February is Black History Month and to commemorate it, Mayworks is honoured to give you a sneak peak of two events from our upcoming 2017 program. Full details of the events – including time, location, and community partners involved – will be released on April 1st, when our official program is released. In the meantime, feel free to mark your calendars with these two very important and exciting events.

Writing While Black: Exploring Urgency, Access and Intersectionality as Zinesters of Colour
Date and Times: Saturday, May 6, 11 am – 1 pm and 2 – 4 pm

Writing While Black is a workshop that examines the ways in which indie print-culture can galvanize movements for racialized people through the zine medium, followed by a zine-making segment for participants.

The Story of Albert Jackson: A Book Launch and Discussion
Date and Time: Wednesday, May 3, 7pm

The Story of Albert Jackson is a book launch of the children’s picture book about Albert Jackson, Toronto’s first black postal worker, including a reading of the book, panel discussion and a display of the original art of the Grade One students from Clinton Street public school that inspired the book. The theme of the panel discussion is the intersection of racism and precarious work.

Want to find out more about these two events? Stay tuned to our website for more details and for more sneak peaks of the 2017 program.


A friendly reminder to all Mayworks supporters and allies that the deadline to submit nominations for the 2017 Mayworks Labour Arts Awards is Monday, February 6, 2017. Nominations should include a one-page summary of why your nominee should be considered for the specific award. Attached to the nomination should be any references that will help elucidate your reasons. Nominations should be forwarded to mailed to Mayworks Labour Arts Awards c/o 25 Cecil Street, Toronto, ON or emailed to mayworksawards[at]gmail.com.

The Awards will be presented at the annual Mayworks Labour Arts Awards Gala on Saturday April 1, 2017 at the Steelworkers Hall.

About Maywork Labour Arts Awards

The Mayworks Labour Arts Awards are given by Mayworks to recognize significant contributions to the arts and labour movement in five categories:
·       The Labour Activist Award for Excellence in Contribution to Labour Arts: This award honours labour activists who have made outstanding use of the arts to promote the values of the labour and social justice movements
·       The Artist Award for Excellence in Contribution to Labour and Social Justice Movement: This award recognizes artists who have significantly captured the values of the labour and social justice movements in their art
·       The Labour Organization Awards for Excellence in Contribution to Labour Arts: This award recognizes labour organizations which have made outstanding use of the arts to engage their membership
·       The Labour Creative Maverick Award: This award recognizes an unusual and creative use of the arts to promote labour rights and awareness
·       The Min Sook Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Labour Arts: This award recognizes those who have captured the values of the labour and social justice movements in their art or through their activism over many years. This award is named in honour of Min Sook Lee, an activist-artist whose own contributions moved Mayworks Festival toward its current artistic vision to actively seek representation of equity groups as audiences and artists. Lee also helped Mayworks focus on programming that engages new, non-arts audiences, and that challenges Euro-centric notions of art.


1. Congratulations to Kwentong Bayan (previous Mayworks artists) on being featured in the Ontario Arts Council’s Framing Community: A Community Engaged Art Workbook. Mayworks Festival featured Kwentong Bayan: A Labour of Love in the 2014 Festival. Photos of the 2014 event may be found here.

2.The Workers Arts & Heritage Centre 2018-2020 call for exhibition proposals is now open. WAHC is seeking exhibition proposals from artists and arts collectives for its Main Gallery. Proposals should be around broad themes of social justice, stories of working peoples, issues surrounding contemporary work or labour, the environment, or that focus on WAHC’s mandate as well as the histories and contemporary concerns of underrepresented, or marginalized communities in Canada. To find out more, please visit: http://wahc-museum.ca/on-now/submissions/.

3. The Canadian Labour Congress is offering a webinar series this month for workers of colour and allies. The series will “celebrate the contributions of Black activists and organizers in Canada, strengthen solidarity across movements, and build skills and knowledge for confronting anti-Black racism in workplaces and communities today.” The first in the series is coming up on February 13th – register by February 12th! More information may be found at http://canadianlabour.ca/WWB.

4. As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, this year’s Hancock Lecture addresses the 15,000-year history of Toronto, or Tkaronto, as a home to Indigenous peoples and the ways in which their legacy and language must be recognized, respected and encouraged to flourish. Speaker Susan Blight examines the potential for real change, renewed relationships and the repatriation of Indigenous land and life in Tkaronto. As a site for bringing together Indigenous and non-indigenous people, Susan sees Tkaronto as unique in its combination of cultural diversity and civic engagement. It can become a place to examine new ways of thinking about solidarity-building and creative practices of resistance in support of an Indigenous resurgence in both language and presence. Land and Life in Tkaronto: New Solidarities Toward a Decolonial Future takes place on Feb. 7, 7 pm  at Hart House Theatre, University of Toronto. More details here.

Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts is committed to sharing events and updates of community-based arts and labour organizing. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.