Application Number: 7
INITIATIVE: What is the title of your initiative?
The Street Speaks - Montreal’s Inclusive Dialogue
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?
Why? -Declining Civic Engagement is a growing concern. -Growing divide between political leaders and the everyday citizen. -Increased isolation caused by technology and the web -Citizens feel voiceless and powerless. -Citizens crave human connection and authenticity more than ever We want to make civic engagement easy and fun for Montrealers with low levels of interest and engagement, by facilitating a civic dialogue feedback loop between everyday Montrealers and community leaders. We want to give city leaders the opportunity to engage fully in the same dialogue circle and react to citizen’s concerns accordingly. How? -Create safe, real life AND digital spaces to stimulate dialogue amongst Montrealers, government & community leaders -Reinvigorate local community and build social capital -Create authentic, safe, modern platform to express one’s views on city issues -Use public space to reconnect humans, re-engage in civics and community -Integrate innovative mobile technology to facilitate feedback loop between citizens and community leaders/politicians AND tools to facilitate call to action/campaign on specific issues -Use transmedia to engage, and facilitate use of fun and easy tools by citizens and community leaders on a variety of platforms through tv, cell phones, public space, web, social media, etc. We would like to see many more people more engaged in their communities, more connected to each other, with a sense of confidence that their voices matter, and that someone is listening and is eager to engage.
GOVERNANCE AND PARTNERSHIPS: Who will oversee and manage the initiative? How does it connect with other local, regional, or national projects or networks?
The project will be managed by PhD Political Communication Student and Sauvé Fellow Sabrina Sassi at the Center for the Study of Democracy and Citizenship (CSDC), Anique Vered, a research scholar at Concordia’s Senselab and Paul Shore, also a Sauvé Fellow, co-founder of Apathy Is Boring and the founder of The Street Speaks.
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.
The Street Speaks started as a bilingual speakers corner for Montrealers online called Quelque Show in 2014. It became a tv show (The Street Speaks) comprised of modular, adaptable content for any platform, viewing habit imaginable. It’s heavily edited segments of people being interviewed about topics ranging from immigration and local politics, to language and public art, to how technology is changing our lives, to what I would do if I were mayor, and much more. It was actually designed as a tool to stimulate an authentic civic feedback loop between everyday citizens who generally feel like their voices don’t matter and community leaders and politicians. Right now it’s a show on community tv station Videotron's MaTV. In its first season it had the highest ratings for English shows on the mostly French network It averaged 61 k viewers per week and was recently renewed for a second season. An application is being developed and the modular 12 episodes of 28-minutes each, consisting of over 100 under-4 minute videos, will be disseminated to an entirely different audience online and through social media. For this grant, we will complete a micro version of The Street Speaks with a focus on Montreal’s University campuses. We will facilitate a feedback loop between students and Montrealers who frequent the University communities with local politicians and community leaders. We will conduct 150 interviews with students and everyday citizens. They will be given the opportunity to ask questions to the aforementioned leaders. Coupled with weekly questions we collect on video from our growing list of partner community groups, we will show the questions to a select group of city councillors, and record their responses on the spot. Segments of these Q and A’s are edited together and disseminated through a variety of channels (tv show, social media, the media, academic platforms, etc), where further engagement and participation is stimulated. Qualitative and quantitative data are collected at each stage of the loop and fed back to the CSDC, where students will analyze the data, and provide knowledge translation and recommendations. A report will be generated and disseminated back to all of the parties who participated in the loop, the Media, and to the greater population online and through social media. The objective of this report is to deepen the reflection on the dialogue and gain insights into the city’s civic dynamics. These insights will be shared with citizens and to help enlighten community decision-making.
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?
