In Summer 2019, the SURE program involved five days of intensive pre-program preparation. Students became acquainted with Black history, culture, and community in Canada. A number of Black Canadian scholars, poets, and activists met with the students, discussed their own research and experiences within the academy and other cultural institutions.
We worked within an anti-oppressive framework, discussing assigned readings from Phanuel Antwi and David Chariandy’s Writing Black Canadas, Award Ibrahim and Ali Abdi’s The Education of African Canadian Children, Denham Jolly’s In the Black, and Whitney French’s Black Writers Matter. Additionally, students engaged with articles, images, and archival materials, examining the legacy of anti-blackness in Canadian education, including the #BlackOnCampus movement at the University of Guelph in 2015.
We then embarked on a twelve-day journey to Halifax and rural Nova Scotia, where we visited various museums, community organizations, and cultural institutions, including the Black Cultural Society, the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, Africville Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Immigration. Students learned from a number of Black Nova Scotian artists, activists, and academics, who generously shared their knowledge, experience, and expertise with us: El Jones, Louise Delisle, Sylvia Hamilton, Isaac Saney, and Afua Cooper.
Organized by Cassie Wever and Project Serve, students volunteered at various Black community organizations and educational institutions in Halifax: the Africville Museum, Delmore Buddy Daye Learning Institute, Hope Blooms, and Imhotep’s Legacy. During these four-days of community-engaged learning, students gained valuable insight into the role played by local Black communities, institutions and organizations in shaping educational policy and practices that work toward justice and academic success.
Following our return to Guelph, we undertook two days of digital narrative building, facilitated by the Re·Vision Centre. Students used archival and other source materials to create digital narratives that integrated theoretical frameworks, historical knowledges, and personal reflections about blackness in Canada.
SURE participants in Summer 2019: Mechaela Alfonso, Laxmi Aryal, Dominique Brewster, Laila Harris, Amia Khosla, Sydney Martinez-Khan, Obehi Okaka, Judy Snagg, and Jaden Walters.
SURE scholars come from a number of disciplines, including English and Theatre Studies, Biological Science, Criminal Justice and Public Policy, and Psychology (Brain and Cognition), with varying levels of research experience, ranging from rising first-years to graduating seniors.