Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Arts and Science

William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

International partnership celebrates first graduate

Matthias Hermann (MSc’17) poses with his invention – a device which detects cadmium in drinking water. (University Communications)
Matthias Hermann (MSc’17) poses with his invention – a device which detects cadmium in drinking water. (University Communications)

A quick glance at Matthias Hermann’s resume shows he’s not afraid of the occasional international adventure.

Since beginning his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in his native Germany in 2011, Mr. Hermann (MSc’17) has conducted short-term research projects in China and Australia, as well as his home country. Recently, he added Canada to the list after completing a dual degree master’s program in Chemistry – a partnership between Queen’s University and Universität Stuttgart.

“I planned on spending some time abroad as part of my master’s, and when I heard about this program I knew it would be a good fit,” says Mr. Hermann (Sc’17). “I wanted a longer term abroad, exposure to a different academic and cultural environment, and a chance to improve my English. Through this program I got all of that – plus I graduated with two master’s degrees.”

Mr. Hermann recently successfully completed his thesis defense, earning his Queen’s Masters of Science in Chemistry and becoming the first graduate of the dual degree program. At the same time, he earned his Master’s of Chemistry degree through his home university in Germany as part of this two-year partnership program. Mr. Hermann’s thesis revolved around a device to detect cadmium in drinking water in a way that is portable, easy-to-use, and affordable.

Mr. Hermann had to adjust to differences in the Canadian higher education system – at Stuttgart, for example, master’s theses don’t require a defense. Adding to the pressure, representatives from both Queen’s and Stuttgart were present for his defense.

During the visit by Stuttgart, their Dean of Chemistry, Cosima Stubenrauch, held an information session for Queen’s students about the dual master’s degree program.

“About a dozen students attended, and when I asked them to raise their hands if they thought this was something they might want to do every one of them raised their hand,” says Hans-Peter Loock, head of Queen’s Chemistry department. “We are hoping to increase our international footprint, and agreements like these help our students gain a wider variety of experiences in high performing environments.”

Before the visit by Stuttgart representatives, Cally Li (Artsci’17) had already made up her mind. She started in the MSc degree program at Queen’s this fall, and will be heading to Germany in 2018.

“I was looking for a way to stay at Queen’s one more year, but I was also looking for a way to move on and try something new next year,” says Ms. Li. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to build some international connections and try something new. I have heard a lot of good things about Stuttgart’s labs and their standard of work.”

Students from Stuttgart are also emailing Dr. Loock to learn about life in Kingston. Dr. Loock says, ideally, they would like to see multiple students from Stuttgart studying at Queen’s and vice versa each year.

“Successful research groups must be internationally networked – it’s part of doing science,” Dr. Loock says. “Setting up these agreements takes effort and buy-in, but exchanging students with a top German university like Stuttgart allows our graduate students to get the best of both worlds. And, as I discovered when I was an international student in Canada: you stay at a place long enough and sometimes it becomes home.”

Perhaps that will be Mr. Hermann’s experience, as he recently decided to complete his PhD in Chemistry at Queen’s. 

Keeping up The Conversation

It’s a simple, but powerful, formula. Take one part leading academic research, add a dash of journalistic flair, and mix in a robust digital presence. It is this winning recipe that has earned The Conversation, an academic journalism website, the participation of thousands of researchers worldwide, and captured the attention of millions of citizens interested in news with a healthy dose of academic rigour.

The Conversation
Queen's is a founding member of the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation and, since its launch earlier this year, 33 articles by Queen's experts have been published.   

After a successful soft launch this summer, the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation is running at full steam, having published hundreds of researchers’ articles, including a number from Queen’s. The university is a founding member of the national news platform.

“Our participation in The Conversation relays the importance and impact of disseminating and promoting the leading-edge research and scholarship happening at Queen’s University,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement and is already bolstering the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build profile.”

Over the course of the summer, over two dozen Queen’s academics contributed to The Conversation, sparking dialogue about the business of marijuana, how to improve the skills of tomorrow’s doctors, , recruiting more women to join the military, how to prevent irregular heartbeats, the meaning of The Tragically Hip’s lyrics, and more. These faculty and graduate students suggested topics, wrote columns, and submitted them to The Conversation. From there, professional journalists helped edit the articles to ensure consistency and clarity.

