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Below the Radar Transcript

Episode 105: Redistributing Power in Universities — with Charmaine Lyn

Speakers: Alex Abahmed, Am Johal, Charmaine Lyn

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Alex Abahmed  0:01  
Hello listeners. I'm Alex Abahmed with Below the Radar, a knowledge democracy podcast. Below the Radar is recorded on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. On this episode of Below the Radar. Our host Am Johal is joined by Charmaine Lyn, the director of Changemaker Education for Ashoka Canada. They discuss community engagement and social change in post secondary environments, looking towards the post pandemic future of the university. I hope you enjoy the episode.

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Am Johal  0:31  
Hi there, welcome to Below the Radar. Welcome back into the new year with us. We're happy that you as listeners keep coming back. And this is a very special episode because we're interviewing a colleague, a friend, someone who I have a lot of respect for and have had a chance to spend some time in Montreal with with various hats she's worn over the years. So welcome Charmaine Lyn.

Charmaine Lyn  0:53
Hi Am, thank you for having me. I'm very happy to be with you today.

Am Johal  0:58  
Wondering if you can begin by introducing yourself a little bit.

Charmaine Lyn  1:01  
Sure. So there's, you know, there's a long story and there's a medium length story, I'll try to be disciplined with my words. I am Charmaine, I'm calling in right now from the Eastern Townships outside of Montreal, about an hour and a half south east of Montreal, where I lived for most of my life, but recently relocated to these greener pastures out here with my family. I work as the director of Changemaker Education for Ashoka Canada, where I work with campuses like SFU, and six other campuses in Canada that have been designated as Changemaker campuses. And I came to that work after about 15 years working in post secondary in Montreal with different hats. I started off in admissions as an admissions professional in the Faculty of Law at McGill, where I graduated from, I then worked in admissions for the Faculty of Medicine, also at McGill. And then I went on to work as the Director of the Office of Community Engagement at Concordia University, which is where we met more in the context of our meeting. And I think importantly, I, I'm a first generation University attendee, I happened to have benefited in my coming up years through university from really profoundly important mentorship from some real social justice activists and human rights activists. And I think as a first generation University, attendee did not imagine myself pursuing law as a career, but found my way to it via justice by the idea of justice. And the modeling that I saw of people who had built their careers around a kind of moral imperative to seek out injustice, and do something, anything to attend to that and address that. So when I did admissions work, I was really focused on accessibility. I just really got passionate about the idea of the opportunity that post secondary in general and in particular kind of legal education. It provides an enormous open door to a person to the world opportunities, networks, resources, influence, power. And so I started to question how I got to be there. What sort of moments of luck or coincidence sort of happened in a sequence that allowed that opportunity to happen for me and question how that could be more possible for more people. Really, interestingly. So I started an outreach program when I was in the Faculty of Law's admissions office, trying to connect learners in law who were not traditional law students, to populations in high schools and primary schools that were underserved and underrepresented in the profession and in legal education. So I started this little program. And I think, and you'll be familiar with this from the Ashoka designation process that you went through, there's this sort of what is your Changemaker journey? When did you experience this moment of realizing that you could actually do something in the world? And for many people in the Ashoka world, many people this happens in their youth. For me, it didn't happen in my youth. It really happened for me at the beginning of my career, where I was given space by my dean of my law school at the time to build a program that was responsive to what I thought was important, but was also kind of sparking some passion for me, and that was seen to be relevant by the faculty as well. And so this outreach program started. So this is going back to 2004. And I got an email from a person who I've been in touch with over the course of the years, who's stepping into the role that I had in 2004. As the assistant dean of admissions for the Faculty of Law, she's doing a replacement position now for a person who's on maternity leave. But this person who's taking up this role now is somebody who was a high school learner, who had a visit from McGill law students from the outreach program that I started. And she sort of has made her way through a degree, and then to legal education. And now, she's taking up the mantle of doing admissions to my alma mater, where I started this outreach program. And I'm telling you this, because you know, that, to me is the sort of full circle of why doing something that you may not be expected to do in your workplace that maybe generates, for some people some level of like trepidation of like risk taking can be, it was certainly profoundly important for me to be able to find that space in my workplace. But to see 15 years later, that that has actually led to a concrete, very concrete, very visible difference in how how the faculty will go on to kind of bring in new learners and what perspectives will be centered in the conversation about who gets to have access to this kind of education, what voices are now inside the institution, and who continue to push that work forward. I just, I'm sort of sitting with the bigness of that story for me, it's a really small story, but it's a really big story for me, as well and I it think captures the kind of promise of following your sense of justice, trying to enact something, even if it's small, or feels small, and then letting it grow. And kind of getting out of the way of it and letting it happen in the way that it can if you cultivate some of the conditions around it for that work to really take root. So that's a very roundabout story.

