Beacon Project

The Liminal Archive - 1

“The Liminal Archive” seeks to share texts, and images of recent African Nova Scotian heritage in the Halifax downtown core through visual installations. The specific format of the archive will be shared and reflected on with youth through African Nova Scotian youth outreach programming.

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Rising property values and accelerated construction are quickly erasing the presence of African Nova Scotian stories, places, and people in the downtown. This leaves the living heritage of Halifax’s Black culture caught between a rich and vibrant, if neglected past, and rapidly changing future. As a partial corrective, “The Liminal Archive” seeks to share texts and images of recent African Nova Scotian heritage in the Halifax downtown core through visual collage installation.

Recent research by the applicants has brought together information and artifacts of African Nova Scotian heritage in Halifax’s North End and Downtown core. “The Liminal Archive” provides the opportunity to share data with the city. The applicants are also engaged in an ongoing youth education collaboration with Business Is Jammin’, an African Nova Scotian Youth entrepreneurship and education organization. “The Liminal Archive” provides the opportunity to work with youth in reflecting on how this information can be shared.

The purpose is to develop a temporary installation in Halifax's downtown that shines a light on the Afro-Nova Scotian Heritage of recent past. A further goal is to provide learning opportunities in art and design for African Nova Scotian youth; and to connect these youth with recent African Nova Scotian histories in the city center. Another goal is to digitally preserve recent African Nova Scotian artifacts.

Artists and Collaborators
Isioma Mafiana (M.Arch. 2021) is a graduate of the Dalhousie University School of Architecture. His thesis, “Finding Peace and Reconciliation: Healing and Public Identity for the Black Community in Halifax”, brought to light archival information that was not ready available to the public. This was done in collaboration with Crystal Mulder, Branch Supervisor of the Dartmouth North Public Library, who helped provide access to library archival material for this installation. James Forren was Isioma’s thesis supervisor and an Associate Professor of Architecture at Dalhousie University. With the BIJ, James and Isioma organize the SoA’s Experiences in Architecture program, which provides African Nova Scotian youth with an experience of the day-in-the-life of a Dalhousie Architecture students. Matthew Martel is the Chief Operating Officer at the Black Business Initiative, which operates Business is Jammin’ (BIJ). Vimbayi Handara is BIJ’s manager and will be organizing presentation of the work to youth through BIJ’s Role Models on the Road outreach program.

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