We Sang to the Streets!

We had an incredible turnout for Sing to the Streets. The response was overwhelming, and despite the cold, we managed to get a great overview of some of the folkloric history of Windsor and Detroit and learn some Francophone folks songs along the way.

The Save the City project is really giving us a lot of insight into the things that make Windsor the city that it is — hyper-localized pronunciations and all. That idea, in particular, spurred a 2-hour conversation on a local radio station, and a great article in the Windsor Star on Monday, which was just a bonus after being able to spend the afternoon immersed in folklore and great company.

We’re a little over halfway through the Save the City project, but there’s still a lot more to come, so if you’ve been meaning to come out, but haven’t had the chance yet, check back soon, as we’ll be posting the date for April’s event any day now.

Continue reading “We Sang to the Streets!”

Sing to the Streets

The details: Saturday, March 20th at 3pm, meet at the corner of University and Pelissier.

As part of the Broken City Lab: Save the City project, and to better understand the city and its rich and failed history, Broken City Lab researchers will invite the community to learn the Francophone history of Windsor through a collective performance and storytelling of traditional French Folk Songs native to the Detroit River region on Saturday, March 20th at 3pm.

Led by Dr Marcel Beneteau, a professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnology at the University of Sudbury, participants will meet at University Avenue and Pelissier Street to take part in a walking oral history tour and performance, which will stop at the streets along Riverside Drive named after Windsor’s French settlers such as Goyeau, Langlois, Marentette, Louis, Parent and Pierre.

The retelling of the brief oral history at each street will be followed by a collective open performance of the French Folk song led by the local Francophone musician. Video and audio documentation of the performances will subsequently be made available on the Broken City Lab / Save the City website.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Making Lists: Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope (Part 1)

Just a quick update from Sunday’s Save the City event: Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope … Thanks to the amazing group of people who turned out, we have nearly 50 sites between the two lists (which you can see in progress, above).

A part of this project involves us going around to each and every site on these lists and officially recognizing it as either a site of apology or a site of hope. Since we have 50 sites on our lists, we were beginning to run out of daylight on Sunday afternoon. That means that we only managed to visit about half of those sites, so we’re trying to find a second day to continue with our adventure.

We’ll post all of the photos from the event and a photo of every site we visit as soon as we finish!

The next Save the City event happens on March 20th, 2010 — more details soon.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Our Ribbons Have Arrived

For our upcoming Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope event (a part of our ongoing Save the City project), we’ll be asking for your participation to help us come up with a list of those very things — the places around Windsor for which we need to apologize, and the places for which we can have hope.

After making these lists on February 28th, we’ll be heading out around the city to official recognize all of these sites with the help of two large ribbons, one of which you can see above.

The box arrived yesterday, the ribbons are amazing and huge. It’s going to be great.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope

The details: Sunday, February 28, 2010 (1pm) at 362 California Ave, Windsor

As part of the Broken City Lab: Save the City project, and to better understand the city and its rich and failed history, Broken City Lab researchers will host an open community event on Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 1pm to map and invent two distinct community tours—Sites of Apology and Sites of Hope.

Throughout the first part of the event, Broken City Lab will lead community participants in brainstorming the numerous sites deemed to be worthy of apology—these could include failed strip malls, roads without sidewalks, or former auto factories—along with the numerous sites that give community participants hope for the city—these could include an especially great bike trail, sites of architectural significance, or places that can be imagined as being easily improved.

Immediately following the creation of these lists, Broken City Lab will set out to demarcate and officially designate each Site of Apology and Site of Hope. At each site, a short ceremony will be held and community members are welcomed to come along to help recognize each and every site.

A map demarcating each of the designated Sites of Apology and Sites of Hope will be made available online to encourage the ongoing investigation of these sites by community members.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Listen to the City: Discovering the Histories of Windsor through Conversation

Sunday night was the first event of our Save the City project: Listen to the City, and it was incredible!!! We had an amazingly generous crowd of old friends and new faces come out to share their stories of Windsor with us and we recorded close to 8 hours of their hopes, concerns, and personal histories of the city.

We’ll be going through all of this material over the next little while to turn it into an audio documentary that we’ll distribute online, hopefully on some local airwaves, and also through a contribution of the final work to the Windsor Archives. We’re hoping that this documentary will serve as a marker in time that will have captured a very specific kind of conversation happening right now, and maybe happening for the first time. It’s going to be something very special.

We want to thank everyone who came out and participated — this literally could not have been possible without you! There’s a number of photos and some overview of the discussions after the jump of what was our absolute most favourite night of the year so far.

Continue reading “Listen to the City: Discovering the Histories of Windsor through Conversation”

Researching Ribbons, Preparing for this Week’s Events

Tuesday was all about research. We looked up some more details on ribbons and talked more about how we would move forward with the Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope event.

We’re also getting ready for Sunday’s event, Listen to the City (remember, 8pm at Phog), and for Thursday night’s projection performance at Propeller in Toronto.

Continue reading “Researching Ribbons, Preparing for this Week’s Events”

Save the City: Listen to the City

The details: Sunday, January 24, 2010 (8pm) at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave W, Windsor)

As part of the Broken City Lab: Save the City project, Broken City Lab researchers will facilitate a community workshop to brainstorm, uncover, and share personal histories of Windsor, inviting a range of community members to participate in the process. The workshop will begin with a discussion about the importance in personal histories alongside official histories of a city, and then lead to the opportunity for community participants to share their own stories about Windsor.

Throughout this part of workshop, we are going to help you to record one another’s stories on portable MP3 audio recorders and encourage the retelling of stories throughout the workshop. After the workshop, the recorded audio stories will be uploaded to the Broken City Lab website and offered for streaming and downloading. As well, a copy of the edited collection of the stories will be donated to the Windsor Archives.

We think that the best way to start understanding this city is to hear the stories from the people who live here.

With that in mind, we’re going to ask you two questions about the city:

What brought you here? and Why are you still here?

See you on the 24th!!!!

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Save the City: an overview

The Save the City project aims to create a concentrated series of positive community-based activities facilitated by Broken City Lab in collaboration with community members. The project will address a number of issues and ideas specific to Windsor, Ontario through various collaborative community-based activities. As Windsor is situated in precarious economic, cultural, and geographic positions, the Save the City project will serve as a much needed injection of positive collaboration, engagement, and dialogue with the city itself and its diverse communities.

The objectives of the Save the City project are to prompt and initiate creative solutions for social change within Windsor through direct connections between emerging artists and community members. Save the City will focus on the process of creative and artistic practice extending into the community and the everyday, selecting and inviting a range of collaborators and participants from within the many communities of the City of Windsor.

The Save the City project will bring together emerging artists and city residents to imagine and prompt creative social engagements and civic activation. Within the project’s series of five activities, the content of each activity will be based on a creative interaction with a part of Windsor’s current and historical social, economic, and regional culture.

Below is the schedule of events (with some details still to be announced):

January 24, 2010 – Listen to the City : Community storytelling workshop to brainstorm, uncover, and share your personal histories of Windsor  (Phog Lounge, 157 University Ave W, 8PM)

February 28, 2010 – Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope : Social Mapping event of the places we need to apologize for and the place we need to care about (362 California Ave, 1PM)

March – Sing to the Streets : A celebratory parade of French history, singing French Folk songs to French Streets (meet at Pelissier and University)

April – Things Worth Saving : Help us to document the thousands of things worth saving in this city, we’ll turn them into free postcards to send out to other cities (362 California Ave)

May – How to Save a City : Community think tank / artist talk / open forum, asking how in the world do you save a place like Windsor (TBA)

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.