Am Johal  7:04  
It's a fantastic story. You know, I started doing work at the kind of intersection of university and community back in the late 90s, with a program called Humanities 101 at UBC I started with a friend of mine, Allison Dennett, and just seeing how, when you're trying to start a community program within a university, the interface of systems don't really work very well, in terms of the structures and processes of universities and what they're required to have sort of accessibility pieces in place, from administration, to finance are all of these things that we have somehow created these dumb, clumsy structures that sometimes get in the way of the work that universities purport to believe in and want to enact. And I'm wondering if you can reflect a little bit on your time at Concordia, in terms of working at that intersection of community and the university, building out an office with colleagues and seeing what the needs are out in the community and trying to sort out what the university can do with its resources and time. These are the same questions I struggle with. So I'm genuinely asking this because I'm about to hit 10 years, like literally today, I never intended to be here for 10 years, I come from a community organizing background working in nonprofits in a political context, as well. And so trying to do work as a community organizer, even inside of an institution, it takes on different cadences in how you work and those kinds of things. And I'm wondering how you thought about your time there both, I guess, both at McGill and Concordia.

Charmaine Lyn  8:37  
So there's a lot in that. I did experience those tensions. And I do think that the way you describe it as mediation is interesting, I think I've always thought about it as translation as being multilingual, in an environment where you need to be able to do simultaneous translation in your brain, but also to do it for other people and with other people, not just about the terminology and accessibility of the way you're talking but about strategy. So somehow being multilingual at the level of strategy as well. I'm positioning myself right back at that intersection where you're being pulled, on the one hand, by your community partners, pulled heavily towards a feeling of accountability. So there's a real sense of accountability, being transparent, of building trust, and that's the sort of primordial value for me, for community engagement work, is building trust and being accountable to the public or the partners that you're working with. And inside the institution, there's this: it's not quite accountability, it's more like loyalty. Its loyalty to the institution, its loyalty to the mission, it's being articulated, it's, you know, the way you framed it, what universities purport to be doing. There's a sense of, it needs to be coherent. And there needs to be no cognitive dissonance for me to be standing at this intersection. And that's the tension is, are we saying what we're doing? Are we doing what we're saying all the time, or as much as possible? And people who are in the middle of that work, not necessarily your senior champions, not necessarily your people who are frontline, but the people who are really managing in the middle trying to influence where power really kind of rests in those institutions. And where it can stagnate sometimes, and not really move through the institution as I think it ought to like in a body, you know, it needs to move around these people, these translators or mediators are like, I'm going to go back to this weird metaphor that maybe isn't going to play out as I wanted to, but it's like a massage therapist or something that releases or acupuncturist who goes in and finds these places where there's pain or blockage and brings some sort of therapeutic kind of skill to the table, to allow people to open their minds to a conversation that is uncomfortable for them. I don't know if my metaphor makes sense. But that's how it feels to me as the role of the community engagement person. And I listened to Barbara Holland's episode earlier. And she talked about community engagement as a methodology, not as a new thing that can stir up alarm in people, right to be like, Oh, you're going to make me do things another way, or you're going to make me do more stuff that I'm already overloaded doing. I agree with her that it's a methodology, I also think it's like a set of competencies. And that those competencies are very important for community engagement, but they're equally important and this is following from her thread, as well it's like this integrated way of thinking about engagement as a practice. When you have folks inside an institution who are doing equity, diversity, inclusion work, decolonization, reconciliation, work, anti racist work. They also are thinking about reciprocity, they're thinking about accountability, they're thinking about transparency, and they have the competencies to actually conduct their work in a professional setting in that way. And when institutions cultivate those skills and competencies and reward that work, I think those tensions can be attended to more effectively, more broadly across the institution. But those people sort of need to have the space to do it. And they need to be seen and supported by the institution in doing that work. And before we started recording, we talked about how this affects people being in that tension on an ongoing basis, and feeling that pull of accountability and loyalty and institution versus community. And it is, versus in a lot of those moments, you really feel like, oh, there's a real conflict here. And I really need to figure out how to navigate almost as a diplomat, there's some neutrality there. But I find it really hard to be totally neutral with. [laughs] That's a real tension for me personally, is to navigate that need to be neutral in order to hold that space.

