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Arts and Culture

Building LGBTQ+ allies

An event marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia will explore both the personal and conceptual aspects of gender.

[Markus Harwood-Jones]
Markus Harwood-Jones will speak at Thursday's event. (Supplied Photo)

A group of employees in cooperation with United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2010, is organizing an event on campus to International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on May 17.

“The USW Local 2010 Human Rights Committee has a mandate to raise awareness and education around Human Rights issues – which is why we chose to mark this day,” says Liza Cote, a Queen’s staff member and chair of the committee. “Having a guest speaker shed light on what it means to be transgender affords us an opportunity to increase awareness on campus.”

This free event will be held on Thursday, May 17 at noon in Mackintosh-Corry Room B201. The theme for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is “Alliances for Solidarity”, reflecting the need for persons from LGBTQ+ communities to find supportive communities so they can effect change and build safer environments.

It’s a theme that Markus Harwood-Jones, this year’s presenter, can relate to. Mr. Harwood-Jones is pursuing his masters in Gender Studies at Queen’s, and identifies as transgender. When he came out as transgender, he had to confront family rejection and he experienced housing insecurity. Mr. Harwood-Jones says his talk will delve into both the terms and concepts as well as the very personal experiences of being transgender.

“My hope is that those who attend will not necessarily leave with a single definition, but instead will have an interest in these terms and concepts,” he says. “I have a passion for this, and a sincere belief we can transform the world. That’s why I invite anyone who is attending to ask questions – don’t be afraid of not knowing enough or saying the wrong thing.”

Prior to joining the Queen’s community, Mr. Harwood-Jones was a student at Ryerson University where he helped found their Trans Collective, lobbying for gender-neutral bathrooms and hosting regular speaking and dinner events for the transgender community.

The United Steelworkers Local 2010 Human Rights Committee became aware of Mr. Harwood-Jones' story through Gender Studies staff member Terrie Easter Sheen, and approached him to speak. Ms. Easter Sheen says these causes are both political and personal to her – she identifies as queer; chairs the USW 2010 Pride Committee; is a Board Director of Reelout, Kingston’s queer film festival (which many Queen’s departments sponsor); and is active in the broader Kingston LGBTQ+ community.

For more information on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, visit dayagainsthomophobia.org

Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts headlines Isabel’s fifth season

[National Arts Centre Orchestra]
The National Arts Centre Orchestra will perform I Lost My Talk, based on the poem of the same name by Rita Joe, as part of first-ever Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts. (Supplied photo).

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is celebrating its fifth performance season by hosting the inaugural Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts, which will bring Canada’s leading and diverse Indigenous artists to the Isabel stage.

[Tanya Tagaq]
Qiksaaktu is created and performed by award-winning throat singer and vocalist Tanya Tagaq. (Supplied photo) 

The festival will kick off on March 6, 2019 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s performance of I Lost My Talk, inspired by the work of Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, as well as Qiksaaktu, created and performed by award-winning throat singer and vocalist Tanya Tagaq and improvisation leader Christine Duncan. 

Other festival performances include: Resound: See Monsters + Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa with Jeremy Dutcher, Bracken Hanuse Corlett, and Dean Hunt (March 22); Wani’/Lost by Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen (March 23); and Nigaani-Gichigami. Oniatari:io  (Lake Ontario) focusing on the relationships between land and timbre and the site of the Isabel, with Jeremy Dutcher, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Peter Morin, and Bracken Hanuse Corlett (March 24).

“We are excited to share this diverse array of performances by acclaimed Indigenous artists working across theatre, dance, music, film and performance art,” says Dylan Robinson, festival curator and Queen’s Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Arts. “The Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts is situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our inaugural festival takes its name from the Huron and Mohawk word for the lands we gather on: Ka’tarohkwi.”

The festival runs in tandem with the Soundings exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and two exhibitions by leading Indigenous artists at Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre. Through the festival, student and community audiences will be able to explore a deeper knowledge of Canada’s Indigenous cultures through a spectacular array of music, dance, theatre, and film, and engage in thought-provoking conversations that will arise as a result of increased cultural understanding. The festival will also support creation-based residencies and the mentorship of emerging Indigenous creators by senior Indigenous artists.

