Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street

episode

Episode 20: Politicizing the Urban Park — with Selena Couture and Matt Hern

July 09, 2019

What does it mean to use and enjoy a city park on unceded Indigenous land? Am Johal interviews co-authors of On This Patch of Grass: City Parks on Occupied Land (Fernwood Publishing 2019), Matt Hern and Selena Couture, who wrote the book with two of their daughters, Sadie Couture and Daisy Couture. As a white settler family, they have lived near and around East Vancouver’s Victoria Park (AKA Bocce Ball Park) for years. Interrogating the concept of urban parks as colonial constructs, they investigate the land politics of this small green space with such a multiplicity of overlapping users and sovereignties. 

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Selena Couture

Selena Couture is an Assistant Professor of Drama at the University of Alberta. Her research and work examines intersections of performance and Indigeneity, particularly regarding uses of Indigenous perforamnces as a way to tell Indigenous histories eroded by colonialism with a parallel inquiry into colonial performance and the construction of whiteness. Her research has been published in Theatre Journal, Performance Research, Canadian Theatre Review, alt.theatre as well as a chapter in Recasting Commodity and Spectacle in the Indigenous Americas.

Matt Hern

Matt Hern is a community-based activist and organizer who teaches urban studies at SFU, Cape Breton University, and UBC. He is the co-founder and co-director of Solid State Industries and has written books including What a City is For: Remaking Politics of Displacement (MIT Press, 2016), Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life (MIT, 2018 with Am Johal and Joe Sacco).


Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal. We talk environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community-building and urban issues with featured guests. Hosted on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, this podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.

Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal. We talk environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community-building and urban issues with featured guests. Hosted on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, this podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.