Hamilton Artists Inc. is pleased to work in partnership with local artist and writers JoJo Cooi-Harley and Robert Motum for their special project “Hamilton: a guidebook”, the newest edition in the Guidebooks from Memory series, which “is a community art project toward the creation of physical ‘guidebooks’ to communities in southern Ontario. Unlike traditional tourist guides which highlight local attractions, these books present a community-sourced anthology of memories, and invite you to experience your city through the stories of your neighbours.”

We are so excited to help bring the Hamilton edition of this publication to light and we encourage all members of our community to support this project and submit memories that speak to place and locations within Hamilton.

A statement from the project team:

Hamilton: a guidebook from memory follows the 2016 publication of Kitchener-Waterloo: a guidebook from memory (Motum/Samms). Like this previous iteration, we’re inviting residents of our community to submit memories connected to places in our city.

Memory submissions will be mapped or ‘plotted’ into a physical guidebook of Hamilton. Each story will be accompanied by a sketch of the memory location by local artist Jojo Chooi-Harley, as well as a short musical composition (streamable online) by Jonathan Harley.

​The final guidebook will be published in a limited print-run and will be made available for free as a digital e-book. We intend to launch the book with a walking of the map in early 2022.

It is our hope that this project will provide a creative and meaningful glance into the life and stories of residents in Hamilton; and offer an invitation to explore our city through the stories of our neighbours.

You can find out more about Guidebooks from Memory and submit a story at guidebooksfrommemory.com/

About the Artists:

JoJo Chooi-Harley is a self-taught artist currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. As a first generation Canadian that is Chinese-Malay, her work investigates how immigration causes diaspora in familial relationships in Pan-Asian migrant families. She examines how Pan-Asian migrant families navigate familial values, culture, and identity in Canada. JoJo weaves storytelling, photo-voice photography, and printmaking techniques to share personal autobiographical stories of her family that challenge western dominant singular narratives. She is committed to decolonizing stereotypical narratives of Canadian Born Chinese by promoting dialogue on family identities shaped by hope, resiliency, sacrifice, labour, and unity in the face of adversity. Her work has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, and in recent years has been shown at Centre3 (Sayang, solo exhibit), the AGH (My Back Pages: The Art of Zines, group), WAHC (Personal Narratives, group), and DVSA (juried art show).

Jonathan Harley is multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter based in Hamilton, where he is co-founder and member of rock band CODA FACTO. Jon trained in the Suzuki method for violin from the age of six. His influences include Andrew Bird, Owen Pallett, and Warren Ellis. Like these musicians, Jon relies on violin as his primary instrument while also learning to play a wide range of other stringed instruments; including guitar, cello, mandolin, and sitar. In 2015, Jon started to perform professionally as a member of CODA FACTO (formerly known as ALEXR/Strathcona) at various iconic music venues in Hamilton; including Baltimore House, This Ain’t Hollywood, The Casbah, The Pearl Company, and The Mule Spinner. Coda Facto released their debut EP in the fall of 2021. Jon continues to collaborate with numerous artists for live performances and recordings as a session violinist.

Robert Motum is a playwright, director, and researcher. With a background in site-specific performance, Robert has staged work on an active city bus, in a dorm room, in a Queen West gallery, in a castle, in a vacant Target store, and occasionally even in a theatre space. His work has been supported by the Stratford Festival Playwright’s Retreat, Why Not Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, the Ontario Arts Council, and others. He is the playwright of A Community Target (Outside the March / Convergence) – a verbatim look into Canada’s precarious retail climate. Recent directing credits include: King Charles III* (Mirvish/Studio 180, *assistant) and The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome (Toronto Fringe). Based between Hamilton and Toronto, Robert is in the process of launching a large project with Tottering Biped Theatre: PLAY THIS – a series of site-specific immersive audio guides to the city. He holds an MA in Performance from Aberystwyth University (Wales) and is a current SSHRC-funded PhD Candidate in Theatre and Performance at the University of Toronto.