Labour Struggles in the Edu-Factory

Discussion and book launch for Toward a Global Autonomous University, edited by the Edu-factory collective

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry event
In collaboration with Edu-factory and Autonomedia

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West (by Lansdowne Ave)

toward-a-global-aut-uni-coverOccupations in the United States and Austria, mass demonstrations of students in Italy and France, labour organizing drives across North America, strikes in Ontario: After decades of university restructuring, recent years have seen a surge of struggle in the sphere of post-secondary education. How have these struggles played out locally? How do they relate to the broader transformation of labour under cognitive capitalism? What is the role of trade unionism within these movements? How do we build up an international network of struggles in and around the ongoing crisis of higher education? Join us for a discussion of these questions to launch Toward a Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, the Production of Knowledge, and Exodus from the Education Factory, an edited volume recently published by Autonomedia.


Erika Biddle is a PhD candidate in Communication and Culture at York University, Toronto. She has been a member of the Autonomedia editorial collective since 2002.

Holly Baines is a precariously employed contract academic staff and member of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association. She has been involved in academic, labour and other struggles for many years and was on the informal strike support team for the CUPE 3902 strike at McMaster in 2000 and the strike support committee during the 2008 strike at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Max Haiven is Chair of the Political Action Committee (and past president) of CUPE local 3906 which represents over 2,700 precarious academic workers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster where he researches globalization, finance and imagination.

Tom Keefer is an editor of the anti-capitalist journal “Upping the Anti” and a member of CUPE 3903 at York University, where he is a PhD candidate in Political Science.

Edu-factory is a transnational collective engaged in the transformations of the global university and conflicts in knowledge production. The global network collects and connects theoretical investigations and reports from university struggles. The network has organized meetings all around the world, paying particular attention to the intertwining of student and faculty struggles. In addition to English, the collective has published the volume in Italian, as Univerisità globale: Il nuovo mercato del sapere (Manifestolibri, 2008), and in Spanish, as Universidad en Conflicto (Traficantes de sueños, 2010).

Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI) would like to thank Toronto Free Gallery and Autonomedia for their assistance in making this event possible.

Basic Income and the Crisis

A Presentation by Andrea Fumagalli

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry event

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 7:00-9:00 pm
Room 066 | John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design | University of Toronto | 230 College Street

“Money,” said Francis Bacon, “is like muck, not good except it be spread.” As incomes polarize, unemployment rises, precarious employment spreads, and capital’s use of ‘free labour’ and social knowledge grows more sophisticated, unorthodox economists and social movements are increasingly advocating a radical reform of the welfare system. Basic income is a social policy proposal for a new welfare in the form of an annual income that would be distributed universally and unconditionally. Aiming to guarantee a basic level of income security for all, the basic income proposal is receiving unprecedented attention, particularly in Europe. Join us for a presentation by the Italian economist Andrea Fumagalli on basic income security as a policy response to the inequalities inherent in contemporary cognitive capitalism.

Read paper presentation was based on here: Fumagalli-Lucarelli.pdf

Andrea Fumagalli is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Pavia. He also teaches political economy at Corso di laurea interdisciplinare in scienze multimediali, University of Pavia and advanced macroeconomics at Bocconi University. Professor Fumagalli is member of UniNomade Network, Vice-President of Bin-Italy (Basic Income Network, Italy), and Honoured member of BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network).

Not an Alternative

A talk by Beka Economopoulos and Jason Jones

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry event

Sunday June 14, 2009, 4:00pm
Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West (just east of Lansdowne), Toronto

naa_dh_cityfrombelow-793624Not An Alternative is a volunteer-run non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, New York, whose mission is to integrate art, activism and theory in order to affect popular understandings of events, symbols and history. The organization operates a multi-purpose venue, The Change You Want to See Gallery and Convergence Stage, where free and low-cost lectures, screenings, panel discussions, workshops and artist presentations occur. The space also consists of a production workshop, filming studio and video editing suite. During the day it is a collaborative office space (aka coworking) for like-minded cultural producers. Not An Alternative’s recent projects have focused on combating gentrification in Williamsburg (The Fugheddaboudit Project, Gentrification Tour), the whitewashing of protest from Union Square in Manhattan (Heroes of Union Square), the current housing crisis (The Real Estate Industry), and an ongoing collaboration with New York City’s Picture the Homeless. For more information see:

