Workers Arts and Heritage Centre
Florencia Berinstein and Sonali Menezes
At the start of our project we wanted to embark on an ambitious experiment with an online exhibition. We wanted to showcase the experiences of workers during the pandemic. As a small staff of 4 people, and with only two of us engaging with the project through our work plans, we started experiencing some growing pains. We pivoted to an online project of ours that was already active called Workers’ City. WorkersCity.ca is a website that details the historical experiences of Hamiltonian workers through a series of walking tours. We decided to add a new tour called ‘COVID Chronicles’ that, for the first time on Workers’ City, introduces contemporary stories of workers. Our small growing series now includes profiles on six Hamiltonian workers in various fields as they share their experiences of work and labour during the pandemic. We paired each profile launch with a Facebook Live conversation between our staff Sonali and the worker. We found engagement with Facebook Live difficult to maintain, and eventually scrapped this component of the project. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the increase in traffic to our WorkersCity.ca website. We’re continuing to grow our series as we slowly add more profiles to COVID Chronicles. We’ve learned that it’s important to experiment, that small is good and that failure can be generative.