Co-presented by the Art Gallery of York University, Faculty of Education and Centre for Feminist Research at York University, and Art Museum at the University of Toronto

Weaving Stories and Memories: Militant Education and the path of learning from it
A public lecture with Sónia Vaz Borges, introduced by Gabrielle Moser
Friday, January 19, 2024, at 3:30 to 5:00 pm

In-person at the Art Gallery of York University

A woman, dressed in a pantsuit resembling a disco ball, stands on a plinth. Spotlit, she is performing for an audience in a darkened environment.

Photo: Argenis Apolonario.

In times of crisis and conflict, when political organizing and public mobilization demand new strategies for solidarity, what can we learn from radical education projects of the past? How might decolonial projects from the global south provide a blueprint for imagining a different future together?

Weaving Stories and Memories: Militant Education and the path of learning from it was a lecture by historian and social-political organizer Sónia Vaz Borges. Vaz Borges’ research works through radical education initiatives that traverses global geographies, including public and private spaces from institutions of incarceration to the domestic space of the kitchen table. Questioning the conditions of pedagogical structures is key to their interest in historic and contemporary revolutionary movements.

Vaz Borges states: “Since 2012 I have been researching the liberation struggle of Guinea Bissau, walking the different terrains where the struggle took place – from the city to the countryside, from the asphalt to the mangrove crossing the rice fields and the forest, traveling between continents. By doing this I also weave a particular set of stories, memories, and encounters that so much influence the way I share my work. In this talk, I will explore the different venues, the tools, and inspirations of how, where, and when these memories and stories are presented, in a constant learning and designing of my own decolonization path.”

This in-person lecture was co-presented by the Art Gallery of York University, Faculty of Education and Centre for Feminist Research at York University, and Art Museum at the University of Toronto.

This event emerged in relation to the group exhibition Sediment: The Archive as a Fragmentary Base curated by Denise Ryner and presented by Art Museum which features work by Sandra Brewster, Filipa César, Justine A. Chambers, Michael Fernandes, Louis Henderson, Pamila Matharu, and Krista Belle Stewart and opened Wednesday, January 17, 2023. For more information please refer to the Art Museum website.

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Sónia Vaz Borges is a militant interdisciplinary historian and social-political organizer who received her PhD in History of Education from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She is the author of the 2019 book Militant Education, Liberation Struggle, Consciousness: The PAIGC education in Guinea Bissau 1963–1978. As a result of her research, Vaz Borges co-authored the short films Navigating the Pilot School, 2016, and Mangrove School, 2022. Currently Assistant Professor in History and in the Africana Studies Program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Vaz Borges upcoming book, Ragás Because the sea has no place to grab. A memoir of home, migration, and African liberation, is expected to be published in 2024 by Common Notions. She continues to write on education and liberation struggles and is now developing a book proposal focused on her concept of the “walking archive.”

Gabrielle Moser is an art historian, writer, and independent curator. She is the author of Projecting Citizenship: Photography and Belonging in the British Empire (Penn State University Press, 2019). A founding member of EMILIA-AMALIA, she is an Associate Professor of Aesthetics and Art Education in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, Canada.

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