Right to Remain Workshop at the Nikkei National Museum
Date: October 9th, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Nikkei National Museum, 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby
The RRCF arts team joined five participants from the DTES community and traveled by skytrain, bus and walking together to Burnaby and the host of the workshop, the Nikkei national Museum and Cultural Centre. We met with NNM Director Beth Carter and her staff, and seven other people from the Nikkei community, making a full workshop of over twenty people. Tea, coffee, fruit and other snacks were provided.
After initially sitting in conversation at two separate tables, we placed the tables together in the centre of the room and together the Nikkei and DTES community members acknowledged the First Nations Territories. RRCF team member Andy Mori introduced himself and the postcard project first introduced at the Powell Street Festival and Oppenheimer Park, followed by introductions of the whole group. Kathy Shimizu, Nikkei community organizer and member of the Powell Street Festival Advocacy Committee, joined us.
Downtown Eastside resident participants Tina Eastman and Brian Humchitt presented the eldest person from the hosting group with a traditional rattle. Andy Mori facilitated the workshop and guided participants in ways to engage with the flag and the postcards. These were informal elements designed to promote dialogue between the Nikkei and Low-income DTES communities. Particularly interesting was a discussion of gentrification in the neighbourhood, and different perspectives on what it meant for residents.
Trevor Wideman screened Greg Masuda’s short film about “Revitalizing Japantown” and Human Rights to small groups during the workshop, and Beth Carter took DTES participants on a guided tour of the 2nd floor exhibition and the main exhibition, which proved to be a highlight. Everyone received a RRCF button and a postcard as a souvenir, and was invited to the presentation at Gallery Gachet on Nov 8, held in conjunction with the Heart of the City.
Beth Carter and the RRCF arts team felt this was a significant moment in developing stronger relationships and dialogue between the Nikkei and current low-income DTES communities.