Welcome to MayWorks 2016

Posted April 19th, 2016

Welcome to MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts 2016, in this 22nd year for MayWorks. The Festival’s first year was 1994 – the 75th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike. It was those anniversary celebrations that prompted a number of trade union activists to launch MayWorks. Now, twenty-two years later we are looking forward to and planning for the 100th anniversary of the General Strike in 2019.

MayWorks is unique in that it is dedicated to celebrating art and ideas which emerge from working class struggles. As before MayWorks offers a mix of events and something of interest to everyone. We have some events that are part of the calendar every year such as those that honour the history of the Strike or unique cultural gems such as the Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra. This year MayWorks theme exposes racism and how it is used to divide, control and distract from the real issues and problems that we face as a society.

We have all experienced how this works. We saw the attempt to divide Canadians in the federal election last year. Efforts were made to inflame opinion around issues such as the hijab. Appeals were made to “Canadian values” and “old stock Canadians” and the tone was distinctly anti-immigrant. The issue of inflaming public opinion along cultural, religious, ethnic and national lines has emerged front and centre in the U.S presidential primaries.

On this note the Festival will feature events that build understanding and the program book will feature short essays exploring the issue of racism from various perspectives.

The MayWorks program has become an integral part of the Festival not only as a guide to the events but an artistic and literary contribution to the Festival in its own right. The program is available on-line at this web site and in printed form at various locations. We are quite proud of the program and its development over the years. In this regard we owe a great deal of thanks to the union support that makes it possible. You can also find a list of all our events in the calendar

Whatever your interest we invite you to come and participate in the events that are part of this year’s MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts.

We also ask you to consider supporting the Festival by following us on Facebook, volunteering for MayWorks events and contributing financially to help us build the Festival.

Glenn Michalchuk,
MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts