memories, experiences, and thoughts about the future of Vancouver Chinatown.

Presented by the Asian Canadian writers workshop

6:45 – 7:30 PM MST | CHAT & CHEWS

Join us as we raise a virtual glass in cheers of community, conviviality and great conversation! We’ll be capping off each day with an informal mingling session during which participants will have the opportunity to meet and chat about some of themes and ideas of the day. Zoom links for each mingling session will be sent upon registration.

SUNDAY APRIL 11, 2020

2 – 3:30 PM MST | VISIONS FOR CHINATOWN

AIYA 哎呀 | DORIS CHOW OF YOUTH COLLABORATIVE FOR CHINATOWN | FRIENDS OF CHINATOWN TORONTO | SU YING STRANG | LINDA ZHANG MODERATED BY HENRY TSANG

Join us for a panel that addresses the changes that have swept across Chinatowns throughout Canada and beyond due to gentrification, development, and population, prior to and post-COVID. Panelists will consider the anti-racism that has surged during the pandemic, and what can and should be done about it. This panel is planned on the occasion of the presentation of Whose Chinatown? Examining Chinatown Gazes in Art, Archives, and Collections from January 9 – May 2, 2021, a vibrant exhibition curated by Karen Tam that brings together an art history of Chinatowns and their communities by historical and contemporary Canadian artists.

Presented by griffin art projects

3:45 – 5:15 PM MST | WOVEN THREADS: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CONNECTING AND COMMUNITY IN CALGARY CHINATOWN

TERESA TAM | ANNIE WONG | CHERYL WING-ZI WONG | MODERATED BY SU YING STRANG

Join us for a discussion featuring Calgary Chinatown Artists-in-Residence, Teresa Tam (Calgary, AB), Annie Wong (Toronto, ON), and Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong (New York, NY), moderated by Su Ying Strang, Director of The New Gallery. The artists will share their ongoing research and work specific to Calgary Chinatown, and how Chinatowns inform their respective practices and/or lives. This residency, organized by The City of Calgary Public Art Program and The New Gallery, is an opportunity for these artists to connect with stakeholders in Calgary Chinatown, and to learn about the community’s past, present, and possible futures. The residency also takes place during a time when The City is undergoing consultation and planning for the future of Calgary Chinatown. The overlapping timelines of these projects poses the question: how does artistic research support engagement and advocate for communities?

Presented by The New Gallery

5:30 – 6:15 PM MST | CHATS & CHEWS

Join us as we raise a virtual glass in cheers of community, conviviality and great conversation! We’ll be capping off each day with an informal mingling session during which participants will have the opportunity to meet and chat about some of themes, topics and ideas of the day. Sessions will be lightly moderated by conference Partners and Collaborative Supporters. Zoom links for each mingling session will be sent to participants upon registration.

Please download the Conference Brochure for a full list of participant bios, restaurant recommendations and information about our collaborative supporters!