2019 labour arts awards


Traditional Labour Arts Award

Clay and Paper Theatre celebrates 25 years of Insurgent Puppetry in 2019. Since 1994, Clay & Paper Theatre, its founder & Co-Artistic Director David Anderson and its creative team have invented a “theatre without walls” that seeks to eliminate barriers and “give the community  an image of itself” in what Anderson calls a collective “thinking out loud.” The result is a unique form of popular theatre that tells contemporary stories using ancient techniques in bold and arresting ways - for the public, in public.

Artist Award

Aida Jordão is a red diaper baby who raised her own fist in protest and solidarity when she joined the Company of Sirens and Ground Zero Productions in the creation and performance of The Working People's Picture Show and its popular theatre spinoffs for numerous labour conferences. At Nuit Blanche (2018), she performed for the Department of Public Memory's workshop/installation commemorating the Portuguese women cleaner's strikes in Toronto in the 1970s and 80s. Currently, Aida directs plays for the Toronto Workers’ History Project theatre group: See the Rising Sun, Don't Agonize, Organize!, Organize, Educate, Resist, and the upcoming Toronto 1919.



Activist Award

Deena Ladd has been working to improve wages and working conditions primarily for racialized communities, women, low-wage workers and immigrant workers for twenty seven years.  Deena is one of the founders of the Workers’ Action Centre (WAC) - a membership-based worker’s centre in Toronto. WAC improves wages and working conditions for predominantly low-waged immigrant workers and workers of colour in precarious jobs that face discrimination, violations of rights and no benefits in the workplace. Deena was instrumental in developing alliances with community, im/migrant, student and union activists to fight for decent work through the Ontario wide $15 and Fairness campaign.

Min Sook Lee Award

Itah Sadu and Miguel San Vicente of A Different Booklist have been a staple in the Black/Caribbean community for twenty plus years. As a bookstore and cultural centre, A Different Booklist is an indispensable space for cross-generational communication that  deliberately highlights the contributions and history of Black working people in Toronto and Canada at large. Having established a cherished site for the commemoration of of labour history in the city and internationally, Itah and Miguel have supported events commemorating the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; the activism of Bromley Armstrong; hosted international union delegations from the African diaspora, shined the light on issues facing migrant workers in Ontario; and celebrated lesser known labour heroes like Albert Jackson.



Labour Organization Award

The Toronto Workers History Project is a diverse group of workers, unionists, professors, students, artists, teachers, librarians, educators, researchers, community activists, and retirees dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the history of working people in Toronto. Its theatre group creates short plays bringing to life the experiences of working people in the city, homes, paid workplaces, and communities.

IATSE Local 58 is the Toronto Stagehand Local of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts. For approximately four months in 2018, members of IATSE Local 58 walked the picket line while locked out of the workplace by the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place. One of the primary issues spearheaded by IATSE Local 58 was to challenge the contracting out of work at the sake of employee job security. IATSE Local 58 ratified an agreement in November 2018, after nearly a year of deliberations.