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Introducing Gregorio Pablo Rodriguez-Arbolay

We are proud to introduce you to Gregorio Pablo Rodríguez-Arbolay, our newest team member!  Gregorio started his role with ALP in July, and is tasked with developing our new project on decolonising partnerships: Moving Together/Arriving Together.  We felt this was a good time to learn more about his perspectives and experiences. Enjoy!

1.  Please introduce yourself; what would you like the Arrivals community to know about you?

Hello! I’m Gregorio Pablo.  I am very pleased to join the Arrivals community as a Project Manager and Lead Researcher.  I recently completed a PhD in Cultural and Media Studies at Concordia, where I curate cultural programming on queer diasporic filmmakers in Québec.  I moved to Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang (Montréal) a decade ago from The Bronx, NYC (Lenape Tribe Lands), and I am looking forward to connecting with artists and creators in the Arrivals community across Canada and beyond.

2.  What drew you to work with Arrivals Legacy Project and this role?

I have been growing my curatorial practice over the past 5 years, and I have been searching for a community to collaborate and create with.  I was drawn to ALP’s mission to foster and root Indigenous, Black, and racialized artists and creators by centring our ancestral histories.  As a Project Manager, I aim to further our current projects and programs by nurturing new partnerships and advancing ALP’s public profile.  This will be supported by my role as a Lead Researcher, in which I will explore new practices and methodologies for artistic co-creation, partnership, and leadership.        

3.  You have considerable skills and knowledge.  What do you feel will be most useful for your work with Arrivals Legacy Project, and what do you feel you will learn?

I have been working in education and program management with community-based projects and organizations for over 20 years.  For the past decade, I have been personally and professionally engaged with Québécois 2SLGBTQ+ Black and racialized artists through my activism, curation, and research.  As a result, I have a deep sense of the practical constraints and limitations that artists from marginalized backgrounds endure.  I will rely upon my skills as a writer and researcher to cultivate new opportunities for the ALP community.  I am looking forward to learning new approaches to collaborative creation and decolonizing the workplace from my team members.  

4.  Are you working on any other creative projects, or do you have a past project you’d like to share?

I am working on a few projects extending from my PhD research on race and queerness in Québécois cinema history.  I am working on a book manuscript on queer of colour film and video in Québec.  As part of this, I am developing an interactive online archive on racial and sexual representation in over 200 Québécois films and videos.  I first plan to share this work in a monthly film series showcasing 2SLGBTQ+ cultural productions that I am currently developing. 

5.  Do you have a favourite ancestral or family anecdote or fact to share? 

My family has lived in the same house for over 60 years, and five generations in a neighbourhood called Parkchester.  A planned (white) middle-class community developed for the 1939 World’s Fair; it is one of the most unique areas in NYC.  My maternal grandmother, Segunda, was the breadwinner for the Arbolay family, and she purchased the triplex on her own.  A seamstress with an uncommon surname (i.e., anyone with the surname Arbolay is probably my cousin), Segunda was able to become a homeowner in the late 1950s partly because she passed as white.  This is a reminder of the complex yet necessary strategies that my multiracial family, like so many in the diaspora, had to deploy to contend with racism and xenophobia.  Segunda provided a space for my family to remain bonded and rooted.  We celebrate this history through continuing to share family recipes and holiday traditions.  

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