Meet the summer recipients of UBC’s 2023 Partnership Recognition and Exploration Fund

Participants Woolwerx Wool Pellet Project are investigating the use of waste wool to improve soil structure,
enhance moisture retention, and boost nutrient availability, thereby promoting plant growth.”

This summer, PRE funding was awarded to 20 collaborative community-university initiatives!

From supporting parents of children with speech delays to exploring Indigenous-led solutions to wildfires, this summer’s projects showcase the diverse ways in which communities are partnering with UBC students, faculty, and staff on reciprocal initiatives. 

One of the projects, the Woolwerx Wool Pellet Project, is a joint effort between the Elizabeth Fry Society (EFS) and UBC. Together, the project transforms waste wool into soil-enhancing pellets while providing employment opportunities for criminalized women in BC’s Lower Mainland. Reflecting on the project’s impact, Kirsty Gordon from EFS remarked, “The women expressed feeling empowered when they came to UBC to participate. They felt part of something big, and they felt that they truly gained an understanding of how the results of the project might positively impact the sales of our product. We hope for more collaborations in the future.” 

The Partnership Recognition and Exploration Fund awards up to $1,500 to bridge small resource gaps, enabling community partners to forge reciprocal relationships with the university. Since 2017, the fund has invested more than $547,000 in 361 community-university partnerships, with approximately 50% of the funding supporting IBPOC-led community organizations. 

Learn more about these inspiring community-university partnerships below and join us in celebrating the PRE Fund’s newest recipients! 

2023 Summer Funded Projects   

A Study of Reduced Dosing of the Nonavalent HPV Vaccine in Women Living with HIV 

Click here to view the project description.  

This project will bring together women living with HIV, HIV community organizations/allies, and researchers to establish a community advisory committee for the NOVA-HIV clinical trial. This committee will co-lead the clinical trial by reviewing study materials to ensure they are safe and appropriate, holding regular meetings to review study progress, and providing ongoing feedback on topics such as recruitment. A critical component of this community advisory committee will be capacity building among trainees through immersion in community engagement work and women living with HIV through pairing community members with less experience interfacing with research with a mentor community member to learn and develop their ability to contribute to additional research in the future.  

BC Grief Support Network: Peer Grief/Bereavement Support for Young Adults 

Click here to view the project description.  

Our long-term goal: To create a free province-wide peer grief support program for all young adults and students (18+) throughout BC: The BC Grief Support Network. We want to build a community that reduces isolation during these hard times and provide direction for those who feel lost in grief.  

We are in the process of creating local community-based events in Vancouver post-secondary schools. The goal is to support youth experiencing (or anticipating) grief from losing a loved one. We would like to establish local support groups in each post-secondary school in the lower mainland and eventually across BC.  

Our planned services: 

  • Peer-Support Buddy system: connect grieving students with trained mentors who have similar experiences. These “buddies” will be local mentors that ideally are from the same community/school as the griever.  
  • Guest speakers, psychologists, therapists (if possible) 
  • Low-key intimate events, especially on special days: Thanksgiving, Father’s/Mother’s day. 
  • Fun outings that create a safe atmosphere to connect with others around grief and life as a young adult (bowling, board games, skating, etc.). 
  • “Comfort cafes” to discuss the topic of death, loss, grief, and healthy coping strategies. 

Youth have a hard time balancing school, work, family dynamics, and their emotions when grieving the loss of a loved one at a young age. Many are inexperienced, intimidated, or unfamiliar with seeking help and coping with adversity. Grieving youth often feel alone. Schools in BC don’t have peer-grief-support groups and very few have grief-specific counseling. From my experience, and from those of my younger siblings, we never had a community that understood our feelings in university. As such, youth suffering from grief are an underserved population. Our project aims to fill this gap, and to provide an approachable opportunity for grieving youth to seek help, guidance, and a community that understands their experiences.  

Our team consists of college/university students and community members. We aim to train & educate our volunteers with skills that will help them in their own future endeavors and support them to provide back to the community. These skills encompass leadership, empathy, active listening, suicide prevention, communication, and building connections. 

Co-Creating a New Understanding of Eagles 

Click here to view the project description. 

