Shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, Matt Hern's Common Ground in a Liquid City (AK Press)is a collection of essays and images that uses Vancouver as a foil in a global search for what makes cities livable.

Matt Hern calls for 'deschooling' children in Field Day: Getting Society Out of School (New Star, 2004), an examination of how and why society institutionalizes children six hours a day, five days a week, for twelve years. He has also argued for a re-examination of needless and sometimes even harmful safety practices, the result of a culture bent on rendering the human and natural world predictable and calculated, in Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn't Always Better (New Star, 2006).

In 2018, Hern co-authored On This Patch of Grass (Fernwood 2018), $30, with Daisy Couture, Sadie Couture, and Selena Couture, with Denise Ferreira da Silva, Glen Coulthard, and Erick Villagomez. Focusing on a small urban park in Vancouver -- Victoria Park, but better known as Bocce Ball Park -- to "interrogate the politics of land," the authors grapple with the fact that they are uninvited guests on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. As noted on the book's back cover blurb, "Every park in North America is performing modernity and settler colonialism every day." And yet, Bocce Ball Park serves many users with a variety of backgrounds, engaging in a range of activities and doing so peacefully. The authors conclude: "It is a living exhibition of the possibilities of sharing land and perhaps offers some clues to a decolonial horizon."

Daisy Couture is a student at UBC.† Selena Couture is assistant professor or drama at the University of Alberta. Sadie Couture is a graduate student at Concordia. Denise Ferreira da Silva and Glen Coulthard are professors at UBC, Erick Villagomez is the founding principal of Metis Design-Build.


With an M.A. from Goddard College and a Ph.D from Union Institute, Hern lives in Vancouver, edits Crank magazine and directs an alternative to school called the Purple Thistle Centre. He also calls himself a community-based activist and organizer; and he teaches in SFU?s Urban Studies department, Cape Breton University?s MBA program in Community Economic Development, and is an Adjunct Professor in UBC?s School of Community and Regional Planning.


Joe Sacco, one of the world's greatest comics journalists has teamed up with Vancouverites Am Johal and Matt Hern for Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (MIT Press $19.95). The three go on a road trip from Vancouver to the Alberta tar sands. Along the way they talk to people whose lives and fortunes depend on, or are imperiled by, the tar sands. Sacco contributes a chapter-length comic about the contradictions of life in an oil town.

Combining travelogue, political analysis, and ecological theory, the authors argue that confronting global warming requires a politics that speaks to a different way of being in the world-a reconstituted understanding of the sweetness of life.

Joe Sacco is best known for his books Palestine (1996) and Footnotes in Gaza (2009). Am Johal is director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Matt Hern is a Vancouver activist.


[BCBW 2018] "Education"