Based at the University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies, the RELAB is comprised of faculty, students, and other creative workers who undertake “research-creation” projects grounded in making “good relations.” That is, we combine research with performance and other creative works to help decolonize sexualities, environments, and other sets of relations. Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang caution in their important article that “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor” (2012). Rather, it restores “Indigenous land and life.” In the RELAB, we interpret this as a restoration of good relations between bodies, including not only human bodies but also with land, water, and more-than-human relatives.
RELAB, is a specific, place-based research-creation space located at the University of Alberta, and close to surrounding Indigenous communities in Treaty 6 territory and Métis territory. RELAB brings especially Indigenous analytical frameworks to our projects, for example, the Cree law, wahkohtowin, that acknowledges the interdependence of all relationships, which informs and is informed by a series of movements and practices in the everyday. Following other research-creation spaces, RELAB is inter/multidisciplinary. We collaborate with partners within and beyond the University of Alberta. These include prominent research-creation scholar, Dr. Natalie Loveless (Art and Design, University of Alberta) and her Research-Creation and Social Justice CoLABoratory, and Prof. Jason Edward Lewis (Concordia University, Montreal) and his Initiative for Indigenous Futures.
Three conceptual pillars, RESTORY, RESEARCH, and RECLAIM, anchor our research-creation discourse and practices: