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How Representation can Fuel Change

In this blog piece, Tianna Edwards, Officer of Direct Response Appeals in the Office of Advancement at Queen’s, talks about the importance of having a diverse staff and student body as the starting point to achieve a genuinely inclusive campus

 

I was raised in Kingston and spent my elementary and high school years as the only person of colour in most of my classes. To clarify what this means, it means being the spokesperson for all people of colour (answering questions about my race), fighting stereotypes and generally losing any anonymity whatsoever. So when it came to applying to universities, I didn’t consider Queen’s. I felt that I wouldn’t fit into the established culture of sameness and didn’t want to continue the pattern of being the only person of colour in my classes. So I branched out. Like many young Kingstonians, Continue Reading »

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Dreamtime and The Seventh Fire

In our February blog, Tim Yearington, the Algonquin-Métis Knowledge Keeper within the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, writes about the importance of honouring Indigenous knowledge as the key to starting our learning journey 

 

Lately I find myself pondering, or rather re-imagining, this: A long time ago my Algonquin ancestors saw the future. They did so by honouring and acting upon the knowledge that came to them – directly from the Creator – in what we call “the dreamtime.” One of the interesting things they re-imagined, or rather what they “saw”, was a clear vision of our current time.

To help us face the challenges of today, long ago my ancestors chose to share their vision. They called it the Time of the Seventh Fire.  Their vision revealed that during the time of the Seventh Fire a “New People” will emerge. The New People will be looking to find what our ancestors left behind upon the trail. Continue Reading »

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Studying the past to dream our future

In this piece, History professor Adnan Husain talks about using education to combat stereotypes, and he explains how universities provide us with the opportunity of learning from the past to build a better future

As a historian, my reflex is to look to the past to analyze contemporary conditions and understand recent experiences.  When I first began to study medieval European and Middle Eastern/Islamic History as a university student, I did not imagine that my preoccupations with how religious identities were formed through the interrelationships between Muslims, Christians and Jews in the pre-modern world would seem so relevant to so many others.  My interests at the time developed from a more personal perspective as a Muslim from a religiously observant family raised in North America.  I was seeking historical grounding for what seemed an eccentric problem—being what one scholar would later term a “Western Muslim.”   My exploration of inter-religious interaction was meant to satisfy an internal dialogue about identity and its diverse sources and to discover ways to integrate and reconcile disparate influences of my heritage and formation. Continue Reading »

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A place of community

 

In this piece,  Kandice Baptiste, the Director of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, reflects on how space can be re-imagined to mirror Indigenous values and traditions, and how these changes create a meaningful atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.

It is my understanding that Indigenous education is built off the land and our stories, embedded in these are our worldviews and guiding principles for how to be and do good in the world. This is what drove the recent extensive renovations to the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.

Taking inspiration from the land the design of both houses was guided by Haudenosaunee and Anishnabee worldview. When you enter 144 there is a round room, which was meant to replicate the feeling of a round house. Inside these round houses, Anishnabee communities have conducted ceremonies for thousands and thousands of years. Continue Reading »

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Embracing Vulnerability

Mia Berloni, a fourth-year Environmental Science student at Queen’s, writes about the importance of expressing one’s thoughts and feelings, and how vulnerability can shift the campus culture to be more empathetic and open.

The topic I was given for this blog post was re-imagining the future. This is a very broad topic, and there are so many things I believe could be changed and improved to make the institution of Queen’s better. The thing that stuck out the most for me was vulnerability. Attending a school that more openly encourages and embraces vulnerability would have so many benefits for all students at Queen’s.

When space is made for openness, students can feel more comfortable living as their genuine selves, as living authentically in itself is a vulnerable act. Through my work at the Peer Support Centre (PSC), I have seen what incredible things can come from providing space for students to tell their story, Continue Reading »

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Breaking Boundaries Through the Arts: The Power of Poetry

Can’t see the video? Click Here.

This month, Nirosha Balukamar -fourth-year undergraduate student at Queen’s- writes a powerful piece on how the art of the spoken word can be used to create connections and understandings. Nirosha sees poetry as a tool to educate, empower and engage others in the conversation by raising awareness and fostering environments for constructive dialogue.

 

My voice is my strength and my strength lies in my voice.

If you know me, you’ll know that one of my favourite phrases is “let’s decolonize education.” I am a huge believer in embracing the untraditional and unconventional ways of learning, of challenging the systems in place and trying to reimagine the way in which we communicate and educate. I am a spoken word artist and I use my art as a platform to advocate and empower others. Continue Reading »