Past Community Reading and Writing Groups

Study Groups are lively forums for discussing subjects of mutual interest in informed ways. They are free and are held either weekly or bi-weekly at the Carnegie Centre or the Gathering Place. Participants are free to join these groups at any stage. Readings are available at the groups, and form the focus of each session, sometimes leading to conversations that carry on for years. Groups are facilitated by Hum students, alumni and staff, plus people from the wider community.

 

 

Questions about Public Programmes?

How do I find out about Public Programmes?
Please contact us at 604 822-0028 or email h.u.m@ubc.ca

Can I just show up at one of the study groups?
Of course you can! There is no better way to find out what a study group is like than by dropping in to say hi and getting involved in the discussion. You will be more than welcome at any of the study groups.

Do I need to know something about the study group’s subject before attending?
Not at all! The purpose of the study groups is to provide a learning environment for anyone who is willing to discuss and debate what they have gathered from the readings.

Where do I get the readings?
Readings will be given out at the group. We are currently looking at an online option.

Past Study Groups:

Very Close Reading, Aloud!
When: Every Saturday from 12.00 – 2.00 p.m.
Where: Third floor classroom, the Carnegie Centre, Main and Hastings Streets
Facilitator: Steve Wexler
Current reading: Faust, by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This group meets every Saturday to read aloud and discuss some time-honored literature. Texts are supplied at the group.

Digital Media – Facts, Fiction and Opportunities
Facilitated by Wil Steele and Fred Joly

Meeting at the ARA Mental Health Action Research and Advocacy Association, this group explored the world of digital media. Participants had the opportunity to learn new forms of communication with friends, family and other support networks. Fears and misunderstandings about digital platforms were addressed, and we learned how they are useful vessels for public and private creative expression. In these capacities, both aspiring artists and those seeking additional recovery related tools were able to benefit. Help was always on hand to get newcomers started with email, social media, blogging and other networking accounts.

Hum speaker series
In 2014/15, on the last Wednesday of each month Hum teamed up with he Carnegie Centre to host a guest speaker from Hum’s expansive list of teachers. The series ran for one year, covering a different subject each month.

Truth and Reconciliation Group
Facilitated by Katherine Carey

This discussion group explored the topic of reconciliation in relation to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Living on the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam and Coast Salish People, participants approached the topic of reconciliation by looking at critical perspectives, theoretical frameworks, decolonizing methodologies, political theory and activism, and strategic approaches to contemporary Indigenous issues.  September 18th-21st was the Vancouver National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; as well, 2013 was the Year of Reconciliation, as proclaimed by the City of Vancouver. We evaluated how effective 2013 was as a year of reconciliation, from the groups various perspectives as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, students and community members. We can also asked ourselves what steps we could take in each of our positions to better the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Nature, Science, and Society
Facilitated by Greg Scutt

Saving nature, being friendly to it, even “getting back to it” is such prolific rhetoric that one might conclude that we know what the heck nature is! Nature, however, is perhaps the most complex word in the English language and in one sense points to everything external to humans, culture and history in another refers to everyone, everything at any time. Such a slippery notion of nature is used to explain plenty, from natural disasters to natural genders. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to hear how techno-science is altering this nebulous nature, even (re)making it through bio-science and climate change thus causing the so called “environmental crisis”. The Nature, Society and Science study group explored, discussed and debated this crisis and the meaning of nature(s)—including human nature.

Learning Mandarin
Facilitated by Willie Li

Hum alumnus Willie Li gave Hum participants lessons in Mandarin. As a native Chinese speaker with a background in Chinese literature and years of teaching in universities, the course was developed for English speakers.

Exploring Cyberculture: Influence, Impact and Relevance to Contemporary Society Facilitated by Wil Steele and Michael Stewart

Through our participation in online communities like Facebook to our absorbing of media we are influenced by and are participants in cyberculture in ways once predicted by cybercultural experts and authors alike. Our society has indeed been transformed from what it was even a decade ago by technology that was once thought to be the realm of freaks in the cybercultural community. In this study group we discussed how cyberculture influences and affects our lives and impacts the world as well as what lessons there are to be learned from cybercultural narratives. Through a look at essays, written fiction, images, and audio and visual narratives we shall endevour to explore the depths of a cultural movement that has come out of the shadows of counter-culture to become the single most far reaching and widely adopted culture of today.

Rhetoric and Discussion
Facilitated by Ajay Parasram

Either at a community meeting, in a class room, public forum, or elsewhere, it is too often the loudest person that gets heard whilst brilliant thoughts are left chained in the heads of thinkers. The Rhetoric and Discussion study group studied effective methods in public speaking through reading, discussion, and practice. We focused on reasoning, exploring the thought process and how to work through putting together arguments in several different settings.

Shakespeare
Facilitated by Fazeela Jiwa

The master of words, the greatest poet, playwright and storyteller of all time, or an old fart that no one can understand? William Shakespeare’s poetry and plays have been read and performed for ages because of their timeless themes. But most folks have been turned off of his lovely words because of bad school experiences. The Shakespeare study group explored all the ways we can relate to Shakespeare in the present day. We decided which issues are the most important to the group—revenge, the power of women, jealousy, incest—then read and watched the plays with those themes in mind.

What is it about Woodwards?
Facilitated by Sue Pell

Focusing on the period that the building sat empty, this study group looked at the different public discourses of Woodwards that arose in the media, city council, and the community. Drawing on newspaper articles, city reports, community campaigns, and writings of the Woodward’s squatters, we will look at the intersection of social identities, (individual and social) rights to place, and uses of history as a way to understand the highly contested decision making process about the Woodward’s building and the simultaneous process of place-making that its conversion provoked. Together as we worked through the various stories of Woodwards to see what the alternatives could hold for its future and the future of the DTES.

Film Lovers’ Group
Facilitated by Rob MacDermot

Each week a new movie is watched and discussed.

Are We Free Yet?
Facilitated by Erin Graham

We were free to choose our own topics of discussion in this group! For example, sociology, anthropology, history and geography. We focused our discussions around conceptualizations of “freedom” as theorized by a variety of thinkers, and as experienced (or not) by the women in the group. Women began by discussing networks—where we come from, where we are in relation to others (family, friends, work, education, health, social services and so on).  As we conversed during our first round together an over-arching theme of “compassion” emerged. All of the women in the group wanted to extend and apply what they learned and thought deeply about in Hum courses. But we were not just sitting around thinking and talking, we were also planning to go places too!

Hum101 series: What is ‘gentrification’?
Facilitated by Arthur Allen

Long-time Hum teacher and architect Arthur Allen taught participants how to read and make architectural drawings. Starting out with the idea of designing the cottage of your dreams, based on feedback from the first session, Arthur shifted it so that participants will design one block of housing with all their dreams drawn in: what participants would really like to see there.

In the summer of 2010 Hum students and staff participated in a study group focused on Gentrification. Vancouver’s DTES is being gentrified at an alarming rate and we had the idea of creating a list of keywords around gentrification so people have a language to use. The keywords were used as part of Hum’s manifesto which was published in the Spring 2011 Capilano Review.