Creating space for transformative conversations
Last Updated August 12, 2020

During times of crisis, the cracks in our business-as-usual patterns become more visible. Disruptions can either cause these cracks to grow or be catalysts for change. In response to the global COVID-19 crisis, we are focusing our energy on strengthening democracy by reinforcing the social infrastructure of our communities and creating greater resilience and equity in these shifting times. From our homes, the Centre’s staff and faculty are doing what we do best - convening people to address the challenges in our communities.

Check out some of the ways we are showing up:

Current Projects and Initiatives

We’re excited to announce the launch of Pivot 2020 – an urban research project that will hire 1,200 young people across Canada to support 27 cities in coming back bigger and brighter post-COVID. 160 co-op positions are available specifically for SFU students. Pivot 2020 is a deep urban exploration and information gathering project led by 1,200 young people in 27 cities across Canada. These young people will collect data through surveying youth, interviewing community members and collecting benchmark information on the issues that matter to them most. It’s good work changing cities.

Need help during COVID-19? Wegotchu.

Young people in our communities experience unique anxieties and challenges as a result of COVID-19 and they need resources that support them uniquely. In response, we have created Wegotchu.ca, a one-stop resource centre and FAQ specifically designed to support young people under 30 in navigating their health and social needs during the pandemic. This user-friendly website includes information on housing, employment, school, food, health and mobility, as well as curated resources for marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+, migrants or racialized groups and those in abusive households.

Distant, Not Disengaged

We know you know: the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting everything – our institutions, our economy, our way of life. Our new physically distant reality has presented us all with massive challenges and further threats to social cohesion. As in all crises, the cracks in our systems have been laid bare – in some ways, inequity has never been so clearly visible. Disruptions can either deepen these gaps or be catalysts for improving equity and empathy going forward. CityHive, SFU Public Square and the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue recognize this is a critical moment for us to come together to see and hear each other. Join us online every Thursday, 12:00 to 1:15pm for insights and dialogue with guest speakers and each other.

Youth #StayAtHome Campaign to flatten the curve

We have put together a campaign to encourage young people to self-isolate as well as find ways to connect with one another during this time. Join us in spreading encouragement for young people to stay home and support themselves and one another during this time. Let's turn staying home into a badge of honour and help young people know they are not alone in their efforts or challenges and create opportunities to share their stories and experiences with one another.

Promoting safe ways to continue using public transportation

As the lead convener of Moving in a Livable Region, the Centre has launched a new website to help residents move in Metro Vancouver during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working with TransLink, Vancouver Coastal Health, and other regional stakeholders to update the information daily.

Supporting municipalities to be "open" in new ways

Our Democracy Spark Grants were originally intended to create opportunities for in-person solutions-focused programming in libraries across the province. Some of these events have already happened, but many have not. We will be connecting with our recipients to identify how we at the Centre can best support libraries to be the resources and community engagement hubs communities need in times like these.

Social Strategies for Municipalities: As we transition from immediate crisis to long term planning, the Centre will identify best practices for enhancing social connectivity without in-person gatherings and exploring how civic agencies can be a bridge between online social support organizing and those who are offline.

Past Projects and Initiatives

We recently held an online webinar with guests Cicely Belle Blain and Alia Ali to discuss equity, safety and inclusion in online engagement. This webinar explored the experience of minority communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as innovations and tips from different communities to create meaningful and respectful online engagement spaces.

We quickly crowdsourced questions and feedback for Vancouver Coastal Health to start thinking about what questions will need answering in the coming weeks. This work has also informed SFU Public Square and the greater SFU community about information needs in the general public, which they will begin to fill.

With more developments to all of these on the way, and more we’ve yet to announce, we invite you to connect with us. Are you planning anything similar, does something in the above resonate with you? We would like to hear from you at dialogue@sfu.ca | @SFUDialogue