March 7, 2018

Float School in Prince George

Written by

Float School visited Prince George March 1 – 4, 2018 with artists Caitlin Chasson and Lily Martin Mead to conduct experimental artistic research.

Led by Justin Langlois (Associate Professor, Living Labs) and Holly Schmidt (Research Associate, Living Labs ), Float School explores the form of a School through an examination of the earliest understanding of the word, drawing from the etymological base of skholē, which translates as spare time, leisure, rest, or ease.

Float School aims to undermine and interrogate the dominant narratives of public and private western education, instead looking to notions of leisure, retreat, slowness, and play as sites of productive resistance and forms through which to develop new capacity for political and social action. It embarks on collectively imagining and enacting multiple futures for the role that art, public engagement, and learning can play in Canadian society through inquiry, activity, and slow action. Float School will help us to spark the next phase of dialogue around socially engaged art, one that draws from Canada’s specific history of artist-run-culture, and generates an innovative new approach to locating art in rich and complex proximities to public, commons, the natural environment, and learning.


Justin Langlois is an artist, educator, and organizer. He is the co-founder and research director of Broken City Lab, the founder of The School for Eventual Vacancy and curator of The Neighbourhood Time Exchange. He is currently an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Integrated Learning in the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the Artist-in-Residence with the City of Vancouver’s Sustainability Group, and the Lead Artist on Locals Only with AKA Artist-Run in Saskatoon, supported through the Canada Council’s New Chapter initiative. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.


Holly Schmidt has a research-based practice that engages processes of collaborative research and informal pedagogy. Moving across disciplinary boundaries, she explores the relationships between practices of making, knowledge creation and the formation of temporary communities. Her recent exhibitions and residency projects include Pollen Index with Charles H. Scott Gallery (2016), Till with the Santa Fe Art Institute Food Justice Residency (2014/15), Mess Hall as part of the residency Society is a Workshop at the Banff Centre (2013), Moveable Feast with Burnaby Art Gallery (2012) Grow with Other Sights for Artists’ Projects (2011) She maintains a studio in Vancouver and holds the position of Curator of Learning and Community Engagement at the Contemporary Art Gallery.


Caitlin Chaisson is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her socially responsive drawings, performances, installations and curatorial projects explore relationships that shape both singular and social bodies. She is the founder of Far Afield, an artist-led initiative that supports regionally-connected artistic and curatorial practices, and has exhibited and published in venues and journals across Canada.

She has studied at the University of British Columbia, the University of Brighton, and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce with a Minor in Art History and a Master’s of Fine Arts.


Liljana Mead Martin is a interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her artworks explore the boundaries and mergence between urban ecology, architecture and the body. Investigation into residential spaces and questions around home, displacement and belonging are based in her lived experience of growing up a trinational citizen within a transient family. Her work has reflected on relationships between place and identity and examined aestheticized ideologies of architecture through drawing, sculpture, ephemera, performance and alternative platforms.

Martin holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (’10), and MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (’16).


Our Partners