York University’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2023

THE LIBRARIES PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE IN YORK’S 2023 CONGRESS of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Librarians provided workshops and lectures as part of Congress and our spaces were central to Congress activities. Scott Library hosted all the President’s evening receptions. We also curated and hosted several exhibits from our archives: York library exhibits to reflect on the theme Reckonings & Re-Imaginings at Congress 2023 Michael Moir, University Archivist and his team created thought-provoking exhibits for Congress. Three exhibits were on display on the second floor of the library between May 27 and June 2 reflecting on the event theme, Reckonings and

The first exhibit, Reckoning and Reimagining: Deborah Barndt’s Engaged Use of Photography, showcased images taken by the retired professor, who is also curating the display. The exhibit focused on contemporary lens on photos of
migrants to Peru in the 1970s; posters from ESL classes in Toronto between 1977-1984; literacy teachers in Nicaragua learning to be photojournalists during the Sandinista regime in the 1990s; and urgent social issues of the early 1990s.

Celebrating Black Emancipation Through Carnival focused on the work of the late Kenneth Shah, a native of Trinidad & Tobago who immigrated to Toronto and was a major force for years in the city’s Caribana, an annual celebration of the emancipation of the Caribbean’s Black population.

Ben Wicks, the late cartoonist, and his work are the focus of the third exhibit, Cartoons as Commentary and Agents of Change. “Wicks was known for his cartoons and his work with CBC-TV,” said Moir. “Fewer people are aware of his humanitarian work and his campaigns against poverty and malnutrition in Canada and Africa, and to promote children’s literacy. We seldom think of cartoons as agents of change, but he used them to draw attention to causes dear to his heart.” The Wicks family donated many of his drawings, scrapbooks and episodes of his television show to York and a selection of these will give the viewer more insight into his work as a changemaker.

“The Art of Scott Library” was designed as a self-guided tour for library visitors, providing an opportunity to discover various works of art throughout the building and to scan a corresponding QR code leading to a dedicated webpage for each work of art. The digital portion of the tour includes information on each work’s materials and process of creation, biographical information on the artist, links to archival and library material about the work, media clippings, and other interesting information.

Originally published in the York University Libraries Impact Report (2021-2023).


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