We are excited to announce that three talented artists will be joining DePOT’s team under the Artist-in-Residence program! This year, we invited applications from that ranged across the performing, creative and visual arts that spoke to the relationships between race, populism and deindustrialization or which focus on the role of the Left in deindustrialization. We were especially keen to invite grassroots artists from working-class, racialized and marginalized communities in deindustrialized areas to join our multi-year, interdisciplinary and transnational partnership. We are pleased to welcome Raechele Lovell, Paul Tom, and Rémy Chhem to the DePOT project.  


Raechele Lovell

Raechele Lovell, a passionate Artivist, is rooted on a block of The Haldimand Tract, colonially known as Kitchener, ON Canada. Her journey in the arts began as a child on tour with the polyrhythmic dance and music of her Caribbean heritage, igniting a lifelong quest for creative expression. As a bi-racial artist, with Afro-Caribbean and German Mennonite heritage, Raechele navigates the intricate intersections of identity, culture, and artistry. This rich tapestry of lineage informs her work, intertwining ancestral heritage with contemporary narratives and grounding her in a unique perspective as an Afro-diasporic artist on Turtle Island.  

Raechele’s work is deeply anchored in her decolonial praxis, a framework nurtured through The Anitafrika Method under the mentorship of d’bi.young anitafrika at the Ubuntu Decolonial Arts Centre. This praxis challenges colonial norms and celebrates the rich traditions of Afrodiasporic storytelling. Raechele believes in the transformative power of the arts as a conduit for healing, understanding, and social justice, driving her commitment to creating spaces where marginalized voices are amplified and stories of resilience and resistance are brought to the forefront.  

As the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of DiverseWorks Dance Co., Raechele envisions a future where Afrocentric artistry thrives. Her latest project, “Uncovering Roots,” delves into the historical and contemporary narratives of deindustrialization, exploring personal and collective resilience through movement. Through her unique artistic voice and vision, Raechele aims to inspire and champion change, inviting audiences on a journey of discovery and healing. Her work is a testament to the enduring power of art to connect, transform, and liberate. 

Project statement: Uncovering Roots 

Investigating ties to ancestral deindustrialization through artistic practice. In November 2023, I traveled to Barbados for the second time in my life to celebrate my paternal Grandmother’s 100th birthday celebration. I used this opportunity to research and investigate my family lineage. Through this research, I uncovered the work of my Great-Uncle Israel Lovell, a prominent Pan-Africanist Activist, and our family’s lineage tracing back to slavery on the Drax Hall Plantation. My proposal is to return to Barbados to delve deeper into oral histories and to move my body on the Drax Hall Plantation lands to connect with the spirits of my ancestors and the untold stories they hold. This research will be connected to my place as a bi-racial settler in Canada, a country my father moved to for a “better life” after the borders were opened to countries of colour in the 1960s. On my maternal side, I have three generations of German Mennonite settlers who arrived in the early 20th century in then Berlin, Ontario—my hometown of Kitchener, ON. Throughout my life, I have faced marginalization and a lack of place within this society, struggling with housing precocity, food insecurity, access to education, and numerous other social issues resulting from systemic and institutional racism. My aim is to explore my position within the landscape of Canadian culture as a biracial artist settler and to examine how these experiences intersect with deindustrialization in the British Commonwealth. 


Paul Tom

For the last 12 years, Paul Tom has been drawing on the intimate to tell life stories with sensitivity. His films give a voice to those who are not always heard, creating dialogue and opening our arms to others.  Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, his favourite themes to explore are the construction of identity, family relationships, and everything that touches on the fragile side of being human. His films Seuls and Bagages have been selected for some forty film festivals around the world, winning a dozen awards. He is also the author of the young adult graphic novel Seuls, published by la courte échelle. 

Rémy Chhem

Rémy Chhem (he/him), co-founder of the Super Boat Collective, is a longtime community organizer, particularly within the Cambodian community. Having been previously involved in the Montreal Life Stories project and the Centre Khémara, he is now focused on creating dynamic projects that foster bridges, collaborations, and dialogue between communities and generations. Within the Super Boat People, Rémy leads various projects related to community and family history in addition to culinary and horticultural knowledge. Outside of the collective, Rémy works as an academic researcher in the social sciences, specialising in political ecology and with a marked interest in history and envrionmental justice. 


Project statement: Memories in the spinning mill: experiences of racialized women workers in the restructuring of Montreal’s textile sector since the 1970s

The aim of the project is to create the first version of the script and storyboard for a graphic novel about the perspectives of people from communities of color who have been affected by waves of closures and restructuring in Montreal’s large-scale textile and garment industry since the 1970s. In particular, the project highlights the voices and experiences of a series of immigrant and racialized workers, to trace the daily impacts of this work, from workplace to home. I aim to reflect a diversity of women’s journeys (e.g. ethnicity, age, class), while contextualizing them across different scales of the textile industry, represented in turn by characters such as the contractor, the union, the company and the government. I also aim to represent the physical, emotional and relational drudgery of this sector, whose conditions have gradually transformed and deteriorated over the decades. The project is spearheaded by Paul Tom, a renowned Cambodian-born filmmaker and author, who recently won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (2023) for his first illustrated novel Seuls/Alone. He will be supported by Rémy Chhem, social scientist and community organizer, and a number of CHORN collaborators (notably Steven High and Lauren Laframboise, with whom we have had preliminary discussions). 


Raechele, Paul, and Rémy’s work will be featured at next year’s DePOT conference in Paris, France. Welcome and congratulations!