Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (ALOT) presents They are a Lesbian

with Jane Byers and Cicely-Belle Blain

March 15, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Jane Byers

Nelson, B.C. poet, Jane Byers, “came out” with her 2nd poetry collection, Acquired Community, in October 2016 (Caitlin Press-Dagger Editions). It is a 2017 Golden Crown Literary Society Award Winner for Poetry and is featured on All Lit Up’s Top Ten Social Justice publications in Canada. Her debut poetry collection, Steeling Effects is published by Caitlin Press (March, 2014). Jane has recently published a chapbook, It Hurt That’s All I know (NIB Press, 2017). Jane has had poems and essays published in various literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and England, including Best Canadian Poetry 2014. She is delighted to have her poem, Nothing To Forgive, currently on Poetry in Transit. She is the 2017-18 Writer-In-Residence for the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony at Simon Fraser University.

Connection to ALOT: “After an initial meeting with Elise in Nelson, where she was undertaking some research, I again met Elise in Vancouver at a reading/launch of Acquired Community, which is a collection of lesbian and gay history poems. Dr. Elise Chenier asked me if I would be interested in becoming ALOT’s first writer in residence. I was honoured to accept this opportunity. I am in the midst of reviewing oral testimonies and writing poems in response. These are the poems I will be reading from as well as some relevant poems from Acquired Community. I am also interviewing Daphne Marlatt for ALOT, after having spent a week with her papers in Special Collections.”

Cicely-Belle Blain

Cicely Blain is a writer, facilitator and activist originally from London, UK, now living on coast Salish lands. They run a consulting agency and are a founder of Black Lives Matter, Vancouver as well as a columnist for several publications including Daily Xtra and the Body is Not an Apology. They are also a sub-editor at Beyond the Binary, UK-based magazine for trans and non-binary people. Cicely is the 2017 winner of the Canadian Power of Youth Leadership Awards in Social Movement Building for their contributions to LGBTQ rights and the Black liberation movement. They love instagram, red wine, dinosaurs and painting.

This event is free and open to the public. 

The address is 268 Keefer St., between Main St. and Gore Ave. The SUM gallery is located on the 4th floor, suite 425.

An evening of film, poetry, and conversation

Join us at SUM gallery for a two-part gathering, sharing art and conversation on the topic of displacement.

Through these gatherings we invite the public and artists to come together to explore: What can it look like to challenge displacement thought art? What kind of creation is possible in relationship to displacement? How do the lived realities of displacement/location fuel or inhibit organizing and creating? Where can the queer body and the displaced body intersect? what can happen at that intersection?

Thursday July 19th, 2018, at 7pm 
Explore these questions with filmmaker Karin Lee, text-based artist Anahita Jamali Rad, and writers Chelene Knight and Zoe Mix, in partnership with The Capilano Review.

Thursday July 26th, 2018 at 7pm 
Engage with community organizers and artists Cicely Blain, Mark McGregor, Shane Sable, and Yulanda Lui.

The gallery opens at 12pm, so come early to see Karin Lee’s QueerSum 心 exhibition.

Please let us know if you have any requests or need more information


Anahita Jamali Rad is currently based in Tio’tia:ke on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka. Her work is primarily textual and explores materiality, history, affect, ideology, violence, class, collectivity, desire, place, and displacement. She has published a few chapbooks and one full-length collection entitled _for love and autonomy_ (Talonbooks, 2016). She is currently working on an apparel-based poetics project called Fear of Intimacy.

Cicely-Belle Blain is a Black/mixed queer writer, activist, consultant and artist originally from London, living on Coast Salish territories. They are a founder and organizer of Canada’s second Black Lives Matter chapter and the CEO of their diversity and inclusion consultancy, Cicely Blain Consulting. They are a runner up of the 2014 YWCA Young Women of Distinction Award and the winner of the CCPA 2017 Youth Leadership Award in Social Movement Building for their work in Black liberation, intersectional feminist community building and LGBTQ advocacy. Cicely-Belle is also a columnist for Daily Xtra, the Body is Not An Apology and Beyond the Binary publications.

