UBC Library has partnered with local non-profit 2 Paycheques Away to bring an exceptional and striking photography exhibit to two library locations.

Roberto. Photographed by Mihailo Subotic

This summer, students may see some unfamiliar faces on campus, and deliberately so. UBC Library has partnered with local non-profit 2 Paycheques Away.. to bring an exceptional and striking photography exhibit to two library locations. The exhibit aims to bring the campus and Vancouver communities a little closer together and facilitates portrayals of spirited and resilient individuals from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), by displaying their portraits and stories as shared during their visit to the barber.

2 Paycheques Away.. is the brainchild of Vancouver-based barber and musician Alysha Osborne. In her early teens, Osborne learned that her stepmother had run away from home and ended up in Vancouver in her early twenties, addicted to heroin and working as a prostitute in Vancouver’s DTES. Osborne struggled to reconcile how someone she admired so much and who was a beloved family member, mentor, and parent had lived that life. “I came to realize that my stepmother and I were not that different, and that I, with just a little worse luck, could have landed in the same spot,” she explains.

Giving back to the community

Osborne was working in Gastown and had been wanting to give back to the DTES community for some time, but was unsure how she could contribute in a meaningful way. “The idea for 2 Paycheques Away.. came to me during a trip to the North American Hair Awards. I was watching all these pictures going up on the screen and I put two and two together and had an epiphany/meltdown. I turned to my husband and said: ‘I know exactly what I want to do’.”

When Osborne returned to Vancouver, she reached out to portrait photographer Mihailo Subotic, whom she met working in the same building, about the idea. “I explained to Mihailo that I wanted the pictures to be real with no special lighting or crazy editing so you could just really see the people. He showed me the work of a couple of photographers he knew that used a similar style and understood exactly what I was looking for.”

Rebuilding bridges and relationships

The two began capturing community members during their trips to the barber and learning more about their individual stories — stories of people like Roberto who lost his sense of smell when a grenade detonated near him during his home country of El Salvador’s civil war and moved to Vancouver in 1983 or Angie, from Six Nations, Ontario who moved to Vancouver to join two of her brothers and try something new.

The project was eventually developed into a book where it caught the attention of a friend of Subotic, Melany Lund, who also happened to be a circulation assistant at UBC Library. “My friend’s ears perked up when I told her about this project,” he says, “She came to the book launch and suggested we get in touch with Rare Books and Special Collections because it was so unique.”

Mihailo Subotic and Alysha Osborne

Bringing 2 Paycheques Away.. to campus

The library acquired a copy of the book for the university’s rare books collection, but saw an opportunity to do more. Inspired by the UBC Learning Exchange’s two-way learning model that ensures knowledge also flows from the community back into the university, Katherine Kalsbeek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections and Aleteia Greenwood, Head of the Woodward Library proposed an exhibition of photographs and stories in UBC Library spaces. Their backgrounds and experiences informed their interest in using UBC spaces as a platform to open minds and shift perspectives. “Hosting this exhibition on campus allows these stories to reach a broader audience and reach people who might not see them otherwise,” says Greenwood, “The Library is committed to meaningful engagement and knowledge exchange with the community.”

Osborne and Subotic are just as thrilled to bring their work to UBC, “Young minds change the world and we want them to see these photos and know these people,” says Osborne.

Osborne and Subotic are grateful for the awareness that working on the project has brought them and hope that the exhibit helps to broaden that awareness. “We’ve learned so much about the issues and problems that the DTES community and neighbourhood is facing,” says Osborne, “We hope this exhibit will help raise that kind of awareness on campus.”


The exhibit will run in the Woodward Library and Ike’s Café in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre until the end of 2019 and will move downtown to the UBC Learning Exchange in early 2020.

View the 2 Paycheques Away.. book in the library’s collection.
Copies of the book are also available for purchase at the UBC Bookstore.

In honour of the 60th anniversary of the Library’s acquisition of the Puban Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections will be hosting bi-weekly tours highlighting items from the Puban Collection throughout the summer, from July 9 to August 20.

UBC’s Emerging Media Lab (EML) has a new hub, right in the heart of campus. Established in 2016 as an experimental space where faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines could collaborate with industry and community, the lab made its mission to evolve learning by creating tools and techniques using emerging media including Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality.

Now, in its newest location in Room 183 on Level 1 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the lab is hopeful that the new space will attract a larger and even more diverse group of users and continue to be a truly interdisciplinary space.

Students and faculty in EML space


An emerging media lab for everyone.

