Diverse Pasts and Near Futures Workshop

Conrad Poirier, Children seated around a table weave with the help of a teacher. They are at the Negro Community Centre on Delisle street in Montreal, 10 March 1949. BAnQ, Fonds Conrad Poirier.

Unfolding as a ten-week series of spatial workshops, Diverse Pasts and Near Futures empowers youth to reflect on and impact the future of a new community-centred space in Little Burgundy. Rooted in the rich legacy of the Charles H. Este Cultural Centre, formerly the Negro Community Centre (NCC), this free program invites teens to delve into the world of architecture designed for (and by) communities.

The legacy of the NCC serves as a canvas for intervention and engagement; participants will be empowered to investigate, propose, and shape the future of this iconic site of Montréal’s Black History.

This workshop serves as a testament to history and addresses contemporary challenges such as gentrification, community-driven design, and Afro-futurism. Culminating in a youth-led town hall meeting focused on the construction and uses of a new space for Black communities of Little Burgundy and Montréal, this workshop provides an opportunity for young people to share their opinions and ideas and to lead a collective reflection on the future of the renewed NCC.

This workshop is free and will be conducted primarily in English.


Saturdays: 11:00am – 12:30pm
Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1920 Rue Baile

3, 10, 17 and 24 February
2, 16, and 23 March
6, 13, and 20 April

Final event: 20 April 2024

The workshop will unfold in four parts: 

1) An introduction: How are we affected by changes to our community spaces? How can we counter it with community identity, Afro diversity, and futurism?

2) Historical observation and context: How can we spotlight oral histories and hands-on experiences to engage with stories of the past? 

3) Reimagining: How can history inform the future of the NCC in Little Burgundy that serves the needs and desires of residents today? How can we imagine a community space through productive and creative exploration?

4) Expression and presentation: How can we foster leadership opportunities and community contributions from our young participants? How can we engage our communities and create a platform for public forum on the collective future? 

No materials are required—come with your curiosity and imagination!

Please register here by 31 January.

We take all registrations as confirmation of attendance. If you cannot make it in the end, please let us know by 31 January 2024.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Owusu-Piameng vopiameng@cca.qc.ca or Alexandra Lyn alyn@cca.qc.ca, or call us at 514 939 7001x 1365.


When are the workshops?

It is a 10-week program with workshops taking place every Saturday, from January to April. The first workshop is 3 February 2024. Registration is open until 31 January. There will also be a community event planned by participants in April.

Do I have to be Black or from Little Burgundy to participate?

No, all teens living in and around Montréal are welcome to join! Although there will be a focus on Black history and Little Burgundy, the workshop will also relate to universal themes of community, identity, and gentrification.

How can I sign up?

Please register through Eventbrite. By registering, you are enrolling for the full duration of the program (10 weeks).

How old do I have to be to participate?

Between the ages of 12 and 17.

What if I can only attend some workshops but not all?

Each week, the activities will build on what was learned during the previous week, and the program will culminate in an ongoing project—we expect regular attendance.

What will participants gain from this program?

In addition to developing skills in collaboration, leadership, and design, participants will have an opportunity to accumulate volunteer hours, to gain new perspectives on architecture, and to acquire knowledge about Black history and critical approaches to urban space that are not typically covered in their school curriculum.

These workshops are part of the CCA’s initiative started in spring 2022, to increase engagement and accessibility of architecture education to members of the BIPOC community through public programming. Please contact us to learn more about the Diversity Incentives Youth Program. This workshop is made possible thanks to the support of Scotiabank, and in collaboration with McGill University’s Peter Guo-Hua Fu School of Architecture ARCH 673 Master of Architecture studio on the remediation of the NCC site.


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