From October 18 – 20 the Canadian Urban Institute, the City of Victoria and the Victoria Foundation are hosting CUIxVictoria an “urban intensive” called Vital Conversations for Our Shared Future.

CUIxVictoria is an inspiring, engaging, inclusive series of events that generate possibility and excitement about our shared future. CUIxVictoria will create an opportunity for diverse sectors of Greater Victoria’s community to come together and grapple with community challenges and opportunities and generate actions that can be undertaken at many scales at once, from classrooms to neighbourhoods, from dinner tables to council tables.

Sessions include: 

And many more! All are free and open to the public.

For in person events, registration is limited to 100 people (in a 400 seat theater) so get your tickets now. All sessions (except the Lekwungen walking tours) will also be available by zoom or live stream.

The Lekwungen walking tour is hosted by Mark Albany, a member of the Songhees Nation. It’s an opportunity to understand downtown Victoria from a Lekwungen point of view, to learn about important Lekwungen sites and cultural practices, and also about the history of displacement of Indigenous peoples that made space for the creation of the City of Victoria. There are only 15 spaces available for each tour so if this is of interest, please sign up soon here. (The main page has three tours listed, one each day.)

What is an urban intensive?
An urban intensive is a deep dive into urban life. It asks us to come up against edges we may not usually be in contact with and to learn through and across difference. This means listening to different points of view, sitting down with a community organization we may know little about, or exploring a new part of town through someone else’s eyes. An urban intensive should generate new experiences; it should be surprising, evocative and ask us to question how we can live better in our city and region together, embracing difference and sharing stories. 

Here’s a bit more detail about some of the topics we invite you to explore:

In the Lekwungen Welcome and Stories for a Canada Under Review we’ll be welcomed and receive a Lekwungen teaching from Songhees Nation knowledge keeper Florence Dick and the Lekwungen Dancers. The second portion of the session is a panel discussion with some of the Indigenous members of the City Family – the City of Victoria’s reconciliation body – reflecting on what it means to be Indigenous and Canadian at a moment when Canada is “under review.”

In “Spirit Bear: Echoes of the Past – A True Story,” Cindy Blackstock and Spirit Bear are returning to Victoria to launch the children’s book they wrote after their last visit to Lekwungen territory, about residential schools and also the removal of the Sir John A Macdonald statue from in front of City Hall. This session is being held in person for a small group of children from the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and local elementary schools. Other classrooms and members of the public are invited to tune into the livestream and to share questions for Cindy and Spirit Bear in the chat. Please pass this along to any teachers or parents you know!

In “Hope Meets Action: Echoes Through the Black Continuum,” for the first time in its history, the Royal BC Museum has handed over curatorial authority to the community. This session will explore the challenges: What felt hard and new? The opportunities: What felt exciting and new? And what’s next: What advice do panelists have to share for institutions and communities that want to work together to centre the voices of those who have been historically and also presently silenced?

In Healthy and Just Food Systems we’ll explore the great changes and shifts the local food security movement has experienced over the past 18 months, balancing entrenched hunger and poverty with people’s deep desire to connect to each other and the land. Join us for a conversation with local food leaders working at the intersections of race and equity, to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities that they see in their own work and for society to work better as we emerge from the pandemic. Roundtable participants will speak to “What do you see that gives you the most hope in your work in relation to equity and food justice?”

In Belonging in Victoria: Muslim Voices for Change Muslim women from the community will explore themes of Islamophobia, belonging, racism and safety by sharing their local and global everyday experiences. Inspired by their calls to action from the National Summit on Islamophobia that took place in July 2021, the panel offers concrete recommendations for meaningful action on addressing ongoing faith-based hate, racism and colonialism on the traditional territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples.

Please head here to see the whole program and to register for individual sessions. Everyone is encouraged to register for the opening plenary: Lekwungen Welcome and Stories for a Canada Under Review and the closing plenary, Our Shared Future: Reflections from Youth – Calls to Action. In person sessions are on a first-come first served basis and will follow all public health guidelines.

Please share this post and the program with everyone you think might be interested. The more participants, the richer the conversation, the brighter our city and our region’s future.

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