Beka Economopoulos has been a field organizer for various causes for the past 12 years. She directs the Greenpeace online organizing program, where she develops and uses technology tools to coordinate scalable online/offline grassroots organizing and volunteer efforts, and develops outreach and advocacy strategies in online social networks. She is a founding member of Not an Alternative.

Jason Jones is a practicing artist based in New York. Since completing the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2001, he co-founded Black Out Media, a nationally syndicated TV show and in 2004 acted as one of the principle organizers for Arts and Media Clearing House in preparation for the Republican National Convention. He is a founding member and Creative Director of Not An Alternative.

Out of Control

portada-flyer-baja-717573TSCI is participating in KRAX Meeting 2009
power to transform, power to create
3rd meeting of urban creativity in response to the city’s transformation
Initiated by City Mine(d) Barcelona
:: 20 – 23 May 2009 ::

The KRAX Meeting is an international meeting of creative initiatives. The Krax Meeting visualizes and connects different independent initiatives who develop new forms of political, cultural and economic organisation and participation in the city. During the 4 days of the Jornadas, groups from 7 different cities meet in Barcelona to share creative experiences of political thought and action.

Invited Guests:
Iconoclasistas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Not an Alternative, New York, U.S.A.
AulAbierta, Granada, Spain
Nosotros Free Social Space, Athens, Greece
Toronto School of Creativity and Inquiry, Toronto, Canada
CSA Atreu!, A Coruña, Galicia
The Commoner, London – Bologna

The KRAX Meeting 2009 program includes workshops, presentations by guest initiatives, guided tours, meetings with local initiatives and a Documentation Centre (KRAX Cargo) with the material compiled through the research process. The Meeting is guided by several concepts of social processes such as autonomy, power-to, self-institution, commons

For an extended description and the Meeting program, see KRAX – City Mine(d).

Remaking Social Practices

A Guattari & Bifo Reading Group

Facilitated by Alessandra Renzi & Christine Shaw

A Joint Initiative by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry and the Hart House Art Committee Education Sub-Committee

Thursday 26 March, 6:00pm
Committees Room | Hart House 2nd Floor | 7 Hart House Circle | University of Toronto

The problem of art for [Félix] was completely located in the possibility of putting in motion assemblages of enunciation, housing, urbanism and technologies. (Bifo, 34)

In his extraordinary final statement “Remaking Social Practices,” Guattari suggests how marginal groups acting on their subjective territories can put together experimental formations at the cutting edges of art, science, and technology. Bifo’s “Postmediatic Affect” looks specifically to Guattari’s support of the Radio Alice project that unfolded in Bologna during the Italian social upheavals of 1977. Bifo charts Guattari’s cartographic vision of the future, a future of “communication flows, of economic exploitation, of psychic suffering, and affective solicitation” that we are now living. These two chapters combined open onto a field of questions to be taken up during the reading group session: What are the affective, ecological and political consequences of what Guattari called the ‘post-mediatic era’? How might experiments in social creativity deterritorialize the dynamics of ‘new economy’ capitalism? What is the potential of ‘techno-nomadic thought’? Can the networked diffusion of communication become a privileged plane of social self-organization, rather than merely increase the output of commodified messages and information?

The reading group is a follow-up to Franco (Bifo) Berardi’s talk “The Visionary Cartography of Félix Guattari” on Wednesday 25 March at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Rm 066.

The reading group is open to a maximum of 20 participants. Please RSVP to Maiko Tanaka at or 416-978-8463 by Tuesday March 24, 5pm. Hart House is wheelchair accessible.


  • Félix Guattari, “Remaking Social Practices,” in The Guattari Reader, ed. Gary Genosko (Blackwell, 1996)
  • Franco Berardi (Bifo), “Postmediatic Affect,” in Félix Guattari: Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography (Palgrave, 2008)

Alessandra Renzi studied and worked with migrant communities in Berlin and is now completing her PhD on Telestreet at the University of Toronto. She has been involved in various Toronto-based media, immigrant and labour rights projects like CAMERA (The Committee on Alternative Media Experimentation, Research and Analysis) and Precarity Toronto. As a member of Telestreet’s TV channel InsuTv in Naples she is currently collaborating on a feature-length documentary project investigating Naples’ garbage crisis and its connections with organized crime and political corruption.

Christine Shaw holds a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University. Her dissertation Connect, Conjugate, Continue included a translocal curatorial project called Public Acts 1-29 that unfolded along the Trans-Canada Highway. Currently, she co-organizes events with Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry and is developing a series of curatorial projects on affective participation including The Work of Wind, Stubborn Matter and Emergency Rooms (with Steven Eastwood).

Collaborating with a network of activists, artists, and theorists, Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI) initiates events that inquire into the new enclosures and creative pathways beyond them.

With the Reading Group Series, the student-run Hart House Art Committee’s Education Sub-Committee aims to facilitate self-reflexive critical dialogue focusing on the potential of radicalized learning in galleries, museums, and art institutions. The series takes the form of a casual Reading Group inviting guest readers to recommend texts and facilitate structures for discussion. The group is open to and encourages experimentation with discursive forms of learning. The Reading Group Series is a supplement to the Education Sub-Committee’s regular programming of art workshops and seminars targeted at the student body of the University of Toronto.

The Visionary Cartography of Félix Guattari

A Talk and Book Launch with Franco Berardi (Bifo)

Wednesday 25 March, 7:00-9:00pm

Room 066 | John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design | University of Toronto | 230 College Street

Listen to mp3 audio of event

felix-and-bifoAs a political activist, Bifo has focused on the creation of autonomous sources of information, cultural production and affective participation. Like others involved in the Italian political movement of Autonomia, during the 1970s Bifo fled to Paris, where he worked with Félix Guattari in the field of schizoanalysis. Bifo’s political practice intersects with the theoretical and conceptual terrain of Guattari’s writings to rethink the potential of provisional communities, desire, depression, friendship and political errors.

This event marks the long awaited translation of Bifo’s Félix Guattari: Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography (Palgrave, 2008). Bifo’s biography originates in the author’s close personal relationship and collaboration with Guattari in the 1970s and 1980s. In the words of Gary Genosko, “Bifo ensures that the refrains of Guattari’s processes of subjectivation do not petrify into academic givens but continue to sing their extraordinary singularity and make new becomings available for those engaged in tomorrow’s struggles.” Following an introduction by Gary Genosko, Bifo will traverse the pages of Félix.

Franco Berardi (Bifo) is a writer, media theorist and media activist. He founded the magazine A/traverso and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy. He is currently collaborating on the magazine Derive Approdi and teaches the social history of communication at the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. He is the co-founder of the e-zine and of the free pirate television network Telestreet. For more information and writings by the author, including his recent Post-Futurist Manifesto, visit Generation-online.

Gary Genosko is Canada Research Chair in Technoculture Studies and Director of the Technoculture Lab at Lakehead University. He has published extensively on Félix Guattari’s life and work in The Guattari Reader, Félix Guattari: An Aberrant Introduction, The Party without Bosses: Lessons on Anti-Capitalism from Guattari and Lula da Silva, and the three volume collection Deleuze and Guattari: Critical Assessments. He also edits The Semiotic Review of Books.

Collaborating with a network of activists, artists, and theorists, Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI) initiates events that inquire into the new enclosures and creative pathways beyond them.

TSCI would like to thank Gary Genosko, Alessandra Renzi and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Grasping the Financial Crisis

A TSCI event with Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch

Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 7-9 pm
John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
Room 066 (basement)
University of Toronto
230 College Street

Listen to mp3 audio of event

“This sucker could go down”: the outcome feared by George W. Bush has, for the moment, been averted. But global capitalism is, like the planet itself, in panic: stock markets continue to plunge and soar; entire countries verge on insolvency; fiercely pro-market governments nationalize their banking systems. Our political-economic system is experiencing a profound upheaval. The future of the financial crisis, and the response to it, is sure to shape the economic context of our lives for years to come.

What are the roots of the ongoing financial crisis? What might its impact be on an already dreadfully unequal world economy? What effects might it have on our cities and communities? What does it say about the place of personal finance in everyday life? What are the political possibilities and risks it carries for progressive social movements? If casino capitalism makes our lives precarious, what elements would a stable alternative to it include?

These are some of the questions we will explore with Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch, who will present an explanation of the current financial crisis. Eric Cazdyn and Kanishka Goonewardena will offer responses, and then there will be a collective discussion in which the audience will be invited to participate.

Sam Gindin is Professor in the Department of Political Science at York University, and has served as research director of the Canadian region of the United Auto Workers and chief economist and Assistant to the President of the Canadian Auto Workers.

Leo Panitch is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Political Science at York University and an editor of the Socialist Register.

Eric Cazdyn is professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. He has recently edited a volume of South Atlantic Quarterly on the philosophical and political problem of disaster.

Kanishka Goonewardena is professor in Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. He recently co-edited Space, Difference, Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre.

Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI) designs education events inquiring into the new enclosures: enclosures on time, space, creativity, thought, ecology, love… We seek to understand how these enclosures work. But combating against cynicism, we also inquire into creative pathways within, against, and beyond the enclosures: pathways of thinking, collaboration, organization, experimentation…

TSCI would like to thank the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Inventing Institutions

A TSCI workshop with Ned Rossiter
within Adrian Blackwell’s Model for a Public Space [Speaker]


4:00 – 7:00 (BBQ 7:00- 8:00) 

Mon. 4 August 2008

The Art Gallery of Mississauga
(300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga Civic Centre, Ground Floor.
For directions from Toronto, see map)

*BBQ to follow
**A free shuttle bus will depart at 3:00 from the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) and return at 8:00.

A Potential Toronto” is the title of a TSCI series of public conversations that took place over several weeks in the Fall of 2007. This project engaged questions of organizing strategies, minor spaces, and alternative economies by spotlighting living local experiments: youth-run cultural spaces, worker co-operatives, accessible housing policy proposals, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell campaigns self-organized with non-status residents… Participants shared experiences, discussed strategies, introduced political concepts, and presented counter-proposals. The series confirmed the existence of a wealth of metropolitan social potential–activities that operate within, against, and beyond the protocols of wage labour, heteronormativity, representative politics, commodified sociality… But A Potential Toronto equally confirmed persistent challenges. Three of these challenges–translation, organization, sustainability–are points of departure for “Inventing Institutions.”

This collaborative workshop with Ned Rossiter will approach the question of the work of political transformation via a discussion of institutional innovation in the context of our contemporary network milieu. It proposes that the current crisis of neoliberal capital, of the traditional institutions of the left, and of widespread social precarity make the question of new institutions urgent. For Rossiter, social-technical network cultures are constitutive sites of new institutional forms, or what he terms “organized networks.” One vibrant area of experimentation on this terrain is autonomous education. At this workshop Ned will propose some theoretical concepts around the theme of inventing institutions, and will speak to his involvement in developing autonomous education institutions specifically. The workshop will unfold as a collective conversation responding to, and further developing, issues raised in Ned’s working paper, “Autonomous Education, New Institutions, and the Experimental Economy of Network Cultures.” The paper can be downloaded from here.

Ned Rossiter is currently an independent researcher based in Beijing and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney. He is author of Organized Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions (2006).

