Lectures and Talks

Art Connects | Diversity Reads with Cicely Belle Blain and Coral Santana

Thu Apr 29 4 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Thursday, April 29 | 4 PM


Join us for a special live broadcast of the Diversity Reads Podcast, hosted by Afro-Latina writer, producer, activist and UBC Film Studies student Coral Santana and featuring special guests Cicely Belle Blain, activist and founder of Black Lives Matter Vancouver, and Stephanie Bokenfohr, Public Programs Coordinator at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Brought to you by UBC Arts and Culture District, Diversity Reads is a podcast book club that aims to create an exhilarating space for learning and discussion, where we open ourselves to the multitude of rich narratives around us, particularly those by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled and neurodivergent authors.

In this conversation, we will discuss Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Themes explored in the novel allow for discussions around relationships, race, identity and ancestry, as well as the structures of storytelling and LGBTQA+ representation. Like the exhibition Stories that animate us, the book also invites dialogue around whose stories are told and why?

This episode of Art Connects is presented in partnership with UBC Arts and Culture District. We would like to thank Special Events Manager Deb Pickman, from the UBC Arts and Culture District, the UBC Centre for Accessibility and UBC Wellbeing for their support and for the opportunity to collaborate.

Questions? Submit them during the Zoom presentation using the Q&A function. You can also engage with your fellow attendees and panelists during the event using the Chat function.

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This program will include live ASL interpretation and Closed Captioning.

If you have any requests, concerns, or questions regarding accessibility at this event, please contact Stephanie Bokenfohr by email at sbokenfohr@vanartgallery.bc.ca

CART Services Real-time captioning is available for public programs and events upon request with seven business days advance notice. We will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made outside of that window of time. To place a request, please contact Stephanie Bokenfohr at sbokenfohr@vanartgallery.bc.ca or by phone at (604) 662-4700.


Cicely Belle Blain is a Black/mixed, queer, non-binary femme from London, UK, now living on the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. Their ancestry is a mix of Gambian (Wolof), Jamaican and English. Blain spent their formative years between London, the Netherlands and a small Catholic village in France—each home presenting a pivotal opportunity for awakening and growth. Blain is descended from a long line of feminist educators and developed a passion for justice from a young age. They are noted for founding Black Lives Matter Vancouver and subsequently being listed as one of Vancouver’s 50 most powerful people by Vancouver Magazine twice, one of BC Business‘s 30 under 30 and one of Refinery29‘s Powerhouses of 2020. Blain is also an instructor in Executive Leadership at Simon Fraser University, the Editorial Director of Ripple of Change Magazine and the author of Burning Sugar (Arsenal Pulp Press and VS Books, 2020).

Stephanie Bokenfohr is an arts educator and independent producer of settler Icelandic and German ancestry. She works with socially-engaged artists and non-profit institutions to bring important conversations of our time to public settings, with a primary focus on performance and access. She has served as the Public Programs Coordinator at the Vancouver Art Gallery since 2017, where she works to advance access initiatives within the education department and across the institution. She holds an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University (2017) and a BFA from Concordia University (2011). She has produced programs and performances throughout the United States and Canada. She humbly acknowledges that she lives and creates as an uninvited guest on the unceded homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the lands of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil- Waututh) Nations.

Coral Santana is an Afro-Latina writer, producer and activist, born in the Dominican Republic and currently located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. She is in her final term at UBC, majoring in Film Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. In her work, Coral explores her mixed heritage and how colonialism has shaped her perception of self. Her writing is infused with memories from her childhood and how unlearning and relearning her history continues to shape her. As well, she is an avid advocate for gender, sex and sexuality empowerment, using her platforms to amplify the voices of resistance in her community. She is currently the director of Exposure UBC, the UBC Arts and Culture District’s student volunteer team, an organization that aims to build a conscious creative community as well as highlight student artists. This past year as the Strategic Communications and Events Assistant Manager for UBC Arts and Culture District, Santana was the Creative Director and Producer of ARTIVISM: SEX + The Unheard. Currently, Santana is the host and producer of DIVERSITY Reads Podcast.


Presented by:

Jane Irwin and Ross Hill

Community Partner: