Satellite x Activism 2021


From January – June 2021, Satellite presented a 5-month residency program for Emily Carr project teams to develop major self-directed projects through the lens of Activism and Place-Based Responsibility.

Within the scope of Satellite x Activism, 6 independent Emily Carr project teams and 6 projects operating within the Place-based Grad Collective received access to mentorship, peer support and funding toward the goal of developing projects within a real-world context, including developing products or services; initiating events, programs, initiatives or community partnerships; or starting studios, collectives, agencies or non-profits.

Find the project archive here

Flourishing Our Youths 

By Cyville Castro and Funan Fina 
Mentors: Valentina Branada and Clarence Kitt of InWithForward

Immigrant youths are vulnerable to social isolation, and feel uncertain about their social standing. Flourishing Our Youths is a workshop and toolkit that prompts cultural empowerment and community for youth immigrants facing disconnect and isolation. The workshop unravels external and internalized oppression and affirms youths’ identity transitioning into Canadian society.

Ahọn Dudu

By Olúwáṣọlá Kẹ́hìndé Olówó-Ake
Mentor: Dr. Fahamu Pecou

Ahọn Dudu aims at using Yorùbá storytelling frameworks to tell stories about my experience with lack of black communal culture here in Vancouver. I tell these stories through the Yorùbá lens of ‘the spectacle’- a show put on to teach and entertain; which encompasses oral storytelling, poetry, song, dance performance and garments. You can find the online exhibition here.

Mapping East Van

By Mickey L.D. Morgan
Mentor: Jean Chisholm, Laura Kozak and Mirna Palacio Ornelas

Mapping East Van is cartography with the utmost subjectivity, composed of stories shared using various media, but primarily the thread is oral storytelling and community starting with a relational view from my personal positionality. My methodology is acknowledging stories of place as collective, formed together, and rejecting further capital constructs of space, time, and status. The project began with a more conversational format, while the latter phase is a more actionable extension centred around mutual aid, ethical relations, and reciprocity. I work to continue what I began, trying to meet some needs of Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War and Vancouver Tenants Union, co-teaching a Practicing Neighbourly Responsibility course at ECU and writing A Manifesto on Neighbourliness: Ethics of Creative and Community Inspiration.

This matrixed mapping is with the ultimate goal to encourage the idea of neighbourliness that entails not only basic kindness and respect but also mutual accountability, strengthened relations, and points for resistance and solidarity to flourish.

Emerging Soundscapes

By Esteban Perez
Mentor: Aaron Nelson-Moody

Emerging Soundscapes combines an exploration of field sound recording technology with Indigenous ecological ways of knowing from Ecuador, in order to open a conversation between humans and the more-than-human. Through the recording of soundscapes, the project activates Sound in understanding the relevance of mountains, rivers, rocks, and animal spirits, alongside which the human is just another actant into an interlinked complex world. 

Project Paint Up

By Sebastien Kaschel
Mentor: Viviane Gosselin

Project Paint Up is a series of hour-long classes that take place every week at the White Rock Learning Center. Every session there’s a five-minute instruction about different topics relating to general drawing techniques that can be utilized to help students design on hoodies with fabric paints. Project Paint up is a workshop created to inspire teenagers to see the fun potential in painting their clothes guided by instructional detailed lessons.

Look! Listen! Create!

by Vannysha Chang
Mentor: Matt Lamothe

Look! Listen! Create! seeks to foster connections between children and their surroundings and encourages intergenerational sharing of knowledge. It applies the concept of “third things… that provide a site of joint rapture and contentment” (Donald Hall, The Third Thing) to the relationship between children and the people around them. As the eldest with siblings ranging from 7–12 years younger than myself, Vannysha has experienced the power of a “third thing”—many “third things”—in creating conversations which led to the strengthening of connections between her family members. As they explore and observe our surroundings through kits and activities, they come “together in double attention.” What do the little details of our surroundings tell us? How do things change and develop with time? This project lets children respond through their own lenses, using their sensibilities, imagination, and creativity. These responses will be the basis for creation—whether they are picture books, audio-based content, or other story-telling mediums that will be produced together with participants.


Place-based Grad Collective

Formed in 2021, the Place-Based Grad Collective is a flexible network of design researchers assembling around a shared set of approaches to place-based design research. Specifically, this work looks at our responsibilities, reciprocities and commitments to the land that we live on, and forms emergent projects that actively respond to the needs of the people and systems around us.

In trying to understand what kind of infrastructure is useful or necessary to support this work, we aim to explore a model that can coalesce and disperse when needed, embracing the spirit of a collective: a flexible network of people with independent practices converging to respond to and create a shared experience or intervention. Through exploring, enacting, and connecting place-based approaches to collaboration, we are attempting to move from scattered fragments of siloed disciplines and projects, and black-boxed, bureaucratic hierarchies, towards a networked mesh of emergent grassroots relationships, knowledge and capacity sharing, and action. Together we are asking:

How can we as individuals and also as a collective take up the responsibility of contributing to the places where we are?

