Sessional Office exhibiting in the ECUAD faculty show

Posted on January 30, 2020

I’m pleased to be exhibiting in support of the Emily Carr University faculty in their 2020 exhibition The Work of the Work (details below).

In March 2018, I did an intervention outside the Emily Carr University president’s office to draw attention to problematic working conditions for contract faculty. At that time the president enjoyed a bright, spacious 2,000 square-foot suite shared with four administrative staff. Meanwhile, in the basement, 80+ sessional instructors shared a space about a third that size. Occupying about a quarter of this small space were over a hundred Ikea-style shelving cubicles. So I photographed the cubicles and installed the prints outside the president’s office. 

A year later I reactivated the project as a photo-text installation to underline how income and labour precarity for artists and educators is connected to income and housing precarity in Vancouver. I paired the photographs with the words of contract faculty who had contributed to our artist book Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design which I produced for my graduating project.

I’m pleased to bring this project back to the ECU campus to continue this conversation which unfortunately is still necessary due to the administration’s continued overreliance on underpaid, contract teaching labour. 

On Feb 11 at 11:30 am at ECU, I’ll be giving a talk on the intervention and on the book Non-Regular– details to follow.

January 31st – February 14th, 2020
Opening Reception:
Thursday, January 30th, 4-7 pm
Emily Carr University of Art and Design
520 E. 1st Ave., Vancouver BC

The Faculty at Emily Carr University of Art & Design are excited to announce their first exhibition at the new campus on Great Northern Way in Vancouver. The show features a wide selection of art, media and design by the University’s distinguished faculty that explores the complex relationships between teaching, creative practice and labour.

A unique feature of this year’s exhibition is The Working Studio where faculty members will publicly share their working processes through demonstrations and pop-up studio spaces.

The theme of The Work of the Work is inspired by the challenging working conditions the faculty face as the lowest paid and highest teaching load instructors of any of the post-secondary art and design institutions in Canada. This is particularly timely as the faculty’s contract expired in April 2019 and are just now entering into the early stages of bargaining with the administration.

The show will be on exhibit from January 31st to February 14th on the second floor on Emily Carr’s campus at 520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, January 30th from 4pm to 7pm. All are welcome.

Facebook event:

Top: Sessional Office: Proposal for a new arrangement by Terra Poirier, 2018, installation outside ECU president’s office, digital toner prints.
2nd: Sessional Office by Terra Poirier with text by S/T, VX, NB, Lily Chester, xxx, Curious Cat, 2019, digital inkjet prints, wood, vinyl text, 65″ x 35″.

Space & precarity: Artist talk with Pia Massie, Terra Poirier & guests

Posted on February 20, 2019

Live/Work (2019) by Terra Poirier & NB, digital inkjet diptych

To close our exhibition at Mónica Reyes Gallery, Pia Massie and I will discuss our projects, followed by a conversation with local artists to consider intersections of space and labour precarity.

Feb 23, 2pm
Mónica Reyes Gallery
602 e Hastings, Vancouver
Gallery hours are Wed-Fri 11am-2pm, Sat 12-4pm


  • Tarah Hogue is a curator and writer of Métis, French Canadian and Dutch ancestry, and is the inaugural Senior Curatorial Fellow, Indigenous Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
  • Deneige Nadeau is sessional faculty in critical and cultural studies at ECUAD.
  • Sunny Nestler is a multi-disciplinary artist, ECUAD sessional instructor and biology enthusiast.
  • Lam Wong is a curator, designer, and visual artist. His paintings are on view at Canton-Sardine in the Sun Wah Building. His studio and many of his curatorial and cultural projects are rooted in Chinatown.

Sessional Office at Mónica Reyes Gallery

Posted on February 1, 2019

Humanities 101 (2019) by Terra Poirier & Anonymous, digital inkjet diptych

Non-Regular lives on, in a dual exhibition with activist-artist Pia Massie.

Mattering Map Redux & Sessional Office 
February 7-23, 2019
Opening reception: Thursday, February 7, 6-8pm
Artists talk: Saturday, February 23, 2pm
Mónica Reyes Gallery
602 E Hastings, Vancouver BC
FB event

Mónica Reyes Gallery is pleased to present a dual exhibition by artist-educator, activist and filmmaker Pia Massie and interdisciplinary artist Terra Poirier. This exhibition is the first opportunity for these two artists to collaborate and the first time they are showing at Mónica Reyes Gallery (previously known as Back Gallery Project). Opening reception Thursday, February 7 from 6-8 PM.

