Project Someone at the Arab World Heritage Young Professionals Forum

Project Someone collaborator, Jihan Rabah, recently returned from the Arab World Heritage Young Professionals Forum entitled “Empowering youth to build peace through the protection and preservation of heritage” in Tunis, Tunisia from December 2–6, 2019, where she offered engaging and informative sessions on PVE, hate speech, and online extremism.

Organized by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in collaboration with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), this event aimed to empower Arab youth and encourage dialogue and peace-building through a variety of workshops, round tables and innovative methodologies.

For more information on this event, please click here.

Danse en ligne Project

Photo: Dominic Morissette

By Marie-Pierre Labrie

Project Someone is engaged in a partnership with centre Turbine, a creative centre that combines art and pedagogy for its Danse en ligne project, with teenagers from Un itinéraire pour tous, an organization based in Montreal North. Led by artists Marie-Pierre Labrie and Sara Hanley, the project proposes the co-design of social media through creative missions where teenagers are invited to respond with multimedia content (photos, video, sounds, texts).

The initiative critically addresses the use of mobile and social media by transforming it into an artistic creation opportunity. The mobile phone becomes a laboratory of daily creation that contains the tools necessary for participants to express their ideas. Workshops feature an embodied approach that leads youth to sensibly reflect on their multimedia productions while diverting the usual modes of online interaction. With Project Someone’s support, the team chose to create an online platform independent of commercial social networking services .

The project is being completed this fall and a second phase is planned for spring 2020. A performance at La maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord in June 2020 will feature the results of the artistic explorations in public space.

For more information, please visit the Facebook page


Un itinéraire pour tous

Project Someone

Bibliothèque de la maison culturelle et communautaire de Montréal-Nord

New Exhibition: (Re)Viewing the Syrian War: Stories from a member of the Red Crescent

Humanitarian aid worker and Project Someone collaborator, Abood Hamad, who was on the ground in war-torn Syria for seven years, has organized the exhibition (Re)Viewing the Syrian War: Stories from a member of the Red Crescent to address misconceptions surrounding the conflict and the country.

This free event will open Thursday, November 28th, from 5 to 7p.m. at the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab, 1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd W., LB 671, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8, and no RSVP is required. The exhibition will run until December 13, 2019.

For more information, please see the Facebook event here:

New Article on Violent Extremism and Former Extremists

A new article by Ryan Scrivens, Vivek Venkatesh, Maxime Bérubé and Tiana Gaudette titled “Combating Violent Extremism: Voices of Former Right-Wing Extremists,” and published in Studies in Conflict Terrorism is now available by clicking here.

New Article on Cyberbullying and Childhood Identity

Credit: Warren Wong/Unsplash

Project Someone is proud to announce the recent publication of “Cyberbullying: Help children build empathy and resilience as their identity develops,” an article by Project Someone team members Sandra Chang-Kredl, Associate Professor in Education at Concordia University and Dan Mamlok, Horizon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Education at Concordia University, on The Conversation.

To read the full article, please click here.

Landscape of Hope – Remixing the MMFA

Concordia University graduate students in drama therapy, visual arts and sound studies are inviting graduate and undergraduate students from Concordia University to experience and reinterpret the museum collection through sense mapping, response art, sound collecting and remixing workshops which will run from Tuesday, November 19 to Friday, November 22, 2019.

The event includes three distinct workshops on three consecutive days. The first, Senses Remixed, with Ehsan Akbari (Art Education, Concordia University) will feature sensory walks, sense mapping and mobile photography. These activities invite participants to observe, notice and interpret the spaces of the museum and to learn from and about each other by sharing images, maps and observations. The second, Embodying Resilience, with Olivia Morson and Whitney Slipp (Creative Arts Therapies, Concordia University) explores hope, despair, and resilience as it intersects with the museum’s collection. Participants will be asked to embody and observe resilience with regards to the collections at the MMFA by producing their own form of ‘response art.’ The third and final workshop, Re-imagining MMFA with Julien Younes and Dezy Nair (Communications Studies, Concordia University) aims to recreate the MMFA space through a collaborative remix. Participants are invited to explore the exhibits around the museum with a conscious ear, and collect sounds using iPhones or recorders with the intent of manipulating them afterwards with various pieces of gear.

