Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Stitch-by-Stitch: An Unsettling Labour of Re-inscription

Document type Article
Author Vosters, Helene
Journal Canadian Theatre Review
Volume 174
Date 2018-05-17
ISSN 1920-941X
Pages 20-25


On Canada Day 2017, author Helene Vosters hosted a Stitch-by-Stitch Unsettling Canada 150 sewing circle and picnic. Despite intermittent thundershowers, with umbrellas and soggy red thread in hand, a group of twenty to thirty intrepid stitchers embroidered text from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action onto Canadian flags. By the time Canada 150 reached its Canada Day zenith, Vosters asserts, it had already become increasingly apparent that the story of a beneficent Canadian nation committed to equity and multicultural inclusivity that the celebrations sought to engender had been significantly eclipsed in mainstream and social media by critiques of the sesquicentennial’s ahistorical premise and its disregard for the ongoing violent effects of settler-colonialism. Against this backdrop, Vosters weaves reflections of the sewing circle as a labour of reinscription with an inquiry into the value (and pitfalls) of embracing what Stó:lō scholar Dylan Robinson and settler scholar Keavy Martin call everyday “aesthetic actions.”