Community Conversations is an initiative of the office of Global & Community Engagement in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). Its inaugural series, comprising 16 unique events, is profiled in a new eBook.
The goal of this initiative is simple: to engage with the community in spaces outside the University campus. Held in various accessible locations across the GTA, each conversation was a collective reflection on topics important to community partners, such as identity, culture, food, mental health, student debt and education.
The eBook gives a glimpse into the ways the series of conversations has brought together a diversity of perspectives and insights, attracting parents, teachers, academics, students, politicians, community members at large, activists and elders.
“What began as a small step has blossomed into a significant initiative through the leadership of our colleagues, students and staff, and of course, the communities who worked with us,” said Narda Razack, associate dean, Global & Community Engagement, LA&PS. “Some of the conversations garnered broader public interest, leading to radio interviews and television coverage.”
The inaugural conversation focused on youth, higher education and community engagement in the Portuguese Community. This vibrant and timely dialogue succeeded in actively enhancing public engagement and led to our first Summer Camp for Portuguese Youth which ran July 10 to 14, 2017 at the Keele Campus.
In 2017, a series of three conversations on Tween Identity were organized, which led to requests for hosting conversations on these topics in schools. The series explored what it means to be a tween girl; Black girls and identity; and tweens, teens and social justice.
“We hope the stories in our eBook inspire colleagues to initiate more conversations. Such conversations are an important way in which the university, as a public institution, engages in the public realm. It is a priority identified in York’s academic plan (UAP 2015-2020). I look forward to continuing these conversations with an ever-expanding community of partners,” said LA&PS Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed.
The first two Community Conversations to take place in 2018 are now scheduled: “Black Panther”, Celebrating Blackness in the African Diaspora, in downtown Toronto’s Fort York Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 24, and Mapping out Muslims in Canada: Critical Debates in Academia and Beyond, on Friday, March 2, at the Noor Cultural Centre on Wynford Drive.
To view the eBook, visit www.laps.yorku.ca/ebooks.