After having spent nearly three years of our professional lives in relative isolation, we are thrilled to host this year’s UAAC conference in the distinctive three-dimensional spaces of the University of Toronto. We are unlikely ever again to take for granted the energizing and inspiring capacities of place, or of the unique benefits of simply being together.
We also recognize that being here physically is a privilege, as it has been for all people associated with this institution in its nearly two hundred year history. Some colleagues are unable to join us on our historic campus. One silver lining to emerge from this dark period has been the resilience borne from devising new ways to connect and collaborate in an age of distances. We are delighted that the hybrid format of the conference will make for a more inclusive event, drawing upon the insights of those who are physically elsewhere.
In structuring the in-person sessions, inclusiveness has been a guiding principle, as well. We are very pleased by the range of attendees and speakers, who come from every kind of institution—or no institution at all—and from nearly every career stage, geographic location, and specialization. Toronto’s own astonishing diversity is the ideal backdrop against which our work will unfold.
Toronto’s famed cultural vibrancy is not a given; it is the ongoing work of artists, curators, and scholars. And the conditions for doing so are increasingly challenging, not least because of the tremendous cost of spaces for living, working, and exhibiting. We are always mindful that any place—as small as a room or as large as a metropolis—draws strength from including all those who can contribute. In this spirit, we welcome you.
We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.