The Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts celebrates working people

(Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash)

For the entire month of May, The Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts will showcase the work of artists who are passionate about labour justice and sharing the stories of working people.

Harry Glasbeek, a professor emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School, is interested in labour relations law and corporate deviance. On May 8, he launched his new book, Law at Work: The Coercion and Co-option of the Working Class. 

“The book focuses on the role which law plays in the maintenance and perpetuation of a capital-labour regulatory system which ensures that one class, the working class, remains subjugated to the other class, the capitalist class,” Glasbeek explains. 

“In essence, the argument is that law not only provides tools and instruments to coordinate and facilitate people’s interactions, but also provides basic structures and an accompanying ideology to serve capitalism’s project of appropriating the wealth socially produced by workers who are forced to compete with each other for scarce jobs.

“The lesson I would like people to take away from the book is that, while a society like Canada holds itself out to be a liberal capitalist democracy and law earnestly purports to further that agenda, law actually succeeds in diluting both liberalism and democracy as it advances capitalism’s goals. The book tries to show how law weaves its magic in a way that non-lawyers can understand,” Glasbeek continues.

Atanas Bozdarov, an artist, designer, and design instructor at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College, is presenting his work, A Garden and a Library.

“This work was developed through Mayworks’ Labour Arts Catalyst program, which pairs artists with labour organizations in a collaborative art-making process. I was fortunate to collaborate with the Disability Justice Network of Ontario to create a project that conceptualizes gardening as a counter-labour to capitalist labour and the garden as a site of discourse, while also offering the opportunity for quiet moments of rest,” he says.

Bozdarov shares that in recent years, he has been interested in exploring accessibility through his work. He has also exhibited a sound piece at the AGYU in the past for their Audio Out series. 

“It consisted of four separate tracks that, using various procedures, extracted and assigned musical notes from non-musical sources, such as algebraic chess notations from well-known chess games. It was especially great because the Audio Out series played sound works on a speaker outside of the gallery doors by a water fountain, which forced people, mostly students, to listen whenever they got water, and also without ever entering the gallery. Some of the listeners were interested in the unexpected sound playing above their head, while others were confused by it, which made my experience with the project even more enjoyable,” he explains.

Each exhibit at the Mayworks Festival is free, with programming including art exhibitions, installations, film screenings, panel discussions, workshops, and more. To find more information regarding events, click here.

About the Author

By Sydney Ewert

Arts Editor

Sydney is in her third year at York University studying Dance. She loves to travel and explore new places. When Sydney is not editing, working, or studying for her classes, she is likely going for walks or learning new recipes.


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