The video ballad “GWG: Piece by Piece” is a 60-minute musical multimedia concert (or “video ballad”) depicting the experiences of immigrant women who worked in Edmonton’s GWG clothing factory over its 93 year history.
The plant, founded in 1911 and closed in 2004, was a microcosm of the immigration patterns in the city. Traditionally, it was a female-dominated workplace; in the post WWII period, many immigrant women worked at GWG because it did not require a strong knowledge of English.
The stories of urban immigrant women are not often told in Alberta. Some stories of pioneer women are available, but very little has been produced by or about women who worked in factories such as the GWG garment manufacturing plant. We feel that telling these stories provides important lessons for Albertans, particularly the current generation of newcomers to the province, members of the labour movement, and young people.
With songs written by Juno-nominated songwriter Maria Dunn, audiovisual materials filmed and edited by Don Bouzek of Edmonton’s Ground Zero Productions and research interviews and archival materials provided by historian Catherine C. Cole, the performance features video footage of women who worked at GWG interwoven with songs inspired by their stories.
Research and development of this video ballad was supported by 2007 Edmonton Cultural Capital Funding.