Hum Manifesto

LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN to the voices of Humanities 101. Choose between a short sample or the full-length audio below.

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Participants describe the Humanities 101 Community Programme (Hum), speaking about their experiences and what Hum means to them.

George Wallace; 3.06 mins

Dean Brooks, “What I want”, 2.45 mins

Georgia Kelly; 1.09 mins

Hum Faculty and Staff Dr. Margot Leigh Butler (Director), Paul Woodhouse (Programme Coordinator), Alison Rajah, Chris Hiebert, Julian Weideman and Greg Scutt (Programme Assistants).

Debbie Blair; 3.26 mins

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Listen to Downtown Eastside residents speaking about their own neighbourhood.

The Downtown Eastside has been made infamous as a worst-case scenario of contemporary urban life in the west, an image that’s over-represented by the media, politicians, artists, theorists and researchers and is of compelling interest locally, nationally and internationally. Yet the Downtown Eastside also houses, and finds homeless, many residents who counter this pummeling view in countless inspiring ways. Amongst them are those involved with Humanities 101. Listen to the voices of residents speaking about their own neighbourhood.

Maryanna Aston Moore, “Moving to the DTES”; 3.07 mins

Charlene Bozoian, “The Kingdom of Hastings and Main”, 3.05 mins

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"Stereotypes get hold of the few 'simple, vivid, memorable, easily grasped and widely recognized' characteristics about a person, reduce everything about the person to those traits, exaggerate and simplify them, and fix them without change or development to eternity. …It divides the normal and the acceptable from the abnormal and unacceptable. It then excludes or expels everything which does not fit, which is different. …Stereotyping tends to occur where there are gross inequalities of power." Stuart Hall, Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, Sage Publications, London, 1997, page 258.

Willie Li, “Food Line”; 5.44 mins

Janet Dawson, “A history of the DTES”; 2.57 mins

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“Two years have passed since I received the Common Experience Payment from the federal government. This was a part of a process that saw the government of Canada come to terms with Aboriginal people who generation after generation were sent to Residential Schools across Canada.” Pat Delorme

“The Woodward’s development is a telling example in that the hoped for social housing (both there and on South False Creek) are under a concerted effort to diminish and/or eliminate. What is built very likely won’t house anyone who participated in the months’ long squat; all housing starts are of the condo variety with hefty tags and much of the boarded up and empty space so visible will not rent to or be used by low-income ventures or services for current residents. The poor are generally seen as docile or finally defeated by money, money and more money.” PaulR Taylor

Pat Delorme, “My Own Story, A Personal Journey”; 5.51 mins

Lisa David, “An Ode to Your Heart”; 1.24 mins

PaulR Taylor, “It’s so muddy it’s becoming clear; 5.03 mins

Lorna, “Life in a DTES hotel”; 5.16 mins

Phoenix Winter, “Where I choose to die”; 2.49 mins

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“I do not have the answers to all the homeless situations, but I do believe that solutions are out there if only government policy is put into place that does not distrust the individual who is in need.” Pat Haram

“The DTES low-income community has a right to exist in Vancouver + to seek improvements for itself; residents themselves, with help from government, will be able to strengthen and improve their already strong community by building on assets that are currently present.” Carnegie Community Action Project’s “Community Vision for Change in the Downtown Eastside” puts forth 12 key actions as the foundation and guide for future development in the DTES. It’s based on 2+ years of intensive work with 1,200 low-income DTES residents and in co-operation with many DTES organization. Research by CCAP’s Wendy Pedersen and Jean Swanson, June 2010.

1. Build social housing for low-income people
2. Tackle systemic poverty
3. Stop gentrification: a process that has happened in hundreds of cities around the world when richer people push out poorer people in a community, and property values increase.
4. Improve safety by working with police to provide a better understanding of DTES
residents from their perspective, dealing with security guard harassment, non-resident drinkers, and replacing the illegal drug market with a legal market based on health + human rights principles
5. Improve health services
6. Support and fund DTES arts and culture
7. Develop an economy that serves and employs local residents
8. Ensure public spaces are public, not gated, sufficient, safe, and welcoming
9. Keep towers out and retain heritage buildings
10. Involve DTES residents in neighbourhood decisions
11. Attract more children
12. Create a DTES image that honours & respects low-income residents.

Pat Haram, “Homelessness and its effects on women residing in the Downtown Eastside; 9.07 mins

Robyn Livingstone, “I aint got no home”; 5.30 mins

Jan Tse and Sharon Johnson; 13.02 mins

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“Trying to cure my emotions through philosophy: that was the question posed to me [by our philosophy teacher, Sylvia Berryman]. I have tried whiskey, beer and gin but now I will look at this using philosophy. I have experienced rejection and loss a lot in my life; from not getting that job I wanted to not getting that perfect relationship I wanted. Instead of whiskey, gin and beer I could use critical thinking. In quoting the Stoic philosopher Epictetus’ “Enchiridion” I can use the following as premises: “In the case of everything attractive or useful or that you are fond of, remember to say just what sort of thing it is, beginning with the least little things. If you are fond of a jug, say “I am fond of a jug!” For then when it is broken you will not be upset.” “If you kiss your child or your wife, say that you are kissing a human being; for when it dies you will not be upset”. This is being stoic though others would accuse me of being cold and not showing my feelings.” Dan Wilson

Wil Steele, “Take Me to Your Teacher: Teachers as Influential Leaders of Society”; 3.12 mins

