Sara Ross

Book News: The Modes of Human Rights Literature: Towards a Culture without Borders

Galchinsky book

Georgia State University English Professor Michael Galchinsky has published his newest work The Modes of Human Rights Literature: Towards a Culture without Borders, released earlier this month. According to publisher Palgrave Macmillan, the author,

[A]rgues that human rights literature both helps the persecuted to cope with their trauma and serves as the foundation for a cosmopolitan ethos of universal civility—a culture without borders. Michael Galchinsky maintains that, no matter how many treaties there are, a rights-respecting world will not truly exist until people everywhere can imagine it.

 You can read more about the book at the publisher’s website here.

Sara Ross

Peter Doig’s Canadian Art Work – Can He Prove it Isn’t His?

Peter Doig

Photo of Peter Doig by Brian McNeil

Recently there has been a bizarre turn of events for artist Peter Doig and the work he created while growing up in central Canada. Doig is being sued by the proprietor of a painting who claims that Doig sold it to him during the 1970s in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when he was Doig’s parole officer. Doig, however, states that the painting is not his. According to Art Forum:

Fletcher said that he bought the painting from a man named Pete Doig for $100. He claims to have served as the man’s parole officer at Thunder Bay Correctional Center in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The painting, which is signed “Pete Doig 76,” was displayed in his home until five years ago when a friend recognized it and informed him that the artist who painted it is now famous.

In order to win the suit, Doig must prove that he did not paint the work while in Thunder Bay. Doig has stated that he believes he is being scammed.

Sara Ross

B.C. Premier Christy Clark Letter to President Barack Obama

CBC logo

The CBC recently reported that British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has written a letter to US President Barack Obama requesting support in their efforts to regain First Nations artifacts originating in BC, but being housed by American organizations in the US. An initiative has begun where the Royal B.C. Museum and Provincial government have partnered with the Aboriginal peoples of the province in order to develop a plan to have the artifacts returned to Canada. According to the article:

The United States has a law in place that cultural items from graves of American Indians be returned if the owners request the item. Clark said the law should apply to all North American First Nations. Grand Chief Ed John has gone one step further asking the Canadian federal government to put in place a similar law here. “These are not simply objects,” said John, standing beside a collection of First Nations belongings at the Royal B.C. Museum.

You can read more about the event at the CBC website here.

Sara Ross

Largest collection of Peruvian Artifacts Outside of Peru Returned

Machu Picchu

Photograph of Machu Picchu by Martin St-Amant

This past June, the largest collection of Peruvian artifacts located outside of Peru ever returned was delivered to the Nation of Peru. The Ministry of Culture received the more than 4000 artifacts from a range of countries, including Canada. According to Peru This Week:

The recovery comes as result of several years of work, based on agreements signed by Peru with different countries to protect and return historical artifacts. The agreements aided to build 22 separate legal cases to reclaim that the pieces that were found had being stolen and smuggled out of the country to be sold in antiquities market. One of the most famous processes was the Janeir Aude case in Argentina, 14 years and disputed 4,136 artifacts, including a perfectly preserved ancient mummies.

 Efforts to return even more artifacts to the country continue.

Sara Ross

New Festival Permits in Toronto


Recently, the City of Toronto has created a new form of permit called the “Arts and Music in Parks” permit, intended to regulate and encourage an increase in the use of Toronto park space as the home for music and arts festivals. Permits are free and available during the summer months to qualifying individuals and organizations that apply. The permit is the result of the Arts in the Parks initiative, which intends to bring free art events to the Toronto public through its public parks. According to the city’s press release:

The City’s new Arts and Music in Parks permit is designed to provide a simple, streamlined process for artists and musicians to get a permit to perform in City parks. This free permit is available for small-scale art and music events that take place on one day, and are presented by grassroots organizations, artists and musician … Events will include performances, dance, music, theatre, film, community-engaged work and temporary installations by arts groups. 

You can learn more about the permit and apply for one yourself by visiting the City of Toronto website here.

Sara Ross

Call for Papers – Conference on Living and Sustainability: An Environmental Critique of Design and Building Practices, Locally and Globally

AMPS logo

Architecture Media Politics Society (AMPS) is hosting a conference on “Living and Sustainability: An Environmental Critique of Design and Building Practices, Locally and Globally” between February 9-10, 2017 at London South Bank University. Abstracts must be submitted by October 20, 2016 to . Submissions can include 20 minute presentations, written papers up to 3000 words, or alternative works like short stories or photo essays. Presentations can be given in person or via Skype, and each presentation has the potential for later publication.

You can read more about the conference here.

