They have courted plenty of controversy. Which is exactly the point.
Laurier Brantford’s activist-in-residence program, launched in 2015, invites a prominent activist to engage with students, faculty and the broader community through a series of events and workshops designed to make participants think about and act on important contemporary issues.
The 2016/17 activist-in-residence, Sean Devlin, is a filmmaker and comedian. He was the principal artist and organizer at the viral political comedy site ShitHarperDid.com. He works with the Yes Men, who work to raise awareness about problematic social and political issues through the use of interventionist media art practices, “identity correction,” and “tactical media,” including spoof news.
As the guest of Laurier Brantford’s Digital Media and Journalism (DMJ) program, he has been working to create a “Yes Lab” on campus with the mandate of developing activist projects with students, faculty and activist groups.
Devlin has been working with Yes Labs since 2011 and has served as action coordinator and workshop facilitator in numerous Yes Labs across Canada and around the world. He has participated in numerous Yes Men actions including the viral Shell Arctic hoax, Occupy Wall Street creative confrontations and infiltration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. Much of his current work focuses on climate change.
In 2015/16, the inaugural activist-in-residence was Alex Tigchelaar, a Brock University graduate student and performance artist who was known as Sasha von Bon Bon when she performed with a Toronto neo-burlesque collective, The Scandelles, and wrote a nationally syndicated sex column. She is co-artistic director of the multidisciplinary theatre company Operation Snatch.
Activist-in-residence events have included public talks, performances, activist workshops, film screenings and lectures in classes. They have also served as trainers and mentors for Laurier activist groups.
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