Application Number: 11
INITIATIVE: What is the title of your initiative?
Imagination as community action
RATIONALE: Why was this initiative developed? Briefly describe your vision for this initiative: what changes would you like to see in your community, in the college/university, and for the student experience?
This initiative developed from our intention to repurpose the currently isolated and unoccupied Small Arms Building* (SAB) and the waterfront Arsenal Lands. Fenced and boarded up for years, while politicians and bureaucrats have re-imagined, the SAB no longer occupies a vital space in the public realm. We need to stop imagining and start actively re-integrating the SAB into community life. Our proposal will disrupt the traditional municipal planning process; by actually using the SAB in its abandoned state - acknowledging it in the community, contributing to place-making and ultimately revitalizing the space before municipal planners externally shape it. . We want to co-design and animate the Small Arms Building and Arsenal Lands from the inside out – both physically and metaphorically. We would like to change the hierarchy of the planning process specific to the repurposing of the SAB as a creative hub. Employing a proactive co-design process across sectors will emphasize community led action research, enabling the community to be proactive rather than reactive. By hosting collaborative community events we would no longer be waiting for externally generated decisions that may limit possibilities, rather we will disrupt the traditional design process through active engagement with the space. The collaboration of students, and the research capacity of both Sheridan and Humber will generate experiences that create data about the building, the site, and the community. which will drive the design process. We propose this as an alternative to leaving the building vacant while municipal, provincial and private sector authorities ‘imagine’ the intended building use and form. Specific to college environments, we wish to obscure boundaries and create non-hierarchical, cross-disciplinary collaborations between partners who have equal ownership of the process, goals and outcomes. Sheridan and Humber are often positioned competitively due to their shared catchment areas. However both institutions are neighbours with the SAB. As the post-secondary educational paradigm shifts from a competitive to a collaborative model, this partnership will nurture shared leadership, r and opportunities for research, teaching and learning and simple student exchange hosted in, by and with our neighbourhood.
GOVERNANCE AND PARTNERSHIPS: Who will oversee and manage the initiative? How does it connect with other local, regional, or national projects or networks?
SAS as a registered non -profit organization, and community affiliate of the City of Mississauga will oversee this initiative managed by a working committee of SAS Board members, community representatives, Humber and Sheridan faculty and students. Connections include cultural infrastructure initiatives, Creative City Network of Canada, organizations re-imagining unused spaces, (Clarke Hall ,Mississauga, Toronto Arts Scape), and Bomb Girls Ajax munitions factory.
OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITIES: Briefly describe the activities of the initiative: when did it start, what organizations and departments are participating? Give a few examples of what participants will be doing.
Bringing together students, cross-disciplinary faculty, and community partners across ages and interests, we will animate the space in its current damaged state using the building and surrounding property as action research. Creating a platform of events to engage students and community partners authentically we will impact the identity, form and function of the SAB. Since 2013 over 5,000 people have participated in SAS volunteer events - including Doors Open, Community Arts Outreach, artsVest, Community Gardens,and Jane’s Walk. With Sheridan and Humber as partners more frequent events will be planned as research action led by Sheridan Architecture and the Humber School of Social and Community Services and other academic programs specific to individual events. Confirmed events include a Community Charrette, Multi Arts Festival, documentation of former SAB employee stories, Doors Open, Culture Days, urban photography, Rebel Youth Arts. Students, faculty and community partners will plan, lead, participate, and evaluate all of these events.
STRATEGIC LEARNING: What will success look like both in the short-term and the long-term? How are you assessing results? What will you do with this information, and with whom are you sharing lessons?
Success will be reflected in the changed identity of the SAB as measured by quantitative data gathered during events: numbers, profiles, partnerships, feedback, and media coverage. Observational data specific to patterns of use will also generate a qualitative profile of building users, activities and preferences. Formal evaluation methods will be directed by College Faculty as action research and results shared with the SAS Board and strategic partners - specifically the Regional Conservation Authority and City of Mississauga. Charrette data and outputs will be publicly shared through exhibition and web media. Specific course, faculty feedback, journal publication, faculty and student presentations at cross disciplinary institutional conferences, and professional venues for teaching and learning will also be part of the sharing platform.
Would you consider your initiative to be a social enterprise?
Does the proposed initiative have potential to be applied elsewhere in Canada? If yes, please explain.
