This is Hubbub #7 for CityStudio Abbotsford, which has become a recognized component of the City-University collaboration. The CityStudio Chilliwack is marking its inaugural semester with Hubbub #1.
Preceded by a successful pilot in the Fall of 2019 with Dr. Michelle Rhodes and Dr. Jennifer Deon’s classes exploring the pressing environmental issues in the community, CityStudio Chilliwack officially launched its program in Winter 2021. The first CityStudio class, GEOG/CMNS 257 Environment: Science and Communications, is team-taught by Dr. Paul Fontaine and Dr. Carin Bondar and looks at the sustainability of water use. The students are responding to the challenge: What can the City, residents, businesses, and industries do to shift the balance towards a sustainable water future?
In Winter 2021 semester, Dr. Afia Raja’s Geography 252 course re-engaged with the City of Abbotsford and the HelpSeeker platform to compare the pre-and post-COVID community needs in both Abbotsford and Vancouver. Dr. Raja’s Geography 344 students focused on the needs of different populations when it comes to planning. These include seniors and youth among other groups.
Dr. David Thomson’s CMNS 380 class aligned with a very important CityStudio challenge in the field of Communicating in the Cross-Generational Workplace. A one-student project delivered a thorough report and an adjacent infographic.
A CityStudio Abbotsford-inspired project throughout Summer 2020/Spring 2021 grew out of Cherie Enns’ Geography 464 students’ idea to create a series of murals throughout the community to help build resilience, equity, and inclusivity.
Although not directly designated a CityStudio challenge-based class, the Black Lives Matter Social Justice Art project has been coordinated by the UFV’s Centre for Experiential and Career Education in collaboration with a group of UFV faculty and the CityStudio Abbotsford team.
The initiative transcended the semester-based CityStudio framework and over the span of 10 months evolved into creating a multi-canvas traveling art exhibit. The project is supported by a number of dedicated community partners and donors in the business community and among local NGOs, as well as within UFV. The project’s theme reflected the students’ and community’s grassroots support for the Black Lives Matter social justice movement globally.
The informal community advisory board has been established to help realize the vision. The board has conducted a Call to Artists from the BIPOC communities, which culminated in four aspiring local artists coming together, most of them UFV students. The creative team is comprised of Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh, and Faria Firoz. The four artists are working closely with cultural mentor Desiree Dawson, a Canadian performing artist and public figure with roots in the Fraser Valley, and UFV’s own Shelley Stefan, a Visual Arts professor in the UFV School of Creative Arts (SoCA).
Black Lives Matter Social Justice Art project
The exhibit is expected to rotate between UFV campuses and locations in the historic downtown Abbotsford between June 2021 and June 2022 to reach wider audiences and inspire a greater inclusivity and dialogue. The project will include a community outreach and educational events. In March 2021, Desiree Dawson and Shelley Stefan delivered an inspirational talk in Dr. Cherie Enns’ Geography 241 class, and her Geography 464 students this summer will be involved hands-on in planning the live launch of the exhibit as well as its online version.
Supporters and Donors
We are honoured to have Desiree Dawson, a Canadian performing artist and cultural figure, as the project’s cultural mentor https://www.desireedawsonmusic.com/.
Thank you to Shelley Stefan, UFV’s Visual Arts professor and project’s art mentor for the thoughtful guidance and inspiration while collaborating closely with the cultural mentor.
The BLM Social Justice Art project acknowledges the support of the following organizations and individuals who made invaluable contributions to support the work of the artists and mentors, conduct a community-wide Artist search, provide funding for supplies and the upcoming exhibit’s launch, and support community engagement.
- Peace and Reconciliation Centre (PARC), UFV
- Inclusive Community Fund, President’s Office, UFV
- Anonymous private donor
- Research, Engagement and Graduate Studies, UFV
- RBC Future Launch initiative
- Centre for Experiential and Career Education (CECE), UFV
- School of Creative Arts (SoCA), UFV
- Craig Toews, VP External, UFV
- Dr. Cherie Enns, Faculty, School of Land Use and Environmental Change (SLUEC), UFV
- Campus Planning & Facilities Management, UFV
- Oldhand Coffee, Abbotsford
- Abbotsford Downtown Business Association
- Gurmat Center
- Abbotsford Arts Council
- Archway Community Services
- Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition
- Student Union Society (SUS), UFV
- Race and Antiracism Network (RAN), UFV
- CityStudio Abbotsford