The University of Winnipeg



Dr. Julie Nagam leads Nuit Blanche Toronto

Dr. Julie Nagam in an orange shirt gives an address from behind a podium while Michael Thompson, wearing a pink blazer over a white shirt, stands in the background.

Dr. Julie Nagam and Michael Thompson, Deputy Mayor of Toronto.

The University of Winnipeg’s Dr. Julie Nagam will once again be leading Nuit Blanche Toronto, one of the largest international public art festivals.

The event, which runs from dusk on October 1 to dawn on October 2, features more than 175 projects from more than 150 artists and will draw an estimated 1.2 million people. It also includes a seven-day symposium, A Home for Our Migrations, which runs September 27 to October 3. The symposium brings together more than 60 speakers, including scholars, artists, and community activists, who will engage in dialogues, workshops, keynote addresses, and performances. Topics discussed will include transformative curatorial practices, public art futures, performance actions, the politics of displacement, and intersections with labour, land, and diasporic memory.

Nagam, Professor of Art History at UWinnipeg and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media, co-produced the symposium alongside the City of Toronto, RUTAS Festival and Aluna Theatre, Hemispheric Encounters, and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology at York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. Also assisting in the symposium’s production is The Space Between Us project, for which Nagam is the Principal Director, and the UWinnipeg’s aabijijiwan New Media Lab, a 4,000-square foot research centre located at Richardson College for the Environment.

This partnership grant will be hosting several research assistants who will have important roles in both the symposium and Nuit Blanche, allowing for rich opportunities and exposure.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with these amazing institutions to bring critical and timely global conversations about public art, place and urban interventions,” Nagam said. “Nuit Blanche Toronto will continue to build on an incredible creative infrastructure that is part of the city’s heartbeat and magic.”

Also representing UWinnipeg at the symposium will be Art History professors Dr. Serena Keshavjee and Dr. Cathy Mattes. Keshavjee will moderate and Mattes will participate in a dialogue/conversatorio titled “Radical Curating.”

The symposium ties seamlessly into the curatorial theme of Nuit Blanche Toronto, which is The Space Between Us. Its focus is on connecting those in urban, polar, and Pacific landscapes, and artists have been invited to “build bridges between cultures and connect with communities and the environment, transforming the city by telling stories about their connections to place.”

“This broader thematic is so important as we begin to rebuild and repair from the pandemic,” said Nagam. “It draws on stories to connect us and draws people from the oceans, land, and cities as part of the larger partnership grant.”

The 2022 event is Nagam’s second consecutive as artistic director of Nuit Blanche Toronto. As the inaugural artistic director, Nagam was tasked with using her expertise in digital spaces to assist in moving the 2020 event online in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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