“Our fifth anniversary season features amazing artists and creators at the Isabel, with a focus on local, Canadian, and international artists,” says Isabel Director Tricia Baldwin. “What a privilege it is to work with Dylan Robinson in his role as the curator of the inaugural Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts. With socially-engaged art, the artists are cultural agents of change who transform the societal agenda, as the arts are powerful tools of persuasion. With this Indigenous arts festival, tremendously talented leading artists’ imaginations will soar.”

The Isabel season also includes performances by established Canadian and international artists such as the Danish String Quartet, pianist Stephen Hough, I Musici, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the jazz funk group Shuffle Demons, the Queen of Klezmer Alicia Svigals, Rachel Podger, and recent Juno Award winners Jan Lisiecki and James Ehnes.

[Tanya Lukin Linklater]
The new work Untitled (for Soundings) by Tanya Lukin Linklater, will be performed as part of Nigaani-Gichigami. Oniatari:io. (Supplied photo)

Other performances feature emerging top talent, including the Isabel debut of recent international competition winners Seong-Jin Cho, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Nareh Arghamanyan, Juilliard415, and the winner of the Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition, Yolanda Bruno. 

With a focus on celebrating Kingston, the new Kingston Connection series includes such artists as The Abrams, Kelli Trottier, and Miss Emily, and the Kingston Children’s Corner includes Blue Canoe Productions and Triola. The Isabel partners with Kingston’s PeaceQuest in The World Remembers with Andy Rush and the Open Voices Community Choir, and Okavango African Orchestra.

Other innovative projects include Eve Egoyan’s innovative EarWitness project in collaboration with the Tone Deaf Festival (Kingston’s annual festival of adventurous sound performance), Tafelmusik’s multi-media Bach and his World project, and a collaboration with Michael Wheeler, co-creator and artistic director of SpiderWebShow, in foldA (Festival of Live Digital Art) where SWS will engage with creators across the country.

For full listings, dates and ticketing, visit the Isabel website.


The Isabel is grateful for the support of its fifth anniversary season benefactor, the Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation, and the Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts benefactor, Isabel & Alfred Bader Fund, A Bader Philanthropy, Kingston Connection Series supporter, the J.P. Bickell Foundation, Media Sponsor The Kingston Whig-Standard, Hotel Sponsor Delta Hotels Marriott, Kingston Waterfront, and many donors, all of whom make the world turn at the Isabel.

Five new exhibitions usher in Spring/Summer season at Agnes

  • [Aert de Gelder, The Artist’s Studio]
    Aert de Gelder, The Artist’s Studio, around 1710–1715, oil on canvas. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2015 (58-010).
  • [Gabrielle Sims, Hook, 2014]
    Gabrielle Sims, Hook, 2014, charcoal on paper. Collection of the artist.
  • [Yam Lau, Rotation: In the texture of the world, 2018]
    Yam Lau, Rotation: In the texture of the world, 2018, video. Collection of the artist .
  • [Lega Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Figure, unknown date, ivory]
    Lega Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Figure, unknown date, ivory. Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984 (M84-017)
  • [Charles F. Gibson, Untitled (Men with Dogs, outside the Barracks of Fort Henry)]
    Charles F. Gibson, Untitled (Men with Dogs, outside the Barracks of Fort Henry), around 1832, pencil, pen and ink, and watercolour on paper. Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, Donald Murray Shepherd Fund, Susan M. Bazely, John Grenville, Brian S. Osborne and Joan M. Schwartz, 2016 (59-014.03).

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre will launch its Spring/Summer season on Friday, April 27, with the introduction of five new exhibitions.

Attendees will be able to view each of the newly-arrived exhibitions – Chris Kline and Yam Lau: Weave; Gabrielle Kilian Sims: Hook; Artists at Work: Picturing Practice in the European Tradition; The Art of African Ivory; and the much-anticipated Charles F. Gibson: Events of a Military Life in Kingston.

“Our season launch brings artists, curators and art lovers together to celebrate and savour the great visual and media art of our time along with treasures of the past,” says Agnes Director Jan Allen. “This spring, we are highlighting recent acquisitions, and five deeply original new shows, including a fresh installation of the Lang Collection of African Art.”

The Members’ Preview starts Friday’s celebration at 5 pm, with in-gallery introductions to the shows. The public reception and remarks commence at 6 pm, running through to 7:30 pm. The galleries will remain open to 9 pm. A Creation Station is available for free family care in the Studio, 6-7:30 pm. Register online to save a spot.

The launch of artist Sarindar Dhaliwal’s book The Radcliffe Line and Other Geographies, will also be part of Friday’s event.


