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Giving a voice to silent memories

Queen’s professor Dorit Naaman’s new film retraces Jerusalem neighbourhood torn apart by the 1948 war.

A new interactive documentary developed by Queen’s professor Dorit Naaman digitally brings the Palestinians and their descendants back to Katamon, retracing the rich Palestinian past of the neighbourhood before it was conquered by Israel during the 1948 war.  

Jerusalem, We Are Here explores the streets of Katamon and visits some of the homes Palestinians were forced to flee. Dr. Naaman, an Israeli Canadian professor in Queen’s Film and Media, had the idea for the documentary during a stay in Katamon in 2008.

[Dorit Naaman]
Queen's professor Dorit Naaman returned to Katamon to create a documentary film. It's being presented in Kingston on March 3.

“I rented an apartment in an old Palestinian home, and I saw a few tours exploring the neighbourhood,” says Dr. Naaman. “I realized I didn’t know anything about the history of the house I was renting. I asked myself, ‘what if I was able to find the families that used to live in these homes before they were driven out?’”  Then she found a hand drawn map, created in 1951 from memory by Hala Sakakini, listing the owners and residents of the houses, and the project took off.

Dr. Naaman and her colleagues Anwar Ben Badis and Mona Halaby worked with former Katamon residents and their descendants to produce short films that are interlaced within a virtual walking tour of the neighbourhood. Some residents visited their old houses, others could not find them but lyrically imagined such visits, and yet others were coming to term with how radically changed the neighborhood is. She also included photos and documents the participants provided, and built an interactive map of the area, which will continue to grow as information is added by the public. There are also historical video clips of life before the war, which Palestinians refer to as The Nakba or “catastrophe.”

“In a way, I am acting as the eyes and ears of the people who used to live and work in the neighborhood,” says Dr. Naaman of the documentary. “This film exposes what happened to the expelled families, and gives them a voice. I didn’t want this to be just nostalgic, but to engage with the present, and gesture towards the future.”

The film project also gave some of Dr. Naaman’s students a unique hands-on learning experience.

“Not only did it allow me to be a part of bringing such beautiful stories to life, giving the world a glimpse of silenced memories, but it showed me a way I could bridge my Queen’s experiences and what I’ve learned in meaningful ways,” says Leen Amarin a computing and cognitive science student (Artsci’17). “I was able to explore tools I’d never thought I’d need, and learn skills I didn’t know I had a hidden passion for. Being part of this project and seeing the amazing way graphics, interactive technology, and film came together gave me a whole new perspective on what my degree and my experience at Queen’s mean.”

The film made its debut at the Montreal Documentary Film Festival and will next be presented on March 3 as part of the Kington Canadian Film Festival. The entire film is available online and information on the project is also available on Facebook

16th-century books for a 21st-century library

Seymour Schulich and Principal Daniel Woolf unveil new rare book collection at Douglas Library.

  • Principal Daniel Woolf, left, and Seymour Schulich, right, look at one of the displays at the newly-opened Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection with Alvan Bregman, Head, W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections. (University Communications)
    Principal Daniel Woolf, left, and Seymour Schulich, right, look at one of the displays at the newly-opened Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection with Alvan Bregman, Head, W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections. (University Communications)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf, left, and Seymour Schulich, right, unveil the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection during a ceremony at the Queen’s Douglas Library on Wednesday, Nov. 23. (University Communications)
    Principal Daniel Woolf, left, and Seymour Schulich, right, unveil the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection during a ceremony at the Queen’s Douglas Library on Wednesday, Nov. 23. (University Communications)
  • Seymour Schulich and his daughter Judy Schulich are given a tour of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection by Alvan Bregman, Head, W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections. (University Communications)
    Seymour Schulich, centre, and his daughter Judy Schulich are given a tour of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection by Alvan Bregman, Head, W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections. (University Communications)
  • Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection comprises 400 books, focused primarily on 16th-18th-century English history and culture but also includes volumes on travel, antiquities, and Canadiana. (University Communications)
    Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection comprises 400 books, focused primarily on 16th-18th-century English history and culture but also includes volumes on travel, antiquities, and Canadiana. (University Communications)

When Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich met Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf (Artsci’80), it wasn’t long before the pair realized they had more than a passion for education in common. They also shared a love of rare books.

Principal Woolf had long planned to donate his book collection to Queen’s. However, his discussions with Mr. Schulich inspired him to fast-track those plans.

