Allyson Mitchell’s Lesbian Cultural Activism in Politicized Urban Space

Michelle Veitch


This article examines Allyson Mitchell’s activist art projects at the Gladstone Hotel in the district of Queen Street West in Toronto, Ontario. Whereas current writ- ings focus on the lesbian feminist aesthetics underlying Mitchell’s installations and performances, I provide a geopolitical analysis of her critical cultural practices. I suggest that her collaboration with creative communities at the Gladstone Hotel contributes to urban regeneration in the neighbourhood of Queen Street West. These city-renewal schemes result in the eviction of people living in poverty who cannot afford the rental increases in gentrified districts. In analyzing the socio- spatial processes surrounding Mitchell’s art, I argue that she disrupts gender and sexual ideologies through transgressive feminist politics. While she coordinates cultural-activist projects in politicized urban space, she re-articulates practices of marginalization and disenfranchisement in ways that both enable and disenable geographies of power and resistance.

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