Inventing Institutions will take place within Adrian Blackwell‘s installation Model for a Public Space [Speaker], a non-hierarchical circular seating structure built to facilitate conversation between large numbers of people sitting in close proximity to one another. On the outside it slopes upwards along a spiral ramp until it reaches a height of two meters and from there it slopes down until it touches the ground again at the center. Through this simple diagram it is possible to sit looking inward towards one another or outward to the surrounding city. The installation is part of Models for Public Spaces curated by Suzanne Carte-Blanchenot at the Art Gallery of Mississauga.

A Potential Toronto

A Potential Toronto (APT) was an event series and exhibition spotlighting alternative economies, minor spaces, and organizing strategies. It was a preliminary step in a longer-term counter-cartography project which aims to render currents of radical energy visible, audible, and tactile.

APT’s full project description can be read here.

For APT’s launch event, go here.

For APT’s October 2007 events and exhibition, go here.

For APT’s November 2007 events and exhibition, go here.

For APT’s reading group on the commons, go here.

A Potential Toronto │November Event Schedule

Toronto Free Gallery
660 Queen Street East
(w. of Broadview)

Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:30pm
Organizing Strategies

Actualizing potential requires practicing the art of organization. How do we do what needs to get done? What strategies for mobilization and community involvement work? What blocks the flows of these strategies and diminishes the potential to get things done? Anarchist Free University, Multistory Complex, and Planning Action talk about how they organize and why they do it the way they do it.

Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30pm
Queer Publics

What creative potentials for redefining intersubjectivity emerge through the formation of queer publics, and counter-publics? How does the production of minor spaces and practices change the life of the city? And when these spaces are subsumed by dominant practices and politics, how can queer publics re-politicize themselves? Local curators, artists and educators Paul Couillard, Deirdre Logue, John Paul Ricco and Jason St-Laurent talk about the erotic, aesthetic, ethical, and political potential of queer publics.

Thursday, Nov. 15
A Conversation About Worker Co-operatives
, 7:30pm
A Potential
Toronto Exhibition and Event Series Closing Party, 9:30pm
Music, a website, a vibrator, a bicycle and coffee: these are just a few essentials that can be bought in Toronto at a worker co-op—a worker-owned and democratically controlled organization. How are worker co-ops different from traditional workplaces? To what extent does this alternative business model escape, subvert, or resist capitalist conventions of competition, hierarchy, and growth? Join co-op activist and academic J.J. McMurtry and members of Blocks Recording Club, Come as You Are, The Big Carrot, and Planet Bean in a conversation about the possibilities and challenges of the worker co-op as an alternative to conventional business models and workplaces. A closing party will follow!

Thursday, Nov. 29, 7:30pm
Tools for Transversality w/ Gary Genosko
Room 103, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design [Building], U of T

230 College Street
Democratizing space, cracking constraints, and co-operating differently involves producing situations, tools and modes of operation. The APT event series and exhibition brought different people together to begin to make visible, audible and tactile the forces at work in creating A Potential Toronto. But what connects them? How can these heterogeneous practices, fields, and organisations be held together without either homogenising them or randomly stringing them together? In this talk, Gary Genosko revisits the concept of transversality developed by Félix Guattari. Transversality insists on the “trans” (across, or dynamic movement of crossing). A transversal is a line that cuts across other lines or fields to create new fields. Guattari developed the term transversal to introduce open collective practices that work across the hierarchies of the psychiatric institution, creatively producing new forms of collective subjectivity. Genosko will map the development of the term from Guattari’s clinical work to its subsequent deployments as a force of resistance in other aspects of society.

IN THE GALLERY – October 27 – November 17

24 Hour Gallery (window):
‘Common Sense Revolution’ – Scott Sorli

Lower Level:
‘Toronto’s Urban Unconscious’ – Adrian Blackwell, Tina Chung, Andrea Gaus, Davide Gianforcaro, Kim Ligers, Andrea Macecek, Graeme Stewart, and Geoffrey Thun. Projects from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

Upper Level:
A Potential Toronto info-shop and library.