Modern Literature & Culture Research Centre & Gallery

Overview

From the insurrection riot of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., through the humanitarian turmoil in Afghanistan, to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion in Ukraine, to the mass disruption of Canada’s convoy protest—this past year was marked by dramatic upheavals. Along with the waves of Delta and Omicron infections, the catastrophic wildfires and flooding around the world, these upheavals sorely tested the plasticity of the arts and the humanities in offering solutions. At the MLC Research Centre, our focus has been on creative action and collective dialogue, on developing new ways of communicating and generating unity. Therefore, this past year has involved not only adaptation but the exercise of radical hope in doing things differently.

One concrete result of this effort is COVID-19 and Creative Resilience: Figuring the Everyday in a Pandemic (edited by myself and Jason Wang and published by Routledge in March). This book brings together 23 international contributors from as far away as Kazakhstan, Germany, and Sweden, centering creative and humanities-driven approaches in the international forefront of efforts to deal with the non-medical effects of short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic. This MLC Report gives insight into our collective grappling with COVID-19 through the lens of sound, visuality, and writing, which led us to prepare a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant on “Telling COVID-19 Stories” ($161,800). As we commemorate the dead and the many COVID-19 losses in the months to come, the stories of individuals will be our focus, putting the contingency of the human body at the forefront of international scholarship. 

I am also proud to report that in the face of disruptions, we pioneered strategies for large-scale mobilizations in digital and in-person formats—preparing us for the future. These included Modernism Inside and Out, a hybrid conference for 650 international registrants organized by the MLC Research Centre in partnership with the AGO, the McMichael Collection of Canadian Art, and the Canadian Women Artist History Initiative at Concordia University, a critical consideration of the sidelining of Canadian women artists in cultural history on the world stage; and my co-curating (with Heather Anderson) of The Baroness Elsa Project, a touring exhibition mounted at the Carleton University Art Gallery in Ontario and the Owens Art Gallery at Mount Alison University in New Brunswick, featuring the work of 8 celebrated international artists representing gender, race, and trans perspectives. 

And finally, much of the year was spent moving our MLC Research and Archive operation from 111 Gerrard Street to 415 Yonge Street, where the last construction push is taking place while I write these reflections to the accompaniment of the drill sounding from the main room. As we return to our in-person research, training, and archiving mission, our goal for 2022-23 is recreate our MLC Gallery, which is essential as our incubator for scholarly and creative outreach. In this we are grateful to the university, to OVPRI and to the Dean’s office for supporting our effort. 

With the knowledge we have gained in navigating disruption by drawing on the plasticity and empowerment of our humanities and arts strategies, I look forward to the coming year. I also look forward to commencing my role as the member on the Board of Governors and serving our university community with passion and dedication. 

Irene Gammel, Director

MLC Director & Executive Team

2021-2022 Summary of Achievements

Research

2
Books
27
Articles and Chapters Published
24
Conference Papers & Talks
2
Large-scale Mobilization Events
$161,648
New Tri-Council Grant Funding Secured
31
HQP Trained

Public Engagement with Digital Culture

11,247
Followers
424,289
Impressions
89,462
Visits
299
Tweets

Digital Archive Highlights

19
images for Creative Resilience and COVID-19
45
installation views of The Baroness Elsa Project exhibition (18 records)
13
newly found paintings by Mary Riter Hamilton

Project Spotlights

The Baroness Elsa Project

The Baroness Elsa Project

  • Exhibition curated by Irene Gammel and Heather Anderson. Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa: 12 September – 21 December 2021. Owens Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB. January – March 30, 2022.
  • Winner of the Galeries Ontario Galleries (GOG) Exhibition of the Year Award in the top category of the 50,000 budget.
Kathleen Munn (1887-1974), Untitled (Cows on a Hillside), c. 1916, oil on canvas, 78.7 x 104.1 cm, AGO Purchased with funds donated by Susan and Greg Latremoille, Toronto, 2006, 2006/85

Modernisms, Inside & Out: September 30 – October 2, 2021; Conference

  • 23 panels
  • 80 international panelists
  • 650 international registrants
  • Organized by MLC (Ryerson) in partnership with the Canadian Women’s Art History Initiative (CWAHI, Concordia University), AGO, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg)

MLC Annual Impact Report Executive Summary


Sponsors And Partners

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Event Partners

Recent News

New Publication: How to Dress the Body Artfully through <em>The Art Amateur</em>

New Publication: How to Dress the Body Artfully through...

Irene Gammel & Ingrid Mida’s “How to Dress the Body Artfully: The ‘Art in Dress’ Column in the Art Amateur Magazine” is published.

Erica Armata joins MLC

Erica Armata joins MLC

At the MLCRC, Erica is engaged in researching social media content with a focus on modernism within the arts and humanities.

Christiane Tarantino joins MLC

Christiane Tarantino joins MLC

Christiane’s research focuses on issues of immigration and trauma in Canadian literature of the twentieth century.

MLC Top 10 of 2022

MLC Top 10 of 2022

Irene Gammel, Director, is pleased to present the Top 10 accomplishments of the MLC Research Centre of 2022.

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

MLC Themes

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

Amid the unprecedented social change of World War I, women renegotiated their identities by dramatically changing the way they engaged with the arts. But how did they do so? And how did everyday citizens engage with the war?

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

MLC Themes

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, considered by many to be the mother of Dada, was a daringly innovative poet and an early creator of junk sculpture. “The Baroness” was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances.

Modernism in the World

MLC Themes

Modernism in the World

Recent research has departed from the Euro-centric and national view of Modernism to include approaches and methods studying Modernism across national boundaries and across different art forms to include fashion, dance, performance, technology, and visual culture.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

MLC Themes

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is perhaps Canada's most important literary export. She was prolific writer of over 500 short stories and poems, and twenty novels, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Canadian Modernism

MLC Themes

Canadian Modernism

The works of numerous Canadian authors who lived during the modernist era may well constitute the most central and experimental articulation of Canadian modernism in prose, allowing authors to stage cross-cultural, controversial, and even conflicted identities.

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

MLC Themes

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

Life writing, including autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters and testimonials written or told by women and men whose political, literary or philosophical purposes are central to their lives, has become a standard tool for communication and the dissemination of information.