2017 Summer Institutes I and II

Summer Institute I:
June 13 – 29, 2017 | Faculty: Chris Kraus with Natasha Stagg and Robert Dewhurst

Summer Institute II The Wendy Book Club:
July 14 – August 4, 2017  | Faculty: Walter Scott and Niki Little

For our 2017 editions of the Summer Institute, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art’s post-graduate research program, we announce two distinct opportunities. For three weeks in June, participants will work with renowned writer, artist and editor, Chris Krauswith guests Natasha Stagg and Robert Dewhurst. For the second session in July, artist, writer and performer, Walter Scott and local curator and artist Niki Little will co-facilitate The Wendy Book Club. These two research-based programs take up writing as an expanded field incorporating elements of critical confession, reflection and artistry.

Summer Institute I: June 13 – 29, 2017
Chris Kraus with special guests Natasha Stagg and Robert Dewhurst 

Chris Kraus

Chris Kraus, photo: Christian Werner

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is honoured to announce Chris Kraus as faculty for our June 2017 Summer Institute. Kraus, a respected writer, critic, artist, and editor, has had lasting influence on how art is perceived and discussed. Kraus is recognized for her lucid, playful and provoking first-person fiction narratives, which frequently blur theory, fiction, autobiography, and criticism. In her writing on contemporary art, Kraus has explored boredom, poetry, privatized prisons, community art, corporate philanthropy, vertically integrated manufacturing, and discarded utopias, revealing the surprising persistence of micro-cultures.

For this session of Summer Institute, Kraus will lead a group of participants in a conversation grounded in writing that will range from everyone’s ongoing work to the city of Winnipeg. Activities will likely include the production of a short video, a dance/movement class, city walks and guest screenings and lectures. As a gathering of relative strangers, the participants will produce individual work influenced by each other’s proximity. The workshop is open to visual artists of all kinds as well as writers, critics and scholars.

Writers Natasha Stagg and Robert Dewhurst will join the session. Natasha Stagg was the editor for V Magazine and has most notably published Surveys a novel with Semiotext(e) in March of 2016. She has written for Texte Zur Kunst, Dis Magazine and Kaleidoscope. She received her MFA from the University of Arizona. Robert Dewhurst is currently based in Los Angles, having received his PHd from SUNY Buffalo in English. He is a poet and the publisher of the chapbook imprint Scary Topiary Press and was the publisher of Wild Orchids Journal.

Chris Kraus’ publications, praised for their intelligence, vulnerability and voracity, include: I Love Dick, Torpor, Aliens and Anorexia, Summer of Hate, Where Art Belongs, Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness, and Kelly Lake Store. Her monograph, “Lost Properties,” was written as part of Semiotexte’s pamphlet series for the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Kraus is the co-director of the acclaimed press Semiotext(e), where in 1990 she launched the imprint Native Agents, which introduced radical forms of writing by women writers. Native Agents has published the work of influential writers such as Penny Arcade, Fanny Howe, Ann Rower and Eileen Myles. She teaches in the Media Studies program at the European Graduate School.


Summer Institute II: July 14 – August 4, 2017
The Wendy Book Club, with Walter Scott and Niki Little

Walter Scott, Wendy’s Revenge, 2016

For the July 2017 session of Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art’s Summer Institute, we are pleased to announce Walter Scott and Niki Little as co-faculty. Scott is an emerging artist, performer, writer and graphic novelist, well-known for his beloved graphic novels Wendy which follows the fictional narrative of a young woman living in an urban centre, whose dreams of contemporary art stardom are perpetually derailed by the temptations of punk music, drugs, alcohol, parties, and boys. Little is a Winnipeg-based curator and artist who leads from a feminist and indigenous position to create contexts where untold histories find voices and new futures can be posited. Little is known for her important work with the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition (NIMAC), as a founding member of the celebrated Indigenous collective, The Ephemerals, and her thoughtful curatorial and artistic projects.

Working together Little and Scott, will facilitate “The Wendy Book Club” over a period of three weeks from July 14 to August 4, 2017. Taking Wendy (2014) and Wendy’s Revenge (2016) as their point of departure, they will use these texts to investigate satire as a strategy for self-reflection and cultural critique, marginalized narratives, and the subjectivities of artist, queer, non-artist, Indigenous, etc. Perceptions of the public and private world of the artist and representations of the art world will be discussed and “dispelled” through Wendy’s perspective.

While moving conceptually through the books, participants will also engage in a constellation of activities reflective of the concerns of their fictional characters. This may take the form of yoga, meditation exercises, and the exploration of esoteric practices such as tarot reading. Throughout the three weeks, “The Wendy Book Club” will take up the specific formal elements that comprise the graphic novel, expanding knowledge about comics and comic making. Scott and Little will additionally invite guest artists, and speakers with specific Indigenous-related knowledge, while also allowing ample studio time to reflect on the understandings generated as a group.

Walter Scott is an interdisciplinary artist working across writing, video, performance and sculpture. In 2011, while living in Montréal, he began the comic book series, Wendy, exploring the narrative of a fictional young woman living in an urban centre who aspires to global success and art stardom but whose dreams are perpetually derailed. Wendy has been featured in Modern PaintersCanadian ArtMousse Magazine, and Art in America. Recent Exhibitions include the 2016 Montreal Biennale, Le Grand Balcon, Musée d’art contemporain; Big Toe, Giant Steps at Occidental Temporary, Paris; and Ambivalent Pleasures: Vancouver Special, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Niki Little | Wabiska Maengun is an artist, observer, curator, arts administrator and a founding member of The Ephemerals. She is of Cree/English descent from Garden Hill First Nation based in Winnipeg. Her interests lay in artistic and curatorial strategies that investigate cultural consumerism, Indigenous women and feminism, cultural skill-based strategies, and diaspora with a hint of ambivalence. Little is the Director for the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition and in 2016 curated three group exhibitions enendaman | anminigook, aceartinc; L | Māmāow, Wall-to-Wall Festival; and MELT, Sputnik Architecture.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers. You are making a difference.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, as well as Investors Group and Wawanesa Insurance for the direct support of our youth programs.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget:

For more information on this and our other education programs, contact Sarah Nesbitt at For general information please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043.