The ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) is pleased to welcome proposals for an art and activism intervention to take place in Thunder Bay before March 2020. All formats, techniques and genres of creative expression are welcome.

Applications are due August 2, 2019 (see below)


Thunder Bay has been named as Canada’s murder, hate crime and racism capital. Three recent high profile reports on the city’s institutions, including its police force, have found widespread systemic racism. As was made clear in Tanya Talaga’s best-selling Seven Fallen Feathers and in the recent Canadaland podcast, co-produced by Anishinaabe broadcaster Ryan McMahon, the city has become an icon of the violence and oppression that defines the ongoing genocidal colonialism at work in Canada as a whole. Yet many would argue, based on recent statements by elected officials, that the city is in denial.

The city also has a long and ongoing history of art activism, especially by Inidgenous artists. It was the site of one of celebrated Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore’s defining interventions, Rising to the Occasion (1987). The award-winning films of Michelle Derosier and the prints of Christian Chapman have recently brought national and global attention to the city. A recent workshop and exhibition with Christi Belcourt and Isaac Murdoch at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery which focused on resistance to pipelines brought out hundreds of enthusiastic participants. And local arts institutions like the Definitely Superior artist-run centre, Neechee Studio indigenous-focused youth arts workshop, the Bay Street Documentary Film Festival, Random Acts of Poetry and more have consistently mobilized art as a method for challenging power and awakening the radical imagination.

In this context, the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL)–a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization based in Thunder Bay–invites proposals from individuals and collectives to make an art-activism contribution in the city of Thunder Bay to be staged before April 2020. These interventions might be short or sustained and can be by any media necessary, from spoken-word poetry to murals, from public performance to posters, from online interventions to from street theatre. However, projects must:

  • Be interventionist in character and aimed at challenging power relations especially colonialism, racism, patriarchy and inequality
  • Have a strong public component
  • Directly engage with decolonization and anti-racism
  • Include at least one artist talk, workshop or other event that includes community feedback
  • Produce a short text (eg. an artist statement) and archival materials (photographs, recordings, prints, etc.) for RiVAL’s future use

RiVAL especially encourages proposals from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) artists and collectives and even more especially individuals and collectives that centre two-spirit, LGBTQ, femme and radically dangerous voices.

* Please note that, while we want to celebrate and support the many important artists who make Thunder Bay and the surrounding are their home, this opportunity is exclusively open to those who live outside the Thunder Bay area. Other than that there are no geographic limitations.

What is RiVAL and what we will provide

The ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization located in Anishinaabe Aki (Thunder Bay, Canada) and active around the world. It is co-directed by activist-artist Cassie Thornton and Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice Dr. Max Haiven. RiVAL seeks to convoke the radical imagination using methods that include hosting conferences, symposia and summer camps, workshops, film screenings and talks, supporting research, pedagogy and debate on key themes, publishing in print and online and organizing walking tours and other experimental public events.

RiVAL is a research lab of Lakehead University and funded by public institutions including the Canada Research Chairs program, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We accept absolutely no direct or indirect corporate funding.

RiVAL will provide to the successful applicant(s) a sum of $3,000 CAD to cover all costs associated with the project (including materials, travel, accommodation, fees, etc.), to be disbursed equally in three intervals at the beginning, middle and end of the project (timetable negotiable).

RiVAL will work closely with the successful applicant(s) to develop and stage their project. To that end we can:

  • Meet regularly in person or online to offer advice and support (RiVAL co-director Cassie Thornton is a globally-active activist/interventionist artist; co-director Max Haiven has written many books about the radical imagination and how to mobilize it)
  • Help the successful applicant(s) develop local contacts and organize local events
  • Help the successful applicant(s) with media and outreach
  • Provide free access to shared workspace in Thunder Bay (tables, wifi, 24h access)
  • Provide free access to our multimedia lab, including basic audio/video recording and editing equipment (eg. audio recorders, video and still cameras, tripods, lighting kit, microphones, Adobe CC, etc) and a Risograph printer (current ink colors: red, blue, black; maximum paper size: legal)
  • Make inquiries about volunteers from the community to help with larger projects
  • Offer advice and contacts for securing inexpensive accommodation
  • Limited support in applications for further funding
  • Please note: RiVAL is a very small and very busy research-creation laboratory and both its directors travel very frequently, so we can only offer limited assistance.


  • Deadline for proposals: August 2, 5pm EDT (firm)
  • Notification of successful applicant: August 15 (estimated)
  • Initial consultations and development: September 2019
  • Execution of project and delivery of archival materials: before March 31, 2020

To apply (by July 26, 2019) and for more information

Please fill in this online form:

Beyond particulars, this form asks you to, in about a paragraph each, answer the following:

  • Give us a sense of who you are and what you do
  • Offer an overview of the project you’d like to undertake, including how and why it is site-specific to Thunder Bay
  • Describe your creative process
  • Provide a brief, point-form project timeline
  • Provide a brief, point-form estimated project budget for major expenses
  • Explain how this work will engage with the public and make an intervention
  • Discuss your intentions and goals with this project
  • Do you foresee any ethical, legal or other challenges?
  • Describe your past work and how it prepares you to undertake this project
  • Beyond the $3,000 award, are there other resources or support you will or might need from RiVAL?
  • We especially encourage applications from BIPOC artists/collectives. If you wish to self-identify, please do so.

Please note that this form also provides an opportunity to share with us 4-6 images or digital documents that help us understand your work or past projects. To upload these, you will need to create or sign-in to a Google Drive account.

For more information, please email or call 807-343-8010 x7667 and leave a message.

If you are not able to complete an application for any reason, but would still like to apply, please contact us and we can arrange an alternative method.


How will the applications be judged, and by whom? RiVAL is assembling a local jury to help us pick the most suitable application. That determination will depend on many factors including (primarily) the suitability and practicality of the proposed project, the background and orientation of the artist(s), the capacity of the project to make a meaningful intervention into or contribution to local initiatives in Thunder Bay and our ability to support such a project.

Can multiple artists apply to share the award? Yes, as long as the other criteria are met. Please submit one joint application.

Can you give me feedback on my application? Unfortunately we don’t have capacity to do so.

What percentage of the $3,000 should be allocated to artist fees? We leave that up to the successful applicant(s). For minimums, we recommend looking at CARFAC rates.

Does this project need to be new, or could it have been staged elsewhere? We are open to already-existing work being staged in Thunder Bay, however we would want there to be a significant site-specific dimension that spoke to the local contexts.

Is there a specific exhibition or performance venue? No. RiVAL has a shared workshop space but no exhibition or performance venue. However, many venues do exist in Thunder Bay and we can help the successful applicant find a suitable location.

Is this opportunity open to those living outside Canada? Yes, however please be aware that the $3,000CAD total budget is firm and RiVAL can be of only very limited assistance with obtaining permits and documentation such as travelers’ visas and the like. There may also be difficulties and costs associated with international money transfers.

Does the project need to take place physically in Thunder Bay? For all intents and purposes, yes. However, if there was a very good proposal for something that “intervenes” in the city but is not physically “in” it, we would consider it. Though please note that one of the requirements is “at least one artist talk, workshop or other event that includes community feedback.”

I want to make art about reverse racism against white people? You’re an idiot. Don’t bother.

Thank you for your interest in the ReImagining Value Action Lab. This website is no longer being updated and is for archival purposes.

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