Am Johal  13:25 
There tends to be these tensions, you know, in the literature, and the history of how community engagement at university comes under different names in different periods. There's the whole kind of service charitable, kind of component in it historically. And then you have social justice movements in the 60s and otherwise, and that kind of social justice versus service tension that's built in. And I'm wondering, you know, after having been on the inside of that tension, as we both have, you know, what are the possibilities inside that work that you find really interesting or inspiring? And what of it do you think doesn't sort of live up to its claims? Or what are the challenges of that piece that doesn't quite go far enough? 

Charmaine Lyn  14:10  
Well, that's a very good question. [laughs] So I think where there's promise, and I would keep extrapolating the different terminology, the language of community engagement, social justice, now social innovation, social entrepreneurship, change making even, are blurry, those concepts are becoming more blurry even as time goes on. But I think the thread that ties them together is changing, right? It's transformation. It's looking for a purpose of improving or ameliorating or remediating things. So, the drive or the openness, if there's a posture that's kind of consistent across those terms, there's a posture of openness to change. And I think that that's a promising starting point. We recognize we're willing to look for a challenge or look towards challenges and problems with a view to making something better, if it's possible. Where there is blockage where the challenges are really deep. You know, I think it's we're living in a system, the post secondary system is so rigidly structured. And despite the fact that I think even more and more recently that the changes are coming faster, and they're coming at a bigger scale, with more momentum behind them, more public support behind them, the institution, and its ability to hold on to its model is extremely powerful. And that's the root of it, to me is a system that is built on an exclusion, a system that is built on merit and excellence defined in a very particular way that is not receptive to, despite the fact that we're supposed to be critical minded folks coming to universities, thinking about how to unpack problems, there's this sort of resistance to looking at the dysfunction of the model of what damage the model does, and continues to do, despite the sort of small, incremental changes that are happening. So on the one hand, you know, I have been in institutions where I've been asked to do change, in the face of very obvious resistance. I've been in institutions where I've been asked to try to do change, where there's a willingness institutionally to drive change, and just to have that happen. And in both of those contexts, it's still extremely dangerous work and very, very difficult to do. Because the expectations from all sides are so intense. And often, and this is my experience, the people who are trying to do this work, particularly around equity and diversity work. Their bodies are generally marked there, visibly identified with the work in ways that make it different for them to navigate the institution, when they're not wearing that institutional mandate hat.

Am Johal  17:16  
Yeah, within the pandemic context here, I think, you know, a lot of institutions have been forced to change very quickly on the fly, it has brought up those tensions in a much deeper way, it's exacerbated some that already exist. At the same time, on certain matters, the institution has been able to turn on a dime moving to online classes and a number of things, asynchronous teaching, and some of these things in the longer term could have positive effects, but also negative ones in terms of labor inside the institution, what it means everything's sort of in flux still in terms of what a post pandemic context might look like. And in that sense, I don't think people want to go back to the world the way that it was, because that wasn't also a great thing, either. And so there's some really interesting conversations emerging. And I'm wondering in your context, now, when you look at, if we put the university, the idea of the public university into the frying pan today, you know, what is it? What should it be? What are our aspirations for it? What are our critiques of it? If you had sort of recommendations to look at the sector coming out of pandemic context what are the questions that we ought to be asking? Because I think this is a time where a lot of things are being put on the table in terms of future direction as well. I think that there's questions that were left too long, maybe not being put on the table. In this context, there is maybe room for conversations now that weren't there even a year ago.

