Talking Walls


Talking Walls Exhibit Priorities

  • Support the work of U of T student-based organizations
  • Support work that complements other programming at Hart House and the wider university community
  • Support exhibits or projects that create spaces for self-knowledge or self-expression.


Talking Walls is a well-travelled space that provides an opportunity for groups and individuals to exhibit socially conscious, thought-provoking art works or documentary images. The exhibition space is open to students, community groups, members of the university community and the public who are interested in communicating ideas, asking questions, and creating dialogue around contemporary issues through their work. Talking Walls seeks to build understanding and awareness by giving voice to challenging and engaging works.


Current Exhibit

Six Word Memoir Project

In celebration of Hart House as a place where stories are created, students, faculty and staff were invited to invent and share their six-word memoirs.  Our collection of six-word memoirs will be displayed in the Main Hallway and added to over the coming weeks. Add your six word memoir to our collection by sharing it on Twitter or Istagram with #6wordharthouse.

Six-Word Memoirs is a project founded by the U.S.-based online storytelling magazine Smith Magazine. Like that publication, Six-Word Memoirs seek to provide a platform for storytelling in all its forms.
Taking a cue from novelist Ernest Hemingway, who, according to literary legend, was once challenged to write a short story in only six words, Smith Magazine set out to do the same. Hemingway’s six-word story read: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
In November 2006, Smith’s editors Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser gave the six-word story a personal twist, asking Smith readers to tell their life story in just six-words. Everyone has a six word story.

Previous Exhibits

Beyond Calligraphy: Jewish and Muslim Artists Explore Texts and Contexts
 Nov. 3–28, 2014

This exhibit explores how texts and contexts inform the relationship that Toronto-based Muslim and Jewish artists have with their work.
The textual traditions of Judaism and Islam have a somewhat ambivalent relationship with visual imagery. But these ambivalences have either been heightened or de-emphasized in various Muslim and Jewish communities throughout history, depending on the time period and the locale. While depicting the human form was generally understood as prohibited and akin to idol worship (avodah zara’ or shirk), examples of human imagery in Islamic and Jewish art abound, most notably in Persian miniature painting (ca. 13th-16th cent.) and in manuscripts such as The Birds’ Head Haggadah (ca. 1300). Still, calligraphed works, ornate geometric designs, flora and fauna motifs, and obscured or unfinished faces remained popular ways to navigate these strictures. While modernity would result in profound changes in both Jewish and Muslim communities, contemporary Muslim and Jewish artists may continue to experience a strange/strained relationship between their art and their textual traditions. Accordingly, this exhibit explores how texts and contexts inform the relationship that Toronto-based Muslim and Jewish artists have with their work. As it moves from one venue to another throughout the Greater Toronto Area, the exhibit will allow established and emerging artists to engage with diverse audiences and with one another.

The exhibition was organized by Shari Goldberg and sponsored by the University of Toronto’s Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative, the Multi-faith Centre for Study and Spiritual Practice, Shema & Iqra’: The Jewish-Muslim Text Project and the Hart House Talking Walls Project.

Student Voice
Toronto Municipal Election: What do you think?

Oct. 20–30, 2014
The Student Voice project is a community art project that explores the relationship between Toronto and the students and community members who experience it every day.

We asked two questions:

  1. What do you love about Toronto?
  2. What is the most important issue to you in the upcoming election?

Our hope is that students will see how important their voice becomes when they speak together with others who are sharing their experiences. As you are walking by and viewing the work, please grab a pen, share your thoughts, and be a part of the conversation – this piece would not exist without all of YOUR voices!

After Night

Feb. 16–Mar. 4, 2013
Rob Simon (OISE) and the Teaching to Learn Project present a series of large- and small-scale paintings on book pages from the Holocaust memoir Night by Elie Wiesel. Inspired by Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), youth from West Toronto worked alongside literacy teachers, teacher candidates, and graduate students at the University of Toronto to create these works. This exhibition presents their collective response to Wiesel’s testament of his experiences in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps from 1944 until his liberation in 1945.

Mentor for a Moment

Jan. 8– 20, 2013
On October 10, 2012, World Mental Health Day, a group of #UofT students partnered with Health and Wellness to launch the Mentor for a Moment campaign. The objective was to provide students with feedback and advice on how to succeed at school from a variety of perspectives. Using the Twitter handle @Me2UofT, 20 posts have been chosen that represent a variety of mentoring moments, including academic, mental health, well-being, physical activity and opportunities.

If you have any questions about the exhibition, please contact Dan Johnson, Community Health Coordinator, University of Toronto, Health and Wellness:


Dec. 7–Jan. 15, 2013
Abnormballs are Artists’ Multiples made by the students of the Norman Jewison Stream for Imagination and the Arts, Vic One Program, Victoria College in a class taught by Catherine Heard. In VIC191-Creativity and Public Issues, students address social issues through expressive art forms, including writing, visual art, music and time-based media. Each Abnormball is an Artists’ Multiple (a miniature book or sculpture) created in a small edition of 15. Selling for only $1 from a classic Northern Beaver gumball machine, Abnormballs are a fun and accessible way to collect artwork. You never know which one you will receive when you turn the knob on the machine, so each one is a surprise!

Being Scene

June 1– Aug. 1, 2011
Being Scene, produced by Workman Arts for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, presents a cross-cultural portrait of the healing power of art. As visual artist and Workman Arts member, Melissa Bender, says, “Show me a person with mental illness and I’ll show you a person with mental illness. Show me an artist with mental illness and I’ll show you an artist.”
 Visit for more information.


April 14–May 2, 2011
Youth4Health is a community-based research project that seeks to empower newcomer youth to become “health navigators.” Youth from recent immigrant families often serve as bridges between their households and their wider communities. Now, with the widespread availability of powerful information and communication technologies, such as mobile phones, search engines and web-based social networks, there are unprecedented opportunities for youth to network in support of their families while connecting with other youth playing the same role.
Visit for more information.