July 4, 2022
New downtown pop-up creates dynamic space for Black youth
This summer, an empty downtown storefront on Stephen Avenue gets a new lease on life as a pop-up space celebrating Black culture and excellence while providing youth with an amazing leadership opportunity.
Transformative Racial and Spatial Justice: Celebrating Black People’s Knowledges and Contributions is a collaboration between the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work Anti-Black Racism Task Force and the School of Architecture Planning and Landscape (SAPL). The project is being led by Faculty of Social Work professor Dr. Patrina Duhaney, PhD.
The summer youth leadership program provides eight to 12 participants (age 15 to 18) with a unique opportunity to learn a variety of skills, develop leadership abilities and learn about — and celebrate — Black culture and excellence.
The pop-up, known as the Calgary Design Clinic, located at 808, 1 St. S.W., will also provide a space for various Black communities, local leaders, artists and musicians to come together, display or perform their work and be celebrated.
“This space will offer an amazing opportunity to celebrate Black contributions in Calgary’s downtown,” says Duhaney, who is the lead researcher on the project. “It also creates access for youth in spaces they are often excluded.”
“Activities in the space are intended to illuminate the intersections between race and space and to dismantle and transform oppressive spaces that minimize or exclude Black contributions,” says Duhaney. “Locals and tourists will also appreciate the vibrant infusion of Black art and culture.”
The youth will participate in a series of workshops and activities and bring awareness to emerging issues in Black communities and develop an action plan to enact change.
“The project is intended to recognize the strength, resilience and plight of Black people while advocating for Black inclusion through spatial justice opportunities. It also aligns with The City of Calgary’s commitment to addressing anti-Black racism, and the Future of Stephen Avenue Project. We have had significant interest in the program from youth and parents," says Duhaney, who is currently exploring ways to accommodate as many Black youth as possible.
She says she hopes "Calgarians will take the time to visit and see what’s happening at the pop-up space over the next two months.”
Transformative Racial and Spatial Justice: Celebrating Black People’s Knowledges and Contributions officially opens today, Monday, July 4.