École Peter Greer Elementary (PGE) is located in the unceded, traditional, and ancestral territory of the Syilx Okanagan People. This project seeks to reimagine space and place at PGE and co-create new understandings of eagles and their importance to this place. For decades, the eagle has been a mascot at the school. The clipart eagle image that dons the school gym, the uniforms, and all the branded material is a reminder of the colonial present. Working with a Syilx artist, and local storytellers, we would like to introduce students to captikʷł, a collection of Syilx Okanagan teachings about eagle. 
Storytellers will support the project by sharing captikʷł, a collection of teachings about Syilx Okanagan laws, customs, values, governance structures and principles that, together, define and inform Syilx Okanagan rights and responsibilities to the land. The Syilx artist will provide experiences that support students (grade 4/5) as they navigate the ideation process, and provide technical instruction to realize their works. Students will have the opportunity to explore different art forms as led by the artist. Students will also collaborate with peers, creating a cohesive body of work that intersects with the learnings from the captikʷł. The students and artist will also co-create a piece of artwork that can be displayed at the school. 
This project comes from our desire to find ways to live better in this place. It is also a response to call 62 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and UBC’s Strategic Plan. 
This project will affect the way the students interact with art and stories about the spaces and places that they live. For many students, this may be the first time that they get to learn with, from, and alongside a Syilx artist. Bringing Syilx art to the school will also allow the greater school community to see, learn, and reflect on what it means to be in the Syilx territory and what our responsibilities are to this space and place. We hope that by weaving together art and story, students will come to gain a deeper appreciation not only about this space and place but also the importance of eagle. The deliberate scaffolding of the project will help students to work towards a co-created project and an opportunity to display their work in the school—a reminder of the student’s and school’s commitment to reconciliation. 

Community Organizing, DTES, Hogan’s Alley and Social Innovation 

Click here to view the project description.  

During the SOWK440C/529A course, we join educators, learners, and local allies on a journey of discovery and learning. Our main goal is to equip aspiring Community Organizers with the necessary knowledge and ability to combat oppression and create thriving communities. To achieve this, we use a dynamic Project-Based Learning approach that empowers students to create projects from a Community Organizing perspective to address pressing social and environmental challenges. This allows students to apply theoretical knowledge, gain practical insights, and engage in meaningful projects. The course is an immersive experience, exploring diverse frameworks, techniques, and resources for various scenarios. We collaborate with community leaders and grassroots organizations to enrich the learning process. 

This term, with the support of the Partnership Recognition and Exploration Fund, we will partner with Lama Mugabo from Building Bridges Rwanda and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a crucial community partner with extensive experience in DTES, Hogan’s Alley, black communities, and social innovation. 

One student team will develop a community organizing project addressing poverty and racism in Vancouver. In this project, students will explore the community’s current priorities to identify one they will support by implementing a community-organizing project. It is important for students to make sure that their project is community-driven, strength-based, and values the community as an expert while also being reciprocal. 

To enrich the learning experience, we plan a class session at 312 Main, a venue in the DTES where social and economic innovation initiatives are undertaken. Lama Mugabo will offer a talk on essential work in DTES and provide students with a firsthand understanding of socioeconomic challenges and innovative solutions. This visit will inspire students to see the real-world implications of community organizing and motivate them to drive positive change. Lama Mugabo will also lead a field visit, delving into the history and ongoing efforts of Hogan’s Alley, a historically significant black community in Vancouver. 

By the end of the course, students will possess theoretical knowledge and practical experience in meaningful projects. They will be better equipped to assume critical roles as Community Organizers, armed with diverse tools, frameworks, and inspiration to drive transformative change. With Lama Mugabo’s invaluable contributions, this year’s journey promises to be unforgettable and impactful. 

Creatrix Rising Exploring Stories Through Art 

Click here to view the project description.  

Archway Society for Domestic Peace is starting a new program called Creatrix Rising to offer art workshops and an art exhibit for women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. One of the goals is to enable the women who have come through Archway Society programs the opportunity to express themselves through various art forms, to heal, explore their stories and share their journey. We have partnered with local artists who will offer workshops to the women starting in September 2023 then in March 2024 Archway Society will host an Art Exhibit at a local gallery for the women to share their work if they so choose. A dedicated group of volunteers has been meeting since February 2023 to bring this project to life.  

