Protests and Pedagogy: Archival afterlives and the Sir George Williams University Affair - Day 1
This exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the archival records related to the 1969 student protest at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University). Between January 29 and February 11, 1969, Canada’s largest student occupation took place in the Henry Hall building, when students took over the seventh and ninth floor computer centre to protest anti-black racism in the classroom. By revisiting these events over fifty years later, we ask: what do these archival materials say to us now? How do they enable a re-reading and re-telling of the story of the “Sir George Williams affair,” and how can they inform the ongoing production of knowledge about this important history and about student activism and Black protest in Canada? Many of the existing accounts of the "Sir George Williams affair" have focused on violence: labeling the protest as a riot or emphasizing material damages.
This exhibition challenges theses narratives through an exploration of the “official” archives alongside community archives. Comprising a range of artefacts sourced largely from Concordia University’s archives and Montreal’s Black communities, it displays a selection of images, official documents and newspaper accounts of the protest that brings the archives to life. This exhibit offers a re-reading of the protest from Black-centric, grounded-decolonial perspectives that take us on a journey to 1969, where representation meets communal memory as the neglected complexities of the protest come into view. Protests and Pedagogy: Archival afterlives and the Sir George Williams University Affair challenges the limits of archival practices in relation to Black lives in Canada. In so doing, it broadens the discussion on archives, pedagogy and Black lives and the connections to community histories and memories.
Please note this event will be presented in English. Bilingual titles and descriptions are for reference purposes only.