Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street

CONNECT, Carnegie Dance Troupe with Karen Jamieson Dance


Community partnerships developed through SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement have been essential to carrying out our programming, building relationships, and creating lasting impacts for students, community organizations, and neighbourhood residents.

Have a look at our video featuring some of our community partners here!

Current accessible education projects and partnerships include:


An ongoing project, Community Journalism 101 is a five-week, free, low-barrier course organized in partnership with Megaphone.


Beginning as a partnership with PHS Drug Users Resource Centre, Contemporary Arts 101 is a speaker series involving local and visiting international artists in conversation with inner-city residents about contemporary art practices. This ongoing project takes place at the Interurban Gallery at the corner of Hastings and Carrall Streets. The artists and community groups who have participated include WePress, Judith Marcuse, Ken Lum, Althea Thauberger, Holly Ward, Ewan MacDonald, Laura Marks, Judy Radul, Gaye Chan, Cathy Busby, Sabine Bitter, and Colin Browne.


SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement is partnered with Karen Jamieson Dance Company to offer community dance workshops at different times during the year. Often these workshops have lead to performances at the annual Heart of the City Festival. The work includes live music, poetry, First Nations drumming, and cultural dances. Karen Jamieson has run workshops out of the Carnegie Community Centre since the late 1990s and has many strong community connections. She also mentors dancers in socially-engaged arts practice.   


SFU is partnered with Project Limelight — a free theatre and performing arts program for 8–12 year olds in East Vancouver. This four month program, supported by Ouest Solutions, offers youth in the Strathcona neighbourhood to learn from professional artists and teachers in a safe, welcoming environment. They performed their first play at the Fei and Milton Wong Theater in June, 2012 with two sold out performances — an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. There are 25 kids involved per cohort.


Reel Causes partners with filmmakers and Canadian causes dedicated to addressing global social justice issues. They host film screenings followed by a Q&A session to educate and inspire our community, and provide a forum for authentic conversation around the issues that affect us locally. These screenings foster an environment for audience members to discuss causes freely with artists and organizations, with the goal of inspiring individuals to make a positive difference — in their own unique way.


The purpose of the Lacan Salon is to share, discuss, and promote the transmission of psychoanalytic discourse by reading and engaging with the works of Jacques Lacan and Sigmund Freud. They discuss a wide range of topics such as subjectivity, the analytical act, and cultural phenomena. The Lacan Salon has partnered with SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement since September 2012 to hold their seminars at SFU.


The Heart of the City Festival (HOTC) is an annual festival that celebrates the unique Downtown Eastside community. The festival is produced in partnership with Vancouver Moving Theatre, the Carnegie Community Centre, Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, and a number of arts and non-arts partners. SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement hosts a number of events at SFU during the festival. 


Hives for Humanity is a non-profit organization that encourages community connections through apiculture, more commonly known as beekeeping. Through mentorship based programming they create flexible opportunities for people to engage in the therapeutic culture that surrounds the hive; they foster connectivity to nature and to each other; they participate in local sustainable economies; they support at-risk populations of people and pollinators, and they do so with respect and joy.

SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement also supports Research 101, a series of conversations around community-based research ethics, in partnership with Hives for Humanity.

Writers' Exchange

The Writers' Exchange gets inner-city kids excited about reading and writing. Each year, 550 kids participate in fun, free programs where they complete creative literacy projects and receive individualized attention from volunteer mentors so that each child can succeed to the best of his or her ability. Most programs end in the kids' work being published in professionally designed and edited publications, and a giant launch party!


The mission of the Binners' Project is to re-value people and resources by facilitating Canadian waste pickers learning and exchange within cities and across Canada in order to build urban resilience, social inclusivity and connection, and to guide waste management practices and the development of new economic models. The project took off in January 2014 as a brainchild of Ken Lyotier, Founder and former Executive Director of United We Can, a non-profit bottle depot in operation in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 1995.


Shaping Vancouver is a conversation series on urban issues produced by Heritage Vancouver in partnership with SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. The series has been running since 2015, covering topics such as the City of Vancouver Heritage Action Plan, “Our Neighbourhoods,” “Reshaping Conversations on Heritage,” and “Contested Places.”

312 MAIN

As of August 2018, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement moved into the 2nd floor of 312 Main Street, as part of the first phase of this exciting new centre. Vancity Community Foundation has partnered with the City of Vancouver on an initial 15-year lease to animate this building as a site for social and economic innovation, partially modelled on the Centre for Social Innovation, based in Toronto. Funding and support has also come in from Heritage Canada, the Province of BC and additional support from the City of Vancouver and Vancity Credit Union. Over 80 community organizations will be moving in to the newly renovated Vancouver police station that dates back to 1953. SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement will be moving some of its community-based programming to the 312 Main Street space and further developing its existing partnerships, focusing on community partnerships, knowledge democracy and community-based research.

SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement is proud to support the launch and implementation of SFU's Community-Engaged Research initiative (CERi), stationed out of 312 Main. 

New(to)Town Collective is an emerging theatre collective based in Vancouver BC, aspiring to provide accessible, experimental training workshops and creating new interdisciplinary works together. 

They collaborate and cross pollinate their practices and ideas with collaborators from across all artistic disciplines through their Training Jams. They bring together a unique blend of practices including: Grotowski, devising, clowning, visual arts, contemporary dance, playwriting, dramaturgy, directing and more! They integrate these practices to train and create new works as a collective while supporting each others' individual artistic endeavors. 

Past accessible education projects and partnerships include:


Kwi Awt Stelmexw is a not-for-profit Sḵwx̱wú7mesh organization, (by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh). Kwi Awt Stelmexw is an arts & education organization. Kwi Awt Stelmexw actively provides programs and initiatives to strengthen Sḵwx̱wú7mesh artistic, cultural, language, and heritage practices. Through education programs and public events, they provide opportunities for our peoples to engage with their Sḵwx̱wú7mesh heritage, and for all people to learn about and from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh culture.


The Downtown Eastside Centre For The Arts is a grass-roots arts organization that provides accessible arts programming to the most vulnerable residents of this community. The intention of the Centre is to offer arts programs that provide the opportunity to experience art in a safe and supportive setting to enhance their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.


The core purpose of EMMA Talks is to bring important stories by women identified* writers, activists, thinkers, storytellers, makers and doers, bringing important stories from the periphery to the public. Together their stories will build a powerful and engaging collection of talks, celebrating and building on the conversations, imaginings, and hard work of so many individuals, communities and movements, which will lead to a creative cross-pollination of ideas.

*including two spirited, trans* and gender non-conforming folks


University partnerships include:

SFU School for the Contemporary Arts

Over its thirty year history, the SCA has produced outstanding alumni who have gone on to play a major role in redefining the arts in Canada. The interdisciplinary MFA program is widely recognized internationally as a unique opportunity where graduate students can explore connections between art forms and develop their own creative voice.

SFU's Office for Aboriginal Peoples

Since 2012, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement has collaborated with SFU’s Office for Aboriginal Peoples to produce an ongoing singing and drumming workshop series led by composer, producer and traditional Lil’wat singer Russell Wallace. Wallace teaches social songs which, unlike ceremonial songs, are meant to be shared and can be sung by the community. By sharing these songs, Wallace hopes that workshop participants will gain a greater appreciation of the diversity of Aboriginal music. Read our interview with Russell Wallace.

The Salish Singing and Drumming Workshops are an opportunity to gain greater awareness and knowledge of First Nations history and culture while meeting new people and sharing through music. The free workshops are offered on a monthly basis between September - April, with no pre-registration or prior singing or drumming experience required.

Since Spring 2014, the offices have collaborated in presenting an annual Lecture Series on Aboriginal Issues. Audio and video recordings of the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 lectures can be found in our gallery.  

Institute for the Humanities at SFU

The Institute for the Humanities at SFU seeks to accomplish these basic objectives: stimulate student interest and faculty research in demonstrating the irreducibility of humanistic perspectives in understanding some of the most pressing social, economic, political and environmental problems we face and, above all, to engage the many publics beyond the academy in city, the province, the country and, indeed, the wider world. The Institute is perfectly placed, therefore, to play a key role in the idea of SFU as “student-centred, research-driven and community-engaged.”

SFU's Centre for Dialogue

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue uses dialogue to generate non-partisan and constructive communication around difficult topics. They partner with government, business, and community groups to explore critical issues that impact the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of our communities. Programming at the Centre occupies an unusual intersection, seamlessly connecting student learning, university research and community engagement. 

SFU Public Square

SFU Public Square, a signature initiative designed to spark, nurture and restore community connections, establishes Simon Fraser University as the go-to convener of serious and productive conversations about issues of public concern.

More than a single place or program, SFU Public Square assembles the hearts, minds, and talents of diverse communities to promote inclusive, intelligent, and inspiring dialogue. SFU Public Square events and offerings proclaim SFU’s vision to be Canada’s leading community-engaged research university.

Designed around a collaborative research infrastructure, SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi) promotes principles of participation, cooperation, social transformation and knowledge translation to lift up and strengthen the capacity of SFU’s researchers and students, to engage respectfully and ethically with community members. CERi's goals are to become Canada's hub for community-engaged research; to facilitate wider public engagement with research; and to deepen connections between researchers and communities. CERi focuses on a reciprocal relationship between universities and communities.