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.
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street
Episode 69: Singing Through the Dark: And Other Pandemic Pleasures — with Vanessa Richards
Part of the Pandemic Conversations series
How do we come together to make and enjoy art in a time of physical distancing? Interdisciplinary artist and community organizer Vanessa Richards joins host Am Johal in his backyard for a physically-distanced conversation about convening community through music during the pandemic. They discuss the challenges and opportunities of practising community-engaged arts over these past months; Vanessa’s experiences of virtually leading Van Van Song Society and Dancing in the Dark; and how Vancouver is responding to and participating in this moment of heightened community action for racial justice.
Vanessa Richards, born in Vancouver, works as an artist and facilitator. Her practices encourage the personal and civic imagination towards positive social change and sustainability.
Since the 1990's she has been devising and delivering arts-based engagement, education and programming through collaboration with community programmes, universities, unions, cultural organizations, health care providers, and projects that serve the imaginations of young people and elders.
As a community choir leader she also brings collective singing to conferences and gatherings to connect ideas, emotions and people. Her poetry and critical works are anthologized in the UK, Holland, United States and Canada. As a performer she has been nominated for a Jesse Richardson Theatre Award.
She is on the advisory committee for the RADIUS Fellowship at Beedie School of Business SFU and a producer/facilitator for the Social Venture Institute with Hollyhock Leadership Institute. For many years Richards served as a volunteer on the City of Vancouver Black History Month Advisory Committee as well as the Hogan’s Alley Working Group and Society. She is currently a volunteer mentor for two youth co-operatives, Ethọ́s Lab and Solid State. For her work in community engagement Richards was the recipient of the 2018 City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Achievement Award.