Monica Cheema

March 15, 2023

Researcher, filmmaker, Surrey Shapers alum

Monica Cheema is a researcher, filmmaker and arts facilitator based out of the Unceded Lands of Surrey, BC, and a recent alumni of CityHive’s Surrey Shapers program. She currently works for the South Asian Cultural Redress project with the City of Vancouver, which aims to address historical discrimination and erasure through community-informed research. As a filmmaker, she spends much of her time exploring cultural memory and community archives for her most recent project, which tells the story of a historical mill settlement turned ghost town fighting to stay alive on the East Coast of Vancouver Island. Monica works with youth in various capacities, previously as a mental health & harm reduction facilitator in the Punjabi community; addressing the gaps in equitable access to care within marginalized communities. And now, as an artist-in-residence with the Vancouver School Board. She is passionate about storytelling as a tool for research creation, knowledge mobilization, and community building. Especially when combined with land-based learning, she believes that storytelling can equip youth to feel a greater sense of personal & collective agency; to remain critical of the systems and institutions they exist within, and resilient enough to find joy within this criticality. She is especially interested in how youth can help us move towards a more emergent, less policed, future.