The Conversation’s unique model puts the researchers in the driver’s seat when sharing their expertise,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “It is increasingly important that we convey the impact of our research and ideas beyond the academy, and we believe tools such as The Conversation are filling that gap in a powerful way.”

THE STATS

The 33 articles published to date by Queen’s experts have garnered a combined 167,000 reads and 166 comments on The Conversation’s website. One of the most popular, and possibly most controversial, pieces was an article by David Maslove, Clinician Scientist with the Department of Medicine and Critical Care Program, about the need to regulate journalism in the same way his profession is regulated.

“Working with The Conversation’s editorial team was great, with turnaround times between drafts that were much faster than what I’m used to in traditional academic publishing,” says Dr. Maslove. “It was really gratifying to see the piece we created reach a wider audience and stimulate debate.”

Another notable Queen’s submission included Sarita Srivastava’s (Sociology) “I wanna be white!’ Can we change race? – a piece analyzing a recent controversy on transracialism. Dr. Srivastava’s piece led to an invitation for her to speak during a symposium on the matter held at the University of Alberta.

Sarita Srivastava
Sarita Srivastava

“Writing for The Conversation has been a wonderful opportunity to reach a wider audience and to comment on current events as they are happening,” says Dr. Srivastava. “Their editor was extremely skilled in working with me to write in a more journalistic style, while maintaining scholarly content. Within days of my article’s publication, I was invited to speak at an upcoming symposium on the same topic.”

Once the articles are posted to The Conversation’s website, they are shared with a large network of Canadian and international media organizations through a “Republish” feature and posting via The Canadian Press Wire service. The work of Queen’s academics has gone on to be featured in major North American newspapers such as The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News and The National Post, magazines like Scientific American, and national dailies as far away as Australia, where The Conversation was originally founded.

“In our first three months of publication, content from The Conversation Canada has been viewed almost two million times. Combining academic expertise with journalistic storytelling means we are reaching a wide audience across Canada and around the world at a time when the public is thirsting for reliable, fact-based information,” says Scott White, editor-in-chief of The Conversation Canada. “We're very pleased that Queen's has been with us from the very beginning, including a Day One story, as well as important articles on the country's health care system and the beauty of song lyrics, to name just a few.”

The Conversation is regularly seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Students hard at work supporting causes

Students gather in the Athletic and Recreation Complex for the annual Shine Day. (Supplied Photo)
Students gather in the Athletic and Recreation Complex for the annual Shine Day. (Supplied Photo)

It may be early into the new academic year but Queen’s students are already hard at work in the classroom and in the community.

”We are proud of the work that so many students are doing to improve their communities,” says Palmer Lockridge (Artsci'17), the Alma Mater Society’s Vice-President (University Affairs). “Queen’s students have a long and proud tradition of volunteerism and leading the way on fundraising and community involvement. They recognize that they are members of a broader community while at Queen’s and have a responsibility to contribute meaningfully.”

Soon after the new group of students arrived for the fall term, garishly attired engineering students fanned out into the broader Kingston area selling chocolate covered nuts in partnership with four local Rotary Clubs. This year’s “Go Nuts” fundraiser brought in $20,000 in support of a number of local charities.

The engineering students were also busy in late September with their annual “Fix’n’Clean” volunteering effort. About 360 students gave up their time to help Kingston residents in need of assistance over a weekend in September. In total, the group helped 70 members of the community with some yard work, painting, organizing, and cleaning, and they plan to do it again this winter.

"Through my position within EngSoc I have the unique opportunity of witnessing the full breadth of the events we organize to do our part in giving back,” says Jordan Pernari (Sc'19), Director of Community Outreach with the Engineering Society. “Whether it was by raising over $4,000 during our Terry Fox Run, having over 100 people join the Canadian Blood Service’s stem cell database, or doubling the number of volunteers participating in Fix’n’Clean this year from last year, our students’ kindness truly knows no bounds. I’m amazed by the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response we’ve seen so far."

