Post 1 – Introduction

My name is Catherine Poitras. I am from Montreal, and currently living in Hochelaga – which I like to call the Far East of Montreal, or Hoch’lag’, as we say in French. My political views revolve around feminism and anarchism. In the past, I worked as an outreach worker in a community organization, and was a committed volunteer and member of the board of directors at Concordia University Television (CUTV). In 2012, I completed a minor in linguistics. I am co-director of a short documentary called L’Homo Cultivus (2014) on urban agriculture (available on youtube). Nostalgia is my middle name: I study in the film stream of communication studies.

cameracat

Photo by Laura Kneale

These days, the editing of a music video for N0rth (http://n0rth.bandcamp.com) and a sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project (www.sketchbookproject.com) keep me busy outside of school. I spend a lot of my waking time online reading newsworthy articles, from both the mainstream and alternative press.

I would like this class to give me tools that I can use in order to advocate for the rights of women, the queer community and LGBT, people in a situation of poverty, differently abled people, native people, etc. After reading the syllabus, I have a feeling that I am registered in the right class!

My favorite space is the Green House, on the 12th floor of Concordia’s Hall building. The Green House exists thanks to the Concordia Student Union, and it is an entity that hosts many urban agriculture projects. There are many rooms filled with plants, tables and chairs on the west side, and an office space on the east side. I like it because I do not have to pay in order to be allowed inside, contrary to cafés – it is an anti-capitalist space full of sun, plants, and zines. Over there, I feel accepted as I am, and encouraged to express myself. The space is open to the public. To get there, one has to climb the stairs from the 11th floor: the elevator does not go all the way to the 12th floor. The space is therefore inaccessible for a person on a wheelchair. There are not many indications about how to get to the Green House, and it is hard to find. For more information: http://concordiagreenhouse.com/

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 Photo by Catherine Poitras

My thumbs down for the faculty: 1) there are no windows in the COMS building’s classrooms, 2) it is hard to access the classes that we want, and there are not enough space in the 400-level classes for 3rd or 4th year students, 3) the air feels cold in the building: I sometimes wear a scarf and a tuque in class, 4) the main auditorium has the most uncomfortable chairs in the world, 5) the communication department wants to close the film stream: there is a ‘feeling of doom’ in Film II.

My thumbs up for the faculty: 1) easy access to computers and printers, 2) the faculty has good professors, 3) the atrium is a fun place to sit and chat, 4) there are charming old shop signs on the walls and plants in the building, 5) the possibility of gathering both concrete and abstract knowledge in COMS.

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One comment

  1. How can a space be anti-capitalist that is situated within a capitalist space (the institution) and depends on that institution for its existence? Definitely a challenge but brings up an important point of tactical politics: How to use the system against itself.

    I encourage you to read de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life, specifically the chapter “Tactics and Strategies” It will provide you with a language to situate much of what you are thinking about in your blog post.

    Like

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