The 29th edition of SummerWorks Festival was curated through the lens of many questions. Faced with increasingly polarized views on equality, the climate, land rights, immigration, gentrification and freedom of speech circulating on the news and media, we found ourselves asking: Is this for real?
Running through the works was also a consideration of ‘public’: what is public space, how is it made and negotiated? What is the impact of making something public? And what is the power of the public to enact change? Many works considered new possibilities for the public sphere, animating space to rediscover, engage with, and celebrate the Festival neighbourhood in new ways.
Continuing to push the boundaries and explore the possibilities of performance, SummerWorks 2019 invited audiences to go on a digital scavenger hunt in a public library, get paid to contribute to a meditation on labour and consent, imagine possible futures at the ends of the earth, hear the words of children from the mouths of adults, attempt to form a democracy in a time of scarcity, and travel the streets and consider how the city has changed.
The SummerWorks Exchange offered conversations, workshops, pitch sessions and more focused around the concept of ‘making space’ as it related to accessibility and sustainability practices, reconnecting with the land through an Indigenous lens, and site-specific creation.
SummerWorks continues to be a space for openness to question, for bold new ideas, for reimagining what’s possible together, and for making change. During this Festival, it felt like this room for inquiry, this openness, this space for public discourse, was more important than ever.