Mr. Schulich and Principal Woolf jointly donated their personal collections to create the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection at Queen’s University, which was unveiled to the public during a ceremony at the Queen’s Douglas Library on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

“There reaches a point where mortality dictates great collections must be shared,” says the 77-year-old philanthropist, who was accompanied by his daughter, Judy Schulich, at the unveiling. “I hope to be part of building one of Canada’s best English rare book collections.”

Principal Woolf, a historian, scholar, and professor as well as administrator, shares the optimism of his partner in philanthropy. “By the time we’re done building this, I don’t think there will be a better collection outside of the Ivy League universities and the Folger Shakespeare Library in North America,” he says, “certainly not of historical and topographical books from the period.”

The collection, a combined 400 books, focuses on 16th-18th-century English history and culture but also includes volumes on travel, antiquities, and Canadiana.

Vice-Provost and University Librarian Martha Whitehead expects the collection to resonate with students. “Students get a real thrill when they encounter a physical volume from centuries past,” she says. “Studying original artifacts, rather than copies, provides an insight into the material culture of the time.”

In addition to the books, Mr. Schulich made a $2 million donation to help build and preserve the collection and make it accessible to students and researchers, both at Queen’s and beyond.

“This donation gives us the means to acquire items we would never otherwise be able to acquire,” says Dr. Alvan Bregman, Curator of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection. “The volumes are important, not only as texts but also as artifacts to be used by students and researchers in a wide range of subjects.”

A titan of Canadian industry whose career spanned the financial services and mining sectors, Mr. Schulich has distinguished himself as a philanthropist over the last two decades, donating more than $350 million to universities and hospitals throughout Canada, the U.S., and Israel.

In 2011, he launched the Schulich Leader Scholarships, a $100-million program that provides full scholarships to promising high school graduates with a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Since the program’s inception, Queen’s has been a top-five destination for Schulich Leaders. Fourteen of them have chosen to study at Queen’s.

To take a virtual tour of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection, visit library.queensu.ca/schulich-woolf

Sounds of the season

Festival of Carols, a 70-year tradition, continues at Grant Hall.

For the 71st year in a row, Grant Hall will be ringing with the sounds of the season.

Since 1945, the Queen’s University Engineering Society has hosted an annual carol service. This year, the tradition continues, with a few tweaks to the program to give it more of a community focus and provide a chance to sing with friends and family.

Preparing to sing their hearts out are: Back row (l to r): Ryan Kwast, Nick Hetherington, Thomas Rautenbach, Sam Mason and front row (l to r): Alex Bennett, Steven Ta, Monet Slinowsky, Claire Dederer 

In 2013, the service, formerly the Carol Service, was renamed the Festival of Carols and the programming was updated to make it more inclusive and diverse. While carols are still sung, organizers now welcome two choirs to perform and, this year, the concert will close with an anthem dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

“Initially the concert was attended by members of the engineering faculty but then alumni starting participating and now it’s open to the community,” says organizer Monet Slinowsky. “The concert has slowly changed over the years, but there will still be singing of traditional carols and readings from the Bible. And there are now other elements that will appeal to everyone.”

Community choirs The Caledonias and All the Queen’s Men will perform and Ms. Slinowsky has also formed a new choir, The Festival of Carols Choir.

“The theme for the concert this year is ‘Love is light in the darkness’, and I think the programming will reflect that,” says Ms. Slinowsky. “It’s a chance for Queen’s and the larger community to get together and just sing. Music is a universal language and we are celebrating that. It’s also a chance to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.”

The concert will take place Sunday, Nov. 27 starting at 7:30 pm in Grant Hall. Admission is free, donations to the food bank are accepted.

Award-winning Agnes

  • For the Agnes' Winter Season Launch in 2016, Brendan Fernandes mesmerized audiences with "In Touch", a solo dance performed in the galleries by Lua Shayenne. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
    For the Agnes' Winter Season Launch in 2016, Brendan Fernandes mesmerized audiences with "In Touch", a solo dance performed in the galleries by Lua Shayenne. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • Visitors enhance their experience of the exhibition "The Artist Herself" at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre through the online component created by Studio Blackwell. (Supplied Photo)
    Visitors enhance their experience of the exhibition "The Artist Herself" at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre through the online component created by Studio Blackwell. (Supplied Photo)
  • Jennifer Nicoll, Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator at the Agnes, won the Colleague of the Year Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.
    Jennifer Nicoll, Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator at the Agnes, won the Colleague of the Year Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is the winner of three major awards from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG): Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition Award; Digital Project Award; and Colleague of the Year Award.

The Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition Award was given to Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies, a contemporary art project that sprang from the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art. The Digital Project Award for design was awarded to Studio Blackwell for the interactive and online component of The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists. Jennifer Nicoll, Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator, was named Colleague of the Year.

The winners of the 39th annual OAAG Awards were announced on Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. The OAAG Awards are annual, province-wide awards for artistic merit and excellence. They recognize excellence in exhibitions, publications, programs and community partnerships produced by Ontario’s public art galleries over the previous year.

“Such peer recognition of the quality of our work is a fantastic achievement,” says Agnes Director Jan Allen. “I'm completely delighted. These awards point to the success of the whole Agnes team; their ongoing enthusiasm, generous efforts and commitment to excellence are making an impact.”

INNOVATION IN A COLLECTIONS-BASED EXHIBITION AWARD

The Agnes was recognized for the exhibition Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies, curated by Contemporary Art Curator Sunny Kerr, developed in partnership with the Textile Museum of Canada, and presented at the Agnes Jan. 9- April 10. This exhibition is now on view at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. Collection-based exhibitions are platforms for vital conversations. Lost Bodies brought artist Brendan Fernandes’s visual and choreographic work into dialogue with two of the country’s best collections of African art: The Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art at the Agnes and the collection of the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC). From these collections, Fernandes selected objects with origins in former French West Africa and reconsidered them in a set of new video, print and spatial intercessions. He explored their postcolonial dynamics through ballet—a form of courtly deference that itself became professionalized in colonial France. Drawing upon his background as a former dancer, Fernandes attempted to invoke the lived experiences lost to African objects by mixing the legacies of this pivotal colonial moment. By re-articulating museum display through classical dance, Fernandes’s intervention allowed works from the Lang and TMC collections to perform differently—sometimes positioned as looking subjects, as bodies of queer mash-up, or as the objects of long overdue deference. The exhibition galvanized large audiences and invited new forms of participation across disciplines and in the wider community, and was a site for rich dialogue about museums, audience and postcolonial ethics and aesthetics.

DIGITAL PROJECT AWARD

The Digital Project Award is a design prize awarded to Kelsey Blackwell and Jonathan Gallivan of Studio Blackwell, Toronto, for the interactive and online component of The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists, co-curated by Alicia Boutilier and Tobi Bruce and coproduced by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Pat Sullivan, Public Programs Manager at the Agnes, and Alicia Boutilier compiled the interpretive material for the digital project. Visitors to The Artist Herself were invited to learn more about three works in the exhibition: Pauline Johnson’s Performance Costume, Lady Marie-Reine-Josephte Belleau’s Sentiment Album, and Marion Wilson’s and Margaret Frank’s Button Blankets. This interactive component remains available on the Agnes website today. Studio Blackwell created a gorgeous, fluid online space that sensitively expanded on the exhibition content, bringing life to the extraordinary material culture of this exhibition.

COLLEAGUE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Through almost 10 years at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Jennifer Nicoll has excelled in her dual role as Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator. While significantly advancing the storage rationalization and digitization of the Agnes collection of 16,000+ works, she has smoothly coordinated numerous loans, acquisitions and exhibitions. In addition, she has conscientiously and generously mentored future young professionals in the field of museum exhibitions and collections management. Under her guidance, students, interns and volunteers have gained hands-on experience in digitizing, inventorying, cataloguing, condition examining and re-housing collection and exhibition objects. This award recognizes Nicoll as an astute and thoughtful administrative powerhouse who always takes the time to further her professional knowledge, and to nurture and share with others.

Producing an honorary degree

Emmy winner Michelle MacLaren returns to Queen’s to receive her Doctor of Laws.

For Hollywood director and producer Michelle MacLaren, receiving the call saying she had been selected to receive an honorary degree from Queen’s was not unlike her first Emmy nomination. The film graduate received her Doctor of Laws degree during the Nov. 17 convocation ceremony.

“I am so incredibly touched, honoured and humbled,” says Dr. MacLaren when asked about receiving an honorary degree. “It’s not something I ever thought I would receive, it never entered my mind. I’m pleased Queen’s respects what I do.”

