Reflecting on the COVID-19 Year
On March 17, Ontario announced its first death by COVID-19 and declared a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The closure of businesses and facilities was ordered. With Ryerson closing, my team and I shifted operations of the MLC Research Centre online, which was no small feat given that in-person exhibitions are part of our mobilization through the CFI-funded MLC Gallery and given also that we hold archival materials and rare books. We made it happen, nonetheless, by shifting and adapting our operations with a great deal of dedication, and even sacrifice, by the entire team.
We launched the Pandemic Webinar Series, starting its planning in March as the first of its kind in Canada. At the time of writing this prologue, it is still running — the longest cultural and arts focused initiative addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. To date we have had 56 international speakers and almost 2,000 participants, offering an international dialogue on the role of the arts and culture in navigating the pandemic and preparing for recovery. Our book on the topic is forthcoming with Routledge.
During this stressful time, we delivered on an ambitious research agenda with five books published and forthcoming and a sixth book in preparation, along with forty-two articles, chapters, op-eds, and other pieces of criticism published—an amazing result by an inspired and outstanding team of researchers. We have launched new partnerships with the AGO, the McMichael Collection of Canadian Art (Kleinburg) and Canadian Women Artists History Initiative (Concordia) for an upcoming hybrid (in person and online) conference entitled Modernisms, Inside & Out (registration form), as well as an exhibition with Carleton University Art Gallery, and special projects with the War Heritage Research Initiative at Royal Roads University.
We revamped our online archival system to make it even more accessible. I invite you to browse our Operation Canada website with its new discoveries, and to explore the ways in which the MLC Research Centre mobilizes publicly engaged arts and humanities. I hope you enjoy this summary of achievements of the MLC Research Centre during a tumultuous and historic year.
Irene Gammel, Director
MLC Director & Executive Team
- Dr. Irene Gammel, Professor, Faculty of Arts, Director
- Dr. Cintia Cristiá, Assistant Professor, FCAD, Academic Lead — Executive Committee
- Cameron MacDonald, MA, MLC Coordinator
- Jaclyn Marcus (ABD), Executive Member
- Dr. Jason Wang, Executive Member, Space & Technology
2020-2021 Summary of Achievements
- Sponsored by SSHRC Insight Grant in partnership with Ryerson University Library
- 9 diaries transcribed, analysed, annotated, and digitized
- 12+ students trained
- Organized by MLC (Ryerson) in partnership with the Canadian Women’s Art History Initiative (CWAHI, Concordia University), AGO, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg)
- Funded by the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art