Charmaine Lyn  18:52 
Yeah. It's a big frying pan that I'm picturing in my head. And I'm picturing that, like that old 1980s commercial of an egg in the frying pan. And this is your brain on University. [laughs] Is kind of what I'm thinking right now. Yeah, I agree with you that the experiences that institutions and people inside institutions have lived through in the last several months have been challenging in deep ways, in ways that we, I don't think we'll really even appreciate fully till much further down the road. I think the silver lining of all of that pivoting that has happened is that it has kind of thrown out the possibility of people saying, well, we've just never done things like that before. That argument is now pretty empty, because there's some huge examples of we have never done this before and we just did it and we have survived. We found ways, we've not fallen off the rails and things are still going. At the same time, the global context has elevated the consciousness of people across institutions in a way that I hope the sort of training that we've had to endure, of having to pivot and change the way we think about how deeply entrenched things are or ought to be or need to continue to be, that's kind of changed and been shaken pretty deeply. And I'm optimistic that around conversations about how universities can be anti racist places, it's almost like people needed to practice a little bit on something. And now there's another opportunity in front of institutions to really grapple with deep problems, deep challenges and deep parts of its own identity in more meaningful ways than they have ever had to do before. And, and it's related to the sort of major hits that post secondary is taking. And it's reckoning with its ability to prove that it's relevant for the world. And to be able to show that it has a model that is aligned with the world as it is today, there's no more idea that you can wait 20 or 30 years to revamp your program. [laughs] It's sort of like you need to do it now, or the whole thing is gonna collapse. So I think that the pressure on institutions precipitated by COVID, by hits to budgets, by hits to infrastructure, by hits to enrollments really make community engagement, the accessibility of places, their relationships to the places where they live, as institutions are really in really sharp relief, right now, the importance of that situating, that as a priority for the institution is really different than it has ever been before. So that's my hope is that the omelet that comes out of this will have a lot more cooks in the kitchen, I think, you know, like really just that's kind of where I think this is going is the need to have in partnership with all the stakeholders that you can meaningfully bring to the table around what the model needs to be, who it serves, and how we will know that it's serving those purposes that are beyond the academic purposes of research and teaching and producing knowledge which are important. And in the context of COVID and disbelief in science. Like I think it's really important to hold fast to research as well. And really make sure that is robustly supported, like heart research, but also this other body of work, this other way of engaging with knowledge and talking about knowledge in a way that more people can hear as being resonant with their experiences is where post secondary is headed. That's what I think has happened.

Am Johal  23:06  
You mentioned before in terms of the sort of stresses and anxieties of the work that come with the kind of positionality inside the institution that we have, you know, challenges to mental health, other types of anxiety that's not just prone, maybe specifically to community engagement. But I think we find that it campuses across the country in terms of students, the need for health and counseling and other supports in place where the rising costs of post secondary education has also meant students working two or three jobs to get by, we also have underpayment for grad students or sessional instructors. And so there are, you know, a lot more challenges around mental health than maybe even 10 or 20 years ago, or maybe it's just being a bit more visible on the surface now. And wondering if you can talk a little bit about sort of that challenge inside of institutions right now and especially in the context of community engagement as well?

Charmaine Lyn  24:02  
That's a great question. So I'm thinking about students and learners and institutions who go through their regular curriculum, and then they have this whole extra curricular body of work that they either are drawn to because they're not finding what they need inside the curriculum, or they are kind of professional students who know that they need to do curricular and extracurricular things in order to build the kind of profile that a labour market demands of them in order to demonstrate that they have excellence and merit to move through the sort of chain of labour basically. And I think that where universities are able to integrate community engagement, that is real community engagement that is anchored with community partnership, that is meaningful and that is serving a real purpose as defined by community partners. There's an opportunity there to address some aspects of mental health. Like if a student comes in and feels like, they don't have to do extra work, to feel like what they're learning is relevant to them, by going to the extracurricular club to do the challenge, or the hack, or whatever it is, that feels like it's more relevant to their universe. If that's actually integrated into their curriculum, if they don't have to over perform, and sacrifice hours of work or sacrifice that opportunity in order to pay their bills, then I think post secondary is getting closer to a model that is developing skills, developing knowledge, developing ideas, allowing ideas to crash together in the setting that a university is supposed to be a sort of forum for the exchange of knowledge. But they're also experiencing an institution in a way that reflects them more than it might right now. And I think that that both for students and for faculty, those are really important elements of mental health, that if you feel like your work is aligned with your own values and purpose, if you feel like it's not an empty gesture, in order to meet some sort of credential, then there's less less of that tension, less of that questioning of why am I doing this? I think particularly now, in COVID, I think many people who are working are looking at their reports and looking at their deadlines and sort of questioning why anything means anything right now. And there are many other much more acute issues that require really focused attention, why are we not focusing on those things. So if you're able to bring those questions into the curriculum in a way that students can address meaningfully, and get the training that they need, in order to be able to move forward in whatever direction that they designed for themselves. That's one aspect of it. For people who are trying to do the work to enable that sort of change to happen. I'm gooing to say this to you, I know it's being recorded, we might have to edit this out but we're like in a white supremacist system and it is really challenging to like be in the matrix and your Neo, and you can see it, and you're working with people who you know, don't see it. And they are saying words that suggest to you that they have some awareness that there's something like a matrix out there, or if we know that something is there, but they've never really walked through it and never been punched in the face by the guy in the glasses, you know, like this is what's really, at the root of all the tensions, I think around why is community engagement not valued? Why do students feel like the institution doesn't reflect them? Why do people leave the institution because they just can't hack it anymore? Why do people burn out?

