The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everything — our institutions, our economy, our way of life. Our new 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.

These disruptions can either deepen these cracks or be catalysts for improving equity and empathy going forward.

SFU Public Square, CityHive and SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue recognized this was a critical moment for us to come together to see and hear each other.

From April to November 2020, we hosted Distant, Not Disengaged — a series of dialogues with guest speakers and community members taking on these questions and more:

  • How are we responding and what are we learning right now that can be used to strengthen the social infrastructure of our communities going forward? 
  • How can we reimagine our collective futures now that the fragile roots of "normalcy" have been exposed? 
  • What must we do to ensure we don’t return to the status quo and instead create more just, sustainable and representative systems? 
  • What’s possible when we’re unencumbered by "that’s just the way things are"?
These events addressed a range of topics and their intersections with COVID-19, from gender to food justice to arts and culture. You can catch up on the Distant, Not Disengaged series below with video recordings, event recaps and other resources from each session.




Past events

Thursday, November 19 | 12:00pm

How can we prevent and address gender disparities in mental health outcomes during COVID-19?

Thursday, October 15

Can COVID-19 restrictions help broaden our concept of what public engagement looks like—and who “the public” includes?

Thursday, September 24

How is the pandemic shaping civic engagement and the ways we come together to create social change?

Thursday, August 13

As social distancing continues, what is the impact on our wellbeing and our ability to cooperate as a society?

Thursday, August 6

Share a virtual lunch while discussing how we can create food security for all in Metro Vancouver.

Thursday, July 30

Students: How can your school better support your learning and success during the upcoming online fall term?

Thursday, July 23

Calls for safe supply and decriminalization are gaining traction, but what do they look like? And how do we make them happen?

Thursday, July 16

How can we use race-based health data to support those disproportionately affected by COVID-19?

Thursday, July 9

How can we reject narratives blaming COVID-19 on Asian Canadians and ensure they feel safe in their communities?

Thursday, July 2

Why racial equity in journalism is essential for both those who tell the news and those who read, watch and listen to it.

Thursday, May 28

We're taught in high school to identify a career and follow it through, but is a "career path" a thing of the past?

Thursday, May 21

How do we as a society care for our older generations and where do we need to improve going forward?

Thursday, May 14

A glimpse into the on-the-ground reality of the arts sector during the pandemic and visions for a stronger future.

Thursday, May 7

Is our response to the pandemic an opportunity to make systemic change?

Thursday, April 30

Over 75,000 people rely on transit to maintain essential services, but is the future of transit at risk?

Thursday, April 23

What can we learn from community responses and what do they reveal about systemic inequalities?

Thursday, April 16

How are under-30's being impacted by COVID-19 and what responses are missing?