News

Le Devoir features Project Someone director Vivek Venkatesh in video on systemic racism

Project Someone director Vivek Venkatesh was recently interviewed by Le Devoir about systemic racism. Venkatesh dives into the concept in an Oct. 19 video titled Le Racisme Systémique sous la loupe de Vivek Venkatesh. 

Venkatesh defines the concept in question as “an ensemble of factors propagated by our public institutions which exacerbate social inequalities and manifest in the ways individuals from minority communities are treated.” 

While this seems straightforward enough, Venkatesh highlights how such a concept can be engaged with from a variety of epistemological positions. It’s much easier, he says, to point to the results of an individual racist act than to showcase the insidious effects of systemic racism empirically, which could leave devout empiricists confused or even suspicious about the “invisible nature” of systemic racism.

The key, according to Venkatesh, is to be aware of such diverging ways of engaging with a concept and to challenge oneself to approach it in different ways.

Watch the interview below.

Fonds de Recherche du Québec showcases Project Someone

The Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ) – Société et Culture recently spotlighted Project Someone in an Oct. 5th feature story titled “Reducing discrimination, one performance at a time.”

The story highlights the output of the strategic cluster formed by the CSLP, the UNESCO-PREV Chair and Project Someone since the inception of the latter in 2014, foregrounding the unique multidisciplinary and artistic elements of initiatives like Landscape of Hope.

With regard to Project Someone’s global reach, the FRQ concludes that “through its work that goes far beyond traditional academic channels, the Project Someone team is showcasing the voices of educators and students from around the world and increasing their resilience and tolerance towards hate speech, both online and offline.”

Read the story.

Learn more about our projects.

Project Someone relaunches “From Hate to Hope” online course

Project Someone, in partnership with the UNESCO Chair for the Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, is relaunching our/its massive open online course (MOOC) “From Hate to Hope: Building Understanding and Resilience.” The free, non-credit online course aims to prevent hate and radicalization by facilitating public education and providing tangible strategies to build resilience. 

Following a successful first launch in the spring of 2020, the Project Someone team has evaluated and updated the course to be offered this fall. The course will run bilingually in French and English for this iteration, from November 1st to December 10th, 2021. 

Learn more and register for the course here. 

The course is primarily asynchronous and can be done at your own pace, with the exception of 3 exciting live sessions (held on Fridays) facilitated by Project Someone director Vivek Venkatesh and Dr. Nykkie Lugosi-Schimpf. These sessions provide an opportunity for participants to come together, unpack some of the themes, and pose questions to facilitators.

Designed with different community stakeholders in mind, this MOOC starts with the essentials, like the distinction between hate speech and free speech, and moves on to hot topics like fake news, filter bubbles and recruitment tactics used by hate groups––all of which are analyzed with pertinent, real-life examples.

In the following video, our experts define hate.


More importantly, tangible approaches to prevention, resilience and advocacy, online and offline, are presented as participants are invited to make a difference in their own sectors. Each module offers a wealth of varied, current and actionable knowledge, exchanges with peers, as well as interactive exercises using the hashtag #EspoirAmalHope.

Register for the course.

Director Vivek Venkatesh to speak at Amnistie Internationale Canada webinar on anti-racist educational initiatives in Quebec

Image: Amnistie Internationale

CSLP director Vivek Venkatesh is set to speak at an October 7 webinar hosted by Amnistie Internationale Canada on anti-racist educational intiatives in Quebec. At 6 pm, Venkatesh will join Ismaël Seck, an activist and teacher in school adjustment at the Commission scolaire de Montreal, as well as a representative of Mikana, an Indigenous non-profit educational initiative, for a roundtable discussion.

Amnistie Internationale Canada is the Canadian Francophone branch of Amnesty International, a citizen-led global movement for human rights. 

 

Read about the event (FR).

Register for the event. 

Director Vivek Venkatesh and Dr. Ryan Scrivens to speak at Norwegian seminar on terrorism and technology

Scrivens and Venkatesh

Director Vivek Venkatesh, alongside Ryan Scrivens, former Project Someone postdoc and Assistant professor at Michigan State’s School of Criminal Justice, will be speaking at an upcoming seminar on the topic of terrorism and technology, organized by the Consortium for Research on Terrorism and International Crime at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. 

The seminar, titled What role does technology play in violent extremism and terrorism?, takes place this Wednesday, September 29th. Speakers will discuss the Internet as a key facilitator of violent extremism, in response to a recent report by the Global Network on Extremism & Technology. Venkatesh and Scrivens will present their findings on interviews they conducted with former Canadian right-wing extremists about their use of the Internet and the interrelation between their on- and offline worlds. 

More information.

Watch a recording of this event below:

Landscape of Hope releases new evaluation guidebook

The Landscape of Hope project team has just released a guidebook to evaluating art-driven and resilience-based initiatives like their own, based on criteria developed by the Anti-Racism Action Program (ARAP) that prioritize the voices of Indigenous, racialized, and religious minority communities.

While the evaluation guidebook is intended to support Landscape of Hope researchers and partners in measuring the success and effectiveness of their work, it will serve as a practical tool to any organization undertaking similar work at the intersection of social justice, education and the arts. 

