Innovation, Creativity, Access

May 20, 2016 by  Uncategorized /

Kellen Jackson is a BFA Film student minoring in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies in her second year at Simon Fraser University. She has joined the ASC! team in a Work-Study position in collaboration with SFU.

Recently, our very own Judith Marcuse was featured in an SFU Public Square Innovator Profile, as part of Public Square’s 2014 Community Summit “Innovation: The Shock of the Possible”.
I’ve been with Judith and the ASC! team for about a month now, and already I feel that my thinking in terms of the efficacy of the liberal template has been challenged in a healthy and productive way. Getting up to speed with community cultural development frameworks has opened my eyes to the fact that there is an abundance of hard-working folk out there already working within the system, challenging bureaucracy and prioritizing creativity, imagination, and community. As a young artist just beginning to lower myself into the pool of social justice and community engagement work, realizing the scope and variety of channels already flowing is incredibly exciting.

Judith leaves us with three simply phrased but very challenging questions:

What matters to you?

What are the changes you want to create?

What would the world be like if empathy and creativity were harnessed as core forces to create a more just and sustainable world?

I believe these questions are essential thoughts to untangle, not just for someone looking to engage with social justice, but for anyone living in this totally interconnected, global community.

SFU Public Square Is?

SFU has claimed a mission to Engage the World, as a top research university with a global lens, and as a civically engaged public institution. SFU Public Square is an (in my opinion laudable) initiative from Simon Fraser University for engaging local community in productive discourse about current issues and events. The platform strives for inclusivity, and diversity, providing an important space where public and student voices can be heard at the same volume as Those in Power.

Last week, myself and a few other members of the ASC! team attended one of the Innovation Summit events – a moderated panel on the movement toward Open Textbooks. The work happening now with the BC Campus project is moving forward with the interests of students and professors at heart. They aim to provide free and open access to textbooks in all the most highly enrolled-in courses, in a customizable model that allows professors to remix their material, making it relevant and exciting to local contexts. The savings for students in today’s textbook industry are up to $1000 per semester. As a student who has been already been seeking alternative modes of access in order to avoid textbook costs, seeing that institutions are opening up to student-oriented solutions makes me feel hopeful for a future in higher education where study is not mired in financial stress.

One core goal of the ASC! project is the development of curricula for community cultural development. Community cultural development practice holds accessibility and commitment to community needs and values as key tenets. I believe open textbooks, and the course ancillaries that would potentially accompany them, are really the only kind of supplementary learning resource that would be compatible with CCD values. Defining "open" as free, accessible, transparent and manipulable, the movement is all about collaborative learning in specific contexts. Open textbooks are one way that I see boundaries between institutional and community practice being broken down and reshaped into something healthier. Models that privilege student and community needs over profit are the way forward!


Check out upcoming SFU Public Square events on their website. For more information about the BC Campus Open Textbook Project, click here and here.



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