Focus-day schedule

Do you wish to reserve a meal for the focus-day (6$, payable on site)? Will you be using the free child care service that will be offered on site? More information



A meeting open to all disciplines will be held at the Théâtre Aux Écuries on October 21 from 9am to 5pm in conjunction with the Journée sans culture. You may confirm your attendance in one easy step

Regardless of your job in the arts sector, you are warmly invited to participate in a collective reflection regarding issues affecting our broader community. Discussion tables will be set up at which you can freely express yourself on the following themes*:

  1. Between gift, resilience and exhaustion: how to work and up to what point?
  2. Community, investment and capture
  3. Between dialogue and monologue: resonance in the social sphere
  4. Thinking new models of organisation
  5. Speech and frozen tongue : the beginning of a lexicon
  6. The artist-as-entrepreneur: the only remaining horizon?
  7. Market, philanthropy, or state: who supports whom?
  8. “Nous et nousses”


Schedule of the day

8.30 am   Arrival and coffee
9.30 am   Openning remarks
1o am       Beginning of work sessions
12 pm       Lunch
1.30 pm    Return to discussions
4 pm         Gathering for a collective discussion in the main stage
5 pm         End of Focus-Day
5 pm         Happy Hour at Le Cep et le Houblon (2280 Bélanger)

Note that there will be free child care service from 8.30 to 5 pm.


1. Between gift, resilience and exhaustion: how to work and up to what point?
Discussion led by Virginie Jourdain, Caroline Blais and Mercedes Pacho.

Artists and cultural workers today continue to be associated with the stereotype of the “artistic calling,” which implies a certain giving of oneself and the pursuit of a passion worthy of some sacrifices. In reality, though, art work, like all professions, allows basic needs to be met, which should be part of a harmonious balance of work/family/creation. The cultural sector seems devoted to a certain permissiveness regarding the working conditions of human resources. Issues concerning working conditions are never the priority of our organizations, even though overtime hours and cases of burn-out are prevalent. In a neoliberal society of increased expectations and diminishing resources, one question is how actions can be undertaken with fewer means? What wages are fair and egalitarian? What is the price of resilience, adaptability, and flexibility? What conditions do artists work in (salaries, copyright fees, insurance, etc.)? What are the models proposed in different disciplines? And finally, how does work in the arts become hierarchical, how does it structure and evaluate itself at the intersection of questions about genders, classes, contexts and practices both visible and invisible? This workshop aims to draw up avenues of reflection regarding the way we manage, our practices, and our working conditions. We will attempt to evaluate these issues and to take the pulse of our different experiences, with the aim of sharing and creating new tools.


2. Community, investment and capture
Discussion led by Alexandre Jimenez, Kim Lagaude and Camille Renarhd.

If “across all its manifestations, culture gives form to a practice of obedience” (Francesco Masci, Supersticions, Paris: 2005), how can we find a way out of it? How can acts of resistance be undertaken in the face of what is called “the culture industry”? Are there alternatives, and if so, what are they?
But even before answering these questions, why don’t we try together to identify what the culture industry is, and in so doing gaining a better grasp of what might be defined as an alternative?
What would happen if we ceased to walk systematically on the path marked by Culture? And if we put ourselves together to work with the present and seize the possibilities nested in it? In other words, can art be made here and now with what we have?
These are some of the thoughts that this theme endeavours to gather from you at the Journée sans culture.


3. Between dialogue and monologue: resonance in the social sphere
Discussion led by Mélanie Binette, Daniel Fiset and George Krump.

The “intent to relate” between artists and their spectators rests on a fundamental dynamic—the wish to reach the public—and a basic question: “who are we addressing ourselves to?”. These statements lie at the heart of the collective inquiry engendered by the Journée sans culture. How can we think together, with these ideas, about the vitality of the artistic milieu, not just its survival? How can all of this include publics from different milieus?
There is an aspect of cultural mediation that’s regarded as a real dialogue between artists and spectators, that is to say, a genuine encounter with the public. There is also a different aspect of cultural mediation, often institutional, that’s manifested as “audience development” but that too often appears as an attempt at wooing that seeks to make art more popularly palatable. Between a desire for vitality and an impulse for survival, is it possible to build a model that would encourage spectator engagement in a more long-lasting way? And what kind of similar engagement or exposure to different communities does this require of artists?


4. The top of the pyramid or the ecology of the field?
Discussion led by Sasha Kleinplatz, Yves Sheriff and Michelle Lacombe.

At this table we will initiate a non-binary conversation about hierarchical and non-hierarchical models of organizing.  How can we as artists generate support (financial, creative, structural, emotional, and communal) through the mashing up of these models in ways that are adaptive and fluid?


5. Speech and frozen tongue : the beginning of a lexicon
Led by Amber Berson, Vincent Bonin, Michael Eddy, and Charlotte Panaccio-Letendre.

