The Brandon University community will be celebrating its diverse population in a professional capacity this year. On December 5th, 2016, Brandon University announced via press release that it will be the 2017 host of the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) Conference. The conference is held every two years, and is designed to promote dialogue, critical reflection, and broad engagement regarding developments involving the Black community in Canada, the Indigenous communities in Canada, as well as how other communities relate to them.
The title of the 2017 conference is “Blackness, Indigeneity, Colonialism, and Confederation: 21st Century Perspective”, and will take place from May 11th–14th. With 2017 marking the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation, the conference theme will help to drive the discussion toward what this milestone means to the diverse Black community in respect to their achievements, challenges, and contributions to the country. The organizers of the BCSA Conference anticipate between 200-300 participants to attend, whom Brandon University welcomes warmly. The last BCSA Conference was held in 2015 at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
“I had the honour of being an invited speaker at the 2015 conference, and I am tremendously pleased that Brandon University will host this prestigious event for 2017,” said Dr. Gervan Fearon, BU’s President and Vice-Chancellor in the December 5th press release.
The call for papers and presentations has been put out to members of the Black and Indigenous communities, and a schedule of speakers should be available in the coming months. The topics expected to be discussed include the differences and similarities between Black and Indigenous Canadians with regard to colonialism, Black arts and artists, and Black agricultural advancement. While the topics are specific to the Black community, the discussion of them benefits all Canadians in expanding diverse view points.