Featured header image
Dear Joe Rose written with Bright Pink Rose Image



A creative call for queer valentines from all lovers


Have you heard of Joe Rose? If you have not heard his name, you might know his legacy left on the Dawson Community, a place thriving in its diversity. Joe Rose was a queer activist before the word queer was even a thing. The founder of the LGBTQ+ association at dawson: ETCETERA, he was also an AIDS activist and engaged community member. Not afraid to be who he was, he wore pink hair while studying nursing. He was tragically gay bashed and killed on a city bus in March of 1989 by a group of young men spewing homophobic hate. His death provoked many to fight for LGBTQ+ rights in his honor. He is the reason Montreal chapters of ACT UP and QUEER NATION existed and have evolved within our communities to counter anti-gay violence.


This Valentine’s Day the Creative Collective for Change in collaboration with ETCETERA, the DSU, CLL, AR Cité and the Warren G. Flowers gallery are reminding us that LOVE is not always about romance, and that love letters can go a long way in building a better world.


Submit your love letter to Joe Rose and remind his soul how our community has been shaped by his efforts. Maybe his activism for queer safety has impacted your life directly, or you would like to share a story about your own love and your pride in it despite being marginalized. Perhaps there is a story of solidarity with queer activism that has shaped you as an ally, or as a parent, teacher, friend, student, neighbor. Perhaps you are joined to his legacy and are fighting for justice and social change. Tell him about it, share your gratitude and even ask him what he might do today if he were with us. 


Feel free to do this in any form (written, collage, photograph, post-card, video etc..). Submit something online: @cc4change #dearjoerose 

or in person: DSU will accept physical valentines and letters Feb 6 through 17 (look for the pink box), 


Submissions will be displayed at the gallery, around the Joe Rose plaque in Conrod’s. Let us know if you are not ok with exhibiting your work or sign off anonymously if necessary.


With Love,

Creative Collective for Change 

students, teachers, administrators, ​activists, artists and curators working towards developing opportunities for addressing complex social issues in creative, constructive and critical ways. 



Together We Create! painted in large letters on a brick wall.

Creative Collective for Change seeks to bring students, teachers, administrators, ​activists, artists and curators ​together to work towards developing opportunities for addressing complex social issues in creative, constructive and critical ways. Our approach is interdisciplinary, inspired by artistic forms of activism and the theory and practice of nonviolence

This initiative is inspired by the Resist Violence pedagogy: providing non-polarizing resources and tools for communities addressing complex social issues in their teaching practices.

Feet stop at the words "passion led us here" written in brass lettering on the sidewalk

Who are we?

The Creative Collective for Change is a new para-academic initiative at Dawson College that involves Dawson students, faculty and staff, and at times external artists, curators and activists, in student-centered projects that confront some of the most challenging social issues of our day. Our goal is to draw out complexities and interconnections, create moments that engage those deeply committed and those not quite sure what to think, and inspire all through the potential of making real change.

What guides the work of the Creative Collective for Change?

Our work is guided by several key principles:

  • Connecting course work and co-curriculars – The Creative Collective will create multiple spaces for cross-disciplinary and cross-course collaboration. Some of our events and  activities will be developed by students in a particular course, while others will involve independent students and faculty in creative collaborations outside their classes..   
  • Cultivating interdisciplinarity – The project is embedded within an evidence-based, interdisciplinary approach that draws from recent work across different disciplines. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity though is perhaps most visible through the diverse perspectives and voices that characterize our workshops, exhibits, and presentations. 
  • Finding connections and embracing complexities – All activities of the Creative Collective for Change search for the nuances, complexities and diversity of our respective experiences. At its essence, our approach is future-oriented, emphasizing our collective responsibility to work for change. 
  • Engaging our reason, emotions and creativity – Recognizing the difficulties of breaking through our psychological resistance to new ideas and disturbing realities, we seek to find multiple points of  entry in our events and activities. Our interest is inspiring those on all sides to engage in personal reflection, constructive discussion, and creative problem-solving.  
  • Fostering a sense of critical hope – There are a lot of reasons to feel pessimistic about our future, but our aim is to build spaces where our creativity, mutual vulnerability, sense of social responsibility and hope can be brought together as we work towards changing our world in positive ways. 


A hand places a post-it on an office window that reads Disruption-Talk

How are we unique?

The Creative Collective for change shares the concerns of numerous other Dawson initiatives, including the Peace Centre, Sustainable Dawson and our various certificates, including Women’s/Gender Studies, Peace Studies and the Certificate for Decolonization and Indigenization, that seek to promote a more just and peaceful society. What is unique about us, though, is our central focus on the how:  

  • How does nonviolent social change happen? 
  • How can we create constructive spaces inside and outside the classroom to tackle the complex and polarizing issues of today. 
  • How can we bring in multiple voices and stories in a way that recognizes the dignity of all?

If you want to read more about the Creative Collective for Change’s current, priorities and goals, take a look at our 2021-2023 project framework document 


Creative Collective for Change Lead
Creative Collective for Change Lead

Last Modified: February 3, 2023