Am Johal  28:14  
That was exactly going to be the next question to you. So your segue is actually perfect, because in the 1990s, when people talked about equity, diversity, inclusion wasn't the language then but people would, you know, set up a committee at the university, a few people would roll their eyes and basically nothing would happen. And so myself now seeing, you know, equity, diversity, inclusion making its way into universities and committees being set up, I'm hopeful that something will come of it. But you know, as we know, with big institutions, there's a diverse student body, there's even diversity in terms of staff, but the higher you go up the hierarchy, the less diverse it gets. And that has material consequences on the ground inside of these institutions in terms of how power and decision making play out. And I think that's what you're referencing in terms of how this affects the work on the ground. So please do share your perspective on this because I think many people share your perspective.

Charmaine Lyn  29:14  
Yeah. I mean, I've been on a lot of those committees, those committees where people have, you know, it's a turnover every year. And the first three meetings of the year are about what is our agenda? What are we going to do this year? And we sort of recycle the agenda from last year and nothing happens. And I've come to see those committees as, I'm borrowing from people who I respect enormously in this field like Melinda Smith and Adele black, it's a kind of containment right? So okay, we have struck the committee. Now we're doing it and letting them do their thing. Increasingly, over the years, you've seen stronger gestures, maybe that committee gets a budget. Maybe that committee gives somebody an administrative support person to do the scheduling of the meetings to take some of the labor off of the people of color who are on that committee, which is a whole other part of rock long, of how over extended people are who are trying to move the needle on this, and also just do their own work at the same time. I think I also share your optimism when I see senior roles coming up in almost every university with these words in the titles. But I worry about those people. I worry about where their office is and who they're surrounded by, I worry about what that first meeting of the executive team feels like, if they get to be on the executive team. I worry about who they're talking to, or who isn't talking to them. And I see this in many different kinds of settings, where there's a desire to diversify. Without changing the context in which that person is entering, that person will be invited into basically hostile territory with an impossible mandate. And maybe there will be support, maybe there won't. If there is support, it's likely not from power holding folks, it's support from people who want to see that person succeed, because they've never seen anybody succeed and are trying to move the needle on that. It's an enormous amount of pressure, institutionally, that's loaded upon people. And then the pressure from the person themselves. This is my experience of it, is that you feel like I've been given this incredible opportunity and this incredible privilege to be able to make the change. And I better not drop the ball. I need to say yes, when they asked me to do that committee, as well as the other committee and yes, I should be on the search committee, because they need the perspective of somebody, it just becomes almost impossible to succeed, either by your own metrics, or by anybody else's metrics. And it's a spiral that can happen pretty rapidly. And when I experienced it, when you seek support, there isn't necessarily even at the professional level, if you look for counseling, psychotherapy, coaching, whatever it is, are there people who see the matrix? Are there people who will listen to you and who you don't have to sort of teach the curriculum of like, here's what it's like to be in this situation? It's sort of this vicious circle for people who are trying to move this work forward. And I, I just have so much love for people who are trying to do this work. And I've had to, like make big changes in my own life, in order to find a middle road that works for me to be able to engage seriously in the work in a way that aligns with my values and my sense of integrity, about what my purpose is in the world. And my health, like, those things have really come crashing into each other. And at the end of the day, I have to be okay, and I can't do anything of real use to anybody, including myself or my family, if I'm not well, but it takes just so much work to get to a place where you can choose to do that. And it's a process that has been painful, you know, quite painful, but also quite liberating at the same time. So for me, I wouldn't, you know, the burnout for me was a really, really profound learning moment, and continues to be. Coming out of it and coming through it continues to be probably the most important learning about myself, what I think power really feels like. I had a different conception of what power was maybe three years ago, and what kind of power I thought I needed to have in order to be able to feel like I was being effective. And I've just relocated that power inside myself and tried to sort of redistribute things in my life in a way that makes more sense. So redistributing power, redistributing discomfort, I've decided that my discomfort can be exchanged, and I can let other people feel a little bit more uncomfortable about things than I would have allowed them to be before. And that's some pretty serious learning as well. And not holding a sense of responsibility for making everything perfect and right. And that I think also comes up. As a matter of identity. There's this drive to be perfect because you've kind of been trained as a racialized person in a professional environment. My experience has been that there is a personal demand on myself to be exceptional, and hold myself to the highest possible standard, when that may not be what other people are holding me to and that may not be what other people are holding themselves to. But it's just a psychology that is pretty deep and takes a while to unwrap from around your body.

