Our publication

For the past decade, Engrenage Noir / LEVIER – together with hundreds of artists and activists associated with dozens of community groups and organizations – has cultivated the practice of socio-politically engaged art. Affirming Collaboration: Community and Humanist Activist Art in Québec and Elsewhere communicates the joys and challenges encountered in co-creative community and humanist activist art while advancing our understanding of its ethics and aesthetics.

Without minimizing the risks and pitfalls related to the collaborative process, Affirming Collaboration proposes that co-creativity is a gesture of personal empowerment and civic intervention that contributes to a more responsible and equitable co-existence in Québec and elsewhere. Negotiating decision-making and the allocation of resources within a collective art project – in such a way that the different voices are heard – involved dealing imaginatively with power and relational dynamics. Potentially, this leads to personal transformation and subversive political agency.

A greater sense of recognition and visibility is extended through this publication to members of LEVIER-supported projects and participants in the training and exchange programs, dialogue circles, roundtable discussions and workshops, who speak out about their artistic and activist experiences. They will likely inspire communities and community groups who have yet to explore the power of creative engagement.

The first bilingual publication to go into such depths about the problematics of community and humanist activist art, Affirming Collaboration brings together experiential testimony and theoretical analysis with texts by Kim Anderson, Jorge Goia, Petra Kuppers, Vivian Labrie, Louise Lachapelle, Ève Lamoureux, Nisha Sajnani and Bob White. In addition to the DVD compilation entitled Documenting Collaboration (inserted in the centre of this book), interviews, project descriptions and essays convey practical information and invite critical reflection about how collaborative art develops and sustains healthy communities, even in this time of rampant individualism and global systemic inequalities.

The editors, Devora Neumark and Johanne Chagnon, are co-directors of Engrenage Noir / LEVIER. Both are long-time interdisciplinary artists with years of community involvement. Engrenage Noir / LEVIER is a Montréal-based, independent non-profit art advocacy and funding body.

See table-of-contents

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Launch in Montréal

June 27, 2011

La Sala Rossa 4848, St-Laurent blv

Lots of collaborators have celebrated with us, performing or speaking about their experience with community or humanist activist art.

Launch in Québec

June 28, 2011

at Bar L’Agitée, 251 Dorchester street