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The Culture Congress: L’art du CONTACT – how do we make it?

Fri, Nov 14/08 to Sun, Nov 16/08

Friday, November 14 – Sunday, November 16, 2008
Harbourfront Centre, Toronto


Harbourfront Centre, in partnership with le Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec, le Bureau du Québec à Toronto and PME-ART in Montreal, is thrilled to announce the second edition of The Culture Congress taking place from November 14 to 16, 2008.  The Culture Congress recognizes all creative disciplines, bringing together local, national and international cultural communities for an exchange of ideas, practical skills, and information.


For this latest edition, in recognition and support of the existing and the continued development of interactions among creative communities in Quebec and Ontario, The Culture Congress asks L’art du CONTACT – how do we make it? This exchange enables contact between people, contact with creative works and coincides with Québec Now!, a Toronto-wide exploration of contemporary arts and culture in Quebec.


Over the course of three days, you and other creators and culture workers connected to multiple disciplines from across Quebec, Ontario, the rest of the country and abroad will be challenged through a series of workshops, round-table discussions, and dialogue. Provocative questions will evolve in consideration of the many facets of making contact. Together, we will investigate the artist’s contact with physical materials, tools, spaces, and language; the many degrees of connection between artistic works and audience;  the impacts and potential of collaborative processes and interdependence in creative settings; and the issues, challenges, best practices and obstacles related to the Québec-Ontario cultural and artistic cooperation. The diversity of perspectives born of each artistic genre on each side of the inter-provincial border will not only add to the vibrant nature of the conversations, but help us all to explore the realities of multidisciplinary approaches.


The Congress launch is scheduled for Friday November 14th, along with the opening receptions for the Visual Arts, Architecture and Crafts exhibitions at Harbourfront Centre’s York Quay Centre. Keeping with our commitment to artist and community development we are happy to announce that registration to participate in The Culture Congress is FREE.


To further contextualize the scheduled events, participants of The Culture Congress are also encouraged to attend performances taking place during the forum: La Pornographie des âmes by Dave St-Pierre, and The Montreal Stockhausen Project both part of Québec Now!, in addition to other local events and exhibitions. Please see our website for details:, and you can check for updates at:

FRIDAY, November 14, 2008

Keynote Address

SATURDAY, November 15, 2008
Session 1 – Opportunities and Challenges

In space and at the table. Right in front of us, and impossibly far away. Meet fellow congress-attendees in this interactive, café-modeled discussion on the challenges of making contact and how those challenges can be turned into opportunities.
Session 2a – TOUCH
Acknowledging the body as the first site of experience, TOUCH is a discussion about the kinaesthetics of contact. Theory and practice meet to challenge our understanding of the meaning of intimacy.

Session 2b – Between Old and New
Does artistic practice evolve or revolve? A cross-disciplinary discussion about how artists make contact with history, deal with tradition, and engage with the notion of newness.

Session 3 – PME Workshop – Agreement and Discord
Groundbreaking, understated, unsettling multi-disciplinarians PME-ART facilitate a workshop on that will, lightly, but insistently, touch on the place of politics, presence, and idealism in the making of collaborative performance.

Session 4 – Artist Tours
Heat is generated where there is friction. See and feel three different Toronto neighborhoods as local artists lead personal and idiosyncratic tours of the places they make contact.

Session 5 – Dinner Show and Tells
A chance for Culture Congress attendees to present themselves and their work in an informal setting. An opportunity for exchange and dialogue across and through artistic disciplines, hosted by the Power Plant.

SUNDAY, November 16, 2008
Session 6 – Pitch Sessions
Over breakfast!

Session 7 – Conflict and Collaboration
An open space format discussion that will examine collaborative structures in artistic creation and identify what it takes to make them work.

Session 8 – Technology of CONTACT
Looking at how technologies help us come together and keep us apart, the Technology of CONTACT will explore and chart some of the new sites for connection and exchange that can be opened by the integration of social networking tools in artist’s practices.