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Transiting the Queer Uncommons: Queer Summer Institute in Research Creation (TQU)

Transiting the Queer Uncommons: Queer Summer Institute in Research Creation (TQU) will run from May 2 to 26 and features two graduate courses at York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD). 

Inspired by radical new poetic methods of digital and intermedial performance storytelling, transgressive visual techniques emerging from new media platforms, and new activisms engaging with theories of homonationalism, pinkwashing and the global queer (un)commons, the TQU courses offer students insight and participation in the debates, voices, ideas and images of the current queer/trans digital moment. 

Partners and sponsors of the project are: the Toronto International Film Festival, Pleasure Dome, Buddies in Bad Times, the ArQuives, Hemispheric Encounters, Peripheral Visions Collaboratory (York University), Sensorium Centre for Digital Art and Technology (York University), VISTA at York University (Vision: Science to Application) and SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). 

The TQU graduate courses are:  

THST 6350: Performing the Queer (Un)commons, taught by Department of Cinema & Media Arts Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair Mary Bunch. Students engage in debates and creative practice in queer worldmaking through a focus the ways intermedial performance crosses borders – both geographic and the borders of creative practice – to imagine the world queerly. The course examines how does the transnational circulation of queer cultural production resist western imperialism and trouble colonial notions of borders, and how do translocal interconnections and exchanges between localities create queer community? 

FILM 5020: Global Queer Cinemas Confront the Pink Line taught by Department of Cinema & Media Arts Associate Professor John Greyson. Critically engaging with South African author Mark Gevisser’s investigation of new pink lines in the global LGBTQ landscape, which variously exploit, divide, but also sometimes empower queer/trans citizens, this research-creation course explores a new generation of digital queer voices and their specific interventions on our queer screens. Moving beyond the cynical ubiquity of homonormalized LGBTQ stories on Netflix and YouTube, this course seeks to explore those voices that push back against globalizing market forces and pink commodity paradigms. 

Students will meet Monday to Thursday for a hybrid (live and online) series of lectures, workshops, panels and screenings featuring international artists and scholars, including queer science fiction media artist and filmmaker Shu Lea Cheang; Columbian performance artist Nadia Grenados, and South African journalist and author of The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers, Mark Gevisser. 

The courses are open to all AMPD graduate students and select York graduate students (by application). Students are encouraged to apply by sending a short application with their student number, program, year, and a brief statement of interest to gradthea@yorku.ca for THST 6350 or filmgpa@yorku.ca for FILM 5020. Students who are not enrolled in an AMPD program are requested to submit a creative CV in their application. 

While no prior experience in creating digital queer media/intermedial performance is required, these advanced courses anticipate students to acquire basic film/digital/media/ performance/or storytelling skills. Registration is limited.