Get to know We Are Burnaby
Submitted by: Ariel Dela Cruz & Shantelle Medel
About We Are Burnaby:
We Are Burnaby is an online community gallery that features local stories in the form of written and visual works. As a community inspired initiative, We Are Burnaby amplifies and celebrates community voices by showcasing the resilience and determination of Burnaby community members.
1) What is the most exciting aspect of the work you do for We Are Burnaby?
We take pride in our collaborations with other Burnaby-based events as we provide a platform for the community to share their stories, their work, their passions. These collaborations fuel the connections we have made with community members and drive the content that we share.
2) What inspired you to start We Are Burnaby?
We Are Burnaby was inspired by the need for social connection and engagement. The idea for We Are Burnaby was formed through feedback given by Burnaby seniors who expressed the importance of sharing one’s story as it can bring people together and remind someone of their strength and resilience. Recognizing that storytelling provides a pathway for connection, We Are Burnaby was created to provide a space to share stories, art and other forms of expression – to share pieces of community that make up who Burnaby is.
3) Could you describe your partnership with the Burnaby Neighbourhood House and explain what partnership means to you?
Burnaby Neighbourhood House (BNH) has been an incredible and collaborative partnership from the beginning. BNH has such an active presence in the Burnaby community through the many ways they give back and serve their community. As a program through BNH, we have been connected to many opportunities to align our mission with other initiatives with a similar focus, such as the Stride Arts Festival. We are also thankful for the multitude of ways BNH has connected community members to us.
4) What is next for We Are Burnaby?
We look forward to continuing our partnerships with community events such as Stride Arts Festival and Burnaby Festival of Learning in 2023 and featuring local stories through these events. We hope to develop more partnerships with events and organizations in the future.
5) What are some of the challenges you face, and what might the community-at-large do to support you in facing these challenges?
Promotion of the program has been one of the more prominent challenges since its inception. As much as collaborations with other community events like the Stride Arts Festival and the Burnaby Festival of Learning have certainly helped bring attention to our mission, we recognize there are more opportunities to promote our program to the community-at-large.
Another challenge we face is capacity as we are a two-person team who volunteer our time to support this program. We hope that future volunteers can join us to sustain and grow this program.
6) What are your favourite topics to explore at We Are Burnaby?
As we reflect on the stories community members have shared with us, it is difficult to pick a topic given the wide variety of stories we feature. We’ve shared stories about community-based programs, science and technology, and art installations, to name a few. Many of these stories are driven by the overwhelming passion and purpose to impact others, which we are most drawn to given how We Are Burnaby was conceived out of the need to connect and engage with one another.