Michelle MacLaren speaks during convocation on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Dr. MacLaren has been working in the film industry for 30 years and is best known for directing and producing a number of award winning television shows including The X-Files, Law & Order, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Both her Emmy wins came for Breaking Bad in 2013 and 2014.

It’s been 30 years since the two-time Emmy winner has been on the Queen’s campus. Film and media professor Blaine Allan had the honour of escorting Dr. MacLaren around town and she found it to be an emotional experience.

“It was actually surreal, walking around campus,” she says. “We went to the original Film House where I started my education. We took some pictures, touched the wall of the building, it was emotional for me. That’s where I got my start.”

She also had an opportunity to drive by her old house where she lived with six other people and tonight she’s planning to visit the Underground with her nephew who is also studying at Queen’s. Dr. MacLaren waitressed there for three years when it was still called Alfie’s Pub. Her housemates actually attended the convocation ceremony to support her.

When asked about her inspiration, Dr. MacLaren talked about former Queen's professor Peter Morris. “He instilled in me an understanding that the film world is a reflection of what is going on in the outside world. Film reflects the world - past, present and future. To think outside the box, open my eyes and see the world in new ways. That is one of the most important lessons I learned.”

During her convocation address, Dr. MacLaren talked about her successes and failures: “It is possible to be tough, strong and kind. I’m often asked how I can do what I do and still be so nice. I just smile and I say ‘I’m Canadian.’”

To wrap up her speech, Dr. MacLaren encouraged the students to be good people and appreciate those around them.

“Lastly, one of the most important things is to be grateful, especially to those who love and support you… Dare to dream, go make history and be good people along the way.”

Award-winning performance

[Isabel Chamber Award]
Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel Centre for the Performing Arts, right, holds the award from the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, along with the event's other award winners. (Supplied Photo)

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts has won an award from the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

The Isabel received the Business Achievement Award in the tourism/hospitality category in recognition of the role it plays in Kingston and in attracting visitors through its programming of world-class and emerging artists and state-of-the-art venue.

“We were thrilled to receive this award from the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce. What an honour it was to receive it,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel. “The Isabel has been working on cultural tourism and national and international recognition of this magnificent, state-of-the-art performing arts centre with terrific results. Our focus is on excellence in programming, attracting top emerging and established artists to our stage. We are also investing in imaginative interdisciplinary programming which has been so stimulating for Queen's students, faculty and staff as it has been for the community at large and tourists attracted to this top tier destination.  It is this focus on excellence and innovation that has enabled us to reach beyond Kingston. The Chamber recognized both the quality of this new arts centre and the efforts to attract cultural tourists to this wonderful city.” 

Opened in September 2014, The Isabel offers a 90,000 square foot venue that includes a studio theatre, a film screening room, an Art and Media Lab and a music rehearsal hall.

Since then, the Isabel has presented a performance series of the best local, national and international artists and many community initiatives while, at the same time, supporting the development of emerging artists.

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts was made possible by a transformational gift from Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and his wife Isabel (LLD’07) as well as the financial backing of the federal and provincial governments, the City of Kingston and additional philanthropic support. The Isabel is a hub for artistic study, creation, exhibition and performance at Queen’s. It is home to the Department of Film and Media and also provides learning and working space for the university’s other creative arts disciplines.

Bringing Shakespeare's women to the stage

[Women of Shakespeare]
 In the Faculty Artist Series concert The Women of Shakespeare, Queen's faculty member Chick Reid, centre, is joined by Queen’s faculty pianist Julia Brook, left, and visiting soprano Donna Bennett. (Supplied Photo)

The Dan School of Drama and Music presents a Faculty Artist Series concert that combines both disciplines in a rather unusual concert on Sunday, Nov. 13 at Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. 

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, Queen’s faculty member and Stratford veteran actor Chick Reid is joined by visiting soprano Donna Bennett, as they both present their favourite versions of some of the bard’s most beloved female characters in script and song in The Women of Shakespeare.  

Queen’s faculty member and pianist Julia Brook, adds instrumental colour from the keyboard. 

Excerpts include Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and others, as well as music from Handel to Cole Porter. 

Some of the characters to be performed by Chick include Juliet, Julia, Gertrude, Cleopatra, Queen Margaret, Miranda, Titania, Helena, Luciana and Katherina. The musical selections based on the same characters include songs by Applebaum, Purcell, Schubert, Bellini, Bernstein, Handel, Cole Porter, Vaughan Williams and Rodgers and Hart.

The show starts at 2:30 pm.

For ticketing information and to purchase tickets, visit the Isabel website.

