The Social Autonomy Project
Promoting social self-determination, community-broadening, and resilience by identifying and developing tools, resources, and spaces which prioritize autonomy*, pluralism, and literacy over profit, division, and dependence.
*"Autonomy" refers to the ability to make informed decisions without coercion or manipulation.
VicBC.Community was designed to be an approachable, replicable entry point for connecting to reliable information, online resources, local services, and remote activities which foster community resilience in the midst of COVID-19 and beyond. It was also a junction for the many incredible, but digitally-divided, community pandemic response initiatives and online groups in the region (and elsewhere).
It was intended to become a collaborative project which would live beyond the pandemic, and invited community members & groups to help it grow. A special thanks goes out to UVic CFYS Director Frederick Grouzet for supporting these efforts and linking them to their own pandemic resource hub, and to the Coda team for offering a free three-month upgrade to Coronavirus response projects on their platform.
All of the information on this site was released as a set of Reddit posts and pdfs as well:
This was an experimental, collaborative calendar / event list for the City of Victoria and surrounding neighborhoods which attempted to make a broad range of community events a bit easier to comprehend, navigate, and share. Events were arranged by time / date and category without regards to popularity, automated recommendations, or organizer prominence.
The calendar was meant to demonstrate a possible alternative to dominating, user-extractive methods of community event-sharing (such as Google Calendar and Facebook) through the use of Teamup - a free, highly-customizable collaborative calendar system which anyone can access and contribute to without registering their personal information, and which communities could adapt to their particular needs.
Although the posting guidelines were quite flexible and broad, an emphasis was placed on free/low-cost & drop-in events/activities, conversation spaces, community gatherings, volunteer opportunities, and special events (festivals, fundraisers, etc.). Invitations were sent out to many organizers in the area with links which allowed them to add events freely.
Nearly 4,000 events were added to the Victoria, BC calendar over the course of a year. You can view the calendar here and the archived data here (7mb).
A calendar was also created for the community of Metchosin, and later an online events/activities calendar was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as an extension of VicBC.Community.
Community Socials at The HUB // May 02019 - July 02019
The Community Social was a free drop-in event hosted at The HUB which invited community members and groups in the region to connect, share ideas and perspectives, participate in activities, listen to local music, and share food together. Three monthly events were held over the course of the summer, and city maps were borrowed from the UVic Community Mapping Collaboratory to prompt brainstorming sessions about how social capital in the city might be improved.
Special thanks to Barrett Blackwood for providing free space for these events to happen and to Ken Josephson from the UVic CMC for providing maps and words of support.
This project is based upon the idea that new social connections can be created anywhere, so long as opportunities are identified and activated. In order to make this process easier in an offline context, a simple, recognizable symbol has been created which can be copied and used in a wide variety of situations.
The initial physical kit which was released freely in Victoria, BC in 02019 included both pinback and enamel pins, as well as table cards and signs which could be hung in windows or attached to walls. The ability to easily display and remove these symbols allows for boundaries to be indicated as well.
This graphic has been released with the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license, which means that anyone can use or modify it without restrictions so long as they give attribution to this project as the original source. Ultimately, this was meant to be an idea for community-broadening which can be adapted and built upon to meet a diverse range of needs.