What needs to be done, and what can each of us offer?


by Chiara Schmitt and Christa Clay

pl.lab is a research and design lab with a mission to understand material ethics and responsibility from the land and places on which we work, live, and play. The collaborative approach of this project allows us to work with students, faculty, and external co-creators with the collective goal to create a meshwork of data through resources, experiences, contacts and protocols. Through this work we hope to build a foundation from which to share and offer knowledge and open up conversation on place-based and responsible material practices. We aim to engage with people through our research, provoke imagination, and diversify perspectives on material practices in ways that support our local communities. We see this work as a means of embedding reciprocity between designers and place within the Emily Carr Community and beyond.


by Angela Dione and Marcia Higuchi

SOMOS (the Portuguese verb for ‘we are’) is the exploration of life-writing as research in the context of matriarchal strategies and nature immersion in a place-based approach. This collaborative project founded by Marcia Higuchi and Angela Dione creates a space of dialogue within the sharing beauty of multilingualism. As we build upon our own histories and connection to place with one another, we invite others to share in this inclusive space of language and thought. Through this work we embark on the exploration of life-writing not only as research, but as the connective tool of two design-researchers, mothers and beings of nature sharing worlds through words. 

SOMOS é uma exploração do método “escrita da vida” como pesquisa no contexto de estratégias matriarcais e imersão na natureza através de uma prática baseada no lugar, na terra. Este projeto colaborativo fundado por Marcia Higuchi e Angela Dione cria um espaço de diálogo dentro da linda troca do multilinguismo. Construindo sobre nossas próprias histórias e conexões com o lugar e uma com a outra, nós convidamos outros a compartilhar neste espaço inclusivo de linguagem e pensamento. Através deste trabalho, nós embarcamos na exploração da “escrita da vida” não somente como pesquisa, mas como uma ferramenta de conexão de duas pesquisadoras, designers, mães e seres dividindo seus mundos através das palavras.


by Pat Vera

Working in relation and response to a series of gatherings in the spring and summer of 2021, this project explores conventional and alternative methods of documentation and knowledge-sharing with project organizers and participants, including witnessing protocols shared through the project. In consideration of ethics and practices of witnessing, stewardship and our role as humans in relationship with place, this work will be to figure out ways to carry forward what is shared through the Place-Based Responsibility project in 2021.

A Pathway Together

by Julie Van Oyen

A Pathway Together builds on the work of kQwa’st’not~Charlene George, Flossie Baker and the Sierra Club of BC, as well as the Place-Based Responsibility series at Emily Carr with a circle of gatherings for our community to learn from living and working in ways that express care for place. kQwa’st’not~Charlene George and Flossie Baker from Sierra Club BC will contribute to a three-part gathering in which we will discuss and imagine tangible ways of working together to build relationship and care for place, land, and living systems.

Trauma-informed Care Practices

by Garima Sood

Trauma-informed Care Practices is a workshop that considers trauma-informed care practices in relation to how we navigate our surrounding environment and systems, as well as how we adopt these principles in our art and design practices.

EartHand Seasonal Site Mapping

by Melanie Camman

EartHand Seasonal Site Mapping is a collaboration with EartHand Gleaners Society, an arts-based non-profit in Vancouver. EartHand Gleaners Society’s specialty is connecting makers with materials that come directly from the land around them; we model ‘How to be a Producer without first being a Consumer’. By working with the plants around us using ancestral skills common to all cultures, we inspire participants to discover cultural connections, learn new skills, and discover novel sources of raw materials for creative practices, including garden waste, invasive plants, and textile waste. This project creates a season map that encompasses EartHand’s two sites: at Trillium Park and the Means of Production garden and encompasses four categories: food and medicinal plants; weaving and basketry; woodworking and wicker works; and dyes and pigments. 

Satellite x Activism projects

connect to localized movements of art, design and activism

collaborative, socially engaged initiatives that address the social and political realities of communities

bring contextual attentiveness to systems of oppression and inequity

build relational, place-based networks (for example, who would we work with and how during disaster response) 

support care and mutual aid within localized community, nurture place-based storytelling or responsibility to land

consider human and non-human relationships

support community or seek to create social equity 

are shareable, with learning that is open to others 

support designer agency, practicality, navigating a way forward

establish designers’ participation in or creation of community

help establish conditions for artists and designers to financially support themselves through project lens, give financial sustainability to the project itself

negotiate “how” alongside “what”

Satellite X Activism is generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation and the Accountability Council for Co-op Education and Work-Integrated Learning (ACCE-WIL) and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.