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Can there be a working class culture and experience?

(October 20, 2014)
Bruce Barber (Media Arts Faculty at NSCAD University),
 Sebastien Labelle (SEIU, Halifax Mayworks Festival Organizer),
 Chris Mansour (Platypus Member and independent writer)
NSCAD University Fountain Campus, 5163 Duke Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
 

Throughout the 20th century, there was a powerful idea that there could be a homogeneous experience which would culminate into a revolutionary 'working class culture.' Whether represented through the USSR's Prolekult during the 1920s, the Mexican muralists and American Artist Union in the 1930s, or by the artists associated with the Art Workers Coalition in the 1960s-70s, each movement sought to create artworks which would transcend the decadent forms characteristic of bourgeois culture. However, since the variety of revolutionary aspirations of all these groups ultimately failed to transform society in an emancipatory direction, the merits and potentiality of a coherent working-class culture have been thrown into question. This panel seeks to explore the concept of working-class culture, its history, and what it might mean today.

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