countermap.land: Request for Expressions of Interest

October 8, 2021

221A, along with the national Artist Run Centre Association (ARCA), are pleased to support the Tkaronto chapter of The Architecture Lobby’s countermap.landThis crowd-sourced project locates tangible spaces and objects within the territory known as Canada, represented by figures and events – be they political, social, economic, or otherwise – that have contributed to the dispossession of life, memory, territory, and resources of BIPOC and Queer communities, both past and present. Through an open and participatory process facilitated online, the project opens dialogue around specific territories in question and allows for public feedback on the conditions of current monuments, public buildings and lands. Further, it seeks to explore new methods for repatriation and creative strategies for addressing real harm caused to BIPOC and Queer communities. 

Spaces and objects that will be considered in this project range in a variety of scales in order to capture the pervasiveness of systemic racism. They include, but are not limited to: racist and colonial statues and places, communities displaced by urban renewal schemes, sites designed to suppress BIPOC and Queer communities, institutions who have relied on land grabs to accumulate their wealth, desecrated burial grounds, and places established through the dispossession of culturally-significant ecologies.  

Engagement Phase – Counter-Mapping Workshops

This collectively drafted countermap of the land we call “Canada,” will be developed continually and pluralistically to mark the spatial manifestations of centuries of white supremacist doctrines within officially-constituted narratives of nation-building and map-making. countermap.land allows users to locate and upload images and writing about racist and colonial sites of trauma (monuments/objects/buildings/structures), areas (parks, streets, neighbourhoods, infrastructure, waterways, geographic zones), and events (memories, time-based processes). Users can equally submit proposals for counter-monuments and safer spaces, as to advance narratives of repair and care. 

We recognize that maps and the associated technologies of cartography are inseparable from the colonial project; they describe and segment space, defining boundaries to movement, the exploitable resources of landscapes, and the reaches of imperial power. We hope through this work to appropriate and build on top of these tools to define new collective histories. This project will always be a work in progress. We hope through countermap.land, we not only challenge the data which is included and excluded in maps of so-called “Canada”, but to also reexamine and retool the technology of the map itself. 

countermap.land explores new methods for repatriation and pursues creative and collectively developed strategies for addressing real harm caused to BIPOC and Queer communities that cut across race, class, and gender identities. This platform will be an essential tool for architects, designers, planners and communities to create counter-power to hold colonial structures accountable, and it recasts space counter to established settler presumptions. 

The Opportunity – Share An Expression of Interest

The Architecture Lobby Tkaronto works with the Artist Run Centre Association (ARCA) and 221A to produce 15 regional engagement workshops which will be designed as counter-mapathons. These events will develop the first data layer of countermap.land. And, the feedback and learnings gained from these events will help to inform the functionality, submission vetting process, and the interface of the website. Artist Run Centres (ARCs), artistic groups and collectives are asked to submit a brief Expression of Interest (EOI) to detail their intentions, ambitions and credentials to host a workshop in their region. Any self-organized group of artists and cultural workers may apply to this program. 

Each workshop will be supported with a $5000 micro-grant distributed by ARCA. The micro-grant will support ARCs, artistic groups and collectives to contract a workshop facilitator of their choosing, provide participant compensation, as well as covering some expenses for Indigenization, equity and access.  Workshops should take place between January and May 2022, and can be hosted digitally and in-person, according to regional COVID-19 public health orders. Your principal expenses should be $1200 for a workshop facilitator fee, and participants should be offered $200 honorariums for their participation in the workshop. The micro-grant can cover 100% of the workshop expenses, and no matching financial contributions are expected from participating ARCs, groups and collectives.

How to Express Your Interest

Please send us an email about the length of a 1-page letter. Or we can schedule a 20-minute call with you to do the information intake.  To submit your expression of interest or schedule a call, please contact us at countermap.land@gmail.com.

