Becoming Our Spaces


Resistance Mapping

Instigator, Facilitator

Resistance Mapping is an interactive exercise designed to lead to conversations about gentrification and displacement, safety and perception, and bias. I work with participants to create maps that document their cities or neighborhoods. Taking inspiration from Janice M. Irvine's affective mapping framework, we chart how and where feelings are evoked along the routes they chart, how emotions change, fade, and under what circumstances they might reemerge. We explore if these emotional shifts are being influence by the built environment, or by encounters with people. And we discuss how the built environment impacts us emotionally, physically, and socially. 

Working in small groups, we  shift the conversation, reflecting on how participants can move their maps from emotional dissonance, hesitancy, or complacency to resistance, reflecting on the following prompts and questions:

- Are there issues or constraints your group is experiencing in common?
- Is there something you can do as a group to collectively shift your maps?

The hope is that the maps might encourage participants to move differently in association with one another and in the environments they walk through daily. In doing so, we might enact a radical imaginary which allows us to re-­make ourlandscapes, and rethink community. Participants walk away from the session with a physical map they can return to while on their neighborhood routes.

I developed Resistance Mapping as an artist-in-residence at MacEwan University in Alberta, located on ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ, Amiskwacîwâskahikan, Treaty 6 Territory, Canada in August 2018. The workshop was led for and with transgender and gender non-conforming people at the Pride Centre of Edmonton's Trans Camp, and for a general audience at the Mitchell Art Gallery. I am excited to adapt this work specifically with people who benefit from white priviledge, providing a creative method for moving beyond confessional narratives and engaging in dialogue with what Margaret Wheatley calls the "willingness to be disturbed”, believing that disturbances are productive places from which we can more clearly articulate and act from our commitments to racial justice.