09 Mar Thursday

Thursday, September 6


9:00 am – 9:30 am (Le Grand Salon)



9:30 am – 10:00 am (Le Grand Salon)

Welcome from organizers Imre Szeman and Sheena Wilson, and Dean Marc Arnal of Campus Saint-Jean


10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Session 1

Panel 1a: Petrofictions 1: Oil Fantasies (La Salle Historique):

Chair: Michael O’Driscoll

• Brent Bellamy (U of Alberta), “Life After People: On Apocalyptic Form and Genre”

• Melissa Haynes (U of Alberta), “Ship Breaker’s Petrofutures and Fantasies”

• Dan Harvey (U of Alberta),  “After the Reification: The Gone-Away World as Oil Myth”


Panel 1b: Oil, Temporality, and the Cultural Politics of “Community” in Alberta’s North (Le Grand Salon):

Chair: Sourayan Mookerjea

• Sara Dorow (U of Alberta), “Culture as Problem and Resource in the Making and Management of ‘Fort McMurray Time’”

• Andriko Lozowy (U of Alberta), “Visual Politics and the ‘Hand of Censorship’ in Youth Culture”

• Sourayan Mookerjea (U of Alberta), “Politics of Community, Forests of Time, and the Space Bias of Petroleum Based Communication”


Panel 1c: Art of Intervention (3-04):

Chair: Clint Burnham

• Clint Burnham (Simon Fraser University), “Enjoy your Petro-symptom!: Burtynsky’s Oil and the Žižekian Sublime”

• Allison Rowe (artist), “Tar Sand and a Camper Van: An Artistic Investigation into Canadian Visual Culture and Self-Consumption”


12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch (Le Grand Salon)


1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Session 2

Workshop A: Hybrid Strategies of Academia-Activism-Media-Art (3-04):

 • Catherine Gautier, Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

• Stephanie LeMenager, English, University of California, Santa Barbara

• Kenneth Rogers, Film, York University, Toronto


The workshop organizers wish to use the extended time of the workshop format to address a challenging problem that they have experienced in their respective practice: How do we create socially sustainable coalitional communities, that endure over time, around a particular crisis or action?

For example, from a pedagogical standpoint we might consider how teaching a class about Oil and Climate Change can generate an academic-activist community that persists beyond the classroom, as opposed to a commodified form of (pseudo) experience; from a media studies perspective, we might ask how and if “clicker activism” can result in communitarian commitment over time, once a particular cause fades from the screen; in cases where academic communities or artists join with local publics to pursue common goals, what happens if the first cause for action shifts, say from suburban oil drilling to fracking, necessitating flexibility and persistence in the coalitional community that formed around the original crisis? These concerns reflect a larger question of the duration of social relationships that rarely surfaces in the rhetoric of sustainability. We think that the Petrocultures conference offers an ideal opportunity to shift sustainability discourse away from economic development and toward creative modeling of sustainable sociability.  We invite participants to come to the workshop with strategies, models, anecdotes, and innovative media platforms.


Panel 2a: Strategies of Resistance (Le Grand Salon):

Chair: Sara Dorow

• Paul Joose (U of Alberta), “Bush Bunnies, Bombs, and the Canadian Back Country”

• Angela Carter (Memorial U) and Leah M. Fusco (U of Toronto), “Political Economics of Contentious Politics in New Canadian Petro-Provinces”

• Steven M. Hoffman (University of St. Thomas), “Oppositional  Movements in a Tar Sand Economy”

Panel 2b: Gendering Oil (La Salle Historique):

Chair: Melissa Haynes

• Cecily Devereux, English (U of Alberta), “Industry Standards: Petroculture, Cosmetics, and Femininity”

• Sheena Wilson (U of Alberta), “Gendering Oil”


3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Coffee Break (Le Grand Salon)


3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Session 3 

Film Screening (Auditorium, 1-08 Pavillon McMahon):

• Land of Oil and Water: Aboriginal Voices of Life in the Oil Sands, Directed by Neil McArthur and Warren Cariou

Introduction by: Valérie Savard


Workshop B: Community Responses to the Tar Sands (3-04):

• Lindsay Ruth Hunt, Education, U of Alberta

This workshop will be lead by theatre and development practitioner/Forum Theatre Joker Lindsay Ruth Hunt and actor/participants who collaborated on the presentation utilizing Forum Theatre techniques. “A community response to the tarsands” will ask the question “how are the tarsands effecting us? and how might be navigate thoughtfully through problems posed by this industry in Alberta?”. The presentation will ask questions of the workshop audience by having the scenes and images pose problems and struggles, rather than resolutions, which will then allow the audience to have an opportunity to “intervene” into the situations posed, in the hopes of exploring other options. This is a fun, thoughtful, creative way to interrogate the issue at hand, and push forward critical thought and dialogue on the effects of ‘big oil’ in our communities. Come prepared to participate!


Workshop C: Tracing Cultural Connections between Energy Cities (Le Grand Salon):

• Janet Stewart, U of Aberdeen


The World Energy Cities Partnership is a self-selecting set of cities that have grouped together to share insights and experiences, based on their status as cities economically dependent to a greater or lesser extent on the energy (oil) industry (http://www.energycities.org/). This scoping workshop sets out to lay the groundwork for a collaborative research project that will examine the nature of the cultural connections amongst energy cities, making the network itself the subject of its deliberations.

The workshop has two related aims: first, itseeks to facilitate discussion of cultural activity in selected energy cities and the construction of a suitable research framework through which to document such activity in comparative fashion; and second, it seeks to facilitate discussion of a research framework through which to document cultural flows between selected energy cities, in other words, shifting the focus from the comparative to the relational. 

7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Opening of “Petrocultures” exhibition at Gallery @ 501 (#120, 501 Festival Avenue, Sherwood Park, Alberta – in the Strathcona County Community Centre)

Curator: Maria Whiteman


8:00pm: Keynote #1: Ursula Biemann , Video Artist, Switzerland

“Black Sea Files: Artistic Practice in the Field”

Introduced by Maria Whiteman


Note: Participants who wish to attend this event may do so in a number of ways:

(1)   Bus: a bus will leave from Campus Saint-Jean at 6:30pm for Gallery @ 501. It will return from the gallery at the conclusion of Ursula Biemann’s presentation.  *There are only 37 spaces on the bus, so please arrive early. 

(2)   Private cars: participants can drive to Gallery @ 501 from Edmonton (appx. a 20 minute drive).


1. East on Whyte Ave., connecting with the Sherwood Park Fwy and driving past the interchange with Hwy 216 into Sherwood Park

2. Turn left onto Brentwood Blvd N

3. Turn right onto Sherwood Dr N; take the first left onto Festival Ave.

(3)   Taxis: if you share a taxi with other participants, the total cost will be reasonable (it is approx. 14km from CSJ to Gallery@501)

Yellow Cab: 780-462-3456

Sherwood Park Taxi: 780-995-3333

Co-op Taxi: 780-425-2525