Beyond the Strike: Creative Legacies of the 2012 Quebec Student Protests

  • Jennifer Beth Spiegel
Part of the Contemporary Performance InterActions book series (CPI)


In the spring of 2012, students across the Canadian province of Quebec launched what would be the largest and longest student strike in Canadian history. Leveraging a diverse range of tactics—from blocking access to classes and buildings, to daily marches, street theatre interventions, and the spread of videos on social media—the movement targeted a policy reform to further privatize university funding, including a 75 percent tuition fee increase. This chapter offers analysis of how the creative tactics transformed relationships between ‘private care’ and ‘public participation,’ ultimately reshaping the dynamics of cultural reproduction, labor, education, and the social relations. Focusing on the legacies of the 2012 student protests, the chapter details the influence of this popular mobilizing on the formation of subsequent activist collectives and actions launched in the years that followed, and the ways in which these intersect with legal and policy reforms in the wake of the iconic strike. Here, the role of collective art and performance in mobilizing and sustaining movements, particularly in terms of how they interrupt neoliberal processes with practices of re-visioning and generating public, care-oriented collectivity, is explored.


Student movement Strike Creative protest Protest tactics Collective action Movement legacies 



This chapter extends work I first published in 2015 as an article in Antipode (47.3) ‘Rêve Général Illimité? The Role of Creative Protest in Transforming the Dynamics of Space and Time During the 2012 Quebec Student Strike,’ pp. 770–791.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Beth Spiegel
    • 1
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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