Recommended Resources

Here is a collection of articles, reports, organizations, university departments and more that involve innovative community engagement practices. We aim to foster learning exchanges with partners and colleagues locally and globally.

Included in these resources are recommendations from, and works by, Below the Radar guests, as well as selected press articles covering the activities of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and our partners.

SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement works with community and university partners to offer programs to the public, partnering with the media and press to bring these conversations to a wider audience.

Find selected press coverage of our programming below, alongside reporting that was funded by SFU VOCE.

2022 Press Articles

June 27, 2022 | The Peak
How voguing carries decades of queer history through its movement

On June 16, the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts and SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement hosted a Public Talk and Vogue Workshop at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. This workshop and presentation was part of their two-day event to explore the history of the house and ballroom community. 


A six-part series of Below the Radar, curated and hosted by participants of Megaphone’s Speakers Bureau. Created by Jules Chapman, Angel Gates, Nicolas Leech-Crier and Yvonne Mark. Produced with support from the City of Vancouver, BC Arts Council, SFU’s Community Engagement Initiative and SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

Mar 8, 2022 | One the Coast with CBC Listen
Voices of the Street podcast series

Julia Aoki & Nicolas Leech-Crier discuss Voices of the Street breaking down stereotypes in the DTES.

Feb 22, 2022 | Vancouver Is Awesome
This podcast explores the lives of people on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

Includes intergenerational trauma to navigating the criminal justice system as an Indigenous person & more.

Feb 26, 2022 | CBC News
New podcast aims to break down stereotypes of people living on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

The six-episode series is inspired by themes from the 2021 edition of Voices of the Street.

Feb 15, 2022 | Miss 604
Megaphone Magazine Launches Voices of the Street Podcast

A foray into audio storytelling by people with lived experiences of poverty, substance use & incarceration. 

2021 Press Articles

Nov 17, 2021 | The Georgia Straight
SFU's Below the Radar podcast—directed and hosted by Am Johal—fills a void created by the pandemic

When Am Johal and his team at the SFU Vancouver campus decided three years ago to create a podcast called Below the Radar, it was an experiment with public outreach. After all, that’s been his job since 2010 as the director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

Nov 10, 2021 | The Tyee
Vancouver Podcast Festival Returns with a Focus on Thriving Through Crisis

On Nov. 20, the Vancouver Podcast Festival returns with a day-long series of events for podcasters and fans with an emphasis on making media in tumultuous times... Resiliency and collective power will also be a theme of “Podcasting Climate Change,” a free roundtable moderated by Am Johal, host of Below the Radar and director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

Nov 2, 2021 | BC Studies
Below the Radar: Age of Engagement

A review by John Belec. Below the Radar is the voice of Simon Fraser University’s community engagement initiative. The host, Am Johal, has been a fixture in Vancouver public affairs for several decades.

Nov 2, 2021 | BC Studies
Below the Radar: An Engaged Knowledge Democracy

A review by Brian Davenport. Below the Radar is a podcast that begins many episodes by reminding listeners that it is a knowledge democracy podcast. A production of Simon Fraser University’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, the podcast claims to “encourage the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.”

Mar 3, 2021 | SFU News
Am Johal receives the 2020 Warren Gill Award for Community Impact

For his quiet and consistent work to build deep and reciprocal relationships between SFU and partners in Vancouver's urban core - this year's winner of the 2020 Warren Gill Award for Community Impact is Am Johal.

Feb 20, 2021 | The Peak
Panelists elicit hope for the future of university-community engagement

University speakers from across the continent unite to learn from one another about plans for community engagement after the pandemic.

Jan 27, 2021 | SFU News
SFU podcast amplifies voices from the periphery

Ever-looking for new and more accessible ways of sharing information and perspectives, the team set out to launched the Below the Radar podcast in the fall of 2018, as a means of circulating and exchanging knowledge from within and beyond the walls of the university. “Below the Radar does its best work when we're amplifying voices that are on the periphery that deserve to have a wider audience,” said host and SFU VOCE Director Am Johal. 

2020 Press Articles

A Green New Deal for Housing

A Tyee series, in which Geoff Dembicki speaks with more than 20 housing and climate experts about an ambitious plan that could address both crises at once: A Green New Deal for housing. Produced with support from SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

Nov 30, 2020 | The Tyee
How Rethinking Affordable Homes Connects with the Climate Fight

First in a five-part series exploring the case for a Green New Deal for housing.

Dec 3, 2020 | The Tyee
Why Canada’s Climate Advocates Are Excited by Biden’s Housing Plans

The president-elect aims to build 1.5 million green, affordable units. It’s a galvanizing idea. Second in a series.

Dec 10, 2020 | The Tyee
What If New Density Had to Be All Affordable? This City Did It

Cambridge is as pricey as Vancouver. But its housing crisis response is now much bolder.

Dec 15, 2020 | The Tyee
Focus on Housing and Jobs or the Climate Fight ‘Goes Nowhere’

How low-income Brooklynites with a green vision vanquished a developer ‘Goliath.’

Dec 18, 2020 | The Tyee
Indigenous Housing Solutions, Built on Empowerment

First Nations designers of sustainable shelter want colonialism torn down.

Nov 25, 2020 | The Georgia Straight
Vancouver Foundation's evolution set stage for its quick response to COVID-19 pandemic

Only a week after the World Health Organization declared on March 11 that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic, the Vancouver Foundation sprang into action, launching the Community Response Fund. Am Johal acted in an advisory capacity to the Vancouver Foundation, making recommendations related to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Fixing a Family Housing Crisis

In this special Tyee series, Jen St. Denis reports in-depth on how families are faring in Metro Vancouver’s housing market, whether new policies are making an impact, and how to build a resilient housing system post-pandemic. Produced with support from SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

April 23, 2020 | The Tyee
Canada’s Housing System Is Cracking under the Crisis

Renters are asking why they should pay their landlords, while landlords fear losing their own housing.

May 11, 2020 | The Tyee
No Escape: The Human Cost of Making Social Housing Scarce

Rental discrimination and a big BC Housing backlog are leaving desperate single moms out in the cold.

May 14, 2020 | The Tyee
Shut Out: How Families Have Fallen Off the Housing Ladder

Owning a home was once the Canadian dream. In Vancouver, it’s out of reach for most.

May 18, 2020 | The Tyee
Evicted: Renting Families Lose Home after Home after Home

In Metro Vancouver, it’s tough to put down roots. Will new rent laws and speculation taxes help?

May 21, 2020 | The Tyee
Indigenous Housing Has Been In Crisis. Things Are Getting Better

Deanna Pointe’s family was shattered by the Sixties Scoop. Now she heads a three-generation family in East Vancouver.

2019 Press Articles

Dec 9, 2019 | The Georgia Straight
30 years of engaging communities across SFU's Vancouver campus

A story from Business in Vancouver that highlights the work of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, featuring an interview with director Am Johal.   

Vancouver Housing Stories

A Tyee series by students from SFU's Semester in Dialogue on finding home in the region today.

JUL 1, 2019 | The Tyee
Why ‘Where Is Home?’ Is a Scary Question for Many Young Vancouverites 

Let’s reframe it, and ask about a feeling, not four walls.

July 2, 2019 | The Tyee
I Came for School, and Spent Much of My Education Fighting to Live Here

An international student reflects on the struggle to find — and afford — a place to live.

July 3, 2019 | The Tyee
I Commute from the Suburbs. Is Anyone Thinking of Folks Like Me?

We need affordable housing options, too.

July 4, 2019 | The Tyee
Vancouver’s ‘Race Estate’ Market Has Hurt Many of Us

Blame capitalism, not me. As a young Chinese-Canadian, I’m a victim of the housing crisis too.

July 5, 2019 | The Tyee
Just Married! And Moving in with the In-Laws...

When the housing crisis kills the romance.

May 1, 2019 | The Georgia Straight
Libby Davies's memoir Outside In tells a grassroots story of her journey from the Downtown Eastside to Ottawa

After nearly four decades in public service, the former MP for Vancouver East shares candid memories of a life dedicated to social justice

Mar 13, 2019 | The Georgia Straight
Robots in the workplace boost careers of populist politicians like Trump, says author Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer says people who lose their jobs because of automation for the angry base for Donald Trump and other demagogues around the world. Gwynne spoke at SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts on March 6, 2019.

Feb 21, 2019 | New York Review of Books
On the Trail of the Climate

A review of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (MIT Press 2018) by Matt Hern and Am Johal with Joe Sacco. SFU Library access here.

Feb 11, 2019 | The Capilano Review
Review of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale by Matt Hern, Am Johal, & Joe Sacco (MIT Press)

"Part travelogue, part theoretical intervention, part graphic narrative..."

Jan 31, 2019 | Canadian Art
Who Has the Right to Art?

An introduction to Vancouver’s perpetual housing and unaffordability crisis, featuring commentary by Am Johal.

2017 Press Articles

Dec 1, 2017 | Policy Note
Housing crisis worse: Former UN special rapporteur Miloon Kothari revisits Vancouver

As the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing from 2000 to 2008, Miloon Kothari has observed the failure of market-based approaches to addressing housing crises.