Chris Kline and Yam Lau: Weave

Canadian artists Chris Kline and Yam Lau present Weave, a two-person exhibition that reflects precise involvement in the fields of force of materials. The artists’ respective works find surprising affinities: Kline’s tender and rigorous hand-coloured paintings contrast with Lau’s gliding cinematic movements through simulated space, while both artists are intimately involved with the entanglement of idea and substance, being and becoming, memory and form, especially as woven through or across screens.

Artists at Work: Picturing Practice in the European Tradition

For the early modern artist of 17th- and 18th-century Europe, the studio was the site of the vital study, creative exercise and network cultivation that fostered professional success. The relics of these practices are on display in Artists at Work: Picturing Practice in the European Tradition as a celebration of the physical and intellectual pursuit of creativity. From images of the studio to portraits meant to promote the artist’s reputation, the works in this exhibition have been assembled to describe the process of the early modern European artist and reflect the continuation of this tradition into Canadian conventions. Featured artists include Jacques Philippe Le Bas, William Etty, Baldassare Franceschini, Antonio Gabbiani, Aert de Gelder, Ludovico Gimignani, Willem Horst, Ignaz Sebastian Klauber, Bill Roff, William Sawyer, and Abraham Susenier.

Gabrielle Kilian Sims: Hook

This exhibition gathers a poignant selection of Gabrielle Kilian Sims’s recent drawings. Figurative works in charcoal and ink, they are charged with the anguish of grief and explore the feelings of dread, outrage and tenderness compelled by conditions of entanglement and loss. A Kingston resident, her art has been exhibited in Canada, United States, Europe and Qatar and is held in public collections including the Canada Council Art Bank.

The Art of African Ivory

Africans have traded raw and carved ivory for centuries. Its lustrous sheen makes it desirable, as does the brute majesty of its source: Africa is home to the world’s largest elephants. Across continents, ivory objects are used in rituals—rites of prestige and pageantry rolled into one. Desired by a range of bodies—political, social, medicinal, religious—ivory sparks discussion of history and debates about ecological and wildlife preservation. This exhibition showcases works donated by Justin and Elisabeth Lang. Visitors will discover how Africans have used ivory to teach morality, convey social standing, heal wounds, safeguard communities and commercially profit.

Charles F. Gibson: Events of a Military Life in Kingston

While stationed in Kingston as an Ensign in 1831-1833, Charles Frederick Gibson painted the landscape and activities around him. This exhibition features his Kingston watercolours and drawings, alongside works by other contemporary artists, such as Lt. Edward Charles Frome, Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle and Harriet Dobbs Cartwright. Through Gibson’s eyes, we experience Kingston of the 1830s, as events of a military life unfold, both quotidian and monumental: from painting and sketching, to disease and ill-health, to the construction of the Rideau Canal and re-building of Fort Henry.

For more information visit the website for the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

An (un)titled exhibition

  • Leigha Stiles, student co-chair of the Bachelor of Fine Arts graduating show (Un)titled.
    Leigha Stiles, student co-chair of the Bachelor of Fine Arts graduating show (Un)titled, created wearable sculptures for her exhibition (un)wavering.
  • Alyssa Dantes, (un)censored
    Alyssa Dantes, (un)censored
  • Carrie Emblem, (un)bounded
    Carrie Emblem, (un)bounded
  • Jordan Thompson, (un)alien
    Jordan Thompson, (un)alien
  • Victoria Kim, (un)bearable
    Victoria Kim, (un)bearable
  • Eliane Findley, (un)breakable
    Eliane Findley, (un)breakable

Ontario Hall is filled with the artwork of the Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) program graduating class, transforming the stalwart century-old building into an art gallery for a week.

A total of 19 graduating students have staged their pieces throughout the building for (un)titled., with each having their own exhibition space. The pieces range from large canvas paintings to small sculptures to multimedia installations filling an entire room.

For the artists it is an opportunity to stage their own exhibition, bringing together the experiences they have gathered over their years at Queen’s, says Leigha Stiles one of the student co-chairs of the event.

“There’s a sense of pride in our program and what we’ve accomplished this year, and for all four years I have been here,” she says, standing amongst her wearable sculptures. “It’s very exciting but also sad in a way since (our time at Queen’s and in the program) is ending.”

Each student's exhibition displays a research-based body of work that they have devoted an entire academic year to, points out Alejandro Arauz, Lecturer and exhibition liaison for the BFA program.