Sara Ross

Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Graduate Student Paper Prize Competition

AAA logo

Logo of the American Anthropology Association

The Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) has announced the deadline for this year’s graduate student paper prize. The competition is open to all individuals who will be a graduate student through May 1, 2016 in any and all masters and doctoral programs. The deadline for the competition itself is July 1, 2016, and papers may be no longer than 8000 words (inclusive of notes and citations). This, incidentally, is in line with the publication requirements of the association’s journal PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, where the winning submission will be published. The winner will also receive a $1000 prize, split between a $350 cash award and $650 in travel reimbursement to attend the 2016 conference of the American Anthropology Association (of which the APLA is a part) held this upcoming November in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The call for papers includes the following:

Topics may include citizenship; colonialism and post-colonial public spheres; cosmopolitanism; cultural politics; disability; environment; globalization; governance; humanitarianism; medicine, science, and technology; multiculturalism; nationalism; NGOs and civil society; new media; immigration and refugees; resistance; religious institutions; security, policing, or militarism; sexualities; social movements; human and civil rights; sovereignty; war and conflict. We encourage submissions that expand the purview of political and legal anthropology and challenge us to think in new ways about power, politics and law.

You can see the full call for papers here.

Sara Ross

Canadian Cultural Heritage Survey – Deadline May 20th

Minister Joly

Mélanie Joly

The Canadian Federal Government has issued a pre-consultation questionnaire to be completed by May 20th, 2016. As I wrote about earlier this month, Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly has been pushing for new changes within the Federal Government’s handling of cultural heritage and the arts. In order to the initiate the process, Joly announced a “comprehensive digital cultural policy review” focusing on Laws, Institutions, Policies, and Programs, respectively. Before her series of consultations with major organizations occurs, Canadian citizens have been invited to share their own views. According to the Canadian Independent Music Association:

The Department of Heritage launched public consultations on April 23, with an online questionnaire that citizens can complete until May 20. A second phase of consultations will be conducted under the banner of “Strengthening Canadian Content, Discovery and Export in a Digital World”. Through its consultations, the government seeks feedback from all cultural industries participants on improvements that could potentially be made to Canada’s media governance regime. The goal is to better stimulate the creation of Canadian content, while promoting its viability in national and international markets. 

In order to have your say, make sure to fill out the questionnaire by the deadline. You can find the online link here.

Sara Ross

HBO’s IP woes

HBO logo

The American television company HBO has been in the news recently with its interaction on both sides of trademark and copyright law. On the one hand, HBO’s new one hour drama Vinyl is under fire after a lawsuit was launched by 1970s Hip-Hop icon DJ Kool Herc. Kool Herc was offered $10,000 to waive rights to his image before the show was filmed, but declined the offer. The show, co-produced by the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and director Martin Scorcese, used Kool Herc’s name, identity, and voice in an episode of the show intended to show the rise of Hip-Hop in the underground of New York City under the noses of music executives.

On the flip side, HBO has used copyright law to repeatedly block a YouTuber based in Spain from broadcasting on the Internet site after the user spent some of his most recent videos providing spoilers for upcoming Game of Throne episodes. This has enraged some viewers and YouTube viewers, as no direct images from the series are used in the videos, however some attorneys have intimated this may be a natural extension of the site’s DMCA copyright protection request system.

Vinyl, as a series, focuses on a myriad of legal complexities and story-lines, ranging from contract disputes to white collar crime to murder. The eccentricities and envelope-pushing of the music industry is constantly coming up against the rule of law, which appears to be the only thing that can keep the show’s characters from running right off the rails. Both situations appear to be headed towards precedent setting decisions, assuming the cases move forward, and are interesting examples of how a company can be busy fighting both sides of a legal issue at any given point in time.

Sara Ross

Hugh Faulkner Dies at 73

Hugh Faulkner has died at the age of 73 at his home in Rougemont, Switzerland. Faulkner is best known for his role as “culture czar” during the first tenure of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and founder of the Canada Council’s Art Bank. According to his obituary,

One initiative that bolstered Mr. Faulkner’s reputation was his sponsorship of Bill C-58, the law that did in the Canadian edition of Time magazine, which had existed for 30 years. The bill, which passed in February, 1976, amended the Income Tax Act to prevent advertisers from deducting the cost of ads from their corporate taxes unless the magazine had 80-per-cent Canadian content.

The results: Maclean’s magazine went from monthly to weekly publication; Time closed its Canadian editorial bureaus and laid off its staff here, though the magazine continued to print in Canada, offering Canadian ads at a lower price.

You can read the piece in full at the Globe and Mail here.