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Do you live in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Downtown South or somewhere nearby?
Would you like to learn more about Writing, Critical Thinking, Philosophy, Music, Art, Sociology, Popular Culture, First Nations Studies, Literature, History, Politics, Gender Studies, Law, Architecture and more.
Humanities 101 offers three non-credit university-level courses at UBC for people living in the DTES and surrounding areas who have a lust for knowledge and education, especially those whose economic situation, academic experience, financial and social well-being are compromised. With respect to their low incomes, all students receive course materials, bus tickets, meal vouchers and childcare, as well as student cards which give access to UBC amenities.
To apply for a course you need to attend an application session. The next round of intake will take place in August 2013, for the courses starting in September 2013. Please check back here closer to the time for details on where and when to apply.
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has been made infamous as a worst-case scenario of contemporary westernized urban life, an image which is over-represented by the media, politicians, artists, theorists and researchers and is of compelling interest locally, nationally and internationally.
Yet the Downtown Eastside (DTES) also houses, or finds homeless, many residents who counter this pummeling view in countless inspiring ways. Amongst them are those engaged with Humanities 101, a 13 year old community education programme which offers free public education on the DTES and free non-credit courses at the University of British Columbia to residents of the DTES and nearby areas who are passionate about learning, and who live with material poverty.
Last year, Humanities 101 students, alumni, volunteers, staff and faculty produced some public projects. One was a piece for an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery called “WE: VANCOUVER 12 Manifestos for the City’ (Feb to May). The exhibition examined Vancouver through the extraordinary range of practices, actions and ideas that shape and activate it. Hum’s contribution to the VAG show, called "Take the cotton out of your ears, put it in your mouth & listen, listen, listen," was in the form of an animated manifesto and many audio works which can be seen and listened to by following the link - Hum at the VAG
News media often stereotype the Downtown Eastside and its residents in negative ways. The chance to counter these frequent representations presented itself when UBC's student newspaper, The UBYSSEY, asked Humanities 101 to produce a special feature about the Programme and the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The feature, a collection of essays from current students and alumni which pertain to both Hum and the DTES, was produced as a platform for Hum students to talk about their community as they see and live it, and the feature's design manifests this complexity. Unfortunately, the editors did not publish the feature in this form, and some of their editorial decisions contribute to pernicious stereotypes. To see the feature in its original form, please follow the link UBYSSEY supplement, and if you want to print out the colour centrefold, please follow this link UBYSSEY poster.
Students, faculty and staff worked together and produced collective manifestos for the March 2011 -"Manifestos Now"- edition of The Capilano Review. The work can be seen here - TCR
Students study a different area each week, taught by excellent teachers in a respectful environment.The courses focus on critical and creative thinking in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and take place from 6.30-9.00p.m. on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays:
- Humanities 101: an eight month course in the Humanities (Tues & Thurs)
- Humanities 201: an eight month course for grads of both Humanities 101
- Writing: a three month writing course twice yearly (Tues). Each class, a different teacher presents a genre of writing which students then practice individually and together.
Many people are involved in the Humanities 101 community, for along with these courses we also hold public events on the DTES which are open to everyone: reading and writing groups, lectures, discussions, workshops and an alumna-led weekly Documentary Film Series. All past and current students are invited and welcome to participate in these ongoing public programmes, and are especially encouraged to give their crucial input and feedback at the regular meetings of the Steering Committee which guides all aspects of the Programme.
Now in its fourteenth year and with over 600 graduates, Hum engages students, faculty and community members alike in a vibrant exchange of ideas, supporting an active sense of citizenship and a lifelong commitment to learning and critical, creative thinking. Part of an international movement of similar programmes (and the first of its kind in Canada), our students are people from around the world with diverse backgrounds and knowledge, and of many ages and strengths.
The Programme is supported by residents of the Downtown Eastside and surrounding areas, and sponsored by the University of British Columbia’s Office of the Dean of Arts and private donations.
To find out more about Humanities 101 – to apply for a course, volunteer to teach – or for any information about courses or Public Programmes please contact us.If you would like to make a donation please follow the link