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CALL FOR ARTISTS: Changing the Conversation: Reflective Empathy and Public Discourse on Social Housing

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the QayQayt (qiqéyt) Nation as well as all Coast Salish Nations.

Changing the Conversation: Reflective Empathy and Public Discourse on Social Housing


We invite all visual and literary artists from Metro Vancouver to submit applications for a group exhibition during the Change the Conversation Series. Literary works will be featured at a public event on March 27th, 2020 at the Laura Muir Theatre on the New Westminster campus of Douglas College and photographic works will be displayed in the Amelia Douglas Gallery from March 27th – April 20th, 2020.

The theme of the exhibition is “Poverty, Housing, and Empathy”.

In recognizing how diverse our community is, and in order to break down any exclusionary barriers and create a platform for marginalized voices, we specifically encourage artists with lived experience of homelessness, poverty, and substance use to submit. Artists on the LGBTQ spectrum, non-binary artists, artists of colour, Indigenous artists, and disabled artists, are strongly encouraged to submit.

Submissions will be received up to 4:00pm on Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Public opposition to social housing is often accompanied by stigmatizing stories about those impacted by poverty and homelessness. The goal of this project is to use the arts to have a better public conversation about these issues by seeing more deeply into the world of those without secure housing in New Westminster and the broader Metro Vancouver area. This call for artists seeks poetry, creative non-fiction, and photography that invites us to think more deeply and to develop more empathy for those with lived experience of poverty, homelessness, and substance use.


This call is open to applications from both established and emerging artists in the following categories:

  1. Poetry
  2. Creative non-fiction writing (maximum 1500 words)
  3. Photography


Each category will have three prizes with monetary awards:

1st Prize: $750
2nd Prize: $500
3rd Prize: $250

In addition to these prizes, there will be seven bursaries of $200 each for seven additional photographs.

How to Apply for an Exhibition:

The Selection Committee will meet in late January 2020 to consider applications for the exhibition. A well-prepared proposal helps in the selection.

To be considered, please submit the following:

Category: Poetry

  • Must be an original work of poetry, not previously published in print or online
  • Word count: 5 – Max. 500

Category: Creative Non-Fiction Writing

  • Must be an original work of non-fiction, not previously published in print or online
  • Word count: 1,200 – Max. 1,500

Category: Photography

  • A selection of 3 digital images of proposed work you wish to exhibit. Digital images should be jpg format at 150 dpi; each image should be a maximum of 800 x 600 pixels. Image files should be clearly labelled with your Name, the Title of Work, Size in inches and Medium. Example: Artist-Title-Size-Medium.jpg

For all categories, please submit the following:

  • Contact information (mailing address, phone number, email, website, or shelter address).
  • An Artist Statement giving your aims and objectives as an artist in relation to your work.
  • A short paragraph about your background and lived experience.

If possible, please include all written material as PDF files and submit via email to with “Exhibition Submission – Changing the Conversation” in the subject line. Please ensure that attachments total less than 5MB. For handwritten submission options, please contact the gallery at 604-525-3244.

Deadlines for submission is 4:00pm on Wednesday January 15, 2020.

The Selection Process:

The Selection Committee will meet in late January 2020 to consider all applications received. All applications will receive a reply by email, stating whether the work has been accepted.  If your application has been successful, you will be contacted by telephone, exhibition details will be confirmed, and a contract will be sent to you. This contract will outline your responsibilities and providing other details and dates.  A signed contract is required before the exhibition can proceed.

Application Tips:

  • Be sure that all documents include your name, name of your artwork, and complete contact information.
  • Email submissions are preferred. For physical submissions, please phone the gallery at 604-525-3244 for equitable access procedures.
  • DO NOT send composite images or prepared slideshows
  • Please test all digital documents on a PC computer to ensure compatibility

Submit your application via email to:

Estimated Timeline:

November 1, 2019   
January 15, 2020
Late January 2020
February 2020
February 2020
March 20-25, 2020
March 27 – April 20, 2020

Call to Artists Launched
Deadline to submit
Selection Committee meets
Artists contacted
Exhibition dates confirmed, contracts signed and returned
Installation dates
Exhibition at the Laura Muir Theatre Lobby


All enquiries should be directed to:
Stephen O’Shea, Executive Director
Phone: 604 525 3244

Click here to download a PDF of this Call for Artists

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