Queer Emergencies-Symposium 2021

DEADLINE: January 25th, 11:59 P.M. EST

Keynote Speaker: Dean Spade

The Toronto Queer Film Festival is seeking proposals for a symposium on the theme of Queer Emergencies that aims to address queer, trans, and two-spirit experiences and challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

This is a landmark time for humanity. Homebound and with resources dwindling, many of us continue to create art and engage in solidarity practices from within our communities. Queer Emergencies celebrates the resilience, resistance and creativity of our community in its response to the intense pressures and transformations wrought by the global pandemic. It seeks to engage work that is vital in this moment, speaking to the unique challenges that precarious and marginalized queer and trans communities are facing today. 

We’ve noticed a prevailing capitalist logic to the disbursement of resources, while artists are incurring losses of incomes and/or assets due to the economic contraction caused by widespread social distancing measures. Current structuring of funds prioritizes the privileged among us, leaving most people who were already struggling with few to no resources. 

The Queer Emergencies 2021 Symposium asks the question: what are our current limitations and how can we work within them in creative ways?  What are the issues facing queer, trans and two-spirit communities in the current moment and how can we allow them to radicalize our collective future? 

As ever, TQFF’s mandate remains to decolonize queer and trans art and media histories and practices. This symposium seeks projects with a unique perspective who frame their work in a critical, anti-oppressive and future-bound model.

We are interested in papers, workshops, roundtables, readings, performances that critically engage and reckon with and through media and the arts.

Topics could include but not limited to:

  • Queer and/or Indigenous histories of organizing and reisistence to public health crises
  • Anti-racism/decolonization in artistic practices and/or arts organizations
  • Unpacking inclusion & building social/class alliances and solidarity
  • Queer and/or Indigenous perspectives on climate emergency, both locally and beyond
  • Mutual aid & food justice
  • Solidarity & allyship both within the queer/trans/2S communities and beyond
  • Community resilience & self-care 
  • Envisioning the future of queer and trans resistance 
  • Queer and trans organizing and activism before, during and after COVID
  • Mental health and artistic production/practices during and after COVID
  • Queer/trans pandemic crip time: living and working with chronic illness and disability
  • Essential and abandoned: intersectional (anti-racism, decolonial, disability justice) approaches to the disproportionate impact of economic and public health failures on our queer/trans/2S communities
  • Coalitional organizing and solidarities: defunding the police, abolishing prisons, workplace safety, and envisioning a world where public health and art are prioritized over property, police, prisons, and imperial global militarism
  • Combatting, strategizing/organizing against, and documenting the present and future of genocide (pandemics, climate emergency, structured institutional/infrastructure neglect and abandonment)
  • Queer migrant justice: open borders, mass migration, and worldwide worker solidarity
  • Rent strikes, mass evictions, kangaroo “housing courts,” and housing for all


Artist Compensation

Everyone is welcome to apply. All participants will be paid.

Submission and participation:

Please submit the following information via our online form by Jan 25, 2021

  • Name
  • Institutional or other affiliation (if applicable)
  • Presentation format (i.e. paper, roundtable, workshop, creative)
  • Presentation title
  • 250 word abstract
  • Email address you can be contacted at
  • Accessibility needs

This symposium will be held online. We are particularly interested in submissions that take full advantage of the capabilities of online platforms. Individual papers and presentations should be no more than 15 minutes. Roundtables, workshops, panels, should be no more than 1 hour, including opportunity for Q&A. We will also accept submission for proposals with shorter durations (i.e. lightning talks, microsessions, etc).

Only selected participants will be notified.


Notification and Timeline to Completion

The deadline to apply is January 25, 2021 at 11:59 pm E.S.T. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by January 30, 2021