Too Hot to Handle is the community arts component of ArtChange: Unmasking Rape Culture
ArtChange: Unmasking Rape Culture is a multifaceted project created by Centre that explores the intersection of contemporary art, gender, and sexuality through the lens of scholars, performances, and visual artists. It is graciously funded by the Province of Ontario through The Ministry of the Status of Women, and the Ontario Arts Council.
Too Hot to Handle is a community arts project that explores the intersection between sexual violence and bystander intervention. To introduce and launch the project, Centre hosted an outdoor pop-up coffee shop at the October 2018 Art Crawl. Coffee was given away for free to engage passersby who interacted with its cardboard sleeves—since the coffee was too hot to handle without one. These weren’t just ordinary coffee sleeves. These sleeves had probing questions and screen printed messages on them—thematically-based on the role of the bystander in situations of sexual violence and harassment. This public activity produced community research around the role of the bystander, and initiated the application process for the Too Hot to Handle series of workshops.
Using their own experiences and the research results as jumping off point, 12 participants—all of whom identify as survivors of sexual violence and harassment—worked with professional artist, designer, and activist Sheila Sampath from The Public, an activist design studio specializing in changing the world. Together they co-designed and co-created imagery for generic coffee cup sleeves that explore the role of the bystander in situations of sexual violence and harassment, and discuss best practices for engaging bystanders, how to take action safely and effectively in contexts where sexual violence occurs. Upon completion of the designs, the participants screen printed the images onto hundreds of coffee cup sleeves, which were then distributed at our favourite local progressive coffee shop SMALLS—as well as other participating coffee shops in neighbouring cities Toronto, Guelph, and Brantford! They will offer the sleeves to their customers—igniting conversation around this very HOT topic. Hope it won’t be too hot to handle!
To celebrate the launch of the sleeves, we will be hosting a Coffee Sleeve Launch Party on International Women’s Day 2019, 7-10pm Friday March 8th at Art Forms Studio located at 126 James Street North, Hamilton.
FREE COFFEE, HOT CHOCOLATE, TEA, AND SWEETS!