George Wallace, “What changes when language changes”; 57 secs

Daniel Wilson, “Curing emotions through Philosophy”; 2.15 mins

Daniel Wilson; 3.10 mins

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There are three courses - Humanities 101, 201 & Writing – that meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from September to April at UBC. Each week a different volunteer teacher presents a subject, followed by individual or small group work facilitated by UBC students. A Homework Club helps Hum 101/201 students prepare for class by going through assigned readings and contextualizing the subject area, and tutors help Hum and Writing students with their assignments. Writing includes creative, academic and professional writing; Hum 101/201 includes Geography, First Nations Languages & Studies, Education, Law, Semiotics, Sociology, Architecture, Cultural Studies, Art, Music, Women’s & Gender Studies, Human Rights, History, Anthropology, English, Economics and more. Participants receive dictionaries at the start of the term, as well as other practical support. Students and alumni initiate Public Programmes which take place at DTES/South community centres: a long-running Documentary Film Series; and Study Groups on Shakespeare, Rhetoric, Displacement & Gentrification, Cyberculture, Science/Nature/Society…

Margot Leigh Butler, “Semiotics”; 18.18 mins

Elvin Wyly, “Gentrification”; 44.03 mins

Peter Seixas, “Historical Consciousness”; 53.43 mins

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Last autumn, Hum alumni and Steering Committee members gathered at Carnegie Centre to meet with John Vigna, a writer producing an essay for UBC’s Trek Alumni magazine (Fall/Winter 201o). Listen to the first part of this 2 hour conversation between Colleen Carroll, Wil Steele, Antonietta Gesualdi, Robyn Livingstone, Pat Haram, Margot Leigh Butler and John Vigna.

John Vigna’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in newspapers, magazines and anthologies. A graduate of UBC’s MFA program, John is currently a lecturer at the University of the Fraser Valley, Douglas College and Vancouver Island University, and teaches on Hum’s Writing course.

C. Carroll is passionate about education and community activism. She initiated and runs a weekly Hum documentary film series at Carnegie Centre for 4 1/2 years.

Wil Steele volunteers at the Gathering Place, where his Hum Study Group on Cyberculture takes place. After taking Hum 101 last year, he’s now in the second term of Arts One at UBC.

Antonietta Gesualdi is an advocate for education as a way out of poverty. She’s an active alumna and Steering Committee member, a volunteer cooking teacher, and a student at Capilano University.

Robyn Livingstone has been involved with Hum for 6 years as a student and mentor. He’s a singer and poet, and volunteers for many many local non-profit arts groups.

Pat Haram is involved in all aspects of Hum, and also volunteers with the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. She loves learning for learning’s sake, and is currently studying First Nations Languages in a course held on the Musqueam Reserve.

Margot Leigh Butler is the Academic Director of the Hum, which she’s been involved with for 10 years - the first 5 as one of many volunteer teachers, and the second 5 as the Director. She is also an artist, researcher and cultural theorist, focusing on the politics of representation and figures of implicatedness.

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Hum courses and Public Programmes are interdisciplinary and focus on relevant critical & creative thinking practices. In them, participants produce work which is critical & creative.

Listen to the work of:

Phoenix Winter, “3 line manifesto”; 16 seconds

Harris Pearson, “Good decisions are important”; 6 mins

Paul Hurl, “Class tonight”; 44 secs

Smediron, “Home”; 1.14 mins

Vickta J, “The Hum shake-up”

Robyn Livingstone, “Someone, somewhere”; 4.38 mins

Three-line Manifesto by Phoenix Winter

The rivers belong to the people, not corporations.
They need to run their natural courses.
Water is a sacred right.

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A manifesto says This is What We Want!

Many people involved with Hum are manifesting manifestos daily! They are activists, advocates, artists, poets, vocalists, volunteers and intellectuals who contribute to and publish newsletters on the DTES/South, work with the Carnegie Community Action Project, Raise the Rates, Carnegie Community Centre Association Board, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and the Power of Women, Aboriginal Front Door, VANDU (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users), the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, The Gathering Place and more…

For the current ‘Manifesto’ issue of TCR, published by Capilano University, Hum participants worked with the Carnegie Community Action Project’s report released in June 2010 called “Community Vision for Change in the Downtown Eastside: Assets to Actions,” turning the Summary & 12 Key Actions into manifestos. Participants include: Charlene Bozoian, Daniel George, Lorna Johnson, Brenn Kapitan, Gladys Lee, Mahamoud Hersi, Robert Makela, Gena Thompson, Phoenix Winter, Margot Leigh Butler, C. Carroll, Henry Flam, Sharon Johnson, Georgia Kelly, Sue Pell, Alison Rajah, Greg Scutt, Melissa Thomas, Christopher Winkler & Paul Woodhouse.

HUMANITIES 101 COMMUNITY PROGRAMME (Hum) runs free courses at UBC and free public education in the Downtown Eastside & Downtown South (DTES/South) with residents who are passionate about learning and who live with low incomes. Many are advocates, activists, artists, poets, vocalists, volunteers and intellectuals who are very involved with their communities, yet are without access to universities. Their lives, experience and knowledge inform Hum courses which focus on relevant, interdisciplinary critical and creative thinking practices. Hum is part of an international movement, and is the oldest programme of its kind in Canada. Its Steering Committee of students and alumni meets regularly and guides all aspects of the Programme.