The Right to Remain

Watch the Film Here


The Right to Remain (R2R) has emerged as a key concept from our research project. First formulated as an over-arching theme from the analysis of interviews conducted between 2012 and 2013 with a cross-section of the community, R2R became the focus of community workshops led by local artist-residents and held over the spring and summer of 2014. The concept has since formed the basis of two exhibits at our partners, the Gallery Gachet and the Nikkei National Museum.


On this page, you will find a chronicle of R2R events and activities.




Revitalizing Japantown? exhibit at Nikkei National Museum

October 24, 2015 to January 31, 2016


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A creative showcase of the trajectory of heritage and human rights in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This exhibition offers an artistic perspective on the intricacies of forces and features that shaped the DTES and were explored over the course of our three-year project.


The exhibit catalogue is also available for purchase at the museum.


Upcoming Events
Saturday, November 28, 2015 from 2pm to 5pm
Right to Remain Artist Team talk and ‘Pie Chats’
An opportunity to view the exhibition, ask questions, and engage in conversation about the DTES while enjoying homemade pie. All are welcome.

Further detail about the exhibit and upcoming events is available, at Nikkei National Museum.



Save the Date: August 1 for Powell Street Festival!


Right to Remain/Revitalizing Japantown? and Centre A present:


Labour Landscapes: A Storytelling Walk


Saturday August 1, 2015, 2 PM-4 PM


With featured storytellers: Audrey Kobayashi, Audrey Siegel, Doris Chow, Herb Varley, Jean Swanson, Kate Milberry, Lorene Oikawa, Naveen Girn, and Tom Delvecchio.


A collaboration between Right to Remain/Revitalizing Japantown? and Centre A.
In association with the Powell Street Festival, with support from Gallery Gachet.


Come walk between past and present, through labour landscapes of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) and Chinatown, and listen to stories of intercultural presence, solidarity and resistance. This walk will re-claim, enliven and connect some of the labour histories of the neighbourhood, those which have been erased from dominant histories, by the forces of colonization, racism, and gender and class prejudice. It will illuminate and prioritize present-day inhabitants and labourers “Right to Remain” amidst rapid social and environmental change. This walk is a special collaboration between Right to Remain/Revitalizing Japantown? and Centre A, with support from Gallery Gachet and the Powell Street Festival.


Saturday August 1, 2015, 2 PM-4 PM


Starting Point: 2PM – Meet in front of the Vancouver Buddhist Temple. 220 Jackson Avenue (corner of Jackson Ave and Powell Street).
Ending Point: 4PM – Centre A. 229 E. Georgia St. Refreshments and tour of Goonj: Being Brown in Chinatown with curator Naveen Girn.


More Info: During the Powell Street Festival, visit the Nikkei National Museum booth at the Vancouver Buddhist Temple, 220 Jackson Avenue.


Facebook Event:


Right to Remain exhibition at Gallery Gachet

Right to Remain: A Creative Repossession of the Human Rights Legacies of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.


Exhibition: March 6th-April 12th, 2015


The opening reception was on March 6th. Click here for photos from the day!


This community-produced art exhibition celebrated the Downtown Eastside’s rich legacy of human rights struggle and achievement, and it showcased artwork and documentation from a series of workshops guided by DTES artists who engaged their community in dialogue about human rights. Through “The Right to Remain” Community Fair, community organizations, artists, and researchers have been working to reclaim and re-enliven the human rights history of the DTES to ensure that the rights of present-day inhabitants are prioritized and protected amidst rapid social and economic change.

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The Right to Remain Community Fair is the second phase of the “Revitalizing Japantown?” research project in partnership with Queen’s University and the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre.


The Right to Remain Community Fair Concludes with a splash (of new funding!) 


The RRCF grand finale, Walk, Talk, Eat, Make: Wishes for the Downtown Eastside was held at the Japanese Hall and the Carnegie Centre on January 10th, 2015.

Attended by over 50 Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents and allies, members of the Japanese Canadian community and anyone interested in the neighbourhood, participants began the day with a symbolic walk from this historic Japanese Hall, a mainstay of early 20th century Japanese-Canadian human rights activism, to the Carnegie Centre, an equally historic community centre that has been a long standing human rights bastion for the community. A workshop involving traditional Japanese Ema and fabrics, led by team member Kathy Shimizu with the support of RRCF arts facilitators Karen Ward, Quin Martins, and Herb Varley, provided participants with the opportunity to express their human rights wishes for the neighbourhood and city.

New Funding Announced!


We are pleased to announce that the legacy of the RRCF will live on in the form of the Right to Remain Exhibitions, a curatorial project led by the RJ(?) research team with partners Gallery Gachet and the National Nikkei Museum. Our first Exhibit will open on March 6th at Gallery Gachet between 7 and 10 p.m.

Stay tuned for further information!





The Right to Remain Community Fair (RRCF) is the arts phase of the research project “Revitalizing Japantown?: A unifying exploration of human rights, branding and place in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.”

Many Thanks

 We would like to express our gratitude to: the Right to Remain Community Fair Arts Team that includes Ali Lohan, Andy Mori, Herb Varley, Karen Ward, and Quin Martins; Gallery Gachet, Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), Carnegie Community Centre; Rika Uto; Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall (VJLS-JH); Nikkei National Museum; Beth Carter; Powell Street Festival Society; Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (GVJCCA) and The Bulletin / Geppo.


This project has been generously supported by: City of Vancouver, SSHRC, Gallery Gachet, Carnegie, Queen’s University.


Have a look at the activities of the Right to Remain crew in the Summer/Fall of 2014 by clicking here!

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The Right to Remain is the second phase of the Revitalizing Japantown? research project and is taking place from June 2014 through October 2014. The monthly Arts Workshops are exclusively for low income Downtown Eastside residents. A public Community Fair in October 2014 and a public Art Exhibition in February 2015 will showcase the results. A documentary film (TBA 2015) will also help to disseminate the findings of this three-year research project.

For more information about The Right to Remain, please read our article: The Right to Remain Community Fair.

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