BCMA Acceptance Speech

October 19, 2022
By Simone Wharton

Rungh Redux won the BC Museum Association 2022 Award of Merit for Innovative practice. Simone Wharton attended the virtual ceremony on behalf of Rungh to accept the award (view Simone at 35:25). Below is the text of Simone’s acceptance speech.

Thank you to the BC Museum Association for providing a documentation copy of the awards ceremony to Rungh for Rungh’s archive.

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I am honoured to be accepting this award tonight on behalf of Rungh Cultural Society. As a magazine, website, and event organizer, Rungh is a platform and space for artists, writers, and creators who are Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour, in British Columbia and across Canada, to share their art and to participate in critical dialogues about identity politics and diversity in the Canadian cultural landscape. Redux is the result of a multi-year venture to digitize the Rungh print magazine archives from 1992 to 1999. With this project, the idea of facilitating journeys and forging connections was at the fore. Extending beyond mere digitization, Redux is a user-driven, interactive platform that allows people to explore the print magazines through three broad categories: issue, article, and artist, as well as to filter by theme or keywords. From there one can draw linkages across all volumes. This dynamic type of investigation reveals how each issue of the print magazine does not exist in a vacuum, but instead is part of an intricate tapestry of discourse that can act as a catalyst for collaboration, further conversation, and creation of community.

Rungh has always had a strong emphasis on reactivating its archival material. Revisiting important previously published articles, critiques, theories from Rungh’s past, can reveal either how these dialogues and opinions are still relatable and relevant today, and how they can inform new discourse, or they can reveal how these discussions have changed or become more complex with time and with the inclusion of new voices. What Redux makes clear is that racialized artists in British Columbia, and across Canada, have been creating community, art, literature, and poetry for over 30 years and that today’s advocates are continuing conversations that were started decades earlier. Keeping this archive alive is important for connection between past and present that helps move these conversations forward into the future.

I want to thank the BC Museums Association for this award and for recognizing the hard work and innovative practices of Rungh. I would also like to recognize the members of the Rungh Redux team who brought this incredible project to life: Rungh’s Editor and Co-Founder Zool Suleman, project lead Amina Creighton-Kelly, the digital team of Frank Hangler from Plot + Scatter and Rob Golbeck from Handcoded Web Services, and for her design assistance Milène Vallin. Thanks to their experience, knowledge, and dedication, Redux is a powerful tool for research, education, and connection.

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Rocio Graham
Simone Wharton holds an MA in Art History from York University, a BA (Hons) in Art History from University of Toronto, and a Publishing Certificate from Ryerson University.