ARCMTL, a local non-profit organization that both promotes and preserves the arts and its history in Montreal, has been conducting the Rejuvenation project since mid 2019. The project aims to gather previously untold stories and unknown artefacts and documentation to better understand the contribution that Montreal’s diverse Black communities made in the cultural, artistic and music spheres.
The era in question, from the mid 1960s to mid 1980s, was one of constant change and reinvention in Montreal in general, with Black communities being no exception. The arrival of new Montrealers from many different countries and regions, such as the Caribbean and Africa and the US, enriched existing communities and informed the migration of communities to new suburbs and districts of the city.
Lead project researchers Andy Williams and Désiree Rochat will present various stories that emerged from the interviews conducted for the project, and will also discuss the approaches developed to involve community input and involvement in the project despite the challenges posed by the various restrictions stemming from the pandemic.
Andy Williams is a talented musician, teacher and art curator, writer and DJ with 40 years of experience. He hosts The Goods weekly programme on CKUT and had organized the long-running monthly dance party of the same name in Montreal. He has taught about jazz at various Universities and CEGEPS and is considered one of Canada’s foremost expert on the topic.
Désirée Rochat is a community organizer and educator who authored Histoire et culture de la diaspora caribéenne au Québec. She is completing her PhD on the ways that community archives can support the memory work of Black community organizations like the Maison Haiti. By connecting Haitian activists’ knowledge and memories to the documents they produced through their work, the presentation will highlight how their shared praxis evolved and eventually forged a community.
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