For those summer library-goers or students back on campus this week, you may have noticed lots of construction behind the Irving K Barber Library, close to the popular Pokémon-Go Gym and the UBC Clock tower. If you’re wondering why there’s lots of fencing and loud bulldozing, here’s the answer: A beautiful new building is being constructed right there … Coming soon to UBC is The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSC).
And here’s why we should get excited about it:
What is the IRSC and what’s the vision behind it?
The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is being built for many reasons. The first is to provide an accessible, safe and comfortable space for former residential school students, survivors and their families. Here, they will be able to retrieve records and historical materials gathered and have an opportunity to divulge and share their experiences and their goals and hopes for their community and country in the future.
Some of us may not know about the Indian Residential schools and that painful past but it’s critical we make more time to understand those stories and allow those voices to get louder and better heard on campus and in our community. There will be space for visitors and UBC students to learn and understand how Residential Schools affected and hurt our community members and citizens of our country. Students will be able to visit and learn from survivors and their families through stories, art, and writing and be welcomed into a tough conversation as we show our support as good listeners and caring members of UBC campus.
The IRSC is going to help bridge a gap between simply knowing about an issue, to learning about an issue in a positive, personal way. This bridging will feel sustained and strong and will bring a sense of unity and peace. There are lots of other projects currently happening between different units on campus and with Indigenous communities and organizations to address important issues, of Indigenous health, community resiliency, economic development, and many other concerns. The IRSC will be a place where those projects are shared and strengthened.
The IRSC will also be a place for profs and academics to deepen their curricular materials for classes at UBC and other post-secondary and high schools through access to interactive technology and other resources.
I hope in sharing more about the intentions behind the building’s purpose and that knowing more about the property and the importance it will hold on campus, will help dull all that construction noise during the coming months and I hope we all enjoy and learn from this wonderful space when it is finally completed.
Here is what the building is going to look like:
Want to know more about the building plan? You can find out more here.
Please note that there is are detours in effect to Buchanan from the West entrance to Irving K Barber during construction: