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Public engagement begins for new South Asian Canadian museum

November 21, 2023 at 9:17 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

A new website will provide British Columbians with opportunities to share their vision for a new museum to highlight the history, culture and contributions to B.C. from Canadians of diverse South Asian heritages.

“Public input, especially from South Asian communities, is vital to moving forward on this first-of-its-kind museum,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “This website will provide a platform for everyone involved to be heard and I am confident that the engagement will help bring together a shared vision that reflects the needs and aspirations of South Asian communities in B.C.”

The public engagement process will provide multiple and different opportunities for participation informed by Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and the ministerial advisory committee. The committee is made up of appointed members who identify as South Asian selected for their experience in community engagement, lived experience and cultural knowledge . Their role is to inform the development of the engagement plan, share opportunities within their communities and support community-based conversations.

“For almost 130 years people from South Asia have been calling British Columbia home, but this has not always been a welcoming place for them,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “By working with community members we can build a unique and meaningful museum that will better reflect and preserve the diverse and rich history of South Asians in the province for generations to come.”

The Province is committed to an inclusive, responsive and transparent engagement process that provides space for all points of view, experiences, stories and voices. The engagement will include South Asian Canadian organizations and communities, including leaders, youth, elders, entrepreneurs, artists, scholars, historians, and people from diverse social, cultural, gender and accessibility-inclusive communities.

There will be multiple opportunities for British Columbians to share their input in person and virtually during the engagement process. Public input will be vital for decision-making at every phase of the project, including determining the name, location and vision for this museum.

“I am delighted and honoured to participate in the groundbreaking work of an innovative and vital new institution for all of British Columbia, a new museum that highlights the living history, vibrant cultures and contributions to our province and nation from peoples of diverse South Asian heritage,” said Haroon Khan, co-chair, ministerial advisory committee. “History is not something that happens, it’s something you make. Let’s make history together.”

Community-designed workshops and an online public survey will begin in early 2024. Feedback received through the engagement process will be released in a report summarizing key recommendations, themes and questions, which will be published on the engagement website in the summer of 2024.

Quick Facts:

  • The new museum will build on both the Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project and South Asian Canadian Legacy Project, which showcased the past and present contributions of South Asians in B.C. with more than $1.2 million in government support.
  • The Centre for Dialogue’s role is to provide strategic advice to the Province so that engagement is designed with the principles of equity, inclusivity, accessibility, anti-racism and anti-casteism.
  • The centre works closely with the advisory committee to reflect the communities’ desires for how to have these conversations in the design of engagement opportunities.
  • The centre’s role as public engagement specialist is not to create the vision for the museum. That is the role of communities. 
  • The establishment of a South Asian Canadian museum is part of the Province’s cross-government work to collaborate with Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities to dismantle systemic racism and build a better, more inclusive province.

Learn More:

To learn more about the engagement, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/southasiancanadianmuseum

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