Via the Plural app developed by Project Someone, attendees will be guided in gathering their impressions of the Museum collections and transforming their media into ephemeral installations addressing themes of hope, despair and resilience. The fourth and final day will include a combined reflection and improvisation with the participation of all attendees.

For more information, please click here.

Vivek Venkatesh Discusses Social Pedagogy and Hate at The Walrus Talks

Photo: Amir Asif

Project SOMEONE Director and UNESCO-PREV co-Chair, Vivek Venkatesh recently spoke at The Walrus Talks Living Better in Toronto, on October 29, 2019.

During his seven-minute talk, Vivek discussed the role of social pedagogy in negotiating and understanding different perspectives, as well as sharing his personal connection to hate and the transformative effect it has had on him.

To listen to the talk please click here.

PVE Through Education Event – UNESCO General Conference

As part of the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference, Project SOMEONE Director and UNESCO-PREV co-Chair, Vivek Venkatesh, will be participating in Challenges and Solutions in the Prevention of Violent Extremism Through Education: Promoting Evidence-Based Activities for Youth Resilience and Engagement.

Organized and moderated by UNESCO, this side event will feature interactive debate among experts and practitioners around ‘effective’ PVE-E activities.

For more information, please click here.

Best Practices for Countering Violent Extremism: The Importance of Social Education

By Maxime Bérubé, SSHRC postdoctoral researcher, Project SOMEONE and UNESCO-PREV Chair

The far right, Jihadism, incels, and “sovereign citizens” are some examples of ideologies that can be associated with radicalization and violent extremism. The processes of engagement in violent extremism, known as radicalization leading to violence, are varied, complex and evolving. Indeed, the relative involvement of the various influencing factors associated with them varies in time and space depending on the contexts in which radicalization takes shape. To counter this phenomenon, a significant number of preventive strategies have been developed to avert the potential effects of extremist discourses.

These strategies can be divided into four categories. The first, somewhat more offensive than the other three, involves disrupting distribution networks or censoring extremist speeches to limit their proliferation. The second is to implement counter-speech, most often to undermine the credibility and veracity of particular extremist discourses. As for the third, rather than countering a discourse, it produces alternative ones that correspond to the needs of populations likely to adopt to this discourse. Finally, the fourth category belongs to a social education perspective, in which attempts are made to foster the development of digital literacy and citizenship skills of the general population. Unlike the previous three, the last approach proposes tools to develop transversal knowledge and skills that can easily be applied to prevent different forms of extremism. However, while training more knowledgeable citizens may be more sustainable and these strategies could reap multiple benefits, several questions, including the way in which to implement such strategies, remain unanswered.

My current postdoctoral research with Project SOMEONE focuses on social education and promoting alternative discourses. More specifically, I address various issues for which uncertainties persist. For example, besides skill building, where does education on the ideological and religious character of violent extremism fit in? If we value engaging in public dialogues on sensitive topics such as jihadism or the extreme right, how should we proceed? What aspects should be addressed, and which should be left out? Is it better to censor or control communication spaces that may contribute to radicalization leading to violence? Considering that radicalization processes take place in online and offline environments, how should preventive efforts be divided? Who are the most favorable stakeholders to do this work? Which target audience should we be advising?

To answer these questions, I conduct interviews with people who have already dealt with individuals labelled as “radicalized” or who are likely to adopt radical ideologies. Building on the experience of religious and community representatives, teachers, law enforcement officials, public policy officers, psychologists and social workers, our goal is to identify the best practices to adopt for the development of preventive educational strategies. Radicalization leading to violence is a very complex phenomenon that requires multisectoral prevention approaches. Thus, it is thanks to the pooling of the expertise of each of these stakeholders that the most effective and sustainable methods of education and intervention will emerge.

In future publications, we will discuss some aspects of social education in more detail, and unveil some preliminary results on this study. Meanwhile, I encourage anyone wishing to contribute to this study to contact me by email at the following address:

Vivek Venkatesh Speaking at The Walrus Talks Toronto

Credit : The Walrus Talks

Project SOMEONE Director and UNESCO-PREV co-Chair, Vivek Venkatesh will be a speaker at The Walrus Talks Living Better at Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West, Toronto, on Tuesday October 29, 2019 at 6:30 PM.

The event is part of a national series, each featuring seven key speakers who discuss important and relevant Canadian topics for seven minutes each.

For more information on this event or to purchase tickets, please click here.