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South Asian Studies Institute

SASI awards

SASI awards


The SASI has been recognized for its contribution to heritage preservation in British Columbia. SASI received the Heritage Defender award on October 15 at the 11th annual Darpan Extraordinary Achievement Awards. Dr. Satwinder Bains, director of SASI, accepted the award on behalf of SASI and the university. The 'Heritage Defender Award' honours the extraordinary achievement of a South Asian or organization that is preserving and promoting South Asian heritage and culture.

The SASI, in collaboration with UBC Sociology and Professor Renisa Mawani, the BC Historical Federation and the BC History Magazine were recipients of the 2021 Heritage BC Award for Education, Communications and Awareness. The project paired 11 third-year UBC students with heritage organizations and historical research projects to assist community partners that had been impacted during the pandemic. The UBC class introduced students to the importance of historical research and the scholarship of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour. Professor Renisa Mawani noted, “we hoped that that project would give students firsthand knowledge about the partiality of history and the absence of marginal voices. We wanted students to have opportunities to learn about historical and contemporary contributions of Indigenous peoples, Black, and People of Colour to shaping BC.”

A visionary leader with an unshakable commitment to equality and cultural justice, Dr. Satwinder Bains is the 2021 recipient of UFV’s Faculty Service Excellence Award.“As a woman of colour, not only is she smashing glass ceilings of patriarchy within academia, but also in conservative cultural spaces,” says Anita Lal, co-founder and director of the Poetic Justice Foundation, and one of Bains’ many nomination references. “With each win she brings down barriers for future generations of women" more.


The Arty Awards are an annual celebration of the creative and performing arts talent of Abbotsford, recognizing winners in nine categories: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Media Arts, Literary Arts, Lifestyle, Arts Advocate, Emerging Artists Youth Achievement, and Lifetime Achievement. The award for the Literary Arts Arty went to Co-curators Sharanjit Sandhra & Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains of UFV’s South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) for their work on the We Are Hockey catalogue, part of the We are Hockey exhibit. To view the catalogue and learn more about this work, visit

The Sikh Heritage Museum in Abbotsford, located in the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple received the National Trust for Canada award as a Resilient Historic Place. Established in 2013 through the generous sponsorship of Ecclesiastical Insurance, these awards honour projects and sites in two categories: exemplary commercial, institutional or mixed-use projects (transformative projects); and places that demonstrate exemplary heritage stewardship and long-term sustainability (resilient historic places). With these awards, the National Trust also recognizes the people who have contributed to the successful regeneration of historic buildings and sites across the country. According to the awarding letter, the independent awards jury was a unanimous decision. 

The jury for the Canadian Studies Network Prize for the Best Edited Collection is pleased to announce this year’s winner, The Nature of Canada, edited by Colin M. Coates and Graeme Wynn, published by On Point Press, a UBC Press imprint. The Jury commends this collection of essays for taking up iconic Canadian Studies materials, authors, and issues and approaching them in novel and compelling ways. This inter/multidisciplinary, wide-ranging, and topical compilation spans from the environment to Indigenous Canada, from Innis to Frye, from the humanities fields of literature and history to the social science fields of economics and politics. The chapters are richly diverse, yet woven together with a common set of critical inquiries and creatively integrate photography and narrative references. This collection ably represents both the roots and the growth of Canadian Studies scholarship.

The Jury gave an honourable mention to Unmooring the Komagata Maru: Charting Colonial Trajectories, edited by Dr. Rita Kaur Dhamoon, Dr. Davina Bhandar, Dr. Renisa Mawani and Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains, published by UBC Press.


SASI Director, Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains was honoured with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the 2019 Drishti Awards Night. The lifetime achievement award is given to a positive community activist with exceptional dedication, professionalism and serving a vital contribution to their community. The awardee also needs to have, over the past 25 years or more, made significant contributions to the community and have improved the quality of life for citizens or whose accomplishments have brought recognition to the community.

  • Governor General History Award (Shortlisted): Excellence in Community Programming (for exhibit (Dis)Enfranchisement: 1907-1947 The Forty-Year Struggle for the Vote)


In addition to the feature in the RoundUp magazine, the Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project also received an Honourable Mention for Impact and Engagement from the BC Museums Association. The announcement was made during the annual BCMA conference which took place in October, 2018.

Dr. Shirley L. Thomson Young Curators Award provided an opportunity for high quality, enhanced learning experiences in art museums and galleries for young graduates and in relation to the SASI curated exhibit Desis in the DiasporaDesis in the Diaspora an exhibit launched in the Spring 2018, looked at photography from South Asian Canadian youth as they reflected on what South Asian heritage means to them-now and in the past. The exhibit also featured the work of Jagdeep Raina, a Canadian artist whose work brings forth archives into a contemporary focus.


The Sikh Heritage Museum, located in the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple (the oldest still-standing Sikh Gurdwara in the Western Hemisphere) was recently honoured by the BC Museums Association. The Sikh Heritage Museum received the ‘Award of Merit’ for its exhibit Canadian Sikhs in WWI: A Forgotten Story. The BCMA annual awards recognize institutions and individuals who have exemplified excellence in creativity, community engagement and innovation within the Province’s museums, galleries and history community.


The Order of Abbotsford recognizes and honours individuals who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in fields of endeavor benefitting the residents of the City of Abbotsford. The 2015 Order of Abbotsford ceremony was held on July 1st during the Canada Day Celebrations at Rotary Stadium. Following the Order of Abbotsford Ceremony, the Citizen of the Year was awarded wherein Satwinder and George Peary were both designated with this title and honour.

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