Am Johal  35:06  
Now in terms of your work with Ashoka Canada, what are you most excited about? In terms of space you can open up and take this work in a different direction, because you're now in conversation with multiple institutions rather than just being at one. And so you get to be involved in some of the higher level conversations about where institutions are wanting to go.

Charmaine Lyn  35:30  
You know, what's exciting about this is that I get to interact with people who have a certain mindset already in place, they're coming to the table, both within their institutions as people who are trying to drive change for a purpose but they're coming to the network. So it's a network of people that I'm working with, and they belong to each other. And so the idea of having collaborations, the idea of sharing knowledge, we sort of skipped over a number of barriers, because there's already a sort of commonality between these campuses and the people who I'm working with within those campuses, there's like a framework there in which we can, we can play, like in a different way than we might play, we can experiment in a way that we might not otherwise be able to do, because there's a sort of framework around us that has already been defined. It's very different in that way than the work that I did before, when I was inside an institution trying to move stakeholders who may or may not be on the same page, or at different stages of understanding of the value of something or appreciation of the value of something. Here, I have a group of folks who are pretty aligned on their sense of why something should happen. And they do it and it manifests in different campuses in very, very diverse ways. But there is a posture of curiosity, there's a posture of experimentation, there's a posture of trust, that is really helpful, and just making it possible to imagine testing out things that are pushing the envelope. I think that in the Ashoka world right now, folks are recognizing that the kinds of investments that they've made in their leadership in their curriculum and in their extracurricular pieces, that enable innovation that enable people to feel like they can have an impact on the world are grounding people in this very volatile moment, right now. Learners, I think, are leaning into work that feels like it's having an impact somewhere, that it's relevant to actually solving people's problems. I'm also really excited about the promise of connecting fellows. So the Ashoka Fellows is a whole other program that I'm not directly working in. But I'm watching it from the sidelines, from my colleagues. And there's just a real percolating energy right now around how to bring the fellows who are on the ground, changemakers, for lack of a better word, in contact with campuses. And I think that there's a sort of straightforward way of thinking about this, that oh, it would be cool to bring some social entrepreneurs into some classes, show people what it looks like for people to have found a path and build their career and be able to change the world. There's more there, though, I think there's a lot more there. There's the research potential, that's there to say like this is what impact can look like. There's also I believe, and I'm very informed in saying this by the kinds of fellows who we've been selecting at Ashoka Canada to deepen that exchange, to deepen the relationship between institutions and these folks who are connected to the community in ways that institutions aren't well positioned right now to be, they just don't have the same level of credibility and depth. Maybe some of the individuals within their institutions do but it's a different ballgame. So imagining what it might be like for the fellows to get closer to the institutions in less public ways and more institutional ways, in more influential ways, within an organizational structure. These are fellows who are looking at really profoundly radical governance structures in their boards or their organizations and how they govern themselves and how they fund the projects or how they deal with our community partners. How might those perspectives potentially influence how decisions get made one day around certain things in an institution. Who gets to be on a board? Who gets to.. [laughs]  These are sort of the kinds of fuzzy things that I'm seeing right now that are coming into focus as real potential, particularly in the Canadian context where there's a small enough community where this experimentation might happen.

Am Johal  40:08
Charmaine, thank you so much for joining us on Below the Radar.

Charmaine Lyn  40:13  
Oh Am, thank you for being gentle with me. [both laugh] This is such an exercise of courage for me and I appreciate you making space for voices. I have a lot of things to say and I'm often afraid to say them and it's really nice to be coaxed out of that by somebody I trust and respect and who I think is listening to me. So thank you for listening.

Am Johal  40:39  
Well, I think our listeners will be listening to you too. So I'm really happy that you shared with us because I definitely share your perspective. And for those of us who do this type of work inside the institution, it's nice to hear someone else say it as well because it does resonate with our experiences working inside of institutions. 

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Alex Abahmed  40:59  
Below the Radar is a knowledge democracy podcast created by SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Thanks for listening to our conversation with Charmaine Lyn. You can find out more about her work by visiting the links in the show notes. Thanks again and see you next time on Below the Radar.

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Transcript auto-generated by Otter.ai and edited by the Below the Radar team.
February 09, 2021
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