Skip navigation

Sound Thinking Symposium 2015: Voicing the City In/verse

November 28 to November 29, 2015

Sound Thinking 2015

Surrey Art Gallery, in partnership with South of Fraser Inter Arts Collective (SOFIA/c) and Simon Fraser University's English Department, present the Sound Thinking symposium Voicing the City In/verse: Reading Surrey and the Super-Suburb. This two-day symposium features the work of poets, fiction writers, spoken word artists, sound artists, and storytellers who read, speak, and voice the experiences of the "super-suburb", a space formerly on the periphery, but increasingly the centre of metropolitan socioeconomic life.

The region South of the Fraser River is the quintessential super-suburb (a term sometimes used to describe suburbs with populations that exceed 250,000). Here, both the past and potential story of the future is palpable in this area's literature and everyday speech. The communities of Surrey, Langley, Delta, and White Rock all coalesce to form a rapidly sprawling narrative of post-war civic expansion and settlement where the world of cul-de-sacs, "a" and "b" streets, and community spaces intersect with indigenous oral histories of place and meaning. In these locations, European colonial settlement patterns converged with migration from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East to form new neighbourhoods and a new kind of suburb that is both culturally and linguistically diverse.

Rather than a suburb on the edge of the Vancouver metropolis, Surrey more and more resembles a downtown centre in its own right. Urban theorists are also observing this city-suburb inversion in other areas across Canada. Industrial activities, new migrant settlement patterns, and small businesses formerly located in urban centres are now located in the new super-suburbs that have grown on the edge of the old urban core. This process of inversion includes a rapid increase of cultural production in the visual arts, music, theatre, and literature.

Sound Thinking 2015 examines the rich literary and spoken word output of Canada's super-suburb, specifically Surrey and its surrounding South of the Fraser region. Here, poets, novelists, and spoken word artists have been working for decades and are working in greater numbers to portray and depict these complex and changing spaces. 

Convened by Phinder Dulai and Jordan Strom, Voicing the City In/verse is presented in conjunction with Surrey Art Gallery’s 40th anniversary show, Views from the Southbank, a three-part series of exhibitions of art from and about the South of Fraser region.

This event is sponsored by Surrey Public Libraries and Geist magazine.


Literary Cabaret: Saturday, Nov 28 | 7-11:30PM @ Olympia Pizza and Restaurant, 10257 King George Blvd.

Keynote and Panel Discussions: Sunday, Nov 29 | Noon-5PM @ Surrey Art Gallery, 13750 88 Ave.

Keynote Speaker: M.G. Vassanji, two-time winner of the Giller Prize.

Participants: John Armstrong, Sadhu Binning, Roxanne Charles, Joseph A. Dandurand, Veeno Dewan, Connor Doyle, Lakshmi Gill, Heidi Greco, Leona Gom, Heather Haley, Taryn Hubbard, Tom Konyves, Judy MacInnes Jr., Cecily Nicholson, Fauzia Rafique, Kevin Spenst, and a local musical guest.

About Sound Thinking

Founded in 2008, Surrey Art Gallery’s Sound Thinking symposium is an annual event that brings together practitioners and professionals in the field of sound art, sound studies, and oral pracices. The symposium features leading sound artists, scholars, and researchers in the field sound studies, along with visual artists who use sound as key components of their practice, and musicians who experiment with the limits of music and sound. Past symposia have addressed subjects as diverse as radiophonic space, the relationship between voice and technology, and background sound. Sound Thinking is part of the Open Sound program, an exhibition program that supports the production and presentation of audio art forms as part of contemporary art practice.

From left to right on image: Co-convenor/poet Phinder Dulai, poets Taryn Hubbard and Kevin Spenst, and poet/novelist Fauzia Rafique.

Cost: Free

Location: Olympia Pizza & Restaurant (Sat) & Surrey Art Gallery (Sun)

Contact: 604-501-5566

Category: Arts

Town Centre: North Surrey