BIO

_igp2445Here’s he quick version:

Matt lives and works in East Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, with his partner and daughters.  He has co-founded and directed the Purple Thistle Centre, Car-Free Vancouver Day,  Groundswell: Grassroots Economic Alternatives, 2+10 Indusries among many other community projects.  His books and articles have been published on all six continents and translated into twelve languages. He currently teaches with multiple universities, and continues to lecture globally. 

Here’s the better, narrative version if you need it (!)

I have lived in East Vancouver for all my adult life. I was born in 1968 and raised in the country on Vancouver Island, went to university in Ontario, then moved to New York to work at the Nation Magazine. When Selena got pregnant we moved to Vancouver to have a baby. The idea was to move back to NYC as soon as possible, but after twenty-plus years, looks like this is where we are staying.

Our kids Sadie and Daisy were both born at home, in different apartments just off the Drive and we have lived within about a five block radius for all this time. After moving here we found it tough to find part-time jobs that matched up well enough to allow us to share child care so we started an alternative community school called the Eastside Learning Centre. It was a great time  and we kept it alive for almost five years working with low-income local families. Then we ran out of money, so in 1997 we merged our project with Windsor House School in North Van.

The merger went beautifully. WH was a public school looking to add kids, we were independent with tons of kids and no money. So we stuck them together, Selena and I both got jobs, our kids both attended, and the school grew substantially with huge numbers coming over from East Van.  I worked there for five years – Selena much longer – and then I started the Purple Thistle Centre with a bunch of great neighbourhood teens. The story of the Thistle is elsewhere on this website.

During much of this time I was a sportswriter to pay the bills, mostly covering the NBA for a bunch of websites and a sports weekly, along with a weekly sports  radio show. Along the way I did an MA and then a PhD., and started teaching at CBU, SFU and UBC. I also started writing quite a bit – articles, short stories, essays and features for a variety of different places as well as a number of books.  I also give lectures and talks around the world on a variety of topics and feel very fortunate to have traveled a ton, all over the place to give speeches, meet folks and consult with cool projects. I have also been significantly involved in community activism and organizing and have started numerous other projects like 2+10, Groundswell, Car-Free Vancouver Day and the Fort Good Hope Exchanges. There’s more those projects on this site too.

Finally – the most important part of ourselves has always been our bio-kids Sadie and Daisy. That’s a trite cliche but its for real.  As well a really huge  part of our lives has been and remains other kids that have come into our lives. There have been many, but over the years plenty have come to stay and live with us. We rent a big old barn of a house so we always have room for kids who need a place to stay. We don’t do it officially or anything and some come just briefly, others stay longer and a few really become part of our family, which now has become rather large. They include Jesse, Nada, Nastasia, Maggie, JT, Sarah, Shane and Dorone all of whom we love.  Ashley, Keith and Diana too have really stayed close to us, as part of our immediate family, and now we have Sarah and young Mica in our lives too. I frankly feel constantly grateful for this crew (and all the other great kids we have spent so much time with) – and the generosity of Sadie and Daisy in sharing our home. We are prouder of all these kids than of anything we have done.

matt@matthern.ca

Matt Hern