Sep 7, 2017 | The Georgia Straight
Short SFU documentary takes viewers inside the Downtown Eastside's response to the fentanyl crisis

SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement has released a compelling documentary about how the Downtown Eastside is coping with the fentanyl crisis.

Loved Ones Lost

A series produced in partnership with the Tyee Solutions Society and SFUs Vancity Office of Community Engagement

May 5, 2017 | The Tyee
Loved Ones Lost: An Oil Driller’s Struggle

Ryan knew he was fortunate to have his family’s support. Then luck turned cruel. First in a series.

May 15, 2017 | The Tyee
Loved Ones Lost: Tears for Marnie

She survived racism, violence, and homelessness but not BC’s overdose crisis.

May 19, 2017 | The Tyee
Loved Ones Lost: Death of a Downtown Poet 

Mel Hennan drew a community to him with his art, activism and cheerful embrace of life.

May 26, 2017 | The Tyee
Loved Ones Lost: ‘I Want This Time to Teach You’

An addicted daughter’s words became her mother’s work. Last in a series.

May 1, 2017 | The Tyee
Join Us at (In)secure: The Future of Working, a Tyee Beyond the Headlines Event

SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement partner with The Tyee to present an engaging night of storytelling and dialogue about the changing nature of working in Canada. 

Mar 9, 2017 | BeatRoute Magazine
The SFU Vancouver campus boasts a thriving Indigenous presence, one they are proud to share

William Lindsay and his colleague Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, who are considered to be the go-to experts of the Indigenous Research Institute at SFU, have introduced a new approach of sharing academic research with the general public, specifically the Downtown Eastside.

Mar 1, 2017 | The Georgia Straight
SFU undergrad Samaah Jaffer helps promote understanding through community engagement

SFU undergraduate student Samaah Jaffer is a journalist, intellectual, community organizer, advocate for democratic engagement, and outspoken critic of Islamophobia. 

Seeking an Antidote to BC's Overdose Crisis

A series produced in partnership with the Tyee Solutions Society and SFUs Vancity Office of Community Engagement

Jan 25, 2017 | The Tyee
In Throes of Overdose Crisis, a Community Unites to Fight Back

Meet the people on the front lines of a public health emergency, and the solutions they seek. 

Jan 26, 2017 | The Tyee
An Urgent Call on Overdose Crisis: Prescribe Drugs, End Prohibition

Simply put, ‘fentanyl is a product of our drug policies.

Jan 27, 2017 | The Tyee
The Overdose Crisis: We Know How to Save Lives, Doctors Say

From an Albertan reserve to Vancouver’s inner city, caregivers share solutions for turning the tide.

Jan 28, 2017 | The Tyee
Five Ways to Stop BC’s Overdose Drug Deaths Now

Stopping the drug war and improving housing access is key.

Feb 21, 2017 | The Tyee
Drug Users, Advocates Demand Faster Action on Overdose Crisis

Responses ramping up, but with more than 1,000 dead treatment options still limited.

2016 Press Articles

Nov 2, 2016 | CBC News
Cartoonist draws inspiration from global conflicts

Every picture tells a story and Joe Sacco's political comics tell the difficult stories photojournalists can't always capture. . . He's in Vancouver to speak about his work Wednesday evening at an event sponsored by Simon Fraser University.

Oct 11, 2016 | The Peak
SFU hosts public discussion on gentrification in Chinatown

For many citizens, gentrification in Vancouver’s Chinatown is an ongoing concern. . . On October 5, many of those citizens gathered at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, for a panel discussion addressing the question: What is the Vision for Chinatown? The panel was presented by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the Heritage Vancouver Society.

Sep 20, 2016 |
Vancouver summer camp empowers Syrian children to tell their own stories, however they want to tell them

In early August, 2016, Simon Fraser University masters student Shawk Alani worked with colleagues like photographer Nawar Tawami to organize "Capturing Our Stories," a photography summer school and exhibition, a series of workshops for Syrian children who have recently arrived in Vancouver.

Sep 14, 2016 | The Georgia Straight
Libby Davies still tries to beat back cynicism

Nearly a year after leaving federal politics, Libby Davies is in a reflective mood. . . Libby Davies will discuss her political career in public event at SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Sep 1, 2016 | CBC News
More than just refugees: Syrian kids tell their stories their way

New photo exhibition puts focus on Syrian kids themselves rather than their story of migration.

Aug 18, 2016 | The Tyee
With Cameras in Hand, Young Syrian Refugees Learn Storytelling

SFU photography workshop aims to help newcomers develop a voice.