“If you look at the individual works there is an interesting array of relevant, present and past issues that are elaborated upon through visual art,” he says, adding that he is impressed by the students’ overall efforts in coming together to prepare for the show as well as the high standard in their individual practices. “The works that they make contribute to various discourses and human understanding. It’s like a thesis paper except here it’s a visual thesis contribution.”

Further information and images of the artwork are available at the exhibition website.

More information about the program is available at the Fine Art (Visual Art) Program website.

Remembering the neutrino

Nobel Prize-winning science was celebrated at a special event. 

  • [Photo of John Fisher, Daniel Woolf, George Ewan, Art McDonald, and Jan Allen]
    VIPs pose with the Nobel medal display at the Agnes. L-R: Marc Dignam, Head of the Physics Department; John Fisher, Interim VP (Research); Daniel Woolf, Principal; George Ewan, Professor Emeritus; Art McDonald, Nobel laureate; and Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • [Nobel Medal Replica]
    A replica of the Nobel Prize medal won by Art McDonald is now permanently on display at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • [Past and present Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) employees and their family members]
    Proving that research is a team effort, past and present Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) employees and their family members gather around the plinth. (University Communications)
  • [Janet McDonald and other attendees]
    Janet McDonald (foreground), wife of Art McDonald, and other spectators flip through the plinth's pages. (University Communications)
  • [George Ewan, Art McDonald, and Daniel Woolf]
    George Ewan, Art McDonald, and Daniel Woolf pose with chocolates resembling the three 'flavours' of neutrinos. (University Communications)

On Monday, representatives from across the Queen’s community gathered to celebrate two new installations that will commemorate the Nobel Prize-winning research discoveries of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) scientific collaboration led by Dr. Art McDonald, Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics Emeritus in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy at Queen’s.

Dr. McDonald was the co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of neutrino oscillations, a phenomenon which proved that neutrinos have mass. He shared the prize with Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo, whose research made similar detections possible.

Neutrinos, which are sometimes referred to as the ‘building blocks of the universe’, are tiny subatomic particles with almost no mass and no charge. The SNO Collaboration’s discovery increased human understanding of these particles, which ultimately helps scientists understand how stars, galaxies, and the universe itself has evolved since the Big Bang.

To celebrate the discovery, the university has unveiled a monument between Ontario Hall and Grant Hall to share the fascinating story of the neutrino breakthrough with visitors to campus. This plinth is part of the Queen’s Remembers series, an initiative that commemorates those who have made significant and noteworthy contributions to Queen's University.

“Queen’s University has been wonderfully supportive of the SNO research work and continues to support strongly the ongoing work at the SNOLAB underground laboratory,” says Dr. McDonald. “Those of us who have worked on SNO are very appreciative of this commemoration of the important contributions of many Queen’s students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty that led to this scientific success.”

Additionally, a replica of Dr. McDonald’s Nobel Prize medal will be permanently displayed at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. The display will be located in a busy hallway between the gallery and Etherington House, and will include details about the experiment.

“The research conducted by the incredible team at SNO, under the leadership of Dr. Art McDonald, has an impact that goes far beyond Queen’s University,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The vision of those who started the collaboration, including Dr. George Ewan, Professor Emeritus of the Physics Department at Queen’s, and the late Dr. Herb Chen, and the dedication of all who have worked on it since, have helped Canada become a leader in the field of particle astrophysics. We are delighted to recognize and celebrate their achievement with these two inspirational displays.”

Previous Queen’s Remembers plinths have recognized the traditional inhabitants of the Kingston area—the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples—and the 5th Field Company, a group of soldiers primarily comprised of Queen’s students and faculty who served and gave their lives in both World Wars. To learn more about the Queen’s Remembers initiative, visit the Queen’s Encyclopedia.

Engaging the community in inclusivity

The 2017-18 budget allocated $1 million for diversity and inclusivity initiatives, including support for ideas from the community.

[The QBAS conference team]
The Queen's Black Academic Society (QBAS) conference team. From left to right: Dayna Richards (Artsci '19), Kianah Lecuyer (Artsci '19), Maclite Tesfaye (Artsci '19), Sydney Williams (Artsci '18), and Brandon Tyrell (Artsci '19). (Photo by Zoe Walwyn)

When the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) issued its final report last year, the university was given dozens of recommendations to respond to – creating new positions, updating policies, and funding initiatives.

