Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts Toronto 2021

From May 1st to 31st, is taking place the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, a community-based event presenting works rooted in the reality of working people’s lives and that advance the struggle for improved working and living conditions, and the whole presentation is online at website.

The Festival offers a bold online program that includes Dialogues, Music, Visual Arts, and Films by diverse artists working at the intersection of Art, Social Justice, and Labour.

The works of this year’s festival emerge in the midst of a global pandemic that has further exposed the violence of racial capitalism. From the organizing efforts of factory workers at Amazon to the hidden connections between the extractive industries and our cultural institutions, artists and organizers share their insights and reaffirm the possibilities of collective action.

The festival is organized by week and by content. Most programming is available from its launch up until the end of the festival. ASL Interpretation is available at all Dialogues.

During the event, workers and organizers from the long-term care, education, and migrant labour sectors address the impacts of the pandemic on their work, in a panel of discussion moderated by Dr. Naheed Dosani. You may join Gail Bannister-Clarke, Butterfly GoPaul, Samuel Kisitu, Candace Rennick, Chris Ramsaroop as they explore visions for a just future and strategies for working together to make them real.

9TO5: The Story of a Movement, is a film that chronicles the 9to5 movement that was initiated by a group of Boston secretaries demanding better pay, more advancement opportunities and an end to sexual harassment. It changed the American workplace and continues to ripple through the movement for gender parity today.

On Sunday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 4 there was a film screening at participants´ leisure and also on Tuesday there was a moderated Q&A session with the movement’s founders

The organizers of the Festival developed a Guided Collaborative Research Session, in which Maggie Flynn outlined the interconnections between extractive industries and art institutions in Canada, offering participants tools to investigate the impact of extraction on our material world including our platforms for artistic expression.

In one of the most interesting parts of the Festival, four artists interrogated some of the key place-based concerns of Latinx identity through their on and offline cultural practice. A co-presentation with Sur Gallery, curated by Claudia Arana is also available.

There will be an exhibition available from May 1-29 at Virtual Sur Gallery

Christie Carrière, Hannia Cheng, and Florence Yee share stories from the Chinatown Anti-Displacement Garden and trace the role of collective action and communal imagining in challenging forced displacement. A co-presentation with Tea Base and an experiment in VR community building created by Jason Li.

Through a series of installations at Sur Gallery and virtual interviews available on the Mayworks Festival website, Latin@merica: Embedding Bodies and Localities offers the possibility of rethinking how traditional place-based affiliations and notions of cultural identity end up reproduced, reaffirmed, or even transformed in the digital realm.

The exhibition aims to highlight how technology has had an impact in the construction of Latin American identity and its networked localities. New forms of negotiation between the local and the global, between the virtual and the real are constantly being elaborated by the presented works, leading to new ways of understanding what it means to be Latinx and/or Latin American in a contemporary digital field.

For more information on the daily event´s schedule, please visit