To Spoil the Party, to Set Our Joy Ablaze

By the Journée sans culture collective
Bilingual publication

Composed as an extension of the conversations that took place during the 2015 Journée sans culture, To Spoil the Party, to Set Our Joy Ablaze gathers contributions from those who moderated the discussions of the day as well as those who set up its sites of rest, reflection, and play. These authors work to remain true to the spirit of what they lived, led by the desire to find a source of collective energy that exceeds the pervasive effects of tiredness and resignation. Their texts are joined by others, commissioned by the editorial team, which explore matters of concern not sufficiently addressed during the day.

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“The Journée sans culture (JSC) is a thinly veiled indictment of the Journées de la culture, an event that sings the praises of cultural ‘wealth’ yet fails to provide appropriate compensation to the artists and organisations at its centre. It is, more broadly, a pointed response to initiatives that are content to cheer on a consensus that is simply nonexistent. Policies are being drafted in our name but without our consultation, and lauded decisions are being made that leave us in a state of precarity that has become humdrum and, unfortunately, systemic. The situation is alarming. We seem to be caught in a political paradox where culture is touted as a mighty economic engine, but where everyone wants to skimp on the investments that would ensure its healthy development—an attitude that became glaring in the recent $2.5 million worth of cuts to culture from the province. As those around us reap the economic benefits and growth is boosted at our expense, our silence could mistaken for consent. Rather than settle into a posture of optimistic adjustment—believing that this or that concession will be the last, when really all we are doing is closing the loop of a cycle without end—we have opted to rally around an affirmative politics of stoppage: let’s upend what is untenable, let’s together recover the joys of a good life, risk naming what besets us, and defend the dreams that stoke our capacity to be alive.”