ACAM Dialogues: Imagining Collective Self-Care (A long table discussion)

We acknowledge and are thankful that this event will take place on the traditional, unceded, ancestral homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

What does the idea of self-care look like to you, and what do you want it to look like? How could it look in the context of building caring communities?

In conversations around mental health, the definition of “self-care” has taken many meanings depending on social or political context. The words of Audre Lorde (Black lesbian feminist theorist, writer, and activist), “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,”* have often been shared to explain the importance of self-care in the process of building better worlds.

At the same time, while the term “self-care” continues to be used within increasingly visible conversations around mental health and wellness, we also encounter questions about how self-care is (or isn’t) applied differently across experiences of race; gender; sexuality; disability; class; uneven access to resources; historical trauma; and stigmatized mental illnesses. These questions have challenged commercialized wellness culture, which includes the idea that individuals should take control of their wellness journeys by buying wellness products (e.g. bubble baths); appropriating spiritual and cultural healing traditions (e.g. yoga, acupuncture, sweat lodges); or identifying with experiences that cannot be claimed by everyone (e.g. using Audre Lorde’s quotation out of context). While the concept of self-care remains an important and helpful practice for many, experiences and mainstream ideas about self-care are not universal. The topic comes with many different ideas, opinions, and lived experiences.

For this long table discussion, we invite you to collectively use your imagination to think about what self-care means, and what you want it to look like. How can we talk about the connections we have to each other when we engage with the idea of self-care as a mental wellness practice? We look forward to sharing dialogue with you!

Graphic notes for this long table discussion can be found here.


* From A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde (1988).


About the Dialogues

This event is part of the ACAM Dialogues: Mental Health in Asian Canadian Communities. The dialogues series, which began with two pilot events in Spring 2018, includes two long-table discussions and two art-based events running from 2018/19.

Given the discussion topic, please note that this event will centre students of colour, with particular focus towards students of Asian Canadian communities. We invite all to attend (including staff and faculty), while being mindful of what it means to engage in a space of respectful and conscientious dialogue.

This project is generously supported by the Equity Enhancement Fund by the UBC Equity & Inclusion Office.


Building and washroom access details forthcoming.

Scent / Noise / Wi-Fi
– The space will only be shared by participants, but due to public nature of event, we cannot guarantee controlled scent or noise levels. We invite guests to be mindful of one another by refraining from wearing scented/perfumed products.
– The space has WiFi and may not be suitable for those with EMS (electromagnetic sensitivity).

Food: Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Vegetarian options will be available. Please indicate any dietary restrictions and allergies on the RSVP page.

If you require any other accessibility accommodations, such as ASL interpretation or specific seating arrangements, please contact us at

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