Also in September, the Shinerama Campaign at Queen’s got underway as part of national university-based campaigns supporting cystic fibrosis research. The campaign includes the annual Sidewalk Sale; Shine Day, which formally introduces first-years to the campaign; and a tour of the town. Funds are still being raised, with one final event scheduled for October 21. Campaign organizer Leah Slater (Artsci’18) with the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society says it has been a ‘successful year’ and they look forward to announcing the total on October 29.

One recently concluded student campaign was organized by the MBA student Charity Gala Team. Their campaign runs through the spring and summer culminates in a gala event at the end of August. This year’s campaign, in support of St. Vincent de Paul Society Kingston, raised over $20,000 – far exceeding the campaign goal of $15,000.

“It was a really positive experience and I joked that I would love to come back next year and participate again,” says Elizabeth Pratt (MBA’18), who chaired the campaign. “One of the reasons this year’s campaign was so successful is that we were able to bring the community into the campaign and drive more attendance from outside Queen’s. I hope future classes keeps building on that reputation.”

Many other clubs and groups on campus are getting organized for their charitable and community activities in the year ahead. MEDLIFE Queen’s is one group you can expect to hear from this semester, as President Rachael Allen (Artsci’18) says the club has seven fundraising events planned in the next few months. Proceeds from their campaign will support the MEDLIFE Project Fund, which is used to supply mobile clinics with medical supplies and resources for preventative medicine and medical treatment as well as development projects. The club also recruits and prepares student volunteers to head out on service trips to countries like Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, and India.

Queen’s is also home to the only university chapter of Helping Haiti. The club works to build awareness and fundraise in support of their mother organization, with proceeds supporting first aid training, women’s self-defense and empowerment classes, a medical clinic, and the construction of community resources such as a water tower and community centre in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Haiti’s capital. Co-President Devyn Willis (Artsci’18) say, among their fundraising plans, the club will host workshops called “Tammy Talks” – discussions by the founder of Helping Haiti on her work and experience.

You will also start to see the Room to Read Queen’s Chapter kick into high gear in November as part of their annual ‘Literacy Awareness Week’. The club is affiliated with the international not-for-profit which focuses on literacy and gender equality in education in many developing countries. Co-Chairs Crista Leung (Con.Ed’18) and Kathleen Waterston (Artsci’19) say you can expect to see Room to Read’s literacy awareness campaign around campus, including posters and sales. Their biggest fundraiser takes place in January in Stauffer Library, as club members camp out as part of their “Live-in-for-Literacy” initiative.

For a full listing of clubs at Queen’s, including the many charitable clubs and their fundraising and volunteering efforts, visit myams.org/clubs-directory.  

From trash to treasure

  • Julia Fast-Grass (Artsci'20) imagines a forest without trees. (University Communications)
    Julia Fast-Grass (Artsci'20) imagines a forest without trees. (University Communications)
  • Neve Scullino (Artsci'20) brings the smoky skies to life. (University Communications)
    Neve Scullino (Artsci'20) brings the smoky skies to life. (University Communications)
  • Sara Swedberg (Artsci'20) spells out the message of their art - that we must all do our part. (University Communications)
    Sara Swedberg (Artsci'20) spells out the message of their art - that we must all do our part. (University Communications)
  • The team works together to highlight the pollution in their painted ocean. (University Communications)
    The team works together to highlight the pollution in their painted ocean. (University Communications)

It is not an obvious place you pause to look but a dumpster on campus may catch your eye this week. The garbage disposal, belonging to waste hauling company Green for Life, has been painted by a few Queen’s students seeking to remind the community about the importance of reducing the amount of waste they produce.

“We wanted the dumpster to be pretty and something people would enjoy looking at, but that would also cause them to think critically,” says Sarah Swedberg (Artsci’20), one of the artists. “Our goal was that the scenes would look like cheery depictions of life on earth, but that upon second glance show the state of our environment. Although the sad reality can seem ominous, there is hope because a lot of people making change adds up.”

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” is painted in large letters on one side of the dumpster. The other sides show scenes of smoke-filled air, garbage-filled water, and stumps where trees once stood. Ms. Swedberg, Neve Scullino (Artsci’20), and Julia Fast-Grass (Artsci’20) painted the dumpster this past weekend. The three students earned the right to put their artistic skills to this important cause by submitting the winning proposal to a Sustainability Week contest organized by Physical Plant Services.

