THE LETTER | as we pivot to accommodate the changes, needs, flexibility and care emerging from the pandemic and movements, Rural Reading Riot considers the letter as an intimate and radical form of communication.

Welcome to the first annual Rural Reading Riot. 


Rural Reading Riot (RRR) is a new literary and visual arts festival that combines performance, spoken, visual and written practices of artists and writers. While generated in so-called rural Ontario, RRR seeks to connect and reach beyond rural boundaries, gather and share through riotous collectivity, radical care and collaboration.

Durham Art Gallery’s first annual Rural Reading Riot is a part of the exhibition What Haven’t We Learnt Yet, Still? curated by Jaclyn Quaresma. Artist Pamila Matharu dedicates a virtual baithak (the Panjabi/Urdu/Hindi word for lounge) as an online gathering space to host the festival.


Taking place over three days, from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, 2020 RRR brings you a slow-release-series of commissioned letters by visual and literary artists including Kait Dickinson, Pamila Matharu, Janet Rogers, Sarah Taylor and more as well as the first-ever online performance of A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat by Annie Wong in collaboration with Faith Arkorful, Hanan Hazime, Fiona Raye Clarke, Angela Sun, and Rebecca Sweets.


This year, RRR transmits through the air, land, and water of Northern Turtle Island where the cables and mechanisms that create and physically support this virtual space are located. Our host, Durham Art Gallery rests on the current and traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. We thank them. We also thank of the Métis Nation of Ontario, whose history and people are well represented in what are now Bruce and Grey Counties. 

You are invited to join the artists, writers and performers by attending one of their FREE online workshops, see below for more! 


Rural Reading Riot Durham Art Gallery -k

A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat

created by Annie Wong in collaboration with Faith Arkorful, Hanan Hazime, Fiona Raye Clarke, Angela Sun, and Rebecca Sweets. 

A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat is a choral performance that recalls, reminds, and reinstates the history of BIPOC cis and trans women desiring and demanding social justice. Borrowing from sound poetry, endurance performance, and the exhaustive labour of demanding, nuanced political desires overflow through generations and geographies in an orchestrated cacophony of sounds, breath, and live readings. In lieu of a live performance, this iteration of A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat will be reconfigured as a “zoom performance” for the Durham Art Gallery. 

Finding Your Voice: Read Aloud with Confidence and Energy

performing your work on stage can be an invaluable marketing tool, but can also be absolutely terrifying for any writers who prefer to stay behind the scenes. In this intimate, supportive workshop, theatre artist Angela Sun will offer up some simple strategies and introductory exercises on how to prepare for an emotionally resonant and vocally dynamic reading (live or digital).

Going Short: An Introduction to Flash Fiction 

bring your favourite pen and notebook, and join us for a fun, virtual Flash Fiction writing workshop. The workshop will include a brief but thorough introduction to flash fiction, which is fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. The various forms of flash fiction include, the 6-word story, the dribble (50-word story), the drabble (100-word story), sudden fiction (750-word story), and the nano-tale (1,000-word story). Participants will learn about the technicalities of writing flash fiction and be given useful writing tips as well as examples of well-crafted pieces of flash fiction. 

Participants will have the chance to choose from a selection of writing prompts to craft their own pieces of flash fiction. All skill levels are welcome; some creative writing experience would be ideal but is not necessary to participate.  












Coming To Voice: An AWA Creative Writing Workshop

led by Fiona Raye Clarke. Fiona is an Amherst Writers & Artists Method certified facilitator and facilitates creative writing workshops that preserves the self-esteem of the writer by focusing on what is strong in the writing and maintaining a safe environment of confidentiality and sensitivity to individuals' personal stories. Fiona will will offer writing prompts, allow people time to write, offer folks time to share their writing, and then lead feedback. 

To Whom it DOES concern

Janet Rogers, a Mohawk poet living on the Six Nations territory of the Grand River will conduct  the writing exercise and host a workshop. Janet will read her own (2) letters as a guide and inspiration for participants to write their own letters. Participants will be invited to share their letters if time allows. 







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Syrus Marcus Ware Activist Love Letter R


Rural Reading Riot Correspondence


RRR commissioned letters from 7 voices of today to respond to the 

Durham Art Gallery annual theme of community.


Rural Reading Riot gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, for their generous support.