Call for Papers: Department of Forgotten Histories

Knock on Any Door: A Century of “Art and Social Engagement” in Calgary, Alberta

Knock on Any Door: A Century of “Art and Social Engagement” in Calgary, Alberta is a publication that documents historical non-art activities that have occurred in Calgary, Alberta throughout the last century and re-interprets them as if they were contemporary art projects! A collection of twelve essays edited by Eric Moschopedis, Mia Rushton, and Sharon Stevens, Knock on Any Door is the inaugural project of the Department of Forgotten Histories (DoFH). Founded by Rushton and Moschopedis, the purpose of DoFH is to recover and chronicle historical community collaborations, social activities, or acts of generosity that were never intended to be creative acts, but when viewed through the prism of contemporary art, are.

Calgary’s identity as a city has been defined by periods of manic activity, with each phase of development being bookended with episodes of cultural amnesia (forgotten histories). The DoFH has specifically chosen to create this publication as its inaugural project because Calgary is at a cultural milestone. Throughout 2012, several cultural institutions in Calgary will be celebrating their centennial anniversaries. The combined happenings of the Calgary Public Library, City of Calgary Recreation, The Calgary Stampede, Theatre Junction GRAND, and Pumphouse Theatre are the cornerstone of a larger cultural fete to be programmed and organized by the not-for-profit organization, Calgary 2012.1 “Creative. Connected. Community.”2 –the framework through which the celebration will be rendered, appropriately (if not surprisingly) represents many elements of Calgary’s past.

And in this regard, we freely admit that Calgary’s reputation is key for us with this publication. We are defenders of a city whose reputation is traditionally bound to fiscal, social, and spatial conservative practices. But there are great examples of generosity, collaboration, and progressive actions that have been played out in Calgary over the last century by its citizens (either on purpose or by accident); and these actions have come from all political and social stripes with the express purpose of strengthening a social fabric, not increasing capital gain. The year 2012 is one of reflecting on the past and a year of imagining possible futures. Knock on Any Door will be part of this dialogue.

The essays in Knock on Any Door will no doubt be playful and critical, anecdotal and specific. Essay topics might include: how the Vacant Lot Gardening Club (circa 1930’s) was a form of community or guerilla gardening; how the Court Poet (circa 1910’s) was Calgary’s first Poet Laureate; how a Mall Santa’s tenure could be viewed as a form of durational performance art; how a landlord in Cliff Bungalow accidentally housed artists for over four decades creating an unofficial artists housing program; or how shoveling your neighbours sidewalk might be read as relational aesthetics.

We are looking for submissions from all disciplines including cultural theorists, activists, local historians, geographers, and artists. The essays in Knock on Any Door will be 750-1200 words in length using MLA format. With Knock on Any Door we hope to not only recount historical events from the Calgary area, but also to propose a road map for future community initiatives.

End Notes
1. Calgary 2012. “The Cultural Capital of Canada Bid Process”. Creative Connected Calgary 2012 Society (Calgary 2012). (March 15 2012). .
2. Calgary 2012. “Calgary 2012 Backgrounder”. PDF. Creative Connected Calgary 2012 Society (Calgary 2012). March 15 2012. .

Please submit to Department of Forgotten Histories (
1. A short letter of interest or abstract (300 words) outlining the subject matter you intend to write about.
2. Short Bio & Contact Information
3. Short writing sample (300 words)

We can offer each writer a small $100 honorarium (and maybe a bigger one if we receive Calgary 2012 funding).

Important Dates
Letter of Interest Submission Deadline April 20, 2012
Paper Deadline Mid-July, 2012 (expect to make edits after this date)

2012 Knock on Any Door Call for Submissions.pdf224.45 KB


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