Living Library Pilot

Date: Thursday November 3, 2016
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Place: UBC Asian Centre (1871 West Mall) (map)
Co-hosts: UBC Asian Library and  Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration
Admission: Free, but please register.


A Living Library Program makes people—rather than books—available for checkout. In the Asian Library context, such a program would provide a space for distinguished individuals who have Asia-related experiences or backgrounds to make connections with students and community members. The overall theme of the program is to raise awareness of diverse groups and perspectives.

For our pilot event, we plan to invite 5 “human books,” as well as approximately 15“readers.” After a short introduction, each “human book” will be matched up with up to 3“readers” for a 20 minute discussion. Topics will vary depending on the questions from the readers. After approximately 50 minutes of introduction and discussion, all participants will gather for mingling and snacks. Discussions may take place in English or Asian languages, depending on the language proficiency of those participating in the discussions.

This program will provide library participants with the opportunity to gain a greater and deeper understanding of the Asian culture and social diversity within Canada. It will serve as a venue to learn, exchange ideas, and forge new connections with those in the community as well as those in the university.


Simon Choa Johnston

Simon JohnstonBorn and raised in Hong Kong, Simon was educated in Canada at McMaster University ‘72. He did post graduate theatre studies in New York, worked as an artistic director, director and award winning playwright. He is Gateway Theatre’s Artistic Director Emeritus in Richmond B.C. and lives in South Surrey, B.C. Canada.

Simon is the author of numerous plays produced and published in Canada. He won Theatre BC’s National Playwrights prize, the City of Richmond’s Cultural Leadership Award, McMaster University’s Alumni Gallery and is the Gateway Theatre’s Artistic Director Emeritus. He was born and raised in Hong Kong then immigrated to Canada where he graduated from McMaster University. After postgraduate studies in New York he returned to Ontario and has worked continuously in Canadian theatres as an artistic director, director and playwright. Simon lives in South Surrey, B.C. The House of Wives is his latest novel.

Jeongeun Park

Jeongeun is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia. She earned her MA in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta in 2008. She received her PhD in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia in 2016. Her PhD dissertation entitled “Clerical Marriage and Buddhist Modernity in Early Twentieth-Century Korea” showed that the practice of clerical marriage among Korean monks during the Japanese colonial period was a phenomenon of Buddhist modernity. Her recent research focuses on Buddhism and violence during the Buddhist Purification Movement in South Korea.

Alejandro Yoshizawa

Al Yoshizawa is a filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada. From 2010 until the end of 2012, he was the lead filmmaker of the web series Chinese Canadian Stories, which was nominated for a 2013 Leo Award for best web series. Since 2014, Alejandro has been the Roger’s Teaching Fellow in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia, and in 2017 will teach a new course in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration (ACAM) studies called ACAM 350: Asian Canadian Community Media. His most recent film, All Our Father’s Relations (2016), seeks to uncover the interconnected histories of Chinese Canadian and First Nations in British Columbia, through the story of the Grant family of Musqueam.

Danvic Briones

danvic-briones blogpostDanvic Briones has pursued his passion in painting and took up Fine Arts in college. A member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, his works – part-woodcarving, part-oil painting, part-representation of his realities – have been exhibited in New York, California, British Columbia and the Philippines.  Also an entrepreneur, Briones used his artistic skills and his experiences in growing up in a typhoon- and disaster-stricken country to design the Rescue72 Vest, an emergency preparedness vest that is a flotation device with bags or implements that can help a person float and survive for at least 72 hours. Briones was also a college lecturer teaching graphic design, desktop publishing, design concepts and arts foundation at the De la Salle College of St. Benilde. He is Filipino Youth and Outreach Worker for S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and is currently managing Art Centrum, an art space which features an art gallery and offers art classes in Richmond.

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