Feb. 16 2020
Experiments in Criticism Symposium Call


Presented by C Magazine

How can we encourage, facilitate and produce deep, meaningful engagement with the objects, texts and experiences that we encounter in the art world and beyond? What practices foster this production? In Experiments in Criticism, we bring together writers, critics, curators, artists and other artistic practitioners and culture workers to reconsider how we approach the work of criticism by experimenting with practices of approaching, looking at, reflecting on, thinking about, talking about, writing about and otherwise responding to contemporary art and culture.

Experiments in Criticism is less interested in creating more “experimental” critics per se, and more interested in imaginatively challenging didactic, categorical and canonical thinking, toward a more capable, inclusive and polyvocal critical landscape. We each come to art with our particular embodied perspectives, sensorial systems, subjectivities, histories, values, politics and ethics. How can we attune ourselves in ways that increase our abilities to detect, intuit and explore nuance and associations that may not be hardcoded in the subjects in question? How can we foster a rigorous, accessible, engaged and compelling climate of criticism here in so-called Canada that is as much about the art and the artist’s practice as it is about the larger politics, concepts and contexts that surround it? Who is the public of Canadian art criticism today? Who is writing? Who is reading? What does generous, constructive criticism look like today, when a crisis of politeness might preclude some forms of generative intersubjective difficulties? How can we strengthen, support and amplify non-Eurocentric critical modalities?

Through workshops, panels, roundtables, performances, screenings, lectures, and other programming and space-making, participants will consider what it means to cultivate an environment of experimentation and productively complicate processes of perception, reflection, discussion, and writing about art. We are interested in approaches that are intertextual, intergenerational, intersubjective, embodied, playful, performative, literary and capacity-building.

Artists will be paid fees that meet or exceed the CARFAC recommended fee schedule, and all other presenters and facilitators will be paid professional fees.

The symposium will take place May 22-24, 2020


Submissions will be accepted until February 16, 2020

To submit, please send the following to

- CV
- Maximum 500-word proposal, including a working title of your program, and, if relevant, the names of those you would like to include (please include a note on whether you have reached out/confirmed participation with those people or not)
- Estimated length of the presentation (most will be between 60-90 minutes, but we’re open to longer proposals, and different formats)
- A proposed budget for any foreseeable presentation expenses, not including travel and accommodations or CARFAC compensation

C Magazine actively seeks to increase the representation of equity-seeking groups in the arts sector. If you identify as a member of one or more of these groups, you are invited to voluntarily self-identify.

Please let us know of any accommodation we may provide during the application or selection process, or for your participation in the symposium. If you have accessibility concerns or requests, please contact

Applicants will be notified by early March 2020 with results.

This symposium will include a combination of solicited presenters, and presenters invited through the open call. Presenters invited through the open call will be responsible for their travel and accommodation expenses (to Toronto). However, we are happy to write letters of support for travel grant applications. Artists will be paid fees that meet or exceed the CARFAC recommended fee schedule, and all other presenters and facilitators will be paid professional fees.

The symposium marks the conclusion of the first installment EXPERIMENTS IN CRITICISM and offers a forum for the discussion and presentation of forms of experimental criticism. The symposium also coincides with C Magazine’s Spring 2020 issue 145 Criticism, Again.

EXPERIMENTS IN CRITICISM is a yearlong education program devised by C Magazine to nurture and promote interdisciplinary critical literacy around contemporary art. Participants in a series of workshops aimed at youth aged 18 to 30, developed with and guided by community leaders, explore unique approaches to art criticism. Workshop leaders have include artists, writers, critics, performers and activists, including Peter Morin and Ayumi Goto, Syrus Marcus Ware, Lindsay Nixon, David Balzer and more. For more information, visit:

C Magazine acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Council for the Arts’ Sector Innovation program. We also wish to thank the sites, venues and various organizations that participate in and support the Experiments in Criticism program.