The Whistlestop Project begins in Montreal


The Whistlestop Project is underway.  We left Nova Scotia on Saturday, March 7 and our first Whistlestop was Montreal.  La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse ( was just the place for our shared inquiry into art, popular education, and the women’s movement.  La Centrale is one of the oldest feminist artist-run centres in Canada, now in its 35th year.  The gallery space windows onto Boulevard Saint-Laurent, and we were  taken with the idea that we were presenting a snapshot of the artists and educators of the women’s movement to passers-by — a painted canvas, a remembered song set from popular theatre, a dance for gospel women, an embroidered spiral, omni-sexual photography, stand-up (actually sit-down) comedy, and animated conversation replete with laughter and tears and (sometimes provocative) responses and questions to each other.  As the unilingual English facilitator of this inquiry, I (Dorothy) was delighted that at least one short exchange with francophone performance artist Christine Brault was in French. The Montreal Whistlestop is most clearly representative of the two settler nations in Canadian women’s history.  Some of the emerging themes in the Montreal Whistlestop were around women’s publishing, art for women’s health, art and literacy education, art that preaches to the unconverted (e.g., sexist, homophobic), the unexpected and unintended responses to art, the challenges and possibilities of doing art in safe and unsafe places.

~ by artpoped on March 10, 2009.

One Response to “The Whistlestop Project begins in Montreal”

  1. Dorothy, this was a wonderful initiation for me and I was thrilled to be part of your project. Many thanks. As a new Canadian immigrant, I appreciated learning a bit about some other feminist artistic practices as well as experiencing the structure of your research methodology. Wondering about opportunities for participants to continue our conversations, is there a contact list for those you’ve invited? I’m interested in continued connections and ongoing dialogue.

    Also interested in the way the group conversation ended since one of the participants levied some harsh criticism of the artists in the room as a group-wondering if others are interested in processing that. For me it triggered a renewed interest in my relational artistic process of exploring feminist structures of conversation, especially responses to verbal attacks which are to me a patriarchal form of communication. I’ll be posting soon on my own blog,, about it if anybody else is interested.


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