About the theme
The theme for Congress 2023 will be Reckonings and Re-Imaginings.
Drawing on the lessons of Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Congress 2023 will focus on new reckonings for how to live in non-hierarchical relationships that respect our human differences, while protecting the environment we depend on.
This theme also reflects the vision of Associate Professor Andrea Davis, Academic Convenor for Congress 2023, and her collaboration with members of the York University community.
Under the theme Reckonings and Re-Imaginings, Congress will honour Black and Indigenous knowledges and cultures, and centre the diverse voices and ideas of scholars, graduate students, policymakers and community members in vital conversations about the most pressing issues facing our world.
Seed for Tomorrow
The logo, "Seed for Tomorrow" illustrates the Congress theme’s focus on the intersections of racial and climate justice and the invitation to work collaboratively to care for each other and the environment.
The colours purple and red in the logo align powerfully with Anishinabek and Haudenosaunee traditions. For Haudenosaunee peoples, purple is the colour that comes from the quahog shells that are used to make Wampum Belts (including the Dish with One Spoon). Purple is, therefore, associated with Haudenosaunee confederacy as governance, commitment, memory and relationships, as that is what Wampum Belts do. This allusion supports York’s land acknowledgement and its reference to the Dish with One Spoon treaty. Red in the Anishinabek tradition (depending on the teachings and where someone is located geographically) refers to “love” and the “future.” This idea of love for future generations is a particularly powerful rendering of the Congress theme.
The rendering of the hands in purple further centers the theme’s focus on our human diversity and relationality, displacing whiteness while making space for Black, Indigenous, Brown and other scholars and thinkers across their racial, cultural, linguistic, and gender differences. The timeliness of the reference to spring/summer (as the period when Congress is hosted) and the emphasis on hands as nurturing, with the plant linking and growing out of the hands as earth and source, work powerfully together. The cupping of hands also suggests a posture of supplication and humility. In inviting us to care deeply for the earth and for each other, the logo refers back to the theme’s call for “active and meaningful co-engagement, and a commitment to exercising patience and care in doing the hard work of changing belief systems and the world.”
The strawberry—as the first berry of the season and often referred to as a heart berry because of its shape—is an important source of food and medicine in many Indigenous cultures on Turtle Island. As a heart berry, it repeats the idea of love and shared humanity. As a berry with “seeds” growing on the outside, the strawberry also powerfully connects to the logo’s creative focus, “Seed for Tomorrow.” The gray in the flowers and the veins of the leaves challenges normative assumptions and signifies the middle ground between the absolute of black and white, and a refusal of colonial models of binary thinking.