Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge


A serial broadsheet publication featuring commissioned essays, artists' projects, and interviews.

Available in print and online:
Issue 01: GRAFTING
Issue 03: BEARING
Issue 04: SHORING
Issue 06: FORGING

Joseph Graham, William Newman, and John Stacy, The Geologic Time Spiral—A Path to the Past (ver. 1.2, 2008). U.S. Geological Survey General Information.

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) is a serial broadsheet publication produced by the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga, as part of The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea, a site-specific exhibition, public program, and publication series designed to expand perspectives on climate change through artistic practices, cultural inquiry, and political mobilization.

In order to productively collide with the present crisis, we recognize that ideas cannot be constrained by disciplines. SDUK composes and circulates an ecology of knowledge based on the relationship and antagonism of “useful” ideas. The name of this innovative platform is borrowed from a non-profit society founded in London in 1826, focused on publishing inexpensive texts such as the widely read Penny Magazine and The Library of Useful Knowledge, and aimed at spreading important world knowledge to anyone seeking to self-educate. Both continuing and troubling the origins of the society, the Blackwood Gallery’s SDUK platform brings artists, scientists, activists, and publics into an interdisciplinary, intercultural, intergenerational reassessment of the history of capitalism and colonialism and their environmental legacies in the present.

The SDUK broadsheet series brings together contributors from diverse fields in the sciences and humanities, students and faculty from across the University of Toronto Mississauga, community organizations and activists, policy makers and policy agitators, artist researchers and speculative thinkers, all to advance new forms of literacy around climate change discourse.


Drawing attention to the relative scales of geologic and human time, the Geologic Time Spiral is an apt starting place for an inquiry into the Anthropocene. Earth’s origin and early life are obscure, receding into a distant past some 4.5 billion years ago—but as time and the spiral unfold, more details emerge. Depicted is the story of a changing planet and evolving life, a story recovered from the rocks that form the planet’s crust. Human-time barely registers, yet our traces may define the next chapter.

-Excerpted from “On The Geologic Time Spiral” by Lisa Hall in Issue 01: GRAFTING (p. 3)


Publisher: Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga

Editororial Collective: D.T. Cochrane, Alison Cooley, Fraser McCallum, Christine Shaw & Joy Xiang

Designer: Matthew Hoffman

Copy Editor: Jeffrey Malecki

Printer: Thistle Printing

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge is developed in collaboration with The Climate Change Project (City of Mississauga, Environment Division).


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.


The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded in part
through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment,
the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the additional support of the Jackman
Humanities Institute and the University of Toronto Affinity Partner, TD Insurance.


Related Projects

The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea
September 14-24, 2018