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CFP: Together Apart: DIY Culture, Alternative Spaces, and Collaborative Place-Making

Deadline: February 1, 2021

Symposium: May 21, 2021, Ryerson University, Toronto.


As part of La Station x Long Winter Toronto: the second instalment of a bi-city, binational exchange that includes two multi-arts festivals co-presented by Collectif MU/La Station (FR) and Long Winter (CA), Together Apart is an academic conference designed to facilitate international knowledge exchange and encourage further research on the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture and Cultural and Creative “Third Places” (CCTPs).


DIY scenes and CCTPs are highly threatened spaces. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has never been more evident. Despite being sources of the most prescient, often revolutionary, developments in arts and culture (aesthetically, socially, politically), DIY artists and community leaders remain under-resourced, and under-represented. Case in point, Toronto has suffered an important loss of DIY-focused spaces over the past 5 years.


This academic symposium seeks to explore the value and exceptionality of these DIY spaces and CCTPs through a range of lenses. Radical organizing, experimentation, and divergence have always been characteristic of DIY spaces. Conducting and promoting research on the pursuit of creative solutions and opportunities for social and cultural benefit holds valuable lessons, and applicability, for many other sectors.


We are seeking contributions on the following topics, but not limited to:

  • The value, dynamics, implications, and challenges of DIY culture in an urban ecosystem, and at this particular juncture (public gathering restrictions, shock to the broader industry, local infrastructure, venues, urban planning)

  • Fostering dialogue and collaborations between DIY cultural communities, policy makers, and private partners, locally and internationally, around shared incentives and concrete solutions to space use

  • Ways to stimulate opportunities for Toronto-based emergent, independent culture and infrastructure, locally and internationally - with a focus on under-served, marginalized communities

  • Management processes and issues. How to manage alternative spaces? How are these approaches organised and how are stakeholders mobilised within them for a greater impact of culture?

  • Emerging challenges, impacts and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic for DIY spaces and access to resources for artists in urban ecosystems.

  • Developments in research methodologies and creative practices to properly investigate and capture the many dimensions of the DIY culture

  • Historical and contemporary forces that dismantle existing or prevent the development of future DIY communities and practices (gentrification, demographic change, etc.)


Please send a 400-word abstract to le.dubois@ryerson.ca by February 1st 2020, highlighting the research’s significance, scope, methodology and (expected) results.

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