This paper examines the intersectionality between social location, community mobilization and art within the context of globalization in Hamilton, Ontario, and the current oppression that exists in the cultural landscape. This oppression comes from a history of valuing Westernized art, Eurocentrism and a closed funding system that does not recognize the changing face of the community. Hamilton has a growing arts community, but the arts are embedded with colonialism, Eurocentrism, Western ideology, and patriarchy. I interviewed seven participants who live, work, and create art in Hamilton so that I could understand what barriers they face within the context of globalization. Specifically, this paper explores the relationship between social location, power and the arts, public memory, and heritage within the context of globalization. It also looks at the role of art in creating social change. For many artists and cultural producers, art making is driven by
their own sense of identity, or serves as a way to understand the broader human experience. Many participants in this study felt that their work and experiences are at times essentialized and commodified in festivals, brought out for special projects, and interpreted through a colonized lens. I found that understanding the barriers to full participation in the arts and the
frustrations faced by those who are not part of the mainstream can help us understand why these barriers exist. This paper also examines how understanding one’s social location, engaging in social change, and engaging in community and labourbased art can help us understand and accept one another as equal actors on the global stage.
|Keywords:||Community, Labour, Arts, Heritage, Identity, Globalization, Social Change, Solidarity, Hamilton, Ontario|
Executive Director, McMaster University & Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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