Daily Archives: August 28, 2009

To Be of Use: Stories of Labor and Identity in Southwestern PA

This coming Sunday, August 30th, is a special Labor Day installment of the Sunday Poetry & Reading Series.  Influenced by the work of Studs Terkel, local researcher and writer Chuck Lanigan created the Working Pittsburgh Project, which he has presented recently in several locations around the city, and will bring to CLP this Sunday.  The presentation’s title, To Be of Use, comes from a Marge Piercy poem of the same name.  What better time than just before Labor Day to meditate on our city’s legacy of work and workers?

The description of the event really says it all:

Southwestern Pennsylvania has a rich history of labor. From the beginning, the region and its individuals have identified themselves through the work they do. From mining coal to manufacturing steel, the stories workers told about themselves and which were told about them reinforced (or undermined) a sense of community and pride in their skills and value.

Now Southwestern Pennsylvania is reinventing itself for the global economy. Individuals and communities must adapt to new technologies, acquire new skills and pursue new opportunities. As their predecessors faced challenges pursuing a livelihood, workers now confront new financial uncertainty and shifting economic terrain laden with peril and possibility.

Join local writer and presenter Chuck Lanigan as he reflects on the changing nature of work and what it means to our sense of self as individuals and communities in the region. Weaving material drawn from first-hand interviews with contemporary workers in the ‘burgh together with fictional and non-fiction accounts from Southwestern Pennsylvania’s labor history, he shares stories we think we know, but seldom hear.

To Be of Use: Stories of Labor and Identity in Southwestern PA will take place Sunday from 2 to 3 pm at CLP Main. We hope you make it! If you have any questions, please contact us at 412-622-3151.


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