With the students’ work complete, the beautified dumpster will now be placed in high profile area on campus to engage the community about the importance of environmentalism and their role in contributing to campus sustainability.

“An underlying theme of Waste Reduction Week at Queen’s is the idea that we all have a responsibility to the environment and that, by working together, we can have a more positive impact,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “In keeping with that spirit, this year’s activities include students, staff, our sustainability office, and our waste hauling vendor Green for Life working together towards a goal of a more sustainable campus. I want to thank them all for making this week of reflection and education possible.”

At the same time that the Queen’s community is being challenged, through the art project, with this stark environmental reality, new tools are being unveiled to help put those sustainability ideas into practice.

“Waste diversion is a significant component of the Queen’s Policy on the Environment, and our obligations under the Waste Free Ontario Act,” says Llynwen Osborne, Recycling Coordinator with Physical Plant Services and one of the contest organizers. “We’re excited to use this week, building on what we achieved during September’s Sustainability Week, to help the Queen’s community think about how they can do their part to reduce waste both in their personal lives and here at Queen’s.”

One of the new tools available to help Queen’s employees is a website you can use to help you find supplies that other departments are getting rid of, or post your own unwanted furniture, office supplies, and equipment. Recycle@Queen’s was launched by the Sustainability Office within Physical Plant Services and developed by Stephen Hunt and Paul Hiles of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Since its launch, 71 items have been listed across campus.

“My personal observation is that Queen’s shouldn’t have to buy another filing cabinet ever based on the number that are available internally for free,” says Mr. Hunt, the Director of Information Technology for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “I’m very interested in promoting the re-use of furniture and equipment on campus as it reduces overall costs for the university, reduces the carbon footprint of equipment being shuffled between offices and storage and back again, and reduces the amount of stuff going to landfill. We all want to work together, but too often the information needed isn’t available easily and widely; I hope the Recycle@Queen’s program will change that.”

To learn more about waste reduction and other sustainability initiatives, visit the Sustainability Office website.

  • This dumpster has been painted to remind the Queen's community about the importance of waste reduction and environmental protection. (University Communications)
    This dumpster has been painted to remind the Queen's community about the importance of waste reduction and environmental protection. (University Communications)
  • The front and left side of the dumpster show scenes of polluted skies and water. (University Communications)
    The front and left side of the dumpster show scenes of polluted skies and water. (University Communications)
  • The quote on the side reads, “The greatest threat to our planet is our belief that someone else will save it”. (University Communications)
    The quote on the side reads, “The greatest threat to our planet is our belief that someone else will save it”. (University Communications)
  • From the call to action, the viewer is brought full circle to the scene of a forest which has been clear cut. (University Communications)
    From the call to action, the viewer is brought full circle to the scene of a forest which has been clear cut. (University Communications)

Investing in research

QROF supports cancer research 
Last year, 20 Queen’s faculty members received QROF grants, including Parvin Mousavi (School of Computing) whose project is advancing multi-parametric imaging for augmenting the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. A recipient of the International Fund, Dr. Mousavi is working within the Advanced Multimodal Image-guided Operating (AMIGO) suite at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School.
According to the American and Canadian Cancer Societies, 262,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually and these numbers are expected to double by 2025 when the baby boomer generation reaches the age of peak prevalence. Dr. Mousavi’s research will contribute to better diagnoses and risk stratification of prostate cancer, and help decrease its mortality and morbidity.

Letters of intent are being requested for two funding competitions open to researchers and scholars at Queen’s University – the 2017-2018 Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds (QROF) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant (SIG) competitions.

The QROF provides researchers and scholars financial support to accelerate their programs and research goals, and offers opportunities to leverage external funding to build on areas of institutional research strength. Through a federal government block grant provided to Queen’s by SSHRC, the recently-redesigned SIG competition supports social sciences and humanities researchers with funding for research project development, pilot study work, or to attend or run knowledge-mobilization activities like workshops, seminars or scholarly conferences.

“Championing research and scholarly excellence is a cornerstone of our mission at Queen’s University,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The QROF competition allows us to make our largest internal investment in research, scholarship and innovation by supporting researchers striving to take their work to the next level. With SSHRC's recent redesign of the allotment of funding from the SIG, we are poised to reinvigorate research in the social sciences and humanities, further strengthening scholarship in the SSHRC disciplines."

