The inspiration for the title ‘WHO ARE WE WRITING FOR?’ originally came from Amy Fung, a celebrated writer and editor. For clarity, and at the request of Amy Fung, Latitude 53 notes that Amy Fung was not involved with any programs offered by Latitude 53 in relation to this title and thus did not directly authorize our use of the phrase. In the spirit of conciliation, Latitude 53 is halting it’s use of the phrase to allow Amy Fung to pursue her endeavours relating thereto.

Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay often go on away missions together, although the captain isn’t supposed to beam down at all, according to policy—it’s dangerous. But they needed to make sure we knew that she was headstrong and no-nonsense, and of course put her into preventable danger again.

A pretty typical scenario is the time that they retreated into a tunnel to keep warm and alive in a hostile atmosphere and ended up stumbling upon a hatching alien egg which they had to parent. The rocks are made of ugly styrofoam or fibreglass and never look like actual rocks, in drab greenish-grey tones. Before discovering the child, they use their phasers to seal the tunnel entrance in a controlled rockfall—which turns out to be a bad idea. They probably wouldn’t have survived the Northwest Passage.

The New Works gallery also smelled a little like fresh paint, which was a nice touch. Probably won’t last though.

The centrepiece of today’s activities—after introductions, discussion, and a brief chat about publishing led by John Shelling—was an afternoon excursion, in groups, to art galleries and other sites downtown, about which we were to write short review fragments. Here’s one of mine.

Brendan McGillicuddy’s Anthropocene is up at the AGA until July 1.

The episode is actually about Neelix and Tom Paris. I didn’t have wifi in the AGA basement to confirm my vague memories.

On Amateurism

What entitles someone to speak about something? How is authority established? These were some of my first questions today during the workshop and I hope to continue the investigation over the coming days/weeks.

My initial thoughts are that “professionalism” and “expertise” are highly overrated and somewhat antiquated concepts (in relation to authority). I will leave ya with a great McLuhan quote to build out this idea:

"Professionalism is environmental. Amateurism is anti environmental. Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment. Amateurism seeks the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness of the ground rules of society. The amateur can afford to loose. The professional tends to classify and to specialize, to accept uncritically the groundrules of the environment. The groundrules provided by the mass response of his colleagues serve as a pervasive environment of which he is contentedly unaware. The “expert” is the man who stays put.”

Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage

This Weekend

Writing Edmonton takes place this weekend at Latitude 53, the Art Gallery of Alberta, and dc3 Art Projects in downtown Edmonton, including Andrew Forster’s public talk at Latitude 53 on Friday at 7, where you can meet the workshop participants as well as a discussion with John Shelling, editor of BlackFlash magazine.

On Saturday afternoon, the workshop takes to the streets—we’ve put together this map of what’s going on at galleries across town: public, artist-run, and commercial.

View What’s on - Writing Edmonton May 18–20 in a larger map

Alex Abboud

Alex Abboud Alex Abboud blogs at, where he primarily writes about cities, ideas, and social innovation. He has been blogging for different sites since 2005, and his posts have appeared on the blogs of a number of media and prominent organizations. He also served as the Edmonton Journal’s first blogger-in-residence in 2012. Alex currently works in the non-profit housing and homelessness sector. He previously worked for advocacy groups in Alberta and Nova Scotia, and at City Hall in Edmonton.

He is a supporter of the arts, and is interested in how they enhance quality of life and interact with the city. He’s looking forward to learning more on the subject, and meeting and learning from other writers this weekend.

Jessie Beier

Jessie BeierJessie Beier is a self-professed professional amateur. Artist/educator by day, writer and music inamorata by night, Beier is interested in exploring, and in many ways challenging, representation itself. Beier holds a diploma in design and illustration, in addition to a Bachelor of Education, and is currently completing her Masters Degree in Education at the University of Alberta. Beier’s interests in “visual” culture (high/low/popular/virtual/material/actual/etc…) have led to research that works to think art as a power for overturning cliché, dismantling common sense habits of interpretation, and the disrupting the connection to the representation of the world as it is always-already given. In short, Beier is interested in investigating what art can do. Beier (with a co-writer) shares some of her ramblings on the internet through this blog:

Megan Bertagnolli

Megan BertagnolliMegan Bertagnolli is an Edmonton-based writer who completed her Master’s thesis about the convergence of contemporary museum culture and artists whose practices involve collecting this past fall. She has previously written about art in both institutional and freelance positions and has been involved in various curatorial projects. She feels strongly about engaging the different communities in dialogue about visual culture and about fostering open and accessible relationships between art, institutions and the public. Most recently, Bertagnolli was the writer in residence at Latitude 53 where she initiated the process for this weekend’s workshop. You can read her newly created blog here:

Bertagnolli is excited to have so many wonderful participants on board and is looking forward to exchanging ideas and starting conversations with everyone. Most importantly, she hopes that the weekend allows a diverse group of arts-based writers in the city to connect to each other and act as a platform for breeding new ideas that will grow legs beyond the workshop.

Tynan Boyd

Tynan BoydTynan Boyd is an aspiring Web designer in NAIT’s Digital Media program. His vested interest is beautifying cyberspace, but he’d love to see his hometown interested in the aesthetics that pervade it. Tynan’s pretty green when it comes to this sort of thing; he’s looking forward to being surrounded by some veterans of visual culture, and learning more about publishing.

Chelsea Boos

Chelsea Boos is a multi-disciplinary visual artist and writer currently living in the artistic wellspring of Alberta Avenue. When she is not drifting through the streets of Edmonton in search of the next subject of Back Words, her column in Vue Weekly, she can be found making the city more beautiful through art and design. She currently works with the Edmonton Arts Council coordinating transitory public art, including  Dirt City ¦ Dream City and the Colour Alley project, winner of an Edmonton Urban Design Award.

Blair Brennan

Blair BrennanBlair Brennan combines his writing and art practice from his home in Edmonton. His sculpture, installation and drawing have been exhibited nationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Recent exhibitions include two three-person drawing exhibitions: Arrows and Bullets Comb My Hair with Richard Boulet and Patrick J. Reed (Gallery @ 501, Sherwood Park, January – February 2012), Hugly Mangry Killdren with Sarah Van Slotan and Andrea Williamson (TRUCK, Calgary, October – November 2010) and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery’s inaugural group exhibition in their newly renovated Gallery, On Your Marks (SAAG, Lethbridge, September – November 2010). Brennan has contributed articles to a number of national arts and cultural publications. Upcoming projects include a catalogue essay for Edmonton artist Catherine Burgess’ forthcoming AGA exhibition and a collaborative project with Edmonton artists Sean Caulfield and Royden Mills. The Brennan/Caulfield/Mills collaboration will be featured in the group exhibition The Body in Question(s) / Le Corps en Question(s) which will premier at the Galerie de l’UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) in May 2012 and will reunite Brennan with a former collaborative partner, Edmonton-based, nationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer Brian Webb.