Chelene Knight is a Vancouver born-and-raised graduate of the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. In addition to being a workshop facilitator for teens, she is also a literary event organizer, host, and seasoned panelist. She has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines, and her work is widely anthologized. Chelene is currently the managing editor at _Room_ magazine, and the 2018 Programming Director for the Growing Room Festival. _Braided Skin_, her first book (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2015), has given birth to numerous writing projects including her second book, the memoir _Dear Current Occupant_ (Book*hug, 2018).

Karin Lee’s films examine gender, race, culture, and identity in Canada and Asia. _Made in China_, about adoption and identity, received a Gemini in 2001. She received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Film and New Media in 2014, and the Spotlight Award from Vancouver Women in Film in 2017. She taught film and history at the University of British Columbia, and humanities in Simon Fraser University’s Asia-Canada Program. She was born and raised in Vancouver, BC.

When Mark McGregor was a 10-year old gay boy he desperately wanted to play the saxophone because he thought it would make him more butch. His father quickly foiled these plans by bringing home a flute — and, in one fell swoop, both his career and sexuality were sealed. As a soloist, chamber musician, and as flutist of Victoria’s Aventa Ensemble, Mark has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Israel, and Australasia, including appearances at Festival Montréal-Nouvelles Musique, Vancouver New Music Festival, Modulus Festival (Vancouver), New Works Calgary, Athelas New Music Festival (Copenhagen), Internationale A-DEvantgarde-Festival (Munich), the Melos-Ethos International Festival of Contemporary Music (Bratislava), Casalmaggiore International Music Festival (Italy), and Núcleo Música Nova’s International Symposium of New Music in Curitiba, Brazil. Mark has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works for flute, including concerti, flute ensemble, and duos for flute and piano with his partner-in-crime, Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa. Upcoming projects include the premiere of a new concerto by Farshid Samandari in Taipei, Taiwan; Lutalica, his recording project that explores contemporary music culture along the Pacific Rim; and North American tours with the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and Sound of Dragon Ensemble. His discography includes solo and chamber recordings for Redshift Records and Centrediscs, three of which were nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards. Mark teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music, where he maintains studio of inquisitive, inspiring, and occasionally hilarious individuals of all ages. He is a dreadful saxophone player.

Shane Sable is a 2spirit Gitxsan artist and activist of mixed heritage. She is the convening member of Turtle Island’s first all-indigenous burlesque collective, Virago Nation. As the Famously Flirtatious Force of Nature, Shane has worked with the other members of Virago Nation to rematriate indigenous sexuality from the toxic impacts of colonization.
She also works in the DTES as an arts-based facilitator and coordinator of “We Have a Voice; Indigenous Women Who Do Sex Work Speak Out” for Sex Workers United Against Violence. The peer led project gives indigenous women with experience doing sex work an opportunity to share their stories in a nonjudgemental environment through cultural and arts based activities with the ultimate goal of a report and art show that can be used to amplify the voices of these women and influence the minds of politicians and policy makers at a national level.
Both projects tackle issues of indigenous body sovereignty through a people-first, community-driven lens.

Yulanda Lui is a queer Chinese settler born on Anishinaabe territory, currently living on unceded Coast Salish Territories. They have a Bachelor of Arts from UBC with a major in Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice and a minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration studies. Yulanda is an organizer in Chinatown with Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice, working directly with youth and Chinese seniors impacted by the gentrification of Chinatown. She is a fierce believer in collectivity and possibility, and can be found learning and playing in spaces of creation, community, and utopia.

Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice, formerly Youth for Chinese Seniors, have been serving low-income immigrant seniors in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside since 2015. With two part-time staff and the support of over forty volunteers, Yarrow provide outreach to isolated seniors, interpretation and translation services, advocacy, and diverse programming that builds bridges between generations. Yarrow combines service provision and grassroots organizing, with a core belief that service work is political and that as a community, we have the tools we need to take care of one another. Yarrow empower seniors and youth to work together to improve their communities and tackle the difficult problems of oppression and violence. Yarrow’s vision is of a Chinatown that is intergenerational and thriving, with accessible and culturally relevant services and an environment that cherishes our seniors and youth.

Zoe Mix is a young Métis writer from the Seattle area. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia where she earned a BFA in Creative Writing, along with a Bachelor of Voice Performance. She enjoys writing poetry and drawing comics.

This event is made possible with funding from Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage Canada, City of Vancouver Cultural Services, and the Quebec Writers’ Federation.