The QROF competition consists of four funds:

  • The Research Leaders’ Fund – for strategic institutional commitments to aspirational research in support of the university’s research strengths and priorities
  • The International Fund – to assist in augmenting the university’s international reputation through increased global engagement
  • The Arts Fund – designed to support artists and their contributions to the scholarly community and to advancing Queen’s University
  • The Post-Doctoral Fund – to both attract outstanding post-doctoral fellows to Queen’s and to support their contributions to research and to the university

The SIG competition provides funding through two granting programs:

  • SSHRC Explore Grants – support social sciences and humanities researchers at any career stage with funds to allow for small-scale research project development or pilot work, or to allow for participation of students in research projects
  • SSHRC Exchange Grants – support the organization of small-scale knowledge mobilization activities in order to encourage collaboration and dissemination of research results both within and beyond the academic community, as well as allow researchers to attend or present research at scholarly conferences and other venues to advance their careers and promote the exchange of ideas

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) has issued calls for letters of intent, and successful candidates will be invited to submit a full application. Information on each of the funds and the application processes can be found on the on the website of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research). For more information, email ferrism@queensu.ca.

CFI invests in dark matter and optical science

Two Queen's University physicists awarded $4.8 million in funding.

Queen's University physics researchers Stephen Hughes and Anthony Noble, and their Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) collaborators, were awarded a combined $4.8 million in funding from the CFI Innovation Fund.

Dr. Noble’s team is building a next generation detector, PICO 500L, that will search for dark matter while Dr. Hughes and his CFI collaborators, including co-lead James Fraser, will establish a Queen’s Nanophotonics Research Centre to explore the behaviour of light and light-matter interactions on the nanometre scale.

The funding was announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, as part of a CFI investment of more than $554 million in 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges, and research hospitals across Canada.

Anthony Noble (l) and Stephen Hughes have been awarded $4.8 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

“This funding is critical to ensuring Queen’s researchers are competitive on the global stage and have the tools necessary to continue their innovative research and technology development,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “As one of the top-ranked research-intensive universities in Canada where physics is an area of institutional research strength, Queen’s will benefit greatly from this investment.”

According to Dr. Hughes, photonics is the science of generating, controlling, and detecting the fundamental particles of light (photons), and is now poised to be a key technological driver of the 21st century in much the same way that electronics were for the 20th century.

“However, as devices and optical structures continue to shrink, we have started to enter a new realm of optical technology termed 'nanophotonics,' wherein the behaviour of light on the nanometre scale, and of the interaction of nanometre-scale objects with light, is substantially different,” explains Dr. Hughes. “We propose to explore and exploit the optical science that will underpin next-generation nano and quantum optical technologies, while unlocking entirely new regimes of light-matter interaction.”

The PICO 500L detector will be located at the SNOLAB facility for astroparticle physics, located two kilometres underground in Sudbury.

“Building on prior success, the international PICO collaboration has embarked on a program to build a next generation detector,” says Dr. Noble, who is also director of the Canada Particle Astrophysics Research Centre. “This detector, PICO 500L, will employ a unique technology that will give it world-leading sensitivity in the search for the mysterious dark matter, which is known to pervade the Universe but has yet to be observed unambiguously on earth.”

For information on the Innovation Fund visit the website.

True crime book by Queen’s Mafia expert becomes national TV series

Bad Blood actors Tony Nappo, Kim Coates, Anthony LaPaglia, and Enrico Colantoni. (City/Rogers Media)

Bestselling true crime novel Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Queen’s University lecturer and organized crime expert Antonio Nicaso has inspired Bad Blood, a six-part television drama that recently premiered on City TV.

Bad Blood stars Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace, Empire Records) as Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto and centres around the kingpin's life and death as researched and recorded by Mr. Nicaso and his co-author, Toronto Star reporter Peter Edwards.

Antonio Nicaso (centre) with actor Kim Coates (left) and producer Mark Montefiore (right)
Antonio Nicaso (centre) with Bad Blood actor Kim Coates (left) and producer Mark Montefiore (right).