Applications can be made with other non profit community groups engaged in re-purposing spaces, and with institutions using service learning models. The initiative could also be applied to community arts initiatives and of course with other post secondary institutions Each event will also apply to specific settings such as heritage projects honouring the work of women during WWII and our event to gather the stories of these women at the SAB.
1. APPROACH: Which departments are involved in this initiative? How will they work with community organizations, social enterprise, local government and within post-secondary institutions (i.e. with professors, administration and students)?
The Humber Lakeshore campus and the Sheridan Mississauga campus are equally distant from SAB, and both have been welcomed to use the site as an experimental sandbox. Academic departments involved will vary depending on the nature of the special event. Faculty from Sheridan Architecture and Humber School of Community and Social Services will work with the SAS Board and with each institution. Professor Shannon Piri, (Sheridan) and Professor Heather Snell (Humber) will oversee research activities, ethics and manage connections with the Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning, and Colleges and Institutes Canada. Working together in partnership, all three organizations will enhance the reputation of their institution and students as civic actors and contribute to civic intelligence. This will change institutional interactions and influence the internal functioning of each institution by increasing opportunities for work between faculties. (Sheridan Architecture, Craft and Design, Humber Creative and Performing Arts, and Child and Youth Care could collaborate on one event) This transdisciplinary approach will also involve multiple stakeholders including community partners such as the Lakeview and Port Credit neighbourhoods, Peel Aboriginal Network, Visual Arts Mississauga, the Legion, Veteran’s Affairs, Boards of Educations, the Conservation Authority, Heritage Mississauga, City of Mississauga, social and creative enterprises, businesses, and environmental groups.
2. INFLUENCING POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS: Will research or teaching within the post secondary institution you are a part of or working with be changed as a result of this initiative? How will the administration staff, faculty, and students be involved and recognized for their accomplishments within the college/ university?
Specifically Sheridan will collaborate to plan, deliver and follow up the on site “Spring Design Charrette”. This initiative will directly impact research and teaching. Students and faculty will engage with SAB members and community partners in small working groups to develop ideas for the re-purposing of the facility and site. Students will follow up with design responses in the form of architectural models and drawings in partial fulfillment of learning outcomes for in “Emerging Building Technologies” (ARCH 29506 / 3rd year graduating semester). Student achievement will be recognized by the receipt of grades and three credits towards the completion of their advanced diploma in architectural technology. Humber teaching will engage with Community Services, Performing Arts and Media Studies leading the Multi Arts Festival initiative. .All three Schools will engage in transdisciplinary teaching and sharing in collaboration with SAB. Sheridan and Humber teaching practices typically situate teaching and learning within local contexts to breakdown the isolation of a classroom making learning more relevant to society and more reflective of current professional practice. Although both Institutions use real-life scenarios, rarely do students work within a multidisciplinary community group engaged in civic action. This approach affords learners and educators the opportunity to use learning experiences to instigate social change not just “complete academic assignments” in isolation. This project will bring community organizations and corporate partners into the educational experience and bring students out into the community. Students will collaboratively present their work at both institutions to a larger group comprised of a cross section of community members and not just to academics. This will enhance student engagement and increase public awareness of the potential of the Colleges and students as community partners while affording students the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing social discourse of an important civic issue
IMPACT: What will you be able to accomplish now that you could not before the collaboration? In what way will your organization work differently as a result of this initiative?
This initiative will enable the Small Arms Society to: •Plan, host and evaluate community events at a scale previously not possible. •Animate the Small Arms Building in ways not previously possible. •Access the infrastructure and expertise needed to engage in action research. •Increase public participation with the SAB site and project. •Transform how the community perceives and uses the SAB. •Engage the public imagination. •Influence the municipal planning and design process. •Network with similar regional and national infrastructure and re-purposing projects. •Learn about the building, the site, the community, the latent potential from and with academic leaders, student work and various research initiatives. •Create innovative, transdisciplinary, and collaborative partnerships across sectors and neighbourhoods. •Engage students in authentic civic action.
Dr Shannon Pirie
Phone Number: 905 459 7533
Ms Diane LaPointe-Kay
Phone Number: 416 898 3817
Mr Vinny Loucao
Ms Heather Snell
Other relevant information/comments
Attachments: Supplemental documentation specific to the history and current condition of the site C/V Dr Shannon Pirie Project Lead