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Simon Brault: The role of arts in protecting democracy

Mandy Len Catron, Congress 2019 guest blogger

At Congress 2019, the Big Thinking lecture series considers how the arts function as a platform to engage with scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. Organizers were inspired by three big questions: Who speaks for whom? Whose stories get told? And who gets left out? 

Monday’s Big Thinking event featured a talk from Simon Brault, the Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. Brault spoke about the Council’s efforts to protect artistic freedoms while maintaining an ethic of civic responsibility. “Citizens,” he argued, “must be able to relate to and see themselves in the actions of organizations.” After his talk, Brault was interviewed by by Mirelle Langlois,...

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Esi Edugyan: Making space for convergences of disparate ideas or unlikely connections

Mandy Len Catron, Congress 2019 guest blogger

At Congress 2019, the Big Thinking lecture series considers how the arts function as a platform to engage with scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. Organizers were inspired by three big questions: Who speaks for whom? Whose stories get told? And who gets left out?

In the first of what will be five events at UBC’s Frederic Wood Theatre, writer Esi Edugyan sat down with Minelle Mahtani, Associate Professor in UBC’s Institute for Social Justice. After reading an excerpt from her Giller Prize winning third novel, Washington Black, Edugyan spoke about her process as a writer, but also about the many ways the act of crafting a novel can speak to larger personal and political questions....

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Drug education takes a philosophical route: UBC postdoctoral fellow aims to open dialogue with youth about drug use

Congress 2019 guest blog from Mitacs

How can today’s young people be educated about the perils of drug use beyond scaring the heck out of them? How can we help them explore their questions about drugs and develop their capacity to survive in a society where people use drugs?

Mahboubeh Asgari, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, hopes to address these questions during her two-year Mitacs Elevate fellowship with ARC Programs, a community agency based in Kelowna, BC, and the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC).

Mahboubeh believes traditional education...

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Being a Graduate Student at Congress 2019

Guest blog by Sharon Engbrecht, Program Assistant for Congress 2019
 
As a graduate student and the UBC Programming Assistant for Congress 2019, I’m excited to share my experiences of Congress. Congress can be an overwhelming experience: many new faces and events can be disorientating and might leave you feeling a bit isolated. Maybe you are presenting your first paper, or are interested in networking but don’t know where to start, or haven’t quite figured out that elevator pitch. It’s not uncommon, especially as a graduate student, to have a sense of imposter syndrome when listening to papers presented by early-career researchers, faculty, or keynotes. But, in the words of Adam Douglas, Don’t Panic. Although Congress might seem insanely complicated and...

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Making social media part of the conservation conversation: Biologist spreads awareness of endangered Garry Oak habitats

Congress 2019 guest blog from Mitacs

As a child bringing home wounded birds and other critters, Alina Fisher developed a passion for helping wildlife – a love that eventually drove her to become a biologist. But during her studies, Alina realized there was a pressing need for researchers to engage the public.

So she began a Master of Professional Communications at Royal Roads University. Now, thanks to a Mitacs internship, Alina is helping the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) enlist the public’s support to save endangered woodland areas.

“I […] knew lots of scientists and organizations saying things need to be done, but no one seemed to be listening,” she says. She wondered why some social media messages get picked up while others languished. “I was also concerned about...

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