Creatrix Rising came to be because women in our programs asked for opportunities to share their art. We have also witnessed that the art they have made is a powerful part of their journey and healing. Some women are interested in sharing their art in an exhibit, some are interested in learning, and some are expressing interest in selling their art in the future. We hope all participants will accomplish their fullest potential through their experience. We hope this will be something we can continue for the women to participate in year after year. Local artist and author, Alessandra Woodward; well-known Artist Juve Furtado; Potter Carla Peters; UBCO student, artist and partner in this application Asahna Hughes and creative writing enthusiast Rosie Enzing are the artistic partners for our workshops. The partnership with Asahna will be beneficial to the participant artists as he shares his workshop and his knowledge from his studies will benefit Archway Society as he contributes on the collaborative planning committee. 

Another layer of awareness and understanding will come to those that engage with the exhibit in March. This will be an opportunity for the community to be made more aware of gender issues and how women who have experienced violence have journeyed. 

Critical Assistance and Community Knowledge (CrACK) Project: Peer Sessions 

Click here to view the project description.  

These peer sessions are an extension of UBCO Harm Reduction Team’s (HaRT) work with John Howard Society (JHSOK); JHSOK provides housing on unceded Syilx territory (e.g., homelessness prevention, transitional and supportive housing). HaRT is contracted by Interior Health and supported by UBCO to deliver drug-checking services in Kelowna 4 days/week; drug-checking is an evidence-based intervention overseen by the BC Centre on Substance Use.  

Through drug-checking, clients learn about the ingredients in their drugs, allowing them to avoid harmful contaminants (e.g., fentanyl) and to access other resources (e.g., counselling). Clients can then make informed choices about their substance use. HaRT’s services are facilitated by JHSOK and provided by undergraduate and graduate students as well as people with lived and living experience of drug use (PWLLE).  

PWLLE are a historically marginalized group, and because of harmful drug policies, can be distrustful of formal organizations. Therefore, HaRT is supporting a new monthly engagement program at JHSOK. These peer sessions are an initiative of the CrACK project, named by PWLLE to address stigma and in reference to a poem about the resilience of a rose growing through a crack in concrete. PWLLE at JHSOK will collaborate with staff to plan, promote, and execute education sessions; the sessions will share community knowledge about how to decrease risks when using illicit drugs and will integrate research information from UBC, like drug-checking.  

Session participants will receive lunch and harm reduction resources (e.g., sterile supplies, drug-checking resources). Research shows that equitable collaboration with PWLLE in harm reduction programs enhances the services’ reach and impact and increases a sense of self efficacy and healthy decision making for PWLLE. However, in BC’s overdose crisis, PWLLE have been asked to provide their expertise on a regular, volunteer basis, causing burnout.  

In contrast, this funding supports equitable collaborations between PWLLE, HaRT, and JHSOK. PWLLE will help prevent harm from substance use by providing empowering information and resources. Through these relationships, more PWLLE will become aware of HaRT and JHSOK’s services and increase opportunities for engagement. These relationships will also provide opportunities for de-stigmatizing conversations and learning opportunities for students. 

Folil Trafün: Connecting Through Indigenous Films From Latin America and Canada  

Click here to view the project description.  

Folil trafün (Joining roots) is a showcase of Indigenous and Afro-diaspora films made in Latin America and Canada, followed by dialogues to deepen understanding of the films and their relationship with local realities. We will also provide culturally relevant food to share. The showcase will be a three-day event (in person) with multiple films and discussions each day in different locations at UBC. Additionally, we will host two-hybrid (online and in-person) screenings at the Faculty of Forestry. The films and subsequent conversations will be framed on Indigenous and Afro-descent identities, migration, land, and complex relationships between industry and Indigenous communities.  

  • Sept 15 & 22, 2023 – 2 days of hybrid showings of 2 Films (total) followed by Guests Speakers and discussions at the Faculty of Forestry, UBC.  
  • Sept 28, 2023 – Main Showcase (just before National Truth and Reconciliation Day; NTRC) at UBC Robson Square.  

The project brings together three partners: Ficwallmapu is an Indigenous and Latinx collective that puts on a yearly film festival and various smaller film events in the Wallmapu; The Latin American Cultural Centre is a local hub based in Vancouver for both Latinx and non-Latinx residents to experience Latin American arts and culture; the Faculty of Forestry is a leading forestry school globally. 
We expect to learn about how film can advance the process of truth, reconciliation, and decolonization. The audience will be able to experience movies that are rarely shown that explore important questions around identity, justice, migration and land rights in different contexts but with many similar challenges and opportunities. We hope to strengthen the connections between our organizations and build on this nascent partnership.

