Designing Climate Justice Symposium

October 15 + 16, 2023
Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver BC

Unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples

Co-hosted by Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the City of Vancouver, presented as a Hub event for the Systemic Design Association’s RSD12 Symposium: Entangled in Emergence.

Cities are facing increasing pressures to address complex challenges of climate change, equity, and reconciliation as intersecting issues. It is no longer good enough to work on these challenges discreetly, or solely within the dominant, western colonial paradigm and practices of governance. There are ongoing harms being caused by climate work when it does not embed justice, and there are missed opportunities for synergies across these domains as they have the same systemic root causes. Cities must adapt and transform the processes and practices that they use to work alongside community partners in order to work at these problematic roots.

Enacting climate justice, or adaptation to changing climatic conditions through lenses of social and ecological justice, will require new processes that center collaboration, sharing power, and nurturing relationships. To explore this topic, Emily Carr University and the City of Vancouver are co-hosting a hub event with the Systemic Design Association’s Research for Systemic Design (RSD) Symposium in October 2023. Within Emily Carr University, and in Vancouver more generally, a unique and impactful relational systemic design practice is unfolding and making an important contribution to climate justice work happening in our community. Our aim is to generate greater curiosity, visibility, and affinity with systemic design amongst our communities, institutions, and networks, with a particular focus on topics of climate justice.

Using processes that draw from the fields of systemic design, social innovation, and equity-centered and decolonizing methods as alternatives to the standard policy-making, program delivery, and public engagement processes typically used in local governments, the programming of our RSD Hub will co-create an experimental and experiential learning journey that we are embarking on as researchers, students, civil servants, and community members working to design just climate futures. 

This plenary event is contextualized within a broader six-month long Climate Justice Field School (CJFS). The CJFC is a 25-person collective made up of City of Vancouver staff and community members who together are building longer-term relationships and shared approaches to implementations of Vancouver’s Climate Justice Charter. Designing Climate Justice will be a major opportunity to share the important work of this group with a broader audience, including civil servants, other municipalities, community organizations, design and climate researchers, and students.

Read Sharing Power: Codifications and Collective Learnings from Vancouver’s Climate Justice Field School

Readings and Resources – Emily Carr Library Guide