Sessional Office is a photographic installation project concerned with how space was allocated at the new Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus in 2017 and how those decisions reflect problematic employment practices at ECU and a devaluation of artists’ and instructors’ labour. The work operates in tandem to my book Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
The first iteration, “Sessional Office: Proposal for a new arrangement” (2018) was an intervention/installation outside the ECU president’s office to call attention to the disparity between the spacious presidential office suite on the main floor, and a smaller, windowless room in the basement shared by 80+ sessional (contract) faculty members. This classroom-sized space dominated by storage shelving was only created for sessional instructors after faculty members protested at there being NO space allocated for them at the new campus.
In 2019, artist Pia Massie invited me to create a new iteration of “Sessional Office” for a dual exhibition at Mònica Reyes Gallery. Pia saw the connection between her work about gentrification in Vancouver and my consideration of space and income precarity for artists. My response was to create a photo-text installation that paired statements from Non-Regular with photographs of the sessional office cubicles. You can read our statement here. For our artist talk, we invited local artists and curators to discuss labour, income and space precarity in Vancouver. In 2020, I was invited to exhibit this work in the ECU faculty show “The Work of the Work.”