Fraser Estuary Radio: A Collaboration Between UBC Sustainability FERC Scholars and Other Sights for Artists’ Projects 

  • Community Partner: Sunshine Frere, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects Association 
  • UBC Partner | Student: Viola Provost, Faculty of Forestry, UBC Vancouver 

Click here to view the project description.  

“Other Sights for Artists’ Projects and UBC Sustainability Scholar Viola Provost have teamed up to create Fraser Estuary Radio – a 24-hour radio program broadcasted once weekly, for the duration of a year, on Other Sights’ radio station Currents and Waves. UBC Fraser Estuary Research Collective Sustainability Scholar, Viola Provost, will curate this program gaining professional development whilst Other Sights further develops their Currents and Waves Radio platform.  

Fraser Estuary Radio considers: How can radio be used to mobilize people into action to support the estuary? What estuary stories aren’t being told that should be? What Indigenous-led stewardship-related laws, regulations, programs are at the forefront of adaptation and resilience on the estuary? What are some interdisciplinary approaches we can use to galvanize public support for estuary Climate Adaptation?  

Fraser Estuary Radio will bring awareness to this waterway’s critical importance in sustaining all life in the region, it will also encourage listeners into action by providing opportunities to engage with estuary research, activities, and projects. Content will be gathered throughout May-July, sourced from existing recordings, and newly generated sources. Programs will vary from interviews, podcasts, and panel discussions to environmental recordings, experimental audio, and estuary-related music. Peers from Fraser Estuary Research Collective (FERC) will be invited to contribute content, as will a diverse range of community contributors, Musequeam Nation, sustainability podcast creators, UBC researchers, artists, environmentalists, musicians and more. The program will go live on August 14, 2023. In conjunction with the radio program, a related sustainability talk, Foreshore Immersive Session III, is scheduled for August 26th. This event features a conversation between two Fraser Estuary Radio contributors and the attending community.   

About Currents & Waves and Foreshore Immersive: 

Broadcasting 24/7 since January 2020, Currents and Waves Radio plays environmental recordings, music, talks by artists, researchers, and activists, experimental audio, and more. With 200+ contributors, this platform amplifies a wide range of critical contemporary issues. Foreshore Immersive Talk Series (2023-24) considers the physical and metaphorical potential of the littoral zone in the context of adaptations to climate change, collective care, and trauma. 

Historical Wildfire Regime and Contemporary Wildfire Risk in Stswecem’c Xget’tem Territory 

Click here to view the project description.  

Climate change, fire suppression, industrial logging, and colonial land management drove record-breaking wildfires in interior British Columbia during 2021, 2018 and 2017. The pattern of recent aggressive fire seasons indicates a shift towards larger, faster, and more severe wildfires to come, departing from historically more frequent low-severity surface fire regimes maintained by Indigenous Fire Stewardship. This departure is a legacy of colonial impacts on Indigenous peoples and their Territories, which continues to put communities at higher risk of severe wildfire today. Risk of evacuations and wildfire impacts are of particular concern for remote Indigenous communities, such as Stswecem’c Xget’tem First Nation (SXFN). SXFN Leadership is concerned about the safety of their communities and wishes to understand their vulnerability to wildfire today, as well as under future climatic conditions.  

Our research team is undertaking two projects in partnership with SXFN to address these concerns. The project will quantify wildfire fuels and model wildfire risk near SXFN’s populated reserves as well as reconstruct the frequency and severity of the historical fire regime of SXFN’s past. I anticipate that my research will reveal high fuels loads in absence of surface fire and provide justification for implementing fuels treatments to mitigate the risk of wildfire near reserves. We anticipate that Mike Stefanuk’s reconstructions will support oral histories that describe SXFN citizens as the stewards of their Traditional Territory by providing evidence of SXFN fire stewardship over several centuries, while also showing a lack of fire and subsequent changes to the forest in the 1900s resulting from colonization. 

This research has many direct benefits for SXFN and other wildfire-prone Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities throughout BC. This research provides a western-science lens on the forests of SXFN Territory to better understand why forests were more resilient when SXFN stewardship practices were not restricted by colonization, how forest conditions have changed, and the current colonial barriers to mitigating wildfire risk. A key goal of this research is prioritizing community engagement. Funding will be used to host a community engagement event in SXFN Territory to share research progress, receive feedback, and facilitate cross-cultural learning. This is essential for ensuring the research is contextualized for SXFN.  

NatureKids BC Updating Impact Measurement Practices 

Click here to view the project description.  

The purpose of this project is to determine to what degree children’s access to nature-based activities will embed a love of nature and a long-term commitment to protect it. This project also takes into consideration children’s sustained exposure to these activities in the company of passionate role models.  

A UBC Sustainability Scholar will be interviewing members of NatureKids BC community with quantitative and qualitative metrics, developed using an updated information scan on the research, to collect data on NatureKids BC’s impact outcomes. Ultimately, we are curious if our participants develop a love of nature; and in what ways do they then seek to protect nature as they grow?

The deliverables include: 

  • A final report containing a summary of the work completed 
  • Identification of new and more valuable program measures of impact 
  • Frameworks for collecting data to inform longitudinal data collection 
  • Implementation planning suggestions for organization 
  • A final report for the online public-facing Scholars Project Library. 

There is a potential longer-term outcome from this project that sets the stage for an established alumni engagement program where youth, who have grown out of the program, return in post-secondary or with their young families to participate and contribute.  

There is exhaustive evidence within the child and nature movement to refer to as a backdrop to provide NatureKids BC with options on evaluation tools.  Early childhood development indicators, outdoor play impact measures, family relationship measures, etc.  

Ultimately, we are curious about: 

  • Do our participants develop a love of nature? 
  • In what ways do they then seek to protect nature as they grow? 

Remember — Recordings of Elders Explored: Graphic Narrative Project 

Click here to view the project description.  

This project seeks three Indigenous cartoonists to create three short (8-12 page) comics based on 3 collections of recordings of Elders from the Homalco First Nation featured in the “Remember” Podcast. 

Produced in collaboration between Education without Borders (EwB), the Homalco First Nation in Campbell River, and 100.7 The Raven, the “Remember” podcast plays clips of archival recordings of Elders from the Homalco First Nation. Each clip explores life in Bute Inlet in decades past, with elders recalling their childhood, the history of the Bute Inlet, traditional customs and storytelling traditions of the Homalco First Nation, and important people in the community. The podcast hosts then discuss the recordings, providing definitions and a modern perspective for listeners. 

This project will use comic art to visually re-present three selections of the podcast’s recordings to produce graphic materials that engage with the podcast’s themes. The short 8-12-page comics will complement the podcast’s conversation around its collection of recordings to produce supplementary material that would be ideal for inclusion in K-12 education. The Remember Comics Project will thus add to the body of work produced by the “Remember” Podcast, seeking to continue to give voice to First Nations Elders from Vancouver Island and the surrounding areas but this time through comic art.  

As part of this work, the Comics Studies Cluster and the Homalco First Nation are organizing a site visit for the three graphic novelists selected for the project so that artists might visit the site, connect with the Homalco First Nation, and speak with Elders about their selected stories.

Social Connections Building Through Ukulele Lessons 

Click here to view the project description.  

The presented project outlines a collaborative effort between the UBC IDEA Lab and Burnaby Neighbourhood House to develop a transformative 12-week in-person Ukulele class. This initiative is tailored to benefit individuals living with dementia, older adults, and their family partners, designed to foster social connection, alleviate loneliness, and enhance well-being. 

The central component of this project is the 12-week in-person ukulele class, where approximately 12-15 participants, including seniors and those facing cognitive challenges, will gather for one hour each week. The program’s framework, led by Burnaby Neighbourhood House, will not only impart musical skills but also serve as a platform for social interaction and engagement. 

The overarching goal of the project is to achieve multifaceted outcomes. Foremost, the intention is to cultivate social connections among older adults and individuals with cognitive challenges, addressing the prevalent issue of loneliness within these groups. The musical pursuit also holds therapeutic potential, serving to alleviate stress and create a shared sense of joy among participants. Moreover, the initiative seeks to provide a learning opportunity, allowing participants to acquire new skills and engage in cognitive activities. The project extends its benefits to family partners as well. By offering a space where family members can participate in the ukulele classes alongside their loved ones, the initiative creates a platform for shared experiences, relaxation, and enjoyment. 