In 1995 and 1996, Pia Massie worked with Mount Pleasant diners, interviewing the people who owned, cooked and ate in them. This collaboration with her neighbours on the documentation of their workspaces and their lives became The Mattering Map Project, an installation at the grunt gallery.

At the request of Mónica Reyes Gallery, Massie has returned to these locations 23 years later and documented what they have become. Coffee has been replaced by craft beer; restaurants have become condos; the community and the commons are under enormous pressure. Like a hungry ghost, the process of gentrification has swallowed neighbourhoods whole, leaving communities fragmented and marginalized.

In this exhibition, Massie and Poirier ask: What do diners and art schools have in common? What do short order cooks and sessional faculty share? What is the public, interactive space for creative communities? How do we hold on to these spaces and the relationships that matter?

In 2018, artist Terra Poirier undertook, in collaboration with sessional faculty and students, Non-Regular, a book about precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU). Their conversations captured how neoliberal employment practices devalue teaching service and creative work, while eroding academic freedoms. Blocks away from the Mattering Map Project’s former diners, at ECU’s brand new campus, senior administration staff enjoy spacious offices and meeting rooms while more than 80 underpaid sessional instructors share a single, classroom-sized office. Here, too, space is distributed according to capital and power: lecture halls have been named after real estate developers while sessional faculty must fit their work into cardboard banker’s boxes packed onto cubicle shelving. Poirier’s photo-text installation, Sessional Office, sets the words of sessional faculty against the tiny work spaces afforded them.

Massie’s and Poirier’s projects point to a city where culture is a commodity, as are those who produce it. Artists seeking work/live spaces often function as the first wave of the gentrification of poorer neighbourhoods. Creative workers’ “success” in repurposing industrial and abandoned spaces too often contributes to the precarity of these communities and the displacement of their residents. And now, like the short order cooks and day labourer clientele of the former diners, precariously employed artists, too, struggle to find a place in this city that promised to create a “future with culture at its centre.”1

Terra Poirier is an interdisciplinary artist interested in work, (in)visibility and erasure, all of which inform her long exposure photography, her autobiographical book works, and her social practice projects in a variety of media. She is the editor and designer of the artist book Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, published by UNIT/PITT Projects and made in collaboration with 26 instructors and artists speaking candidly about the conditions of their work. She has a BFA in Photography from ECUAD (2018, awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal), and received the Saralee James Memorial Award in recognition of her activist art work. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Lind Prize for Emerging Visual Artists. Terra is also a former video instructor and filmmaker whose films have been exhibited locally and internationally including at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Kansai Queer Film Festival in Kyoto, Paris Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival and the Lesben Film Festival in Berlin.

Pia Massie received an undergraduate double degree from Harvard University in Visual and Environmental Studies and East Asian Studies and an MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design. She is a multi-media artist whose work has been exhibited in festivals, museums and galleries throughout North America and Europe, including The Museum of Modern Art, and the John Good gallery in NYC; The List Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, in Lausanne; and the grunt gallery in Vancouver, BC. In 2017-2018, she served as the Artist / Designer / Scholar in Residence, in the Faculty of Culture + Community, at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her work has received Canada Council, BC Arts Council, and National Film Board support along with awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, Saint Gervais Geneve, and the American Film Institute. She recently completed a sculptural commission for VINES festival, called Bower and Fountain. She has participated in residencies at Banff (Telling Stories, Telling Tales), Boreal Art Nature (Forêt Frontière) and in Geneva, Switzerland and Kyoto, Japan. She has worked as an environmental activist, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, since an early age. After growing up in Brooklyn, NY, she is very grateful to be able to live and work in Vancouver on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

1. City of Vancouver,

Non-Regular book launch & artist talk

Posted on October 8, 2018

My new book, Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, which I made in collaboration with 26 instructors and artists, is being published by UNIT/PITT Projects and is launching this fall!

Tuesday October 23, 2018 at 6:00pm
ECUAD Aboriginal Gathering Place
2nd (main) floor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
520 E 1st Ave, Vancouver BC

Please join us for a reception and artists’ panel where we will consider the question:

How does employment precarity affect our art and research practices?


  • Kristina Lee Podesva, artist, writer, editor and former ECUAD sessional instructor
  • Deneige Nadeau, ECUAD sessional instructor, Critical & Cultural Studies
  • Terra Poirier, Non-Regular editor and ECUAD grad
  • Rita Wong, poet, activist & former ECUAD Faculty Association President
  • Moderated by Magnolia Pauker, ECUAD lecturer, Critical & Cultural Studies

Reception at 6pm followed by artist’s talk.

Books will be available for purchase or you can pre-order them at

We gratefully and respectfully acknowledge that we are located on the occupied territories of the xwməθkwəýəm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səÍílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

The ECUAD Aboriginal Gathering Place is wheelchair accessible.

Presented by UNIT/PITT Projects and the Emily Carr University Faculty Association.

A Vancouver Art Book Week and Fair Employment Week event.

Learn more about the book: Follow the book on instagram. Media inquiries? Contact me.

UNIT/PITT gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canada Council, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver.

Exhibiting at the Vancouver Art Book Fair

Posted on October 8, 2018

I’m excited to be exhibiting at the Vancouver Art Book Fair this year!

I’ll be selling my new book Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, which I made in collaboration with 26 instructors and artists. We’re also having a big launch event on Oct 23 as part of Vancouver Art Book Week and Fair Employment Week. More info here.

And I’ll also be selling my 2017 Memory Block book, and exhibiting some handmade single edition books and ! (Pussy & Balls), a charming and ass-kicking flipbook.

The fair runs Oct 18 to 21 at Emily Carr University. More info at

Soft launch of Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Posted on April 29, 2018

9.03.3, 9.03.5, 9.03.7., 2018, by F. Braun—pseudonym for a former ECU sessional instructor who made this cross-stitch in response to the ECU Collective Agreement using this phrase three times in reference to non-regular instructors.

Please come to the soft launch of the book I made in collaboration with 22 Emily Carr faculty members and other artists. I will be exhibiting it in the Reading Room at the Emily Carr University Grad Show.

The show runs May 5-20, 2018
OPENING NIGHT: Sat May 5, 5-9pm (I will be on site from 6pm)
In the library, on the 2nd (main) floor. Hours: Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm, Sat & Sun: 10am to 6pm.
Fully accessible.
On unceded Coast Salish territory, specifically the lands belonging to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

About this project:

ECU students and instructors often work together without communicating about the problematic working conditions that underpin our interactions. For non-regular instructors at Emily Carr University, these conditions include lack of adequate work space, under-compensation and no job security. They are also excluded from many of the supports and recognition afforded to regular faculty, including professional development and sabbatical leave that would assist them in maintaining their professional practices. Sessional faculty, who make up the majority of non-regular instructors at ECU, are also not paid to do service and are excluded from governing bodies of the university. These conditions create barriers for instructors to do their best work and impact curriculum and students’ learning in several ways. They also have serious implications for the state of academic integrity and freedom at ECU.

Non-Regular is a 124-page book that aims to expose the problems of this employment model and to contribute to larger discourses about neoliberal education. It is a collection of stories, analysis, personal essays, interviews and artwork about the state of precarity at Emily Carr. Edited, designed and co-authored by Terra Poirier, an ECU student, it consists of collaborations and contributions by 22 instructors and artists speaking frankly (and largely anonymously) about the conditions of their labour. Topics include: teaching as low-wage work; job security; respect and the value of art(ists); maintaining professional practices; the politics of space at the new ECU campus; impacts on students; the role of tenured faculty; and the erosion of academic freedom and integrity. We also consider how these conditions are exacerbated by and amplify gender and racial bias within academia.

Non-Regular will be launched in two stages. The current bound draft will be exhibited in the Reading Room at the ECU Grad Show. The book will then be further revised to prepare for full publication and launch in the fall of 2018.

If you have questions or wish to share feedback after viewing the book, please get in touch via the contact form here. Media kit is available.

Exhibition Apr 4-28: Uncertain Ground

Posted on March 18, 2018

The Cut, 2017, c-print, 48″x24″.

This collection of work, like much of my long exposure photography, is concerned with memory and landscape. Having spent much of my life on the move outside and within Vancouver, I am interested in how location functions as an anchor for memory, particularly in so far as both are unstable, a trait further shared by photography as a medium. This instability is useful in considering sites of longing, confusion or grief. Pinhole photography is particularly suited to these concerns—longer exposure time allows the picture to rewrite itself, constantly shifting to create a porous, uncertain representation. Memory, too, is an analog form—we rewrite each time we recall, creating new stories—new versions of ourselves, where we’ve been, and what happened there.

Exhibiting alongside Gregg Steffensen. Curated by Yuri Arajas.

Opening party: Wednesday April 4, 6-8pm
Snacks and cash bar

Exhibition: Apr 4-28, 2018
Gallery hours: Monday-Saturday: 12-4pm
Also open 1 hour prior to performances (including evenings), check times at:

The Cultch Gallery
1895 Venables St, Vancouver, BC
On unceded Coast Salish territory, including the lands belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Wheelchair accessible venue.

Facebook event here.
Follow me on Instagram.

Exhibition: Photobase: Re-imagined Memories

Posted on March 4, 2018

Detail of Are you sure?, Volume 1, 2015, hand-bound, unique.

I’m so pleased to be participating in Capture Photography Festival again this year, this time in a group show of artists who work with family photographs. I’ll be showing my handmade photo-text book series Are you sure? Volumes 1-3.

The other artists in the show are: Angela Aujla, Kathleen Ainscough, Felicia Chang, Jeffery Chong, Linda Coe, Zahra Darvishian, Jackie Dives, Dorothy Doherty, Teresa Frolek, Grace Gordon-Collins, Meghna Haldar, Susan Heal, Taehoon Kim, Jennifer Lamb, Brooke McAllister, Anne Montgomery, Dona Nabata, Ross Powell, Connie Sabo, Phyllis Schwartz, Fang Tong, Stephanie Travers, Gina Verster

Opening reception is Thursday March 15 from 7-9pm.
The show runs from March 15 to April 21.

CityScape Community Art Space
335 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
Gallery hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Thu 9am-8pm, Sat 12pm-5pm
FB event:

Shortlisted for the 2018 Capture Photography Festival Canada Line competition

Posted on January 18, 2018

Caution, 2017, Terra Poirier

I’m thrilled to be shortlisted for this year’s Capture Photography Festival‘s Canada Line public art competition. The winner will have their work installed for six months at King Edward Station in Vancouver.

The winner is chosen through a public vote on the Georgia Straight website—check it out, lots of really great work to vote for. Voting closes at 5pm January 31.

Whatever happens, I’m happy to be in the running with so many talented folks. Congrats to the other finalists Olivia Chaber, Wade Comer, Emily Geen, Gregory Geipel, Natalie Hunter, Tomas Jirku, Brandon Leung, Jonathan Luckhurst, Patty Tseng, Matthew Vogt and Gerri York. And thank you to the jury for shortlisting me!

Tramp, 2016, Terra Poirier

Lind Prize shortlist & exhibition at Presentation House Gallery: April 7-28, 2017

Posted on April 9, 2017

Photo by Caroline Boback

I am thrilled to have made the shortlist for the 2nd annual Phillip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize, which is awarded to a post-secondary student who is working with photography, film or video. Shortlisted artists are in a group exhibition at Presentation House Gallery from April 7 to 28, 2017.

I have two pieces in the show – the above pictured Memory Block, which is a large, projected pinhole composite of Commercial Drive accompanied by stories shared by several local folks about their memories of the neighbourhood, as well as a pinhole print from a separate project. I have also made a limited edition artist book to accompany Memory Block, and it’s for sale in the gallery bookstore. Thank you to Memory Block contributors: Kristine A., Michelle Buchanan, ISC, Wayde Compton, Donna Dykeman, Terrie Hamazaki, Nancy Pang, Nadene Rehnby and Michelle Sylliboy.

There are ten other fantastic artists in the show: Durrah Alsaif, David Biddle, Ryan Ermacora, Laura Gildner, Natasha Habedus, Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes, Brian Lye, Brittany Nickerson, Brandon Poole, Tori Schepel. So it’s really worth making the trek over to see the work!

Big thanks to PHG’s Michèle Smith, Diane Evans and Alexander Muir for all their help with the installation, and to the jury: Stan Douglas and curators Grant Arnold (Vancouver Art Gallery) and Helga Pakasaar (Presentation House Gallery).

More info about the show here: