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What is RiVAL?

The ReImagining Value Action Lab was established in the summer of 2017 under the auspices of Dr. Max Haiven‘s appointment as Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice at Lakehead University with the assistance of a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. RiVAL is:

  • An international collaborative platform for research and creation
  • A multimedia workshop hub for the radical imagination, based in Thunder Bay


Fall 2017 activities

  • Talks and visits
    • Anti-ethnography film screening (Oct 27) – Filmmakers Adam and Zach Khalil presented a curated selection of video works that examined the violence inherent in the ethnographic impulse, and unveiled the absurd fetishism underpinning the discipline. Read more.
    • F*ck your celebrity crush: A call for pleasure activism (Nov 8) – Dr. Ardath Whynacht of Mount Allison University presented feminist and queer perspectives on media, pleasure and power. Read more.
    • Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present book launch (Nov 23) – Montreal-based activist and author Robyn Maynard discussed her new book. Read more.
  • Feminist Economics Yoga – This fall RiVAL co-director Cassie Thornton led free weekly classes on feminist economics using yoga to explore the embodied dimensions of debt, capitalism, patriarchy and white-supremacy. Read more.
  • Board games – This fall we hosted a monthly activist-oriented board games night to study the power of play to transform the imagination. Read more.
  • Meetings – Throughout the term RiVAL hosted a number of community meetings on topics of social justice, anti-racism and creative resistance.
  • Welcome to Dr. Ezra Winton, visiting researcher – Winton has joined RiVAL as a visiting researcher for 2017-2019. He is a co-founder of Cinema Politica, the world’s largest documentary film screening network dedicated to social justice and is working on several writing projects engaging with curating, film festivals, documentary, social movements and Indigenous representation in Canada’s media arts. He will be working with RiVAL to extend his already influential research on documentary film in Canada through an exploration of a new genre Cinema Politica calls “documentary futurism.” Read more on Winton and read more on documentary futurism.
  • “Colonial debts, extractive nostalgias, imperial insolvencies” workshop (London UK) – RiVAL helped spearhead a unique gathering of scholars and activists at Goldsmiths University. Read more.
  • Vagabonds publications – RiVAL publishes an occasional series of peer-review working papers to inspire and inflame the radical imagination simultaneously in print, online and as audio-books. Read more.
    • Notes towards a materialist theory of revenge: The lives of witches” by Max Haiven – VAGABONDS001 (Fall 2017) – The first Vagabond publication strives to outline a theory of the capitalist revenge economy and the way it gives rise to a racist revenge politics. Read more.
  • Multimedia production – RiVAL hosts a multimedia production studio and regularly collaborates with scholars, activists and others on producing websites, podcasts, videos and more
    • UnBoxing the Internet – Drs. Judith Leggatt and Monica Flegel of Lakehead’s English department have worked with RiVAL to create a video blog exploring topics of gender, race and power in Marvel comics fan culture. Check it out.
  • Classes – This fall, RiVAL co-director Dr. Max Haiven’s graduate class (cross-listed between English and Social Justice Studies) on the radical imagination met weekly at RiVAL. This year’s theme was “abolitionism.” Check out the syllabus.
  • University of the Phoenix – RiVAL co-directors Max Haiven and Cassie Thornton collaborate on a research/creation project that looks at the relationship between debt, finance, ghosts and power. Posing as the world’s first “for-prophet university for the dead,” they organize critical collective rituals and transformative seances as a means to awaken the radical imagination and reimagine value. Read more.

Selected recent publications and activities from RiVAL people

Max Haiven

Cassie Thornton

Ezra Winton

Upcoming in early 2018

  • Alternative financial literacy workshop (Jan 9) – RiVAL co-directors Max Haiven and Cassie Thornton are leading a workshop titled “Managing your money, getting out of debt and other stupid lies: Financial literacy for the rest of us losers.” Read more.
  • Art after Money, Money after Art: Creative Strategies Against Financialization – Dr. Max Haiven’s new book will be published by Pluto books in August 2018. Read more.
  • A Brief History of Settler Colonialism in Thunder Bay video – This winter we are working with Travis Hay, of the Indigenous Learning department, to produce a video based on his recent talk for Lakehead’s Social Justice Studies program.
  • European research – RiVAL’s Thunder Bay manifestation will be quiet this winter and spring as co-directors Max Haiven and Cassie Thornton head to Europe to give talks and presentations and also undertake new research. Together as the University of the Phoenix they are undertaking new projects on the “hauntology” of global ports. Haiven is developing his research project on revenge politics and finalizing his work on art and money. Thornton is further developing her work on Feminist Economics Yoga
  • Agitating the Archives: Reframing Representational Ethics through the Rearview Mirror – Dr. Ezra Winton, as Concordia University’s first Visual Collections Repository Curator-In-Residence, will stage two exhibitions in February/March at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.

Keep up to date


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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