Libby Leshgold Gallery

Presented by READ Books and the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University


At Least Five Difficulties: A Symposium on Artists’ Publishing is a three-day symposium focused on the real and potential role of artists’ books, zines, and democratic multiples as a social agent in communities at large, and as a force for change within the art world, during an era of rising authoritarian movements internationally. Our title refers to Bertolt Brecht’s essay Fünf Schwierigkeiten beim Schreiben der Wahrheit, or Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth (1934), an essay about the difficulties of using writing to oppose fascism. The problems elucidated by Brecht can be extended to art-making in general, but are particularly relevant to the distribution and selective formation of publics that is characteristic of artists’ publishing. The symposium is intended for artist-publishers, curators, and scholars from Canada and internationally, with special focus on artist-publishers embodying and working with queer, indigenous, disabled, working class, gender equity, and people-of-colour publics and issues within the context of artists’ publishing, but not excluding other types of activist focus.


Keynote presentations will be made by Martha Wilson, founder of Franklin Furnace Archive, and by Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press (in coversation with Kathy Slade). The exhibition Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press in the Libby Leshgold Gallery accompanies the symposium.

The symposium will conclude on Sunday, July 14, with a group discussion and publication exchange open to all artist-publishers, moderated by Marc Fischer of Temporary Services/Half Letter Press.



Schedule (all locations are at Emily Carr University, 520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver)


Friday, July 12, 6:30 pm: Fiona Banner in conversation with Kathy Slade (Rennie Hall)
Followed by a reception for the exhibition Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press (Libby Leshgold Gallery)


Saturday, July 13 1:00 pm: Welcome, followed by “Revisiting Brecht’s Five Difficulties”, a talk by Kay Higgins (Rennie Hall) 2:30 pm: “Publication as a Transformative Strategy”, a talk by Laura Daviña of Publication Studio São Paulo (Rennie Hall) 4:00 pm: "Who do we need to talk to over here", a talk by Sebastién Aubin (Rennie Hall) 6:30 pm: Keynote presentation by Martha Wilson (Reliance Theatre) followed by a reception


Sunday, July 14, 2:00 pm: “Can Artist Publishers Be Useful?” A group discussion moderated by Marc Fischer of Temporary Services/Half-Letter Press, accompanied by a publication exchange and light lunch.



Libby Leshgold Gallery acknowledges that it is located on unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.