In your expression of interest, please tell us:

  • Who you are? 
  • What mission, vision and values does your organization, group or collective operate under? 
  • Which regions do you hope to cover and serve in your workshop?
  • Why are you interested in hosting a countermap.land workshop? 
  • Tell us about a similar scale ($5000) project or initiative that your organization, group or collective has recently completed. How did this project go and what challenges did it give you?
  • What’s your relationship with urban Indigenous communities, or of-territory Indigenous communities in your region?
  • In your region, which communities will face the greatest barriers to participating in your workshop, and what are your strategies to welcome them?
  • How many people will participate in your workshop?
  • And finally, do you foresee making any major changes to the proposed workshop budget listed above? If yes, how will you spend your micro-grant to produce the workshop?

Please send your Expressions of Interest to countermap.land@gmail.com

N.B. At this point in development, eligible ARCs, collectives and groups should operate within the geography known as Canada. countermap.land only functions within this geography for now, with future development plans to grow the site’s reach beyond the country’s national borders.

All Expressions of Interest will be reviewed by ARCA staff and The Architecture Lobby Tkaronto’s steering committee for countermap.land. In this first series of engagement workshops for countermap.land, we are seeking geographic diversity across the country known as Canada, as well as a pluralistic range of communities who can rise to the challenge to collectively develop the platform. If you’re not selected at this time as one of the 15 micro-grant recipients, your expression of interest will be kept on file and this helps inform us about future fundraising goals, so that we may meet the demand for partnerships and engagement with countermap.land.   

Recommended Workshop Budget

  • $2000 Participant Honorariums ( x10 – $200)
  • $1200 Workshop Animator/Facilitator Fee
  • $500 Digital Access/Translation Fees
  • $500 Info Processing Stipends for Support Workers/Access Accommodations
  • $300 Childcare/Eldercare/Family Care
  • $250 Elder/Land Acknowledgement Fees
  • $150 PPE/Sanitation/Hospitality
  • $100 Local Transportation
  • $5000 Total Micro-Grant

Timeline

  • Oct. 8, 21 – Request for Expressions of Interest Opens
  • Final 2-weeks of Oct., 21 – Online Q&A session on Instagram Live*** 
  • Nov. 15, 21 – Due Date for expressions of interest
  • Dec., 21 – Participants in the first engagement phase will be contacted, resources provided
  • Jan. – May, 22 – Workshops hosted by micro-grant recipients
  • May through Jul., 22 – Participant orgs/groups submit short report to countermap.land reflecting suggestions for the technology of the map, and workshop format.

***Follow @221aweeee@arch_lobby_to, and @arca_dot_art on our Instagram channels for further information on the Q&A session. Or ask us any questions over email. countermap.land@gmail.com

Additional Materials Provided

  1. Workshop guide outlining suggested community guidelines and the framing conceptual ideas behind the project;
  2. Captioned videos demonstrating countermap.land functionality; 
  3. Graphic assets including partner logos. 

Notes on Language & Access

At this point in development, countermap.land welcomes submissions in any language. As the website enters the engagement phase of its development, the interface is currently only available in English, although it can be translated using browser extensions or web apps such as google translate. If you are engaged to host a countermap.land workshop, you may propose to conduct your workshop in any language, and use portions of the budget for translation/transliteration of the submissions. Approved submissions will be kept in their original languages and note the translation when available.

The linguistic diversity of the organizing team between the partner organizations reaches well beyond the two official languages of “Canada”, and several speak, read these languages and others at an advanced level. As such, the team is able to review a number of languages, even if they are untranslated. Please get in touch to ask if we have a team member who can work with you. We are also committed to developing the site to a level where we can welcome audio and visual submissions for sign languages, and to provide for a diversity of resources and formats as our current resource capacity is able to accommodate. Please share your feedback on the language and access components of countermap.land, so that we as a community may develop this platform to be more usable and accessible.  We value this learning in the spirit of updating and continuing to develop countermap.land, and have allocated a portion of our future development budget to these improvements. The more communities who use the site, and find it helpful for their work, the more resources we’ll be able to gather. If you’d like to partner with countermap.land in the direction of language and access work, please get in touch. countermap.land@gmail.com