Protests and Pedagogy: Representations, Memories, and Meanings

Conference Highlights, In-person, Panels and Plenary
Black Caucus

Curated by Christiana Abraham in collaboration with Nalini Mohabir & Ronald Cummings

Funding for this event has been provided by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and York University.

This exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the archival records related to the 1969 student protest at Sir George Williams 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 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 “Sir George Williams affair,” and how can they inform the ongoing production of knowledge about this important history?

Many of the existing accounts of the “Sir George Williams affair” have focused on violence: labeling the protest a riot, emphasizing material damages, or tied to discourses of revolution. This exhibition highlights lesser-known narratives, through images, sounds, newspaper accounts, official documents, and oral testimonies that bring the archives to life. Comprising more that 250 artefacts sourced largely from Concordia University’s archives and Montreal’s Black communities, the exhibit includes moving and still images, screen displays contemporary art, that offer a re-reading of the protest from Black-centric grounded-decolonial perspective.  These artifacts take us on a journey to 1969, where representation meets memory as the neglected complexities of the protest come into view. By bringing together past and present, “Protests and Pedagogy: Representations, Memories, and Meanings” offers a new vision of these events that allows us to reflect on our desires for the future.

Location: Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian MacDonald Blvd, North York, ON M7A 2C5


May 28 – 10:00am to 4:00pm

May 29 – 8:30am to 5:00pm

May 30 – 8:30am to 5:00pm

May 31 – 8:30am to 5:00pm

June 1 – 8:30am to 5:00pm

June 2 – 8:30am to 5:00pm


Organizer: Océane Jasor, Concordia University