The Migrant Dispatch

Project Room
November 9 – December 10, 2022
Co-presented by Union Gallery x PSAC Local 901
Curatorial Assistant: Hadley Howes

Grad-Worker Open Mic: November 9, 2022, 4:30–6:30pm

Image: PSAC event at Queen's University, 2022 | Courtesy of PSAC Local 901

This collaborative installation facilitated by Union Gallery in partnership with PSAC 901 invites graduate student-workers, especially international and BIPOC students, to explore their experiences as student-workers and/or migrant/international students, and to share the impacts of international conflicts on student life at Queen’s University.

Kicking off with a November 9 Grad Worker Open Mic event and ongoing during open gallery hours, guests will create protest signs while adding to the walls of the Project Room. A collaborative banner co-created during the Open Mic event anchors the installation with the call, “Rise Up International Students!”

During the run of the exhibition, the Project Room offers a platform for international students to share their messages with the wider community to garner support and build solidarity. After the closing date, all signage and the collaborative banner will go to the PSAC 901.





The Migrant Dispatch, 2022 | Photo: Talib Ali

To dispatch is to be sent off from a point of origin for a particular goal, for a purpose, to be in transit to another place and to report, to document, to tell a story. Migrant students come to foreign lands with dreams, desires, hopes, but also encounter anxiety at the border, crisis in transit, fear on the streets.

Migrant students are indeed also workers, with their study permits doubling as restrictive work permits. Moreover, on campus, their funding relies on them to work as TAs, RAS, TFs without financial support from the Canadian government that isn't highly restrictive. International students are thus always last for financial assistance but as the pandemic has made explicit: they are considered essential to a crisis-ridden economy.

And yet, the odds remain stacked against migrant students: for the Canadian Federal Government, a student's job doesn't count as work for permanent status; for the university, students hardly ever count as workers. What is it then, really, to be dispatched temporarily, precariously?

About PSAC 901

“We are the union of Graduate Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Research Assistants and Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. We are a directly-chartered local of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Our non-profit organization strives to protect, maintain, and advance the interests of the members of the Local. We are committed to promoting equity and social justice within the Local, PSAC, Queen’s University, and the broader Kingston community.”