In addition, this collaboration holds significant advantages for Burnaby Neighbourhood House. By hosting the ukulele classes, the organization is poised to reinforce its commitment to inclusivity and community building. The project underscores the Neighbourhood House’s role as a catalyst for fostering connections within diverse communities, thereby strengthening its position as a community hub. From the perspective of the UBC student spearheading the project, this initiative presents an opportunity for personal growth and community impact. By driving a project that promotes inclusiveness and cultural exchange, the student aims to contribute to a cohesive and enriched community environment. 

Community involvement is a core aspect of this endeavour. Affected communities and community members can actively engage by connecting with various groups across different backgrounds and ethnicities, further enhancing the project’s reach and impact. 

In summation, the proposed 12-week in-person ukulele class project encapsulates a vision of fostering connection, alleviating loneliness, and enhancing well-being through music and shared experiences. This project correlates with the student’s and Burnaby Neighbourhood House’s objectives, and with the grant’s support, promises a transformative contribution to the community. 

Stroke Research: Learning & Understanding 

Click here to view the project description.  

People who have had a stroke (i.e., people with lived experience (PWLE)) are often discharged with little understanding of the importance of stroke research. Moreover, researchers have difficulty recruiting participants for their studies. Community organizations (March of Dimes, Heart & Stroke, Interior Health and Kelowna General Hospital (Community Partners)) all want meaningful PWLE engagement and are committed to improving stroke research. In 2012, Community Co-applicant, Brent Page suffered a devastating stroke and felt lost upon discharge. He now holds a position at UBC–O on a stroke research team working with Dr. Brodie Sakakibara, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

Planned Activities 

Together with the Community Partners we will provide a training event in meaningful research engagement for PWLE, topics such as the importance of stroke research; the benefits and challenges of research; the need for PWLE to become subjects in studies; and the roles that engage PWLE as patient partners with researchers as members of the research team will be covered. Each Community Partner and their role in stroke research will be introduced and be followed by Q&A time.

Desired Result 

Collaborating with Community Partners allows UBC-O to showcase how their studies advance knowledge as well as explain how community participation is vital in driving scientific progress. This event will serve as a platform for UBC-O to build strong relationships with the Community Partners, ensuring a more inclusive and impactful research approach. UBC-O will demonstrate its commitment to working alongside reputable organizations as well as fostering trust and credibility. It will also motivate individuals to actively participate in research, leading to higher recruitment rates and more diverse study populations.  

Benefit for All 

This joint effort signifies a shared commitment to social responsibility and equitable research practices. By centering the research process around PWLE, it reflects UBC-O’s dedication to inclusivity, diversity, and promoting the voices of marginalized communities in academic research. Open dialogue and collaboration between UBC-O and the CPs will foster a shared commitment to advancing stroke research and build the foundation for long-term partnerships.  The event will raise awareness for and education in the importance of stroke research.  

Community Partners Involvement 

This event will lead to collaborative research efforts, increased community engagement and improved research outcomes in real-world experiences of those affected by stroke. Community Partners have been involved in the discussion and planning of the event and will be involved during the Q&A session as well as interacting with attendees during the open discussion portion of the afternoon.

The Vancouver Black Library: Outreach and Engagement in the Downtown Eastside 

Click here to view the project description.  

Our project proposal includes two parts. 

Programming and Outreach Events – Situated on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ lands in Chinatown and bordering Hogan’s Alley, Vancouver Black Library (VBL) aims to be in conversation with the space we occupy by honouring histories of Black, Indigenous and Chinese knowledge-making and knowledge-keeping. Through a three-part Traditional Medicines Workshop Series, VBL aims to facilitate knowledge-sharing with knowledge keepers of traditional medicines and BIPOC patrons, particularly BIPOC youth.  