Revitalizing campus spaces with Indigenous language, art

Twelve new study rooms in Stauffer Library feature Indigenous names and artwork.

  • A total of 12 study rooms at Stauffer Library have been given Indigenous names to increase the visibility of the Indigenous community. From left: Leanne Wight, representing Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala; Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano, Aboriginal Council co-chair; Principal Daniel Woolf; Janice Hill, Director, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre; and Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    A total of 12 study rooms at Stauffer Library have been given Indigenous names to increase the visibility of the Indigenous community. From left: Leanne Wight, representing Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala; Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano, Aboriginal Council co-chair; Principal Daniel Woolf; Janice Hill, Director, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre; and Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • A total of 12 study rooms at Stauffer Library have been given Indigenous names to increase the visibility of the Indigenous community. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    A total of 12 study rooms at Stauffer Library have been given Indigenous names to increase the visibility of the Indigenous community. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • Mary Ann Spencer, Elder in Residence, and Vanessa McCourt, Aboriginal Advisor, sing during the opening of 12 study rooms at Stauffer Library that have been given Indigenous names. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    Mary Ann Spencer, Elder in Residence, and Vanessa McCourt, Aboriginal Advisor, sing during the opening of 12 study rooms at Stauffer Library that have been given Indigenous names. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian, speaks about the process of the naming of 12 rooms at Stauffer Library on Friday, Oct. 28. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
    Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian, speaks about the process of the naming of 12 rooms at Stauffer Library on Friday, Oct. 28. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

Twelve new study rooms at Stauffer Library are being given Indigenous names to increase the visibility of the Indigenous community. The rooms will also help to answer a need for more study space on campus.

“One of our primary mandates since I started here has been to increase the visibility of Indigenous presence on campus in order to contribute to the understanding that Queen’s is a welcoming space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty,” says Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. “This will contribute a great deal to that goal and is completely in line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation for universities to contribute to the reclamation and revitalization of Indigenous languages in Canada.”

The rooms will be named as follows:

After the Seven Grandfather Teachings in Anishinaabe (a group of Indigenous people representing many nations in Ontario sharing a similar language):

  • Wisdom - Nibwaakaawin
  • Love – Zaagi’idiwin
  • Respect - Minaadendamowin
  • Bravery – Aakode’wein
  • Honesty - Gwayakwaadiziwin
  • Humility - Dabaadendiziwin
  • Truth – Debwewin

In Mohawk, Cree, Michif (Métis), Mik’maq and Inuktitut:

  • Learning - Keweyentehtahs
  • Teaching - Kishnamakayin
  • Knowledge - Kiskellitamowin
  • Persistence – Munsa’t
  • Community Place - Katimmavik

To add a unique element to the third- and fourth-floor rooms, the library and Four Directions have formed a partnership with Correctional Services Canada to commission Indigenous artists from Joyceville Institution to create paintings to be displayed in the rooms. The artists have incorporated the meaning of the new room names into their artworks. “One of our strategic priorities in the library is to realize the potential of library spaces and provide memorable places for social and intellectual encounters and discovery,” says Martha Whitehead (Vice-Provost and University Librarian). “We are very pleased at this opportunity to partner with Four Directions to celebrate cultural diversity and provide inclusive learning spaces.”

The study spaces are now open and available for booking.

In the right place at the right time

[Colleen Renihan]
Colleen Renihan arrived at the Dan School of Drama and Music in July as the Queen’s National Scholar in Music Theatre & Opera. She also maintains an active performance schedule as a mezzo-soprano in opera, oratorio, and new music. (Supplied Photo)

As a Queen’s National Scholar in Music Theatre & Opera, Colleen Renihan can barely contain her excitement – she truly feels that at Queen’s she is in the right place at the right time.

With the recent merger and naming of the Dan School of Drama and Music, as well as the opening of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in 2014, Dr. Renihan says that when she first read the posting about the QNS position she knew that she had found her academic calling.

“There were so many things in the QNS posting that spoke to me and to the priorities of my work,” she says, adding that her interdisciplinary research considers contemporary opera in the U.S. and Canada through the lenses of temporality, the philosophy of history, and performance studies. “I read about the position and about the newly formed Dan School, and I thought ‘Wow, that’s where I want to be, that’s the kind of culture I want to be a part of developing.’”

