The ReImagining Value Action Lab
The ReImagining Value Action Lab's physical manifestation is a large room (no. 2002) on the second floor of the North wing of the PACI building. Furniture is modular allowing the room to be configured as a public event space, an open-concept workshop area, a classroom, a mutli-media production studio and/or a space for thinking, writing, discussion and reflection.
RiVAL is dedicated to the radical imagination. Radical does not simply mean unconventional or extreme; it means the intellectual courage to follow social, economic, political and cultural phenomena to their root. Likewise, the imagination is not simply the realm of individual fantasy; it means a shared landscape of ideas and fellow-feeling that animates the thought and action of people and communities. The radical imagination is something we do together.
For RiVAL, social justice is based on striving together for systems of mutual aid and social cooperation that affirm the dignity and value of all people. As such, RiVAL challenges poverty, war, sexism, racism, homo- and trans-phobia, ableism and ecological injustice by comprehending these as ultimately driven by intersecting systems including capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, white-supremacy and (settler-)colonialism.
RiVAL situates itself at the cusp of, on the one hand, the interdisciplinary fields of cultural studies and critical theory and, on the other, the analysis of political economy. It is centrally concerned with reimagining the relationship between the reproduction of social and cultural values and the production of economic value. As an action lab, it sees the work of reimagining value as a question not of theory alone but also of practice: it seeks to contribute to the active cultivation of the relationships, ideas, practices and institutions that will build a better world.
Core themes, 2017-2022
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The Department of English and Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Lakehead University houses the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice, held by RiVAL's director, Dr. Max Haiven. The Canadian Foundation for Innovation provides material support for research infrastructure. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canada Research Chairs Program provide support for specific research programming.