To help meet some of the needs, the university set aside $1 million per year over three years dedicated specifically to diversity and inclusivity initiatives. The funding has primarily been used to pay for a number of big-picture priorities, but some was put aside to support community initiatives – mainly to bring in speakers and host events.

“A more diverse campus community enhances our academic mission, our student experience, and our research,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “These initiatives have offered many opportunities to share diverse perspectives and ideas across the university over the past year, and I thank all of the organizers who are helping us build a more inclusive community.”

[Photo from Mus[interpreted] art collection]
Additional funding for the Journal of Critical Race Inquiry has allowed them to purchase art like this image, from the “Truth & Dare Project” by Zahra Agjee, to enhance the journal’s presentation. (Supplied Photo)

A total of six initiatives were funded, resulting in dozens of high profile speakers visiting campus and some enhancements to a key diversity publication produced at Queen’s.

The Journal of Critical Race Inquiry, a publication based in Queen’s Gender Studies department, received some additional funding to help with the journal’s long-term planning and allowed them to make some investments to enhance the journal’s presentation – for instance, the February edition featured an art piece from the (Mus)interpreted project. Providing more funding for the journal was a recommendation of the PICRDI report.

In the academic year ahead, Samantha King, Head of the Department of Gender Studies, says the journal is planning an international symposium and special issue on ‘Decolonial Sex and Love’.

The Studies in National and International Development (SNID) speaker series was another initiative which received support. In addition to featuring 12 Queen’s academics, SNID 2017-18 co-chair Karen Dubinsky says the funding they received helped them bring in 12 up-and-coming speakers.

Upcoming Events
SNID: Regulating Romance: Hindus, Muslims and Proscribed Pleasures in Modern India – Thurs, Apr 19, 5 – 6:30 pm, Mackintosh-Corry Hall Room D214

Muslim Societies, Global Perspectives: The Medieval Mediterranean: Interconnected Histories – Sat, Apr 28, 9 am – 5 pm, Watson Hall Room 217

“Some of the highlights of this year’s series were Tanya Talaga, author of Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Deaths and Hard Truths in a Northern City; and Robin Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present,” says Dr. Dubinsky, who is a Professor in Global Development Studies and History. “Both of these authors came to Queen’s at the beginning their book tours, and these titles have since become celebrated across Canada.”

Other groups across the institution and the Kingston community joined in with the Provost’s Office to help fund some of these programs. For example, the Faculty of Arts & Science partnered with the Provost’s Office to help fund the Muslim Societies-Global Perspectives initiative, which hosted a series of events looking at the legacy of Kingston resident and Syrian immigrant George Masoud, the 2017 Québec mosque massacre, and medieval Jerusalem.

[Adnan Husain, Ariel Salzmann, Gord Dueck]
Adnan Husain, Ariel Salzmann, and Gord Dueck of the History Department pose with a poster from their event about the life of George Masoud. (University Communications)

The support also resulted in some brand new projects, such as the Future of Black Scholarship Conference organized by the Queen’s Black Academic Society. More than 90 students, faculty, and alumni attended, and organizers say they hope to build on that with a second conference in 2019. Various community and corporate sponsors supplemented the Provost’s Office sponsorship.

Dr. Shearer says the Provost’s Office will seek to raise awareness of the opportunity to apply for funding in the year ahead. Her office is currently drafting terms of reference for the application process, which will be unveiled this fall.

Reports will be issued in the near future which detail the university’s overall progress in meeting the PICRDI recommendations since the report was issued last year. You can find links to all the mid-term updates on the Deputy Provost’s webpage.

Dreams of reconciliation

Among the Principal’s Dream Courses funded last year, two courses were specifically focused on sharing Indigenous knowledge.

For one group of students, their semester-long dive into Indigenous culture is nearing an end – while another class gets set to begin its journey this summer.

[Lee Maracle]
Lee Maracle, an early Indigenous feminist, activist, and writer, speaks to the ENGL218 class. (University Communications)

Heather Macfarlane, Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of English, has just recently completed the first offering of ENGL218: Introduction to Indigenous Literature in Canada. The course examined Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit and First Nations authors.

“My goal was to provide the students with insight into Indigenous cultures that they might not otherwise have,” she says. “Students love to have answers but I wanted to open things up for them, and show them how much there was to learn about Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I want to get them asking questions, with the goal that they ended up with more questions than when they started.”

