Towards Explosion 2017: Perspectives on the Centenary of the Halifax Explosion

This research/creation symposium was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections Program, and was held at NSCAD University and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 21-23, 2016. It began with an acknowledgment that we are guests in the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq, and that we are all Treaty People.

Towards Explosion 2017 originated through the public artwork and research-creation activities of NiS+TS, and the group’s critical examination of the contemporary debris field of the Halifax Explosion. The symposium was held 15 months prior to the centenary of the Halifax Explosion, and drew on research practices in art and design, social sciences, urban studies, and history.

The symposium examined and disrupted several of the underlying stories, themes and traumas that reach back into settlement history, including African Nova Scotian, Mi’kmaq and immigrant narratives, and subsequently addressed contemporary issues regarding reconciliation, mobility, unwritten histories as well as urban and economic development. Participants connected scholarly and historical investigations of war, trauma and displacement with contemporary and reworked accounts of the Halifax Explosion’s impact within the communities of interest (families, institutions and organizations) engaged in the centenary. As the marker of a disaster, the centenary clearly called for counter-monuments and alternative narratives.

For more information on the symposium, including the full list of presenters, events and other material, please see this brochure: Towards Explosion 2017: Perspectives on the Centenary of the Halifax Explosion

Graduate students and research assistants Katie Kirkpatrick and Ben Moore put together this photographic chronology of the Halifax Explosion: Towards Explosion 2017: Perspectives on the Centenary of the Halifax Explosion. Kirkpatrick and Moore’s presentation shows the shifting geographies of the Explosion through time, including its precedents and aftermath, through the twentieth century and into the present with NiS+TS’ collaborative art walks. Katie Kirkpatrick also compiled this extensive annotated bibliography for the presentation: Towards Explosion 2017 Annotated Bibliography, by Katie Kirkpatrick for NiS+TS – Oct. 21, 2016