I am pleased to introduce you to Volume Four of RENDER: The Carleton Graduate Journal of Art and Culture. As you may have noticed, there have been some changes to our format and venue. In an effort to integrate RENDER more completely into the Department of Art History and the School for Studies in Art and Culture, we are pleased to now be hosted on our departmental website. The realization of this transition and this journal owes much gratitude to the Carleton University community. I especially want to thank Nancy Duff for her vision and Jack Coghill for all of his hard work putting together this new website. I also want to thank the members of the journal committee: Sarah Fox, Emily Putnam and Lesley McNaughton for their keen editorial eyes. Thank you as well to AHGSS and the Department of Art History for providing the necessary funding to support this journal. Finally, thank you to the authors for their diverse and intelligent contributions. We hope they will provoke a fruitful discussion among the Carleton community.
Manon Gaudet, editor
“Creative Resistance: Using Video Documentary-Making as a Tool to Research and Challenge Penal harms” by Laura McKendy, PhD candidate at Carleton University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
In recent years, scholars have contemplated how social research can be more relevant both within the policy realm and the social world more generally. These discussions have, in large part, been prompted by a widespread recognition that social research often bears little influence on public debate, policy outcomes and lived social experiences (Garland and Sparks 2000; Chancer and McLaughlin 2007; Loader 2011; Felizer 2009; Turner 2013; Burawoy 2005; Matthews 2009; Loader and Sparks 2011; Ruggiero 2012; Currie 2007). Reflecting on the ‘inward’ orientation of university research, scholars have theorized and undertaken different strategies in pursuit of a ‘public’ form of scholarship that holds relevance beyond the academy (e.g. Feilzer 2009; Piché 2012, 2015; Mopas and Moore 2012). Incorporating pedagogy into the discussion, this piece will explore opportunities for engaging both students and researchers in the social processes they are studying. More specifically, I will discuss documentary film-making as an action-based methodology that can be used to simultaneously research and resist social inequality. This was the methodological and pedagogical approach I recently experimented with when working with a group of fourth-year undergraduate students studying conditions at their local jail, the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC). This action-based format was intended to facilitate a creative and meaningful way for students to learn about penal harm, while simultaneously acting on the basis of what was learned. Download the PDF
“Painting a Settler Nation: Frederick Verner and the Canadian West” by Krista Broeckx, MA Art History.
On July 1st, 1867, four British colonies came together to form the federal Dominion of Canada. The years that followed marked a period of vigorous nation building during which time institutions set about identifying a distinctly Canadian identity, while also extending the territory of the Dominion westward. Playing a key role in this development were artists who, within this political climate, found inspiration in the landscape and the Indigenous peoples living there, perpetuating an already existing myth of the disappearing Indian. This paper discusses the art of Canadian artist Frederick Arthur Verner, arguing that within the institutional context of the Ontario Society of Artists, Verner contributed to a culture that validated and encouraged westward expansion in Canada. The cultural and political ideologies that his work promoted in turn took concrete shape in the form of government legislation regarding land ownership and in the mandates of newly founded artistic institutions. Though I do not wish to propose a causal link between Verner’s work and new government legislation of the time, this paper does highlight the important role of cultural institutions in promoting the idea of an authentically Canadian settler identity, thus validating colonization and the expropriation of lands in the West in the name of the British Crown. Download the PDF
“‘A Most Happy Holiday’: Rosemary Gilliat Eaton’s Photographic Travelogue Along the Trans-Canada Highway, 1954” by Danielle Siemens, MA Art History.
On July 31, 1954 four Canadian women packed up a Volkswagen and set off on the Trans-Canada Highway for a five-week trek from Ottawa to Vancouver. Amongst the group was British-born photographer Rosemary Gilliat who took hundreds of photographs from snapshots of urban life to thoughtful studies of wild landscapes. Additionally, Gilliat kept a daily diary of their adventures detailing everything from the mundanity of highway conditions and mosquito filled camping spots to the problematic sexism they encountered as four single women on a road trip. Considering photography as a social practice, in this paper I engage in a close reading of Gilliat’s travelogue to examine how she used photography to explore and assert personal identity and to mediate the relationship between herself and others. Gilliat embodied the multiple roles of tourist, immigrant, and photojournalist and her photographs can be analyzed across these competing vantage points. In particular, I argue that we can read through Gilliat’s archival material from the Trans-Canada trip to better understand how she used the camera to assert a national, gendered, and settler-colonial identity. Download the PDF