Dr Sandra Alfoldy Craft Institute Talk keynote lecture – ‘Identity, Collaboration, Sustainability’ craft festival, 30/09/2021

Glasgow, UK, for Applied Arts Scotland

Erin Morton, “Of Folksongs and Feral Children: Taylor Swift’s White Settler Womanhood,Heliotrope (October 14, 2020).

“The romance of a white woman’s settler childhood seems innocuous enough when sung in a Taylor Swift lyric. After all, who could fault her for a memory of swinging in the trees over a creek at age seven, “too scared to jump in”? “Please picture me in the trees // with Pennsylvania under me,” sings Swift, as she laments lost loves and childhood friendships of rural U.S. America. …”

Travis Wysote and Erin Morton, “’The depth of the plough’: white settler tautologies and pioneer lies,” Settler Colonial Studies, Latest Articles (February 2019): 1-26.

“What it’s about: This piece relies on the image of the oxen and the plough as a visual symbol of white settler tautology regarding the history of Mi’kma’ki as an example of the violence of the colonial state. The focus is on what the authors refer to as “the pioneer lie,” that establishes white settlers as the rightful owners of Mi’kma’ki, naturalizes the transformation of Indigenous landscapes, and transforms resistant and complex Indigenous persons into consenting subjects. …”

9/22/2019: “Killjoys, Academic Citizenship, and the Politics of Getting Along”

Killjoys panelists, left to right, Erin Morton, Kristy A. Holmes, Charmaine A. Nelson, Tamara Vukov, Cheli Nighttraveller, AJ Rioley, Heather Igloliorte, Carla Taunton, Alice Ming Wai Jim, Universities Art Association Conference, Montreal, 2017

“Today’s feature is “Killjoys, Academic Citizenship, and the Politics of Getting Along,” a roundtable conversation between Heather Igloliorte, Alice Ming Wai Jim, Erin Morton, Charmaine A. Nelson, Cheli Nighttraveller, AJ Ripley, Carla Taunton, Tamara Vukov, Susan Cahill, and Kristy A. Holmes published in TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.

Quote: “In the neoliberal academy, as workload expectations continue to spiral upwards, the notion of good “academic citizenship” is invoked to discipline those scholars whose commitments are not exclusively to the academy.” (p. 190)”

Audio recording of “What Does Whiteness Do? Settler Colonialism, Feminism, & Epistemic Innocence,” 2018

Erin Morton reviews Maudie, Acadiensis Blog


“The story of the Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, self-taught painter Maud Lewis is one that has seen screen media attention since 1965, when the CBC television show Telescope first featured an episode on her life and work. Entitled “The Once-Upon-a-Time-World of Maude [sic] Lewis,” the program presented a glimpse into the life of a rural, disabled, impoverished artist who lived in a one-room cottage with her husband Everett. In many ways, this view of the Lewises set the stage for how film audiences would later perceive her—first, in the 1976 National Film Board (NFB) documentary Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows and then in a second, more extensive NFB treatment in 1998, The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis. Both films picked up where Telescope left off, building their narrative arcs around Maud Lewis’s financial, personal, and bodily struggles that she somehow overcame through the joy of painting. …”

Yarmouth Art Society – Erin Morton on the Garson Sisters + Sharing Stories


Erin was one of the kids growing up in Yarmouth who took group art lessons with the Garsons . She is now a professor at UNB, teaching courses that use art and cultural practice   “ as a launching pad to think about history as both an intellectual practice and a lived experience”.   Her new book “ For Folk’s Sake” looks at art and economy in 20th century Nova Scotia, and is dedicated, in part, to “Trudy and Paula Garson who inspired generations of weird art kids in Yarmouth”. …

“Not Folking Around” – Review of For Folk’s Sake by Henry Adam Svec


“Where do such ideals of “folk” purity come from? What kinds of social, cultural, and economic work have they done? Erin Morton’s For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia asks and seeks to answer these questions. Morton offers a rigorous genealogy of the discourses of folk art in Nova Scotia from the mid to late twentieth century, theorizing throughout the ways in which this category has been articulated and rearticulated across the complex interplay of artists, critics, curators, collectors, institutions, policies, media, and economic forces. …”

Folk’s Sake! – Review of For Folk’s Sake by Lisa Brinkley


“In For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia, Erin Morton addresses the emergence of folk art as it coincides with Nova Scotia’s shifting economy by considering contemporary notions of Nova Scotia folk art through past changes in the various cultural cycles of capitalism. Morton argues how ‘folk art acted as a paradigm of modernization at a moment when both capitalist modernity and modernist artistic practices were transforming Nova Scotia'” (p. 9).

Steven Rhude, Marshalltown 101, Poor House Miser, oil on masonite.

Marshalltown 101 – Stephen Rhude, artist


“The development of folk art for a museum audience in the late twentieth-century Nova Scotia coincided with changes in art education and the sales market more generally. Much like conceptualism, contemporary folk art in Nova Scotia became a site for new, academically trained arrivals to explore an artistic counter culture set quite apart from the elite collecting circles across North America that had so marked the early twentieth century and the foundation of most metropolitan art museums, include the NSMFA. The late 1960s and early 1970s had seen an influx of new MFA – degree programs across the United States – fifty three programs in studio art were inaugurated between 1965 and 1974. ” – Erin Morton, For Folk’s Sake …

Billie Magazine, interview with Erin Morton, 2016

Review of Negotiations in a Vacant Lot by Martin Segger (2016)

“This collection of essays signals a radical turn in the road. And in this case art historical scholarship is finding common cause with a new radical branch of historiography represented by the work of Ian McKay, in particular his seminal December 2000 essay in the Canadian Historical Review, “The Liberal Order Framework.” In short, McKay argues that we should treat Canada, along with other former European colonies, as a process that can be critically examined within a framework that embodies the development of the eighteenth-century Lockean ideals of liberal state-hood. …”

Review of Negotiations in a Vacant Lot by Alison Cooley (2016)

Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada assembles a selection of essays that probe the relevance of the categories “Canadian” and “art” in a globalized neoliberal society founded on values of individualism, economic and technological progress, property ownership and utilitarianism. Central to the book’s argument is the contention that “Canadian art history,” as the discipline is currently practiced, replicates neoliberal values, often in the name of concepts like “creative economy.” …”

Review of Negotiations in a Vacant Lot by John O’Brian (2015)

“This book changes how we should think about visual culture and art history in Canada. By focusing on how the visual has been shaped by liberal and neo-liberal ideologies of individualism, property rights, and progress from the nineteenth century to the present, it demonstrates that the discipline of art history in Canada has been a state narrative. The formation of the field, however, has been obscured and unacknowledged. If alternative futures for visual culture and art history in Canada are to be imagined, their liberal underpinnings need recognition and unpacking. That, precisely, is what this book sets out to do.”

Organizers at the Qapirangajuq screening, left to right, Ian Mauro, Erin Morton, Teresa Devor, Zacharias Kunuk, Lisa Perley-Dutcher, Stephen Dutcher, Jason Hall
UNB and St. Thomas University, 2012
by Teresa Devor, 2012

CWAHI conference, 2012