Texts for ENGL218 – Introduction to Indigenous Literature
● Dimaline, Cherie. The Marrow Thieves.
● Halfe, Louise. Burning in this Midnight Dream.
● Maracle, Lee. Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories.
● Moses, Daniel David. Almighty Voice and his Wife.
● Robertson, David Alexander. Betty: the Helen Betty Osborne Story.
● Ruffo, Armand Garnet. Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird.
● Van Camp, Richard. The Lesser Blessed.

In addition to reading the stories, the class of 54 students also welcomed a number of the authors to campus for weekly guest lectures. To engage them in these talks, Dr. Macfarlane had the class conduct traditional greetings, introduce the authors, and prepare thoughtful questions in advance.

The speakers included Onangaate, a knowledge keeper from the Kingston Indigenous community; Lee Maracle, an early Indigenous feminist, activist, and writer; and two authors from Queen’s including Daniel David Moses of the Drama department and Armand Ruffo of the English department. The final speaker was Louise Halfe, who shared poems about her experiences as a student at a residential school.

Of particular interest to the students was Cherie Dimaline, winner of the 2017 Governor General's Award for English-language children's literature. Ms. Dimaline was the author of dystopian post-apocalyptic book The Marrow Thieves.

Dr. Macfarlane’s course will be offered again this fall, potentially with changes to the author lineup. The talks are being video recorded, and Dr. Macfarlane hopes to use the recordings with future offerings of the course if it becomes a permanent addition to the department’s course lineup.

“I am thankful for the Principal’s Dream Course funding, as I would not have been able to bring the authors in otherwise,” she says. “I am hopeful the fall intake will be even more popular than this term’s offering.”

[Students walk along a rocky trail]
Indigenous community members lead students on a nature walk. (Supplied Photo)

In June, another Dream Course will get underway as Heather Castleden begins her first offering of GPHY309: Indigenous Perspectives on the Environment and Health. This field school is an opportunity to meet with Indigenous peoples to learn directly from them about their interconnected relationships with the land, environmental management, and human health.

“This is based on a field school I used to offer at Dalhousie University, and builds on many of the same relationships I developed when I was working out in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia),” says Dr. Castleden, who is the Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities. “There seems to be a lot of excitement from the students - that Queen’s is finally offering something like this.”

As part of the three-week course, students will spend two weeks in Mi’kma’ki meeting with members of several Mi'kmaw First Nations.

[Google Maps screenshot of the students' route through Nova Scotia]
Dr. Castleden's students will be on the road for 14 hours as they meet with Indigenous communities across Nova Scotia. (Google Maps)

Their travels will take them to, for example, Pictou Landing, an Indigenous community that has been heavily affected by a local pulp and paper mill; to Unama’ki (Cape Breton), where they will learn about two-eyed seeing from the Elder who originated the principle. of embracing the best of both Indigenous and Western knowledge systems.They will meet with other Indigenous knowledge-holders that apply this principle to interpreting the local archaeological history and geological formations.

If time permits, they’ll also participate in a cultural camp in Bear River on the western side of Nova Scotia.

Along the way, they will connect with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, visit the site of a centralized residential school, go eel fishing at night (if the weather cooperates), and participate in land-based learning activities. The students have also been invited to a pow wow. The focus is on experiential learning with many in-person meetings and engaging in ceremony when invited to do so by Mi’kmaw hosts.

“This field school is meant to challenge the students emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually,” says Dr. Castleden. “When they get back to Kingston, the students will each have the opportunity to reflect on their experience by preparing short video stories, which will be showcased at a special open event on June 15.”

When the course is offered for a second time next year, Dr. Castleden says she may take the field school out to the west coast where she has other established relationships instead – though she is also keen to eventually develop local relationships so students can experience something similar in southeastern Ontario.

[Principal's Dream Course logo]
The logo for the Principal's Dream Courses program. (Supplied Photo)

Each year, the Principal’s Office funds a number of courses through the Principal’s Dream Course program. Interested faculty should submit proposals tied to key themes, such as sustainability, Indigenous knowledge, and diversity and inclusion, and successful proposals are granted up to $15,000 in one-time funding to offer the course for at least two iterations.

The Principal’s Dream Course program is administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning – learn more about it on the CTL’s website. The 2018/19 recipients will be announced in the near future.

One year of ‘Extending the Rafters’

An event on campus marked the anniversary of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force's final report.