Having arrived at Queen’s in July, Dr. Renihan has already noticed an excitement around the Dan School, emanating not only from the students but from the school’s leadership and her faculty colleagues as well. It has helped her transition to a new setting as both an academic and a performer.

Before her arrival she says she did a lot of research on the Dan School of Drama and Music, and the university. She repeatedly found references to an “energy” at the university, and what she has discovered is that at the Dan School the energy, the vibrancy, is a reality.

“There’s an open-mindedness, there’s a remarkable amount of creative, out-of-the-box thinking and it’s not just something that the school pays lip service to. Students and faculty are constantly innovating: the future of the performing arts is very bright at Queen’s,” she says.

Dr. Renihan has previously taught at the University of Toronto, Western University, Mount Allison University and the University of Guelph. In 2012 and 2014 she was recognized by the Mount Allison University Music Student’s Association Council as “Professor of the Year,” and was a recipient of a Teaching Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Western University in 2012.

Dr. Renihan earned a bachelor degree in vocal performance from the University of Manitoba, an artist diploma in opera performance from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and an MA and PhD in Musicology from the University of Toronto in 2011 with funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Her dissertation was a finalist for the Society for American Music’s Housewright Dissertation Award.

As a Queen’s National Scholar she is hoping to set down roots, and, once again, is excited by the opportunities that are presented here at Queen’s and in the broader Kingston community. She points to what she calls “a real buzz about music theatre” at Queen’s and in the community, and looks forward to contributing to its continued vibrancy and growth.

She also maintains an active performance schedule as a mezzo-soprano in opera, oratorio, and new music. To learn more about Dr. Renihan’s research and career, visit her page on the Dan School of Drama and Music website (sdm.queensu.ca).

The QNS program was first established in 1985, with the objective to “enrich teaching and research in newly developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines.” Since then, over 100 QNS appointments have been made in a wide variety of disciplines, and the appellation of Queen’s National Scholar has become synonymous with academic excellence.

The program provides $100,000 annually for five years for each appointment, and funding for the program allows for a maximum of two QNS appointments in each annual competition.

For more information on the QNS program, visit the QNS page on the Provost’s website.

Beyond the printed word

Annual lecture series welcomes award-winning author John Steffler for talk about writing, wilderness, and “the page.”

An annual English Department lecture series celebrating the act of writing and the writing life will bring award-winning poet and novelist John Steffler to campus next week to talk about wilderness and “the page.”

The Page Lectures series, launched in 2012, has a dual focus: to bring leading Canadian writers to speak at Queen’s, and to honour the late Kingston writer and artist Joanne Page, who contributed immensely to the local literary and artistic communities.

This year, The Page Lectures welcomes John Steffler, who plans to talk about wilderness and "the page" at the event Oct. 25.  

“This series is a tremendous opportunity for the Queen’s community and for anyone with love and passion for the written word to learn from some of the most exciting and innovative writers the Canadian literary scene has to offer,” says Sam McKegney, Acting Head and Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature. “For our students to be able to engage with an eminent writer such as former poet laureate of Canada, John Steffler – what a luxury!

“The Department of English is honoured to be hosting this event, alongside The Page Lectures Fund, to celebrate the memory of Joanne Page, who was such an incredible ambassador of the written word.”

Started by former Queen’s writer in residence and celebrated poet Phil Hall, the series has already attracted a diverse group of writers to give lectures – including Erín Moure, Stan Dragland, and Elizabeth Hay. This year’s speaker, John Steffler, was Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2006 to 2008, and has published several books of poetry, including The Grey Islands, That Night We Were Ravenous, and Lookout, as well as two novels and a children’s book.

“John Steffler holds dual citizenship in Newfoundland and Ontario. His poetic journal of living on The Grey Islands is a classic,” says Mr. Hall. “John knows about language & he knows about the barren out-reaches of this country. We are so honoured to have him talk with us about both.”

After Ms. Page’s death in 2015, the Department of English pledged $25,000 from its Alumni Fund to act as seed-money for a new fund that would endow The Page Lectures in perpetuity. The fund recognizes both Ms. Page’s contribution to Canadian writing and the importance of the newly inaugurated lecture series to creative writing within the department and the wider community. Stephen Page, Joanne’s husband, matched this gift, and with further support from other family members and friends, the Joanne Page Lecture Fund was established in September 2015.

This year’s talk by Mr. Steffler will take place Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2:30-4 pm, Watson Hall, Rm. 517, Queen’s University. This is a free event and all are welcome. More information available on Facebook.

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