As the first workshop series put on by VBL, we intend to maintain ancestral knowledge within our communities, particularly in the face of ongoing colonialism, gentrification, and displacement. Each workshop will focus on medicine and healing practices that are culturally significant to both our patrons and the lands the library resides on. BIPOC community members will be taught how to use medicines for their own wellness and healing, along with passing down cultural knowledge. The workshop will center medicine practitioners and healers from Black, Indigenous and Chinese lineages and practices based on these lands. VBL has done initial outreach to some potential facilitators to assess interest in participating in this workshop series and has received a positive response.  Two potential speakers are Alisha Lettman (Wellbeing Coordinator and Food Justice Advocate) and Hans-Christiaan Spangenberg, a scholar, gardener, and herb-grower with particular interest in medicinal plants from the Chinese materia medica. 

This series includes: 

(a) A workshop on traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) to honour our location within and ties to Vancouver Chinatown. This will include partnering with a local Chinatown TCM storefront for an interactive teaching tour of medicines available. 

(b) A workshop with a Jamaican gardener and herbalist speaking about medicinal herbs. 

(c) A workshop on Indigenous healing practices with a Skwxwu7mesh facilitator. This will include an interactive walk. 

(2) Expansion of Black Studies Collection — Two additional bookshelves will be purchased for the expansion of the VBL’s Black collection books.  As VBL has reached capacity with its current bookshelves, VBL will expand its collection to include additional books for children, archival material, and art references. Having these books available at VBL will also enable it to plan events around the collection, including story times for children. 

Translating Yiddish in Vancouver 

Click here to view the project description.  

UBC Vancouver’s Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES) will be teaching Yiddish for the first time next Fall 2024. There is considerable interest in the Jewish and literary translation communities locally, as Yiddish has never been taught at the university level in Vancouver. Both CENES and community partners are eager for this language teaching to be successful and believe that building a community or network in the run-up to its debut is important. 

We propose using the coming academic year to build momentum towards the launch of Yiddish language teaching. The Vancouver School of Yiddish Translators, a loose-knit collective of translators who care for the literary traditions of Eastern European culture, will kick off these activities with several student-facing panels. The translators will share their current work, reflect on the nature of translation in a complex insider/outsider linguistic situation, inspire students to contemplate learning Yiddish, and offer students opportunities to develop ongoing professional relationships or mentorships. 

UBC as Pedagogical Place: Mutual Empowerment with a Grassroots Japanese Community 

Click here to view the project description.  

Empowering a local, grassroots Japanese soccer club (Joyous FC), based in Vancouver, our project will work to further advance social inclusion and equitable practices in our multilingual and multicultural society.

We will provide an underrepresented group with access to UBC’s assets for their multi-generation community events for knowledge co-construction and celebration.

By supporting the club, the project aims to create further pedagogical values of UBC as a community asset. Our UBC physical property such as soccer field and indoor spaces may gain its value as a pedagogical place when such a group is facilitated and empowered jointly with a UBC faculty for appreciating and reflecting the values of land and social structures such as our institutional capital (UBC).

The project will benefit the club to fulfill fundamental needs such as a place for core activities, and exposure and recognition in partnering a locally established institution (UBC). This will facilitate further spreading their voices as a grassroots organization which is impacting the people’s life of the whole local community with their unique knowledge and skills. Via this project, the club members become ‘meaning makers’ of our campus and are pedagogically empowered to be social actors.

Virtual Parents’ Community: For Parents of Children with Speech Delays or Disabilities 

Click here to view the project description.  

We are planning to organize a parents’ community for parents of children with speech delays or disabilities. The group will meet regularly online to discuss issues, concerns, questions, celebrate success and generally provide support to one another. The group will also have an online forum where they can communicate with one another through meetings, posting resources, sharing stories, and more.

The parents support group will include opportunities for parents to invite speakers or workshop facilitators to join the group and help increase their knowledge and understanding in areas of interest to the group. These speakers and facilitators will be chosen amongst experts at UBC (faculty and graduate students) or through connections that they may have in the field of Special Education or AAC. They will also have the opportunity to hear about new developments in the field of AAC and test out new technologies that are being developed at UBC.

The group will have the chance to speak to faculty members and product developers regarding tools, technology, and teachings that are needed in order to help children with language delays or who are non-verbal, connect with their peers, teachers, and others.

