Sound Thinking symposium Voicing the City In/verse: Reading Surrey and the Super-Suburb

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Veeno Dewan

Local writers and poets read works about the City

Veeno Dewan
Veeno Dewan

Surrey: Surrey Art Gallery, in partnership with South of Fraser Inter Arts Collective (SOFIA/c) and Simon Fraser University’s English Department, present the Sound Thinking symposium Voicing the City In/verse: Reading Surrey and the Super-Suburb. This two-day symposium in two different locations features the work of poets, fiction writers, spoken word artists, sound artists, and storytellers who read, speak, and voice the experiences of the “super-suburb,” a space formerly on the periphery, but increasingly the centre of metropolitan socioeconomic life. Local participants include: Surrey poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar, poet, Phinder Dulai and much anticipated new writer Veeno Dewan.
The region South of the Fraser River is the quintessential super-suburb (a term sometimes used to describe suburbs with populations that exceed 250,000). Here, both the past and potential story of the future is palpable in this area’s literature and everyday speech. The communities of Surrey, Langley, Delta, and White Rock all coalesce to form a rapidly sprawling narrative of post-war civic expansion and settlement where the world of cul-de-sacs, “a” and “b” streets, and community spaces intersect with indigenous oral histories of place and meaning. In these locations, European colonial settlement patterns converged with migration from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East to form new neighbourhoods and a new kind of suburb that is both culturally and linguistically diverse. The full list of participants include: John Armstrong, Sadhu Binning, Roxanne Charles, Joseph A. Dandurand, Veeno Dewan, Connor Doyle, Lakshmi Gill, Heidi Greco, Leona Gom, Heather Haley, Taryn Hubbard, Tom Konyves, Judy MacInnes Jr., Cecily Nicholson, Fauzia Rafique, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Kevin Spenst, and Rup Sidhu.
Once known only as a suburb on the edge of Vancouver, Surrey is now widely recognized as a city. Urban theorists are observing this city-suburb inversion in other areas across Canada. Industrial activities, contemporary migrations, and small businesses formerly concentrated in urban centres are now located in the new super suburbs that have grown on the edge of the old urban core. This change also results in a rapid increase of cultural production in the visual arts, music, theatre, and literature.
Sound Thinking 2015 examines the rich literary and spoken word output of Canada’s super-suburb, specifically Surrey and its surrounding South of the Fraser region. Here, poets, novelists, and spoken word artists have been working for decades and are working in greater numbers to portray and depict these complex and changing spaces.
Convened by Phinder Dulai and Jordan Strom, Voicing the City In/verse is presented in conjunction with Surrey Art Gallery’s 40th anniversary show, Views from the Southbank, a three-part series of exhibitions of art from and about the South of Fraser region.
Schedule: Literary Cabaret: Saturday, Nov 28 | 7-11:30PM @ Olympia Pizza and Restaurant, 10257 King George Blvd. Keynote and Panel Discussions: Sunday, Nov 29 | Noon-5PM @ Surrey Art Gallery, 13750 88 Ave. Keynote Speaker: M.G. Vassanji, two-time winner of the Giller Prize. – See more at: http://www.surrey.ca/culture-recreation