Independence as the way to liberation:
Notes on the role of the artist and art

Following the opening weekend of our project UNRAVELING THE (UNDER-)DEVELOPMENT COMPLEX, we cordially invite you to this workshop with Clifton Joseph:

Walter Rodney's work has been instrumental in providing a realistic framework for those engaged in movements that confront social inequality. In his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Rodney provridrers a framework for today's analysis of how big tech companies are censoring information, leading to confusion and lack of transparency. He also discusses how politicians' betrayals of democracy – including Obama nowadays – have eroded trust in the system. And he identifies what role artists have to play in initiating change. Ultimately, Rodney's work seeks to inspire participants to take action by identifying artistic initiatives or movements that could bring about meaningful reform for modern society. In this workshop, we will examine Rodney's work and discuss how it can be applied to our current situation. We will also identify ways in which we can take action to bring about change in our own communities.

Join us for an exploration of how Walter Rodney's classic book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, has influenced generations of progressive thinkers. Through this workshop series, we will have the opportunity to increase our understanding of the so called African underdevelopment – its causes, effects and possible solutions. We will also consider Rodney's work in the context of current struggles around the world. This promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging series for everyone involved.

1. Understanding Walter Rodney's Work

We will begin by looking at colonialism and imperialism from different angles, and considering how Rodney's words can inform our activism today. This discussion will provide historical context for Rodney's work, as well as main ideas and implications 

2. Applying Rodney's Theories to Current Struggles

This workshop episode will be more interactive, with a focus on devising new strategies for advancing social justice. We will use Rodney’s theories as a starting point for this discussion, keeping in mind both successes and failures of the past 50 years since How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was published. Our goal is to come away from this workshop with tangible plans for continuing on the path towards collective liberation.

Clifton Josephis an award-winning Antiguan born Canadian poet. He was a co-founder of De Dub Poets with Lillian Allen and Devon Haughton, the group that started Canada’s dub poetry movement. An esteemed broadcaster, journalist, writer and musical intervener, Joseph is celebrating the launch of his latest album and book Shots On Eglinton. Joseph’s work has been included in literary anthologies such as Wheel and Come Again, edited by Kwame Dawes (Gooselane Productions, 1988), Walter Rodney: Poetic Tributes by Bruce St John (Bogle-l’Ouverture Press Ltd, 1993), Verbal Rhythms: The Politics of Aesthetics of African Canadian Dub Poetry by Christian Habekost, 1993, Dubwise: Reasoning from the Reggae Underground by Klive Walker (Insomniac Press 2005), Black Like Who: Writing in Canada, by Rinaldo Walcott, Insomniac Press, 2003.