COVID-19: Our Response

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 focused 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 did what we do best⁠—convened people to address the challenges in our communities.

Check out some of the ways we showed up:

  • Distant, Not Disengaged was created as an experimental and innovative programming collaboration from SFU Public Square, CityHive and the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue to meet the urgent issues and opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

  • Pivot 2020 was a deep urban exploration and information gathering project led by 1,200 young people in 27 cities across Canada. Youth collected data through surveying youth, interviewing community members and collecting benchmark information on the issues that matter to them most.

  • Our Democracy Spark Grants were originally intended to create opportunities for in-person solutions-focused programming in libraries across the province. We connected 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.

  • 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.

  • March 30, 2020

    March 30, 2020

    We 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.

  • Young people in our communities experienced unique anxieties and challenges as a result of COVID-19 and they needed resources that supported them uniquely. In response, we created, 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.

  • Our #StayAtHome campaign spread encouragement for young people to stay home and support themselves and one another early in the pandemic.