  • On Friday afternoon, members of the community met at the Agnes to create art designed to inspire a visual response to the Truth and Reconciliation Task Force report's recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    On Friday afternoon, members of the community met at the Agnes to create art designed to inspire a visual response to the Truth and Reconciliation Task Force report's recommendations. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) speaks with attendees of the "Extending the Rafters" event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) speaks with attendees of the "Extending the Rafters" event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen’s community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen’s community take part in a Haudenosaunee round dance at the event marking the release of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force’s final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • There were performances by Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee singers, as well as a traditional feast. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    There were performances by Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee singers, as well as a traditional feast. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Law students Sofia Gabbani and Lauren Winkler take questions from the podium at the "Extending the Rafters" event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Law students Sofia Gabbani and Lauren Winkler take questions from the podium at the "Extending the Rafters" event. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

Friday saw a feast of celebrations at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, as members of the Queen’s and local Indigenous communities came together to mark an important anniversary.

In March 2017, the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force issued its final report. “Extending the Rafters” contained 25 recommendations aimed at building better relations between Queen’s and Indigenous communities. It acknowledged the role Queen’s has played in traditions which caused harm to Indigenous communities, and that the institution needed to do a better job in educating students about Indigenous Peoples. Later this month, the Provost’s Office will release a formal report that will provide an update on the progress made on those recommendations.  

In the meantime, the event, which was hosted by the Agnes and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, offered attendees the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the year gone by. Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of Indigenous Initiatives, opened the event with brief remarks, and there were performances by Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee singers.

This event was generously funded by the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area: Jim & Julie Parker Fund, The Regina Rosen Fund, The Edward Ratcliffe Fund, and the Larry Gibson Community Fund.

Some members of the Queen’s community have also offered up their thoughts to the Gazette on reconciliation efforts at Queen’s over the past year:

Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director, Indigenous Initiatives; and TRC Task Force member

“I am pleased and encouraged by the level of engagement with the report and recommendations across every sector of the university.

Senior administration very early on undertook KAIROS and Cultural Safety training, thereby modeling to the rest of campus the importance of taking responsibility for our own learning. Strategic planning documents are considering and incorporating aspects of Indigenous knowledge and engagement; events and services are working towards inclusion of Indigenous customs and language; faculties are increasing Indigenous knowledges in faculty hires and curriculum; and student groups are being more mindful of inclusion of Indigenous students, customs, and language.

As many have said, we still have a lot of work to do but we have made amazing progress this year and I am hopeful going forward.”

Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow), Lecturer in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and part-time Chaplain

"I have been very excited to see the progress of the Mohawk Language Certificate as it approaches final approval. This is exactly the kind of program which the university can support that will make a positive contribution to the future of the language in our communities. The support from the various committees who have offered their input has been very encouraging and it is just one small part of the overall direction and mandate from the TRC that the university has embraced."

Kandice Baptiste, Director, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

"As we reflect on the contributions of both the national and Queen’s reports and their calls to action, it’s important to honour the spirit of which those reports were crafted in. Reconciliation requires actions born out of love; for land, nationhood, youth, knowledge keepers, and a future that breathes new life into creating a more just country and campus."

Mark Green, Professor and Associate Head, Civil Engineering; and co-chair of the TRC Task Force

"I was honoured and excited to be a part of the TRC task force team. I have been quite delighted at the response the report has received and the leadership taken by senior university administration in terms of readily implementing many of the initial recommendations. I can see great progress has been made over the past year.

There has also been a groundswell, a grassroots response - people at every level of the university want to contribute in different ways. The leadership has helped to make that happen, but a lot of people are thinking it is the right thing to do and want to contribute.

There still is a lot to do. Modifications to curriculum, and building real connections to Indigenous communities where we can have long-term impact in building capacity, will be challenges moving forward."

Vanessa McCourt, Aboriginal Advisor, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre; and member of the TRC Task Force

"As the contact staff who sends out event notices to the broader Queen’s community, I can say it has been a remarkably busy year since the release of the TRC task force report! Many faculties, departments, student groups have taken it upon themselves to organize events incorporating Indigeneity and beginning the work of reconciliation.

My hope is that this momentum continues. While there is much being done, much more still needs to be accomplished. Our students are still feeling unsafe on campus, primarily in classroom settings – both by other students in the class, and their professors."

Wiiwagaa'ige (Darian Doblej) (Artsci’18), member of the University Council on Anti-racism and Equity (UