UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Piercing memory – marking history : the National Women's March Against Poverty and the quilt Women United Against Poverty 1996 and 2015 Ursino, Joanne Marie


The signature quilt Women United Against Poverty marks the National Women’s March Against Poverty that took place in 1996. The quilt top was created by Alice Olsen Williams from Curve Lake First Nation and Joanne Ursino. The content on the quilt (text, photographs, and images) is of great significance in seeking to better understand a particular moment in the social justice movement in Canada. A unique moment when women across the country - from divergent political, social and economic identities, backgrounds and relationships—worked together demanding an end to poverty under the political banner: “For Bread And Roses – For Jobs And Justice.” In the world of textiles, signature quilts, story quilts, political quilts and, more recently, the art quilt share a history that contributes to research in the field of narrative inquiry, feminist and queer discourse, and public art. This research study investigates how a practice of reflexive inquiry through the act of art making constitute a contribution to the public archive? It is both personal and political. The research is personal insofar as it is situated in a commitment to gender, sexual equality and studio art practice as a way of inquiring into and representing the world. It is political because it is anchored in the discourses of historical thinking, collective memory and contesting archives, mapping, materiality, material culture, making and coming to know through writing. It is an offering of meaning-making through arts-based research. I seek the unruly entanglements as I examine the liminal spaces in the materialities of writing and making and the intentional reading of post-modern feminist and queer theory, arts-based research and the challenge of data. The focus of this research study is on the location of the materiality of political action/praxis within the aesthetic realm. The quilt top was tucked away for almost twenty years. In returning to and un/finishing the artefact – making and quilting its layers is an integral act accompanying the writing of this thesis. Writing and stitching is an act of inquiry in and through the layers of meaning, matter and language.

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