Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Department of Sociology Speakers Series - Performing at the “shit show”: The new spirit of creativity and the conscripted identities of cultural workers

Friday, April 6, 2018 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Location: Coady 265
Event Type: Lecture

Dr. Saara Liinamaa, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies at Acadia University, will give a public lecture as part of the Department of Sociology Speakers Series. The talk is titled "Performing at the 'shit show': The new spirit of creativity and the conscripted identities of cultural workers." All are welcome to attend.

Abstract: My current research examines how discourses of creativity in public policy and public institutions in Canada are reshaping work and institutions. The term 'shit show' first surfaced when AY, a professional artist and faculty member at Imagination University, referred to her day-to-day work life as a routine act of "performing" at a regularly playing "shit show". Her identity, she explained, was at the service of the institution, but at considerable cost to her own sense of self and capacity to fulfil all of the requirements of the job. The pressure to perform her role as an artist for the institution, and the subsequent measuring of the success of this performance in terms of student numbers and public visibility, was a key feature of a burdensome work environment. Starting from this scenario, this talk will develop how work identity and institutional disorder are obvious bedfellows under what I term the "new spirit of creativity."

Bio: Saara Liinamaa is an Assistant Professor (Sociology/Women's and Gender Studies) at Acadia University. Her recent publications address topics such as contemporary urbanization and spatial justice, the unrecognized contributions of Annie Marion MacLean to Canadian sociology, cultural policy and creativity-led development, and the experiences of seasonal agricultural workers in Nova Scotia.

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