“It’s a great feeling to see your book turned into a television show, as it underlines the power of ideas,” says Mr. Nicaso. “I have spent most of my life trying to deconstruct the myth of mobsters to show that the real Mafia is not the one glamorized by Hollywood. I hope this series helps to remove old stereotypes.”

Mr. Nicaso is currently teaching courses at Queen’s on the social history of organized crime in Canada, and on Mafia culture and the power of symbols, rituals and myths.

It took him 20 years of research with Mr. Edwards to sculpt what would become their true crime non-fiction book. “We interviewed around 100 people, ranging from law enforcement and government officials, to people who knew Mr. Rizzuto and our sources within the underworld,” says Mr. Nicaso.

They combed through thousands of judicial documents, police reports, and municipal files to pull together a full picture of Mr. Rizzuto and his operations.

Mr. Rizzuto allegedly led a criminal empire that imported and distributed narcotics, laundered money, facilitated illegal gambling and loans, and contracted the murders of its opponents. More interesting to Mr. Nicaso were the repeated corruption investigations that connected multiple Montreal mayors, provincial politicians, engineering firms, and bureaucrats to Mr. Rizzuto’s illegal activities.

“The most important feature of a mobster is the ability to build relationships in the ‘Upperworld’ - relationships with politicians, businessmen, bankers, builders and union leaders,” says Mr. Nicaso. “The idea with the book, and now the television show, was to demonstrate that organized crime is entrenched in Canadian society, with infiltrations into many sectors of our economy.”

Mr. Nicaso provided expert testimony to the Charbonneau Commission during its 30-month long examination of organized crime and corruption in Quebec. Despite uncovering that corruption in the province was far more prevalent than previously believed, few sweeping changes were implemented after the report’s 2015 release.

“There is no political will to fight the Mafia and corruption in Canada,” says Mr. Nicaso. “We have to nurture a new generation of thinkers who can look past the glorification of the Mafia and who can continue to push for reforms.”

While Bad Blood is the first television show based on one of Mr. Nicaso’s works, he is also the bestselling author of 30 books focused on Mafia and related criminal organizations. He is also an award-winning journalist and regularly consulted by governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world on issues of organized crime.

Indigenous academics share knowledge at Matariki Conference

Matariki participants were educated on the Noongar history of the Swan River area with Noongar Elder Walter McGuire. (Supplied Photo)

A group from Queen’s University travelled to Australia this summer to learn about a topic close to their hearts. Ana Mejicano Greenberg (Artsci’18), Jenna O'Connor (M.Ed’18), and Katrina Brown Akootchook (M.Ed’18), along with Professor Lindsay Morcom from the Faculty of Education, participated in the Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) in July. The 10-day program was hosted by the University of Western Australia, a member of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU), and focused on sharing the knowledge, history, and customs of Indigenous Peoples.

L-R: Jenna O'Connor, Prof. Lindsay Morcom, Katrina Brown Akootchook, and Ana Mejicano Greenberg at a Matariki Network event in Australia. (Supplied Photo)

“My time in Australia impacted me both personally and professionally,” says Ms. Mejicano Greenberg. “I have taken many courses on Indigenous Studies at Queen’s, but this provided the opportunity to learn more about indigeneity in other contexts and use that knowledge to delve into my own history. It inspired me to learn more about my Indigenous lineage and the Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala.”

The packed program included opportunities to learn about local wildlife and eat traditional foods, experience Australian history through the eyes of its Indigenous Peoples, and explore the city of Perth, among other activities. The four Queen’s representatives were joined by students and faculty members from other MNU institutions in New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K. For Ms. Mejicano Greenberg, the chance to meet the other participants and learn about their backgrounds stood out as a highlight.

“It was the relationships which provided some of the greatest value,” she says. “The program offered ten days of intense and amazing intellectual and spiritual stimulation, and the opportunities for introspection and reflection were very important. I enjoyed every session.”

Katrina Brown Akootchook is introduced to local culture hands-on as she meets a koala during the trip to Australia. (Supplied Photo)
Katrina Brown Akootchook is introduced to local culture hands-on as she meets a koala during the trip to Australia. (Supplied Photo)

The program was guided by a number of experts, including academics and museum curators. What made this program special, Dr. Morcom explains, was that these academics were educated in Indigenous Studies; they taught classes about Indigenous knowledge and cultures; and they had Indigenous heritage themselves. 