At a moment of great change in how we talk about culture, it is important to keep one’s eyes on the words themselves.
René Char is famously quoted as having said that he believed in the magic and the authority of words.
The magic for them to be slippery, gliding, shifting, in flux; to hold multiple meanings and power; to be malleable for our individual and collective uses.
Yet authoritative: determining, adjudicating, controlling, commanding, powerful, expert.
In a sense, we can play with words all we want, we can use them as we need them but then, we can always come back to their pragmatic, common meanings. This happens daily. It is how we communicate. It is how we advertise. It is, most importantly for our purposes here, how the terms are set in politics. As if by magic, some are able to sell austerity measures as something desirable and palatable for the people, for instance, exchanging public for private as deftly as breath.
As practitioners and stakeholders in the dark art of arts administration, we too believe in the magic and authority of words. To this end, we believe that we can accept, deny, and alter the language of engagement.
Speaking out can be a terrifying proposition, especially in the unstable make-believe of culture, where the talk around things is no less powerful than elsewhere. Challenging the authority of definitions always risks misconstruction, which can mean real, palpable consequences for social standing, career and finances. In this test-run at a collective process of forming a lexicon of words endangered by austerity, we will look at a number of key excerpts in the administrative language surrounding cuts and changes to arts funding.
Remember the magic of words, remember their permissibility. Our sense of vulnerability cannot be ignored but consider this space to be a safe one for an exercise in unmasking, or in trying out new definitions and new languages.


6. The artist-as-entrepreneur: the only remaining horizon?
Discussion led by Pablo Rodriguez and François Lemieux.

The figure of the artist-as-entrepreneur means different things to different people, but at its most general, it seems to refer to a path—a form of self-understanding and a mode of conduct—in which artists embrace business as a principle of production. Business, here, can be imagined not as a large, faceless and hierarchical corporation but as a small, flexible, and ambitious start-up. In arts, the entrepreneurial ideal often means that what matters is that you are a free agent, a creative innovator, and a risk-taker who is willing to adapt to a climate of social and economic insecurity by working day and night to discover new possibilities for profit within the system. But as funders are pursuing policies and universities are building courses that encourage an entrepreneurial ethos in the arts, this ideal is being roundly criticized as part of the problem, rather than a solution to it.
At this table we will approach the imaginary of entrepreneurialism in the arts from the varied perspectives and experiences of JsC participants. Artists from all disciplines, writers, administrators, activists, support workers, coordinators, representatives, drop-outs—everyone is welcome. This will be a space to share experiences and listen to the experience of others, as well as to brainstorm about survival tactics, strategies and alternative models.
Here are some examples of the kinds of questions we might touch upon:
  • What are we talking about when we invoke the figure of the artist-as-entrepreneur, or when we speak of the prevalence of an entrepreneurial ethos in the arts?
  • What does this entrepreneurial model look like from the vantage point of your everyday lived experience?
  • Is this “horizon” experienced by everyone in the same way, regardless of categories of race, gender, ability, citizenship status, occupation and chosen discipline?
  • What are the promises that accompany being an entrepreneur? And at what cost: what compromises, consequences, and possibilities does being an entrepreneur imply?
  • How is the demand to be or to behave entrepreneurially transmitted in our communities? How is it imposed? And can the experience of this demand serve as the basis for building support networks that transcend disciplinary, occupational, and sectorial boundaries?
  • How do we face a situation in which the exploration of new social forms and institutional arrangements is conceived not as a truly public good but, more exclusively, as a search for new forms and spaces of capital accumulation? How do we live with this situation, how do we work with it and without it?


7. Market, philanthropy, or state: who supports whom?
Discussion led by Catherine Lavoie-Marcus and Edith Brunette.

“Private patrons in Quebec have to give more to culture as well as to education (…),”the Minister of Culture and Communications, Hélène David, has said. Where does this imperative come from, and what political agenda is it a part of? At a time when cultural policies incite partnerships between arts and business—in some cases to the point of making the latter indispensable—how can we, artists and art workers, ensure that our autonomy is not undermined and that inequalities do not deepen within our communities. What do private funders seek by supporting the arts? Is a “just” patron possible? If so, how? Let’s take a step back together and gauge the impact of this new reality on our work and in our lives.


8. “Nous et nousses”
A proposal by Arkadi Lavoie Lachapelle, Janick Burn, Marlène Renaud B, Kamissa Ma Koîta, Hugo Nadeau, Marie-Andrée Poulin and Annabelle Aubin-Thuot.

what matters to us: to breathe new life
bring your body!
it will abide wholely amongst us
bring your children!
we will welcome them as ours
at the core of the communal ecosystem
racquets and birdies will volley
like so many missives of support
a net of rest and communal wandering
a renewal of body and mind
in the very exercise of reflexive action
the sulphurous words that put out the fire
of our vital practices will become rituals
because they say: maintain the innovation capital
of the creative economy as an authentic
adapted and augmented user experience
we take their word for it!
poetry has arrived as Uguay would say
with the longing to see solidarity
blossoming otherwise, let’s join in!
oh yes! a subtle welcome
to all and all