The guidebook offers a simple, step-by-step approach to practicing self-reflexive evaluation and mobilizing participatory methodology. This includes strategies for tracking project progress and conducting interviews/focus groups, as well as a breakdown of resilience- and art-based frameworks and instruments that can be applied across a wide variety of sectors and initiatives.

Those interested should stay tuned for webinars (dates to be announced soon) that will be facilitated by the Landscape of Hope team on implementing the tools in the guidebook.

Download the guidebook.

Director Vivek Venkatesh discusses pandemic-fuelled violence on Radio Noon Quebec with Shawn Apel

Radio Noon with Shawn ApelProject Someone director Vivek Venkatesh recently appeared on Radio Noon Quebec with Shawn Apel to discuss rising levels of anger, violence and polarization in the context of the upcoming federal election and the ongoing pandemic. 

On September 8th, Venkatesh spoke with host Leah Hendry about how pandemic-related anxiety has led some to take drastic measures to be heard by their political representatives and fellow citizens, noting that many are willing to put their reputations on the line for their cause.

“They’re crying out for attention, they want to be heard,” Venkatesh said. “Maybe it’s time to say, ok, what do you have to say, beyond the fact that you want to utter swear words and you want to insult the person, what is it that is troubling you the most?”

Venkatesh advocated for the importance of constructive, agonistic dialogue, in which opposing parties make an effort to understand one another’s rationales, rather than relying on ad hominem insults. He noted that too often, we value consensus over healthy debate, which leaves many feeling marginalized and unaccounted for. 

According to Venkatesh, we should instead focus on constructing models and platforms that are more conducive to pluralistic dialogue and social education.

Venkatesh appears at 30:24. Listen here. 

Director Vivek Venkatesh to speak at Montreal Council of Women panel on Hate Speech

MCW event flyerDirector Vivek Venkatesh will be joining Dr. Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, and Amira Elghawaby, journalist and human rights advocate, in an upcoming panel event on hate speech hosted by the Montreal Council of Women. Titled Hate speech: A Violent attack on Canadian diversity, the panelists will address hate speech in the Canadian and digital contexts, sharing their expertise on countering hate that leads to violence.

When: September 2nd, 2021 – 5 pm EST

Where: Online via Zoom

Register here.

Read more about the event. 

Project Someone welcomes Dr. Leslie Touré Kapo

Leslie Touré Kapo, PhD

The Project Someone team warmly welcomes Dr. Leslie Touré Kapo, our incoming research associate and community advisor. Dr. Kapo will be contributing to Landscape of Hope by mobilizing community organizations in Black and racialized communities of Montreal. He will also be developing workshops for the Innovative Social Pedagogy project with Employment and Social Development Canada.

Dr. Kapo’s research interests lie in urban studies, youth studies, critical race theory, and gender and sexuality. He explores the impact of racialization processes on the everyday life of youth in low-income and immigrant neighbourhoods. His expertise in research and project management largely stems from his experience as a youth and social worker in France and Quebec. He received his master’s degree in sociology from Université de Perpignan via Domitia, and completed his PhD with the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS). Dr. Kapo’s dissertation explored the everyday and ordinary life of young racialized Montrealers. This ethnography followed 28 young racialized Montrealers between Fall 2015 and Spring 2018 and shed light on undermined dynamics such as stigmatization, islamophobia, racism and ordinary violence. His dissertation was awarded Best thesis 2020-2021 by the Centre Urbanisation Culture Société of INRS, as well as the Best thesis award 2021 in Humanities and Social Sciences of the Association des doyennes et des doyens des études supérieures au Québec. 

Text courtesy of Leslie Touré Kapo

New UNESCO-PREV report examines the role of program evaluations in extremism prevention efforts

Report title page

A new UNESCO-PREV report, titled Constraints and opportunities in evaluating programs for prevention of violent extremism: How practitioners see it, is now available to the public. Co-authored by David Morin, co-chair of UNESCO-PREV, Pierre-Alain Clément and Pablo Madriaza, the report analyzes the experiences of professionals and practitioners working in Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) when it comes to the evaluation of their work. Drawing on interviews conducted by the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC) and the results of a focus group conducted by the chair’s Ottawa counterpart, the study analyzes testimonies from a total of 57 professionals from around the world. 

The report begins from the observation that there is a lack of “rigorously defined conceptual and empirical foundations” to most PVE programs. As a result, the authors observe, stakeholders have little evidence-based data and guidelines to rely on when designing, implementing and funding programs aimed at countering violent extremism. Program evaluations are an important way of addressing this issue. As the authors observe, “evaluations can provide a better understanding of the mechanisms and processes that make programs succeed or fail.” 

Yet at the same time, they note that practitioners often perceive program evaluations as a constraint, given that their work is not exactly suited to “tightly scheduled evaluations that use traditional performance indicators.” This interplay between the opportunities and constraints posed by evaluations, and the question of how said constraints are to be resolved, makes up the bulk of the report. As the first step in a larger project on evaluation of prevention practices, the report will no doubt serve as a crucial resource for future developments in the field.

Read the report.