Issue 07: TILTING

Urgent issue of The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Deadline: March 31, 2020

Previous SDUK issues are available online here.


COVID-19 is an irrefutably global provocation that is currently reconfiguring nearly every aspect of life on Earth. The non-linear spread of the virus’ impact, which exceeds and differs from the rate of infection, has amplified and magnified already latent conditions of precarity, injustice, and inequality. It has been declared a pandemic, the etymology of which is pan + demos, meaning “all people,” but it is not affecting all people equally. These uncertain socio-political circumstances demand agile, dynamic, and multifaceted responses. In their recent book Now, the agents of The Invisible Committee call for us to generate desirable social and political worlds through an improvisatory tilt.[1] They advocate for strategic action that cuts transversally across vertical hierarchies and horizontal networks—privileging neither, in favour of an “intelligence of the situation."[2] They encourage us to tilt our approaches to organizing in the face of urgent situations with good faith, careful attention, and decisive action.

Decisive and unprecedented actions are being implemented by individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments. Shared concern over the spread of COVID-19 has unsteadied and inverted our world. Accordingly, as a public gallery within a university we ask: how to acknowledge this pandemic as a “matter of concern,” while responding to its broad-ranging effects across our networks of artists, writers, and cultural workers as a “matter of care"?[3] An urgent and provisional response comes in the form of TILTING, a special digital issue of the Blackwood’s publishing platform The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). TILTING will index participants’ responses to this especially unstable moment and create expedient means for the Blackwood to support those who have been unmoored from their sources of financial resources.

This special issue, TILTING, seeks to take up themes that have animated the Blackwood’s program and mandate throughout the last several years: questions of connectivity, the challenges of public and private space, community and/in isolation; imperatives to re-structure modes and methodologies of care, including revaluing care work, confronting collective care responsibilities within colonial and capitalist structures, and engaging with the infrastructures, aesthetics, contestations, and radical possibilities of mutual aid; responses to the precarization of art, labour, and life; interest in what modes of knowledge production, circulation, and re-distribution are vital to us now, and how these networks might take new form. These urgencies continue to drive Blackwood programming (and this forthcoming publication), supporting and activating artists, curators, and writers who incite us to be responsive, critical, and answerable.

We recognize that time is tight, resources are scarce, and struggles are intense. As a university gallery with access to public funding and institutional supports, the Blackwood has responsibilities to our communities, employees, the university, and the future of the gallery. The temporary suspension of some of our operations has left us with a small but useful surplus of unspent funds. We will endeavor to maintain this special publishing initiative over the months to come in order to circulate perspectives on the crisis and to support artists and writers who have lost jobs, exhibition and publication contracts, and other sources of income. This publishing initiative evokes triage as one mode of doing in times of crisis.[4]

1. The Invisible Committee, Now (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2017), 158.
2. Ibid.
3. María Puig de la Bellacasa, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).
4. See Greig de Peuter and Christine Shaw, “Gathering Arrows: Deleuze’s Return,” in TOPIA, Vol. 16 (Fall 2006) 150-153.

The Blackwood pays $500 CAD per contribution. 18 contributions per issue.

Eligibility and need

This call is open to applicants who self-identify as being in financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or other structural factors. We request that applicants make decisions about whether to submit based on an honest assessment of personal needs, with respect for the art community and the resources available at this time. We urge those benefitting from financial security to refrain from submitting. 


Submissions are accepted by email to with the subject “TILTING Submission.”

We encourage work that directly and indirectly addresses the pandemic—or doesn’t—although we acknowledge that the pandemic will haunt any work made or presented in this time.

Submissions should include name, contact information, and a brief (maximum 100-word) bio. Submissions of artist projects should include up to 10 jpg images (300 dpi) and a brief statement about the project (maximum 300 words). Written submissions should be a maximum of 1,500 words. Alternative digital formats (e.g. links to web-based video files) are accepted. 


March 31, 2020

Production Schedule

The urgency of the situation requires an unusually expeditious and judicious production schedule. Once selected, all contributors will be asked to respond to the following timeline:

March 31:        Submissions due
April 3:             Contributors contacted
April 6–9:         One round of editorial feedback
April 9:             T4As and invoices submitted to Blackwood
April 10–17:     Copy-edit and design
April 20:           Digital issue launch


We recommend that applicants review the previous issues of the SDUK Broadsheet for a sense of the kinds of projects and formats this initiative has supported in the past, while recognizing the uniqueness of this circumstance and the speed of this call. We welcome submissions that directly and indirectly address the pandemic and its effects, as well as submissions that do not. We also welcome submissions that grapple with questions outlined in the CFS, and submissions that outline new pathways of inquiry. Recognizing the urgent and responsive nature of this issue, existing work that resonates with the themes given in the CFS will be considered. If it has previously been published, please include all instances of its publication.

We have set the thematic of TILTING for this issue, with the intention of developing a publication that is agile and responsive to the submissions we receive. We expect to receive a high volume of submissions, and will need to make editorial decisions that shape the issue as a whole. In selecting contributions for the issue, we will endeavour to support a broad range of projects, approaches, and experiences that respond to this contemporary moment. 

Rather than requesting that applicants share a statement of need as part of their submission, we are asking only applicants who self-identify as being in financial need to submit. We do this to respect the variety of circumstances (structural and/or situation-specific, including cancelled work, loss of contracts, etc.) that may be at play, without requiring applicants to divulge personal information. We ask that potential applicants honestly assess their financial position and access to resources, and that those in financially secure positions please refrain from submitting.

We recognize that many artists, writers, and other freelancers are using their creative work to address this unprecedented situation. This special issue of SDUK is a venue for that work and an opportunity specifically for those who are experiencing financial need.

The Blackwood Gallery operates from within the context of a university with standardized financial procedures in place. Selected contributors will be provided with all necessary paperwork once selected, with the goal of having payments processed by April 30, 2020.

There is no fee to submit. Fees are paid to contributors and are in Canadian dollars.

Although our normal publications have stepped fee structures based on different types of contributions, TILTING is uniquely conceived as a response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural sector. As such, we are giving equal value to all types of contributions on this occasion, with the hope that this can be a timely way to ease the financial burden for some artists and cultural workers.

Regrettably, due to the expedient production schedule of this publication, we can only accept complete written submissions. That said, if you have a completed text published elsewhere, for which you hold copyright and reprint permissions, you are welcome to submit it. We can negotiate reprint rights if necessary; if you intend to submit a previously-published piece, please include details of its original publication.

Yes. Though keeping in mind our call for contributors who self-identify as being in financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or structural factors, we take the Canadian context as a relative baseline, where nearly all exhibitions, performances, and programs have been cancelled or postponed.


Publisher: Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga

Editors: D.T. Cochrane, Alison Cooley, Michael DiRisio, Fraser McCallum, Saša Rajšić, Christine Shaw & Laura Tibi

Designer: Matthew Hoffman

Copy Editor: Rosie Prata


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.


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