Watershed Ecosystems Project Community Engagement Event 

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The Watershed Ecosystems Project is an interdisciplinary, community-engaged research initiative that seeks to apply a “whole-of-watershed” understanding to ecosystems science, integrating six distinct but interconnected research activities surrounding the themes of hydrology, fish, urban water, integrated modeling, Syilx knowledge, and governance. Continuing and enhancing the community engagement initiatives already in place, and toward the promotion of iterative, collaborative discussions around WEP research, the cluster team (specifically driven by the Governance activity and my graduate research within it) is seeking to host an open house style community engagement event, co-hosted by the District of Peachland, this August.  

The engagement will be centered around information sharing and relationship building and will serve as an opportunity for meaningful discussion surrounding the ecological facets and governance frameworks of Peachland Creek community watershed. The engagement will be open to Peachland community members who wish to engage with Watershed Ecosystems Project researchers, and learn more about research activities and findings, and will provide an opportunity for the public to provide input and ask questions.  As with all aspects within WEP research activities, Syilx community participation will be facilitated and directed via cluster member and Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge, Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, and her graduate student, Dawn Machin. This community engagement event is designed to first and foremost acknowledge the important role of Syilx government representatives and community members in WEP research and initiatives. The anticipated attendance of this engagement is around 40-50 people.

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The Woolwerx Wool Pellet Project is a collaborative project between the Elizabeth Fry Society (EFS) of Vancouver and Professor Sue Grayston, a soil scientist in the Faculties of Land and Food Systems and Forestry at UBC, to evaluate the potential of using waste wool as a method to enhance soil structure, retain moisture and increase nutrient availability in soil, stimulating plant growth.  

Donated waste wool from BC farmers, that is otherwise landfilled, is made into pellets at the EFS facility in New Westminster, BC. Woolwerx is a social enterprise of the EFS that provides training and employment to criminalized women in BC’s Lower Mainland. As such, it hires predominantly Indigenous and racialized women, 66% are mothers and 66% of those are sole caregivers. Women turn donated wool into new products, learn new employment skills and increase their standard of living. UBC has expertise in soil analytical techniques and plant growth and will use these skills to help EFS potentially create a new product for their Woolwerx enterprise. The project will be undertaken by an undergraduate summer student, under the supervision of Sue Grayston; they will also engage and gain knowledge and understanding of marginalized communities that ESF supports. Woolwerx workers will share knowledge of their processes from raw wool (pest & biohazards) to pelletizing with the student. Woolwerx employees will work with the student to produce consistent wool product content which will be analysed in the trials.   

We will conduct a rigorous greenhouse trial at UBC to assess the potential of wool pellets applied at three different application rates to a) act as a slow-release fertilizer for nitrogen and other trace elements, b) increase moisture retention, c) enhance aeration and porosity of soil and d) increase growth and yield of five vegetables and five flowering plants.  

Woolwerx employees will visit the greenhouse trial at UBC; the UBC team will share their knowledge of soil and food systems with EFry. 

We will hold an outreach event in New Westminster to promote wool pellet product to local garden centres/growers/city council. 

EFry’s Woolwerx enables criminalized women released to the community the chance to transform their lives through employment, reduced social isolation and economic constraints enabling them to care for themselves and their children. There is an opportunity to expand the products and, therefore, the workforce employed by Woolwerx. 

20th Anniversary Celebration of the Aboriginal Steering Committee 

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The Human Early Learning Partnership and the Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) are celebrating 20 years of collaborative leadership this fall. HELP aspires to engage in research, data collection and reporting, and engagement in a culturally responsive and safe manner that acknowledges the history, languages, and cultures of Indigenous children and families. HELP has established and works alongside the ASC, whose members guide and advise on our work. Current ASC members are leaders, experts, and Elders from First Nation and Métis communities in BC. To honour this collaborative partnership, we are proposing a gathering that benefits and honours all partners of our community of research and learning. 

We are excited that this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the ASC. To celebrate this milestone, we intend to host a celebration event on October 5-6, 2023. We are in the early stages of planning to honour the ASC’s collaborative leadership. We are currently in communication with the First Nations House of Learning to secure the Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall as the setting for the gathering. Activities will include a ceremonial honouring of all current 11 ASC members, as well as celebration of life for a former ASC Elder, a performance, and feast.  

We will have other HELP affiliates and partners like Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health and Indigenous Research Support Initiative in attendance, as well as UBC VIPs and other community members. 

Want to learn more about any of the 2023 PRE Fund projects?  

Contact our Fund Manager Shayla Walker (