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“Something happened here in Montreal on February 11th, 1969, which for different reasons neither Blacks nor Whites will ever forget."  - Dennis Forsythe



In 1969, West Indian students at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) occupied the university’s computer centre from January 29th to Feb 11th as part of one of the most significant student protests in Canadian history. The student occupation was in response to discriminatory pedagogical practices and the university’s failure to effectively address the students’ complaints.
   
The protest culminated with a now iconic and widely circulated image of computer punch cards being thrown out the window of the 9th floor by students. The end of the protest was also marked by varying accounts of police brutality, racist epithets, and a mysterious arson which forced the students’ evacuation. In the aftermath, nearly 100 people were arrested. The impact of this event was felt acutely in Montreal, but followed closely by national media in Canada, with ripple effects across the Caribbean, impacting Caribbean-Canadian relations and resulting in Caribbean-based student protests, which pushed governments to demand justice for their nationals.      

This conference commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Sir George Williams “affair” as a lens to reflect upon the unfinished business of decolonization and its relationship to questions of pedagogy, institutional life and culture and ongoing discussions about race and racism. We seek to remember this historical moment and its questions of decolonization and pedagogy as ones which remain urgent in higher education around the world. We also acknowledge the long history of student protests in various institutions across the Third World and the Global North, but in particular we draw connections between this event, and the “Rodney Riots” in Jamaica, 1968 and Trinidad’s Black Power Revolution in 1970.

In locating the students who were part of the Sir George Williams “affair” as part of this wider trajectory, we further ask what is the decolonizing role of the student intellectual both historically and in our current global moment?  What are the unfinished legacies of this moment in the Canadian context and beyond? How is it remembered, forgotten or contested in different spaces? How did it connect or contribute to wider circuits of activism, protest and resistance? How is blackness included or occluded in decolonizing dialogues (particularly relating to curriculum and pedagogy)? What are the lessons of the occupation of the computer centre to current forms of resistance, such as Black Lives Matter or Rhodes Must Fall?



Image Source: Concordia University Records Management and Archive (1074-02-150)

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 C A L E N D A R



 January 29th-February 11th, 2019





All events at 4th SPACE, main floor, J.W. McConnell Building (LB),
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W, unless otherwise noted. Click dates for details.




Tuesday January 29th
Launch Event 
Archival Exhibit Opening


Wednesday January 30th
Ninth Floor - Screening with Cinema Politica
Black Montréal Round Table
BLACKOUT - Tableau D’Hôte Theater - Opening


Thursday January 31st
Oral History: Workshop with Stéphane Martelly and Stephen High
Black Canadian Education Tools: Workshop with Dorothy Williams
An(other) Antilles - Screening with Cinema Politica


Friday February 1st
Black History Month Launch at City Hall
Printmaking Workshop
A Visual Record of Events Unfolding: Artist Talk with Charmaine Lurch


Saturday February 2nd
Black Experience in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (Invitation only)
Sugar Cane Alley - Screening with Cinema Politica


Sunday February 3rd
9th Floor Walk Through
Policing Round Table


Monday February 4th
’70: Remembering a Revolution - Screening with Cinema Politica
Protest and Gender Activism


Tuesday February 5th
The Congress of Black Writers and Sir George at 50: A Talk
Multidimensionality of Black Experiences: Round Table


Wednesday February 6th
Congress of Black Writers Conference at McGill University
Telling Stories: Black Montréal Oral History Course
Beading Workshp with Pascale C. Annoual
Film and Community, Massimadi Montréal


Thursday February 7th
Decolonizing Knowledge Across the English and French Caribbean
Crisis at Sir George - Screening with Cinema Politica

Friday February 8th
Protests and Pedagogy Conference Day 1
Champaint: Race and Pedagogy

Saturday February 9th
Protests and Pedagogy Conference Day 2
Champaint: Race and Pedagogy

Sunday February 10th
REDE Protocol
Commemoration - Maison d'Haïti
Riots Reframed - Screening with Cinema Politica


Monday February 11th
Groundings: The Way Forward, Towards a Reparative Framework 
Everything Must Fall - Screening with Cinema Politica
Closing


*Image Source: Concordia University Records Management and Archive (1074-02-117).

CALENDAR      NEXT DATE 


Tue
Jan 
29
th




LAUNCH EVENT

6-8pm, 4th SPACE
J.W. McConnell Building (LB)
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Main Floor 

African Grounding and Territorial Acknowledgement
Pascale C. Annoual

Acknowledging 2 years since the Québec City Mosque Shooting
Yasmin Jiwani

Speaking for Morgan Stalnely
Alan Vesprini

Opening Address
Nantali Indongo

Round Table: Why does this History Matter?
Philippe Fils-Aimé 
Rodney John
Leon Llewellyn
Carlyle Williams

Brass:
Jason Selman
Modibo Keita
Marcus Braithwaite-Selman




Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm, until Feb 11th, 4th SPACE

ARCHIVAL EXHIBIT OPENING
Curated by Christiana Abraham

Images, sound, and text related to the SGW Computer Center Occupation



CALENDAR    NEXT DATE    PREVIOUS DATE


Wed
Jan
30
th




1-3pm, 4th SPACE

NINTH FLOOR

Screening with Cinema Politica

Talkback with Philippe Fils-Aimé






5-7pm, 4th SPACE

ÊTRE NOIR À MONTRÉAL/BLACK MONTRÉAL ROUND TABLE


Événement sponsorisé par la TRMHN / Event sponsored by the Round Table on Black History Month


Moderator: Michael Farkas


Tenisha Valliant

Community and Black cultural heritage researcher, and coordinator of historical projects.


Balarama Holness

Politician, militant, and human rights advocate.


Jerry Alexandre

Author and teacher.


Anastasia Marcellin

Event organizer/manager, feminist, activist.


Idil Issa 

Feminist, advocate and militant for minority group rights.


Leon Llewellyn

Visual artist, archivist.


Their struggles, challenges, academic successes, their resilience and continuity in their personal and professional lives.




D.B. Clarke Theater
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Main Floor

BLACKOUT


Opening Performance
Presented by Tableau D’Hôte Theater

                      


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Thu
Jan
31
st




10am-12pm, 4th SPACE


ORAL HISTORY AS A CREATIVE PATHWAY INTO THE BLACK EXPERIENCE: A WORKSHOP

Stéphane Martelly and Steven High

This two-hour bilingual workshop will provide introductory training in oral history as a research and creative practice, grounded in examples drawn from projects focused on the Black experience.

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HISTOIRE ORALE COMME CHEMINEMENT CRÉATIF À TRAVERS L’EXPÉRIENCE NOIRE À MONTRÉAL: ATELIER

Stéphane Martelly et Steven High

Cet atelier bilingue de deux heures introduira les participants aux méthodes en Histoire orale, comme approche de recherche et de création, tout en s'appuyant sur des exemples tirés de l'expérience Noire à Montréal.




1-3pm, 4th SPACE 

BLACK CANADIAN EDUCATION TOOLS
Workshop with Dorothy Williams


The ABCs of Canadian Black History introduces a pedagogical tool for educators and is designed to introduce the contributions of Black Canadians to the historical development of Canada. The hands-on workshop features cross-curricular content adapted to the QEP in various subjects from science, business to human rights. Included are games, activities and cards to facilitate learning, discussion, introduce diversity and inclusion in the classroom and to engage students. A perfect Black History Month tool that will delight learners year-round.




4-6pm, 4th SPACE

AN(OTHER) ANTILLES

Film Screening with Cinema Politica

Talkback with Rodney John