Arts, Culture, and Rob Ford

Check out Heather Mclean’s analysis of the role of the arts and culture in the Toronto mayoral race in the most recent post on the Socialist Project’s The Bullet. Read it here:

Join AGO Workers in Calling For Good, Full-Time Jobs

After spending $276 million dollars on a Frank Gehry-designed expansion in 2009, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) laid off 29 workers.  This year the jobs of 39 additional workers are threatened.  Meanwhile increasing numbers of AGO employees are hired on a part-time or casual basis.  According to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), the union that represents AGO employees, in 2005 the gallery had 136 full-time and 159 part-time staff. Today there are 177 full-time staff and the number of part-time staff has grown to 266. Toronto’s biggest booster of the virtues of creative employment (which often ends up being casual or part-time), Richard Florida, is appointed by the Province of Ontario to serve on the Board of the AGO.

AGO workers will be in a legal strike position on May 21, 2010.  Join these workers at a rally in front of the AGO on May 19 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Find more information here:

Hamilton Joins the Fight Against the Creative City!

Check out the great new flyer from Hamiltonians Against Neighborhood Displacement (HAND) about how creative city policies are causing displacement in Hamilton, Ontario.  If you are interested in contacting them please let us know.

Interns unite

Carrotworkers’ Collective is a London-based group working to understand and challenge the insidious culture of unpaid work – including ‘voluntary’ internships – that has swept over the creative and cultural sectors. Their resistance is long overdue.

Activists in Hamburg Resist Creative Class Policies

Activists in Hamburg, Germany are successfully resisting the redevelopment of their city.  Read their manifesto against creative class policies at Not In Our Name, Marke Hamburg’s blog.  The manifesto is translated into English here.

Read more at Der Spiegel or listen to a podcast of CBC’s Q.

Announcing Creative Class Struggle’s response to this year’s ‘Creative Places + Spaces’ conference

Creative People? Collaborative Spaces? Innovative Places?

According to the event’s website – politicians, private consultants, architects, community development advocates, culture workers, and public space activists are meeting to plan the future of urban policy.

According to the conference’s website, these are exciting, new boundary blurring partnerships because…

“The new imperative to collaborate is rooted in the need to solve persistent multi-dimensional problems and a growing appreciation of how collaboration fuels innovation. It is blurring boundaries between audience and creator, hgdksl anoi ksdjhf….”

Aaack! We’re lost!

Let’s step back and ask:

Whose success are these stakeholders discussing?

Is everyone invited to the table to collaborate?

As people ‘break down’ barriers to create ‘new platforms’ for dialogue about cities in these workshops – what kind of cities are they envisioning?

Isn’t education underfunded? Aren’t governments slashing library budgets? Are these the education transformations they mean?

Isn’t work becoming increasingly precarious or unavailable? Isn’t housing increasingly unaffordable for most people? Aren’t social services for the poor increasingly underfunded and overburdened? Is this the “collaboration for collective interest” that conference planners envision?

What is the city for? Who gets to live here? Who decides?

Creative Class Struggle urges you to question the Creative Cities phenomenon routinely celebrated at Creative Places and Spaces and in cities across the world.

Thanks for visiting. Come back soon!


Creativity or Crisis?

Download and read Creative Class Struggle’s “Creativity or Crisis: Mapping the Rust Belt” appearing in the September 2009 issue of FUSE Magazine.

Creativity or Crisis pg 1

Creativity or Crisis pg 2