People in British Columbia now have multiple new ways to contribute to the vision for the first-of-its-kind cultural museum celebrating Canadians of South Asian heritages and their contributions to the success of the province.

Building on the first phase of engagement, public engagement opportunities will be expanded starting Tuesday, April 2, 2024, through an updated website, enabling people to provide written or video input and participate in an online survey. Community-led conversations will also begin this month.

“People’s input matters and it’s important to provide multiple, accessible ways for people to express themselves so their voice can be heard,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “This community-led engagement encourages everyone to comfortably voice their opinions and contribute to the vision of this cultural initiative.”

The Province provided $500,000 to the BC Museums Association (BCMA) to help communities organize inclusive and comfortable discussions and solicit robust input. Grants of as much as $5,000 are being provided for operational costs of the engagement activities, ensuring diverse voices are heard and represented. The grant application process will begin on April 8, 2024, and remain open until June 2024.

“Being anti-racist and confronting bigotry involves more than just acknowledging our differences,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “We also need to preserve, share and celebrate our cultural histories. This museum is a significant step in that direction and hearing directly from people in British Columbia through this engagement process is critical to the success of this cultural touchstone.”

The engagement process has been designed in collaboration with communities, groups and individuals, with strategic guidance from the ministerial advisory and engagement experts at Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The ministerial advisory consists of appointed members who identify as South Asian and have been selected for their experience in community engagement, lived experience and cultural knowledge.

As the engagement process unfolds, individuals and communities will have the opportunity to provide input on critical aspects, such as the museum’s name, location and vision. Feedback will be summarized into a report capturing key recommendations, themes and considerations, which will be published on the engagement website in late 2024.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province began the engagement process in April 2023 with a gathering of more than 120 community leaders and representatives to raise awareness and collect preliminary feedback about how to engage communities most effectively.
  • The Province launched a website in November 2023, providing people in British Columbia with a platform to raise community awareness of the plans to establish a new museum.
  • BCMA will be responsible for administering the grant program for community conversations and supporting both the online survey and submissions.
  • The new museum/cultural centre will build on the Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project and the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project, which showcased the past and present contributions of South Asians in B.C. with more than $1.2 million in government support.
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