Feb 20, 2016 | The Tyee
'Against the Tide': Two Radical Legacies Remembered

Shipworkers' historic uprising, chronicled by Jim Green, earns Vancouver stage reading.

Feb 19, 2016 | Vancouver Observer
What does it mean to be a Muslim in Canada today?

A dialogue, discussion and book launch hosted by Simon Fraser University Woodward's on Thursday, March 3 from 7-9 PM.

Feb 8, 2016 | The Tyee
Four Highlights from Tyee's Evening with Andrew Nikiforuk

Andrew Nikiforuk surveyed the latest energy battleground for a packed Vancouver theatre.

Feb 4, 2016 | The Tyee
The Life-Saving Movement to Reclaim Indigenous Language

Kwi Awt Stelmexw and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement host a panel featuring Indigenous language activists sharing stories of language learning and community building.

2015 Press Articles

Nov 9, 2015 | The Peak
Vancouver has an inequality problem

SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the Vancouver City Planning Commission hosted a panel discussion on the issue of “Social Inequality in the City.”

Oct 27, 2015 | BetaKit
CTRL ALT DEL: Vancouver Talks Disrupting With Passion

How are you disrupting the status quo? That’s what the CTRL ALT DEL event at SFU Woodward’s in downtown Vancouver last Thursday was all about: discovering how Vancouver’s top tech entrepreneurs are changing their world.

Oct 19, 2015 | The Tyee
What Makes an Engaged University?

To SFU 'engagement' chief Am Johal, it starts with getting neighbourly.

Sep 30, 2015 | The Georgia Straight
Best of Vancouver 2015: Best impresario of community engagement - Am Johal

The Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, Am Johal, has been named the "best impresario of community engagement" as a part of the Georgia Straight's "Best of Vancouver 2015" list. 

Mar 05, 2015 | CBC News
Vancouver heritage conservation plan up for debate

Vancouver's plan to update its heritage conservation program is prompting dialogue on architectural innovation and what should be considered a heritage building hosted by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Heritage Vancouver Society.

Jim Green’s Legacy to Social Housing

A series produced in partnership with the Tyee Solutions Society and SFUs Vancity Office of Community Engagement

Feb 23, 2015 | The Tyee
At Four Sisters co-op, an affordable housing dream realized

A reflection on the legacy of the late Jim Green, former Vancouver councillor and an advocate for the city’s Downtown Eastside, who led the development of many housing projects.

Feb 24, 2015 | The Tyee
‘At My Age, All I Expect Is a Place to Live’

In Solheim Place, late councillor Jim Green helped create a Vancouver rarity. Second in a series.

Feb 25, 2015  | The Tyee
Inside Woodward’s, a Still-Contentious Social Housing Experiment

The late Jim Green’s legacy project in Vancouver continues to generate buzz. Last in a series.

Feb 26, 2015 | The Tyee
Event: Social Housing Experts Look from Legacy to Future

Expect feisty debate at this Vancouver event honouring late councillor Jim Green.

2014 Press Articles

Nov 19, 2014 | The Georgia Straight
Former senior U.S official Barnett Rubin will speak at SFU Woodward’s on future of Afghanistan

An introduction of Barnett Rubin, who spoke at the GCA on November 19 acknowledging that Afghanistan is marred by ethnic conflicts, corruption, and poverty.

2013 Press Articles

Nov 18, 2013 | Vancouver Observer
SFU Vancouver Speaker Series: A lecture by Dr. Gwynne Dyer

Drawing on interviews with scientists, policy-makers and military strategists in a dozen different countries, Dr. Gwynne Dyer explores the grave geopolitical implications of large-scale (and probably rapid) climate change.

Nov 14, 2013 | The Georgia Straight
Renee Sarojini Saklikar draws large crowd to SFU Woodward’s for launch of new book of poems

On November 13, 2013 in front of a capacity crowd at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at SFU Woodward's, Saklikar characterized the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 as "such an interrupted story".

Mar 17, 2013 | Metro News
Experts renew calls to solve foreign investment housing affordability puzzle

Is Vancouver’s housing the second least affordable in the world because of foreign investment? This is one of the questions that will be discussed at a sold out forum organized by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement featuring panelists Andy Yan, Tsur Somerville and Sandy Garrosino.

2012 Press Articles

Jan 30, 2012 | The Vancouver Sun
Kids in need can thrive in Limelight

Sisters Maureen Webb and Donalda Weaver latched onto the arts as a way to express themselves at a very young age. This experience motivated them to give back to the area with Project Limelight, a free arts program dedicated to children in the area that will offer four-month semesters of after-school workshops in acting, dancing, music, creative writing and more.

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