In the short and long term, the project will: - Broaden the civic participation - Facilitate an inclusive dialogue - Increase civic engagement We will be assessing results by: - Consulting with our collaborators bi-monthly for evaluation - Using metric analysis to evaluate how wide this civic loop is reaching online and offline - Asking civic engagement experts and external actors for constructive feedback The information will be shared with every actor involved in the civic dialogue loop. Research and evaluation will help us extract lessons moving forward. These will include recommendations and educational reports. For instance, we could display data analysis results in a easy to digest infographic, or an animated educational video of 3 minutes or less. Knowledge translation and dissemination is at the heart of what drives us to undertake this project. Sabrina, as a student researcher and activist for social inclusion has been involved in international knowledge translation for over 4 years. Episode 1: The Street Speaks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJjCQBgSrJ8&index=1&list=PLRsbxIy5HNuTxGR0qbEBUhPjI0RD_zfWh Segment examples from The Street Speaks on Immigration, politics, multiculturalism and indigenous issues. 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj-xPqypZe0&list=PLRsbxIy5HNuSTQn0vyFkXQUvB00IdI-2S&index=44 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2WkHCBb9KE&list=PLRsbxIy5HNuSTQn0vyFkXQUvB00IdI-2S&index=38 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApYVvnIdoVk&index=16&list=PLRsbxIy5HNuSTQn0vyFkXQUvB00IdI-2S 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAKkOE_RiRM&list=PLRsbxIy5HNuSTQn0vyFkXQUvB00IdI-2S&index=18
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.
Yes, it was designed to be applied in any city. This initiative revolves around the idea of an inclusive and comprehensive civic dialogue loop,. Therefore it has the potential to be applied in any other city or municipality. We are seeking to collaborate with other cities. Civic actors in Toronto and Vancouver have been contacted to initiate a discussion around our initiatives and the different needs of these cities.
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 CSDC (a research and learning center) will be involved in this initiative to help deepen the reflection through research and analysis. Mcgill graduate political science students interested in diversity, social inclusion and civic intelligence will have the opportunity to take part in a contest involving the analysis and report writing. This contest will be facilitated jointly by The Street Speaks, Sabrina and the CSDC. Students involved in community organizations (such as ICAN or MSA McGill) will be invited to participate by sharing their views and expertise on specific issues. In addition to interviewing Montrealers, and students (from UQAM, Udem, Mcgill, Concordia), professors and community experts will also be approached. In this initiative, several actors will be involved in this civic loop to foster active citizenship.
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?
Yes. As a result of this initiative a new collaborative and field-oriented approach will be introduced to the Center. Through this initiative an academic hub will open up to Montrealers and community organizations. We will create a unique participatory and equitable relationship between Montreal students, citizens, legislators, and academics. This collective action will enable people to be heard by Montreal legislators on important issues but also to be responded to through reactions from legislators. The aim is to increase civic engagement in the public and lead to actions and campaigns.
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?
We have worked hard to engage strategic collaborators who can help us create the aforementioned civic dialogue feedback loop. With the CSDC, we will be able to develop the research design methodology and data analysis know how and tools to measure the impact of our work. The broadcasting collaborator MaTV gives us a platform for our content to be viewed and engaged with by a large Montreal audience. Also, in the next tv season, we will include texting (sms) polls at the conclusion of many of the show’s segments. All of this data generated from viewers via tv and in subsequent online availability will be provided to the CSDC for analysis and subsequent recommendation reports. Collaborators like Projet Mtl, Equipe Coderre, the administration of City Hall and our growing list of community based organizations are essential for our loop. They will make our community leaders accessible to participate in the loop, responding to citizen comments and questions and, in some cases, campaigns and action plans organized via The Street Speaks. As a result of this initiative The Street Speaks expands to empower the people of the street to take action with their legislators.
Ms Sabrina Sassi
Phone Number: 438 820 8705
Mr Paul Shore
Phone Number: 514 910 9040
Ms Sabrina Sassi
Ms Sara Vissers
Other relevant information/comments
Sara Vissers is our Faculty Member from the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship at McGill University. The Center is one of our primary collaborators. http://csdc-cecd.ca/ firstname.lastname@example.org Anique Vered is a researcher at Concordia University's Senselab. http://www.senselab.ca email@example.com