Grace Y Wu

Mitra Fakhrashrafi

Shaheer Tarar

Darren Patrick

Sidney Smith Hall, Room 5017A | 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G3 (map)

Working With and Across Borders

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This panel showcases works by emerging scholars whose projects combine interdisciplinary research and curatorial practices.  Presented projects reflect on the ways in which borders are crossed, inhabited, represented, and understood. Grace Y Wu will guide us through “Remembering Refuge” a collaborative oral history archive that highlights the stories of people from Haiti, El Salvador, and Guatemala, who crossed the Canada-US border to seek refuge. Mitra Fakhrashrafi will discuss the embodied experience and thickening of everyday borders for non-white people accessing public spaces in Toronto. Finally, the rise of anti-migrant infrastructures in Europe and Asia as witnessed through satellite images, maps and legal documents will be discussed by Shaheer Tarar. Through this panel we hope to encourage conversations about many perspectives, approaches, and creative methods for conducting and disseminating research in our fields.

Moderated by: Darren Patrick, University of Toronto Women and Gender Studies Institute – Antipod Sound Collective

About the Speakers:

Dr. Darren Patrick (dp) is a Lecturer in Gender, Environment, and Activism at Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. Their activism and inter-/anti-disciplinary research are grounded in transfeminist and queer autonomous spatial praxis. Since 2015, they have worked Italy-based Laboratorio Smaschieramenti to translate the collective’s transversal approach to politics for Anglo-American scholarly and activist audiences. They are founding member of the Antipod Sound Collective, which produces Antipod: A Radical Geography Podcast.

Mitra Fakhrashrafi is a curator and Human Geography graduate interested in all things placemaking, borderlands, and Toronto. Her research used interviews and art to examine Toronto’s newly adopted ‘shisha ban’ and the intimate relationship between racializing surveillance and a Muslim ‘sense of place’. Mitra is co-founder of Way Past Kennedy Road, a collective supporting artists’ living at the margins of the city in producing, exhibiting, and profiting from their storytelling practices. In her spare time, she grinds cardamom into her tea and listens to musical traditions that emerge from Toronto; a since-always queer, Black, Indigenous, migrant, and diasporic city.
Grace Wu is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in migration studies, technology and design. She is Co-Investigator and founder of Remembering Refuge: Between Sanctuary and Solidarity, a digital oral history archive and multimedia educational tool highlighting the experiences of Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Haitians seeking refuge across the US-Canada border. The project is supported by the National Geographic Society and in partnership with the Department of Geography at the University of Lethbridge. Her work related to refugee and migrant rights at borders includes overseeing Amnesty International’s direct advocacy program, worked at Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance based in Cairo, Egypt, and co-authored research on the nexus between U.S. immigration and foreign policies in Haiti. Grace holds a Master of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University. She is an active member of the Caribbean Solidarity Network.
Shaheer Tarar uses satellite images, found footage and legal documents to trace historical events to the role they play in the contemporary moment. He pursues stories buried by time,space and code—studying artifacts from these stories that still remain and mediate our relationship to the past. These studies are presented as publications, websites, prints and films. Shaheer is currently working towards a Masters in Human Geography at the University of Toronto, where he is researching the links between historical cartography and contemporary surveillance around the India-Pakistan border.

Sidney Smith Hall (100 St. George Street, Toronto, M5S3G3) is an accessible building, with a ramp located at the Huron Street entrance. Closest TTC locations: St. George and Spadina stations, the 510 Spadina streetcar at Harbord Street, and the 94 Wellesley/Ossington bus at St. George Street.

Toronto is in the ‘Dish With One Spoon Territory’. The Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.


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