Our Partnership


We have been developing our partnership since 2017. We are two civil-society organisations based in Verdun, Montreal and actors from McGill University:  Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office, students and faculty in the Schools of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Desautels Faculty of Management. We are exploring the possibilities for developing an experimental university-community hub for social innovation and community engaged learning. The Southwest Storytelling Hub will be a space for community events, literacy programs, knowledge and skill exchange, job training, community engaged learning university courses, and collective action  research. 

Our 2018 team at our annual  Book Launch and Community Design Workshop , Verdun, Montreal.  Click the photo to learn more about this event!

Our 2018 team at our annual Book Launch and Community Design Workshop, Verdun, Montreal.  Click the photo to learn more about this event!


Suspicious Fish

The mission is to craft, play and get a little bit messy as a means to strengthen community through stories!

Suspicious Fish is an after-school creative literacy and arts program for children and youth aged eight to twelve. Founded in 2007 by Gary Purcell, the program is delivered to elementary and high school students. Suspicious Fish provides a safe space for children and youth to explore their creativity and develop their own voice through creative writing, art, and film-making. They have a free rein to develop stories based on their own life experiences. Such an opportunity enables participants to craft their narrative and explore issues they face in their daily lives, while enhancing a sense of community.

The outfit has recently grown from an informal setup to being a registered non-profit organisation. After more than ten years of offering child and youth literacy programming, Suspicious Fish aims to expand their programs to include children and youth from other schools, as well as young adults. Thus, Suspicious Fish needs a new permanent home which encourages children to be more creative, enables coordination between like-minded organisations and is sustainable to operate in the long run.



Social Equity and diversity education Office, Mcgill university

We aim to develop an equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus through education. 

At the heart of McGill University’s commitment to equity, SEDE works to ensure an equitable and inclusive experience for all students, staff, and faculty. SEDE believes that equity, diversity and inclusion are essential to the academic excellence and service to society for which McGill is known and continuously strives.

SEDE's mission is carried out through education and awareness-raising programs and initiatives which recognize and integrate diverse perspectives and experiences, and foster meaningful, respectful engagement in all aspects of life at McGill.

Experiential Community-Engaged Learning & Research (ExCELR) is a teaching and learning approach that integrates volunteer community work with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.  Students who participate in classes with an ExCELR option have the opportunity to work on a project with a community organization, and apply the learning that occurs in this community setting to their academic studies. ExCELR has a particular format that involves the use of intentional reflection as a key component of the learning experience, and students are supported throughout the ExCELR experience. 




Literacy quebec

It connects and represents community-based literacy organizations to empower people, impact lives and build a stronger society. 

Literacy Quebec began as an umbrella organisation in 1980, when adult education coordinators at school boards across the province established volunteer literacy councils in each region of Quebec. Over the next two decades, the organization grew, and in the year 1999 became a registered charity. They provide professional development opportunities for literacy practitioners, advocate for literacy, network with literacy-related groups, and raise awareness of the importance of literacy in Quebec. Its focus lies in supporting literacy within the English-speaking minority population of Quebec.

Its office lies across the street and in close proximity to Verdun Elementary School. Like Suspicious Fish, Literacy Quebec is interested in finding a new space to enhance their service offerings in Verdun.





Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architectureschool of urban planning, and Desautels FAculty of management, Mcgill university

 Public research universities can act as vital nodes in emerging ecosystems of community-driven coproduction, co-creation, and
collaboration. In response, we seek to build the McGill CoDesign Workshop as a community-based space for exploratory Critical Service Learning and Community-Engaged Learning. We have dubbed this undertaking the McGill CoDesign Workshop, in homage to the original Community Design Workshops. Inspired by successful ‘Art Hives’ and ‘Makerspaces’ (Coar, 2014; Hyysalo et al., 2014; Routledge, 1996; Timm-Bottos & Reilly, 2014).

From Spring 2018 to Summer 2020, the collaboration will explore how McGill can meet the growing demand for Critical Service
Learning—whereby students are given opportunities to engage with local stakeholders to coproduce strategies for the redistribution of power (social justice) while developing authentic relationships across disciplinary boundaries beyond the rarefied world of the university campus (Coar, 2014; Mitchell, 2008; Neuman, 2016). 

McGill CoDesign Workshop will offer space for collaboration and programmatic support to instructors and students in interdisciplinary courses, beginning with Community Design Workshop (ARCH 514 / URBP 514—Luka et al.) and Social Context of Business (MGCR 360—Addy). McGill will continue as an active participant through multidisciplinary action-research activities involving researchers and students from various departments and disciplines in (and through) the Verdun community-based city-making ‘hive’.