Planning in Toronto: Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University is officially open for registration

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word love here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace–not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

-James Baldwin, The First Next Time


Greetings and Salutations,

We are super excited to announce that the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University is now open for registration, there has been a lot of love, hard work and collaboration in curating this course over the past 12 months. The Black Daddies Club has partnered with a series of critical thinkers, educators, artists, agencies, institutions and many others to co-create a curriculum that is relevant to the Black and African Canadian community in the Greater Toronto Area, this approach is not a traditional approach by academia standards, however this approach falls into the theory of an Un-Conference.

The purpose of the Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference course at York University, as I recognize that in many graduate classes there are a handful of Black students, even less with Black men occupying the space, our goal with this course is making education more accessible to the Black community in Toronto and to reimagine the idea of who are the educators and who are the learners, and to also interrogate the idea of what should be considered as knowledge production?

Please find the syllabus for the fall 2017 Planning in Toronto workshop here –> Black Love Matters 2017 Un-conference Syllabus

The workshop is taught by Brandon Hay (Founder, Black Daddies Club) and Nigel Barriffe (President, Urban Alliance on Race Relations).  This is a dynamic course and sessions will take place at a variety of locations around the GTA.  The course also incorporates a strong current of community-participation.  Here is a short description of the course:

The Planning in Toronto workshop will focus on developing a symposium entitled “Blackness, Gender, Work, and Love” that will be the closing event of the year long initiative called Black Love Matters 2017 Un-Conference. This course investigates how urban planning is informed by and closely related to the overarching, infrastructural challenges faced by the African, Caribbean & Black Canadian community in the GTA. The workshop will provide insight into alternative, anti-racist planning strategies and projects that promote community development in the GTA. Students will learn about these strategies and projects, the methodologies around which they were designed and the various challenges that they aim to address. The course will also furnish students with an overview of anti-Black racism in Canada and how it intersects with other forms of discrimination. In addition, students will be introduced to the movements and organizations that seek to respond to the peculiar violence of Canadian-style, anti-Black racism. The students will be responsible of co-creating the Blackness, Gender, Work, and Love Symposium in December 2017; working with community members, community based organizations, government agencies, community based artists and activists to create a plenary apart of the symposium.

This course will be held at York University, in the Faculty of Environmental Studies; however, we will also be visiting various locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area throughout the term. This course is open to graduate students at York University of all race, genders and nationality; the course is also open to community members that identify as Black or African Canadians. For community members, the course is free.

For community members who are interested in applying for the course, you are required to submit an application for the course, answering the following question:

What does Black love mean to you? And why is it relevant in 2017?

Your options for your response

–       Writing an essay (500-1000 words)

–       Video Blog (five minutes- 10 minutes)

–       Podcast (five minutes- 10 minutes)

Deadline for community member’s submissions is September 1st, 2017 at 4pm.

For more information please email Nigel Barriffe, or Brandon Hay,




Brandon Hay, MES (Business)

Founder, Black Daddies Club