Jenna O'Connor tours an art gallery in Australia as part of the Matariki Network Indigenous Student Mobility program. (Supplied Photo)
Jenna O'Connor tours an art gallery in Australia as part of the Matariki Network Indigenous Student Mobility program. (Supplied Photo)

“They were knowledge keepers, elders, and professors, and it was interesting to see the way these people engaged western academia but in an Indigenous way, with their knowledge held in the same esteem,” says Dr. Morcom. “It was a privilege to learn from them, and to continue the conversation with my fellow faculty members around the dinner table and hear about their research. The most striking thing for me was the similarity of experience, of culture, and of philosophy across these many different groups, and this has inspired me to engage in broader international Indigenous research in the future.”

Queen’s is a member of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU),an international group of like-minded universities, each of which is amongst the most historic in its own country and recognized as a premier place of advanced learning. The network aims to create opportunities for collaboration in research and education for its seven international members.

The Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) is hosted annually, and will take place at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire in 2018. Applications for this funded opportunity will open in winter 2018. Queen’s 2017 MISMP applicants were assessed by a selection committee of faculty members engaged in Indigenous Studies; the MISMP faculty advisor; and representatives from the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Arts and Science, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and the International Programs Office. Shortlisted candidates were interviewed prior to final selection.

To learn more about international opportunities available at Queen’s visit the international page of the Queen’s website and the MNU website.

Queen’s National Scholar wins prestigious Trudeau Fellowship

Norman Vorano giving a lecture.
Dr. Vorano discusses the North Baffin Drawings with guests at Queen's Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Queen’s National Scholar Norman Vorano has been named as one of only five recipients of a prestigious Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship – one of the most competitive awards available to humanities and social science scholars in Canada.

Dr. Vorano, assistant professor in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation and curator of Indigenous art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, was recognized for his work with Indigenous communities in the Canadian Arctic to record, understand, and share Inuit art history. Through innovative public outreach, his career-long efforts have sought to transcend cultural and generational boundaries so Indigenous voices are central in shaping how their history is shared.

Dr. Norman Vorano
Dr. Norman Vorano

“I am truly honoured to receive this fellowship from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation,” says Dr. Vorano. “I am also humbled by the task ahead, to continue to build a collaborative research network of individuals and communities across the North who share in the belief that our public museums, schools, and universities can do more to promote cross-cultural understanding, empathy, reconciliation, and community health.”

This unique recognition speaks to the nationally important collections curated by Dr. Vorano and heightens awareness of Indigenous art in Canada.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Vorano on being named a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellow,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This major award speaks to the quality and significance of his contributions to arts and culture in our country. His collaborative work with Northern communities to preserve and share these collections stands as a shining example of how history can and should be written to reflect the experiences of all Canadians.”

In 2017, Dr. Vorano debuted a travelling exhibition of Inuit sketches originally collected by Terry Ryan, an arts advisor in Cape Dorset who journeyed to three North Baffin communities in 1964 and invited people to use pencil and paper to record their traditional knowledge before encroaching Southern influences transformed their way of life.

The exhibition featured a selection of sketches created around Clyde River, Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet alongside video and audio commentary that Dr. Vorano collected from some of those very same artists, their descendants and communities more than 50 years after the drawings were made.

Dr. Vorano in Clyde River, Nunavut. (Aug. 2015)

“Showcasing this collection, particularly in Northern venues, has been a vital first step in reconnecting communities in Nunavut with this vast and profoundly important record of their heritage,” says Dr. Vorano, who will use the $225,000 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship to fund the second phase of the project. “The next step is to work with the communities to build a culturally-appropriate reciprocal network that links this collection, and possibly other Arctic collections from museums around the world, to their communities of origin.

The creation of this ‘Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network’ (ACHRN) is premised on the understanding that access to cultural heritage promotes health and well-being. The ultimate goal of this digital platform is to provide all Inuit, including educators and heritage workers in Nunavut, access to heritage collections stored in southern museums – collections from which they are largely alienated.

Every year, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation awards up to five fellowships to individuals recognized for their productivity, their commitment to communicating their findings to the public and their ability to devise innovative solutions to some of the major issues facing Canada and the world.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Arts and Science