TL;DR A thesis in a zine!

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thesiszine

Wow! A 168 page MA thesis, transformed into something more people might actually want to read! TL;DR (Internet slang for Too Long; Didn’t Read) is in classic zine folded format (including embracing typos), full-colour, featuring work from five co-researchers from the Moving Home project which explored the embodiment of transience among former youth in care in Canada. It includes a two-page summary of my thesis without any citations, truly a joy to create.

What is the point of creating research that gets stuck behind paywalls, or in a language most people do not interact with? Everyone should make a zine version of their thesis, it honours the written and academic, but transgresses the world of academic publishing into something more community-minded.

This zine is intended mainly as a support for current youth in care, those who work with them, and those interested in arts-based research and creative and accessible research dissemination overall.  This work also makes a contribution to embodiment and mobilities scholarship, particularly with the idea of embodying transience itself. Essentially, considering work on space-time compression, and bringing it to scale of the body.

The TL;DR zine launched August 17, 2017 with a corresponding art show at Critical Distance Centre for Curators. 500 print copies were made, and already distributed freely. There was also a talk at the Ontario Advocate for Children and Youth’s office, who generously supported the printing costs of TL;DR, in addition to other financial support for co-researcher honorariums and art supplies.

Ezine version of TL;DR is here. 

Printable version of TL;DR is here 

For those that want more theory, the research was approached using a framework of the Mobilities Paradigm, Children’s Geographies, and Emotional Geographies. The methods were a combination of Arts-based, Participatory Action Research and Indigenous Methods. Half of youth in care in Canada are Indigenous, and half of co-researchers also self-identified as Indigenous in the Moving Home project. The racism of the child welfare system also shifts geographically across the country, as in Toronto, where co-researchers self-identified as with a statistically representative 40% Black over-representation of youth in care. This is an exploratory Canadian case study model, using Toronto to represent urban-suburban experiences, and Yukon to represent Northern/rural experiences. Colour-coded citations for the Moving Home Project Proposal (2016) are available here. 

The built-in Community Action part of the Participatory Action Research project included four art public shows, two in the Yukon and two in Toronto in 2016 and 2017. These public art shows were all voluntary, with the ability to identify using artist names, First Nation names, initials, anonymous (whatever the co-researchers decided worked best for them). There were ten co-researchers with lived experience in displacing systems such as child welfare, (often overlapping with justice, and shelters) in the Toronto project, and five co-researchers with similar experiences in the Yukon. All art remains the property of the artist co-researchers, digital copies of photos, videos, songs remain in a Moving Home archive. Interesting fact: 80% of the the Toronto co-researchers priced their work for sale, and only 20% initially priced their work for sale in the Yukon (more were made as gifts). The urban hustle is real.

Zine credits: A Merhar, N Ridiculous, X Vautour-Binnette, E M, S N, Meek

Select press on the Moving Home project:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/youth-in-care-art-1.3639421

https://whatsupyukon.com/family-learning/how-foster-care-shapes-lives/

see also https://ameliamerhar.ca/2018/03/01/moving-home-podcast-episode/

 

 

 

 

 

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Rejection Collage

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rejectioncollage

 

Artist Statement: This piece represents the majority of art in the Yukon, and an innovative way to continue working with and through rejection. Using my last rejection letter from the Advanced Artist Award, and mixed paper acquired at the Visitor’s Centre, this project was created onsite, and speaks for the 70% of Yukon artists whose work does not get funded. Caught in a cycle of paperwork, some projects reapply, and some never end up materializing. Every artist, every human experiences the disappointment of rejection. But we must move forward. This piece meditates on this, simultaneously highlighting all the work that goes on behind the scenes to be order to live and create, and acknowledging all those which do not develop further. By creating this work that is valued at the exact original amount I applied for, this piece becomes conceptual and transforms, exploring the intersection of grants and the creative process, and embodying art’s ability to respond and represent.

This work is priced at $5000, the amount of the grant I was rejected for, and will be submitted yearly to the Yukon Permanent Art Collection Acquisition Call, as the price is part of the concept and life of the work. This piece was originally created in July 2015, as part of the En Pleine Air Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon, put on my Yukon Artists at Work.

CD Collage Party

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So, you may or may not know of my musical career as Big Mama Lele. I have been up late, gluey fingers and tiny bits of paper everywhere, making custom CD artwork.  The album is called GDFC, because that is chord progression for all of the songs. Each of these unique collages is called something different, beginning with the letters GDFC, to celebrate all you can do and say with only 4 chords.

Check it out

GDFC Artwork

(Top Left) Gentle Days For Cats, Giant Delicious F**king Club Sandwich

(Top, Centre) Growling Dominant Ferocious Cougar, Galactic Demonic Fire Car!

I have made a limited number of collages for GDFC, and they will be available for sale at my CD Release, and afterwards, remaining ones (if any) may be ordered online though bigmamalele.com.

Big Mama Lele's ReRelease