People sitting in groups at tables look at a screen near the front of the room.

On November 20, students in Humber College’s Public Relations Ontario Graduate Certificate program hosted the second annual diversity and inclusion conference Brave Space which addressed how to bring courageous and constructive dialogue to the Humber community.  

The event was student organized out of the realization of a need for the community to learn how to have conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion, and the importance of shared responsibility.

The conference was founded by Humber Public Relations’ professors Annette Borger-Snel and Sharleen Mascoll. The first conference, held in 2022, was entitled Let’s Talk Diversity and focused on the need for more inclusive communication in the workplace. It helped prepare students to understand the shared responsibilities to ensure language is positive and supportive.  

“This event is an extension of what we do every day in Public Relations - amplify voices not heard, respect the stories we are privileged to tell and advance diversity in all we communicate,” said Borger-Snel, who also serves as program coordinator.

Brave Space brought Humber students together to create a more supportive and accepting learning experience and guests were invited on the journey through discussions and workshops. The event featured keynote speaker and University of Guelph-Humber alumna Kimberly Daniels, manager, Equity and Student Life at Humber College, who addressed how the community can commit to respectfully hearing honest and genuine opinions and points of view.

The workshops further encouraged discussions surrounding bias and self-awareness.  

“There is a distinction between the concepts of calling out and calling in,” says Daniels. “When we call someone out, we express our anger about a transgression. When we call someone in, we openly express to someone why certain actions have made us feel uncomfortable.”  

The workshops following Daniels’ talk put the ideas delivered into action and moved the conversation forward on how to bring more inclusive dialogue to Humber.

“A brave space can also offer a supportive place where students and faculty feel comfortable learning, sharing honestly and equally challenging assumptions and confronting bias,” said Mascoll. “Ultimately, the goal is to provide a place for self-reflection and self-awareness.”

Attendees said Brave Space left them with several key takeaways: to be open-minded when listening, to embrace constructive criticism, to speak up when they see bias and to engage in self-reflection.