Arts featured Labour

I’ll trade you Muriel Duckworth for Anna Leonowens. Mayworks Halifax launches social justice trading cards at Monday’s film fest

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – This year’s Mayworks Halifax festival will be as exciting as ever, says Sébastien Poissant Labelle, director for the week long event.

Kicked-off on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, the festival features artistic events with themes of social and environmental justice. Over its nine years the event has grown into a diverse and high quality arts festival.


“We’re very excited about this year’s program, everything from performance art, film, an audiovisual installation to theater, music, and dance. Shows will tackle themes of workers rights, feminism, race justice and decolonization,” says Labelle.

But first, the Canadian Labour International Film Festival

That’s all Labelle will say about the actual program at this time. For program details you will have to attend this Monday evening’s Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLIFF).

Between announcements nine short films curated by CLIFF will be screened on this evening.

 “There will be documentaries, animated  films, live action films, one movie features live puppetry,” says Labelle.  

“Different countries, different stories, but what they have in common is the shared experience of workers. The intent is that audiences, as workers here in Nova Scotia, recognize themselves a bit in each film that we present.”

The films that will be shown are Armenian Papers (Belgium); Baits and Hooks (Switzerland); I Am a Machine (Canada); Strike 16 (Canada); A Living Wage (US); The Real Work (US); The Age of Reason (France); The Migrants (Brazil); and They Call Us Maids (UK).

And it’s free! That said, donations in support of Mayworks, the Bus Stop Theatre and CLIFF will be much appreciated.

I’ll trade you Muriel Duckworth for Anna Leonowens

Mayworks Halifax is also launching a series of Social Justice Collectible Trading Cards.

It’s a fundraiser, says Labelle, but it is also a fine way to learn about people who have had a great impact on how Nova Scotia is shaped today, but who we actually know very little about.


The beautiful cards, designed by Zach Gough, feature Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, Anne Fulton, Dr. Carrie Best, Gabriel Sylliboy, James Calbert “Cal” Best, Dr. Joan Cummings, Muriel Duckworth, James Bryson “J.B.” McLachlan, Anna Leonowens and James Koval “J.K.” Bell.

There are 10 cards in this first series. Cards will be sold in packages of six so trading is required to collect them all! And yes, gum is included.

Labelle enjoyed researching and curating the cards. It also made him realize how little we know about Nova Scotia’s activist history.

“I wanted to include a disability activist. We landed on Dr. Joan Cummings, I didn’t really know anyone, and it was very hard to find this kind of info, which is kind of telling,” Labelle says.

Earlier I had the same reaction of delight (and embarrassment about my ignorance) when I googled Black Canadian journalist Dr. Carrie Best, who has her own card in the set.

Turns out that Best lived in New Glasgow, and was arrested for sitting in a whites-only part of the Roseway Theatre, just like Viola Desmond several years later.  

Now I want to know everything about her.

“Yes, that’s what we were hoping for,” says Labelle.


The Canadian Labour International Festival, Monday January 30, 7:30 PM – 9 PM, at the Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street, Halifax.

Like Mayworks Halifax on Facebook.

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