Treaty Canoe comes to the Dockyard

Treaty Canoe Transcription Event at School of Music and Fine Art

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On Wednesday 16th October Artist Alex McKay and Dr David Stirrup Senior Lecturer in American Literature visited the School of Music and Fine Art at the Dockyard campus, as part of Alex’s residency with the School of American studies making a UK edition of a work of his titled ‘Treaty Canoe’.

David came to Bridge Wardens College and set up a small desk for the afternoon in the foyer area of where volunteers were invited to contribute to the project, through making short transcriptions.

‘To say that Chatham made a contribution to Empire would be to make a massive understatement’ says McKay.

Coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which established the nature of treaty relations in British North America from that point, Alex has come to Kent to make a second edition of Treaty Canoe. We invited volunteers, many of them students, to assist in the artwork by reading, reflecting on, and transcribing a portion of one of the traditional treaties. With ‘Indigenous Rights’ being a prominent aspect of the work of the UN in the last 15 or so years, and with recent Indigenous activism movements in Canada and the USA, Treaty Canoe is timely and significant.

We hope that by engaging with the project, participants will not only have the opportunity to contribute to the artwork, but will also come away with a better understanding of Indigenous issues in North America.

The construction of the canoe itself will have a performative dimension – not least because Alex is going to set up camp in the Keynes building atrium at the Canterbury campus- and it is hoped that students and members of the public will feel free to approach him to learn more.
Do pop along and find out more.

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