“The Library has this sense of belonging to everyone, a sense of inclusivity,” says Saeed Dyanatkar, executive Producer at the Emerging Media Lab, “If you have a Library card, it doesn’t matter which department you’re from, you can use it. This is how we want people to feel about the EML — it is a huge step forward for us.”

The implementation of an Emerging Media Lab is a natural fit for UBC Library. Julie Mitchell, Assistant Director, Student Engagement, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre explains, “Challenging traditional views of libraries as repositories for the printed book, leading academic libraries are at the forefront of providing technology-enabled spaces to support learning and research. The EML@IKBLC project was a priority for the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as it creates space for interdisciplinary interactions and provides tools to explore new technologies, with the potential to transform education and research practices at UBC.”

Student using Virtual reality equipment


At the heart of what drives innovation at the EML is the opportunity to experiment and the permission to fail, with more emphasis on learning and process than output. As Faculty in Residence, Dr. Matthew Yedlin describes it, “Failure is a learning experience. Here at the EML, we don’t want to have the perfect anything. You have to fail to be creative.”

The new IKBLC location, composed of two rooms: a public multi-station lab and presentation space and second room that can be used as a meeting room, demonstration space or development area was made possible through a collaboration between the EML, UBC Library, and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. The Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) provided funding to assist in the purchase of equipment for the lab. The equipment is maintained by UBC IT.

The new lab in IKBLC will function as the EML’s public-facing space, welcoming questions from 9 to 5 on weekdays, offering lab time for classes and faculty members as well as regularly designated demonstration time. In addition to student employees, the space will also be staffed by some of CTLT’s student Learning Technology Rovers. The original Emerging Media Lab, located in the Neville Scarfe Building will remain, but will be used solely for development work and student projects.

Student and faculty in EML


A place to challenge assumptions.

Samantha Peng, graduate student in Journalism and student employee at the EML is particularly interested in how the new location might help challenge assumptions about who can benefit and learn from emerging technology. “Because I don’t have a coding background, I was really intimidated about getting started at EML,” she explains, “But once I started, I realized that projects require many different people with many different skill sets. I think this new location might help counteract the idea that the lab is only for Computer Science students.”

Fifth-year Electrical Engineering student and EML volunteer Serena Chao identifies this unique interdisciplinary experience as one of the features of the EML that has contributed to her learning. “My learning in my degree is mostly hardware-based and so the software-based work I do at the EML has helped me get a more well-rounded perspective. But it’s being able to work and collaborate with people in different faculties that I value the most; it has allowed me opportunities to collaborate over and above what is offered through my program.”

William Beltran, third year Cognitive Systems student and student employee at the EML looks forward to fielding more questions and queries from fellow students. “The great thing about this new space is that it allows for more people to pop in and ask questions. We’re more accessible.”

Visit the EML’s new location and explore in-progress and recently completed projects at an upcoming showcase on March 26.

As we head into final exams, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will stay open longer to accommodate students and their study schedules. The Learning Centre will be open 24 hours a day from Sunday, December 2 (opening at 6 a.m.) to Tuesday, December 18 (closing at 1 a.m.). Please note that this opening DOES NOT include: Level 1 (the lower level), the Chapman Learning Commons, Music, Art and Architecture Library or Ike’s Cafe.

Maya textiles reflect the ancestral wisdom embodied in the iconographic symbolism of its brocades that has been transmitted from generation to generation. For over a millennium, Maya women have been weaving their stories and brocade their textile legacy, continuing with the ancient tradition. They adapted their traditional style to new times, and this exhibit shows the evolving Maya fashion, techniques and materials over the past 30 years, highlighting the continuity of the symbolism and iconography.

This textile collection presents a small snap-shot of the changes, modes, continuity, and legacy of the diverse indigenous communities of Chiapas. Expert hands recorded their knowledge and incorporate their views of the world, adapting and using the materials they make a strong statement about their own culture – standing up for the present and the future.

We appreciate the support of the Cosulado General de Mexico in Vancouver and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

EscaparArte Chiapas A.C / Xanvil A.C.

This exhibit will be on display in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre’s foyer from November 9th, 2018 to December 18th, 2018.

Join us in looking back at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre's past 10 years from August 27 through October 30, 2018 in the IKBLC Level 2 foyer and in Rare Books and Special Collections.
Once Upon a Pop-up is on display on level 1 (RBSC reading room) and level 2 (main foyer) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from April 11 through May 31, 2018.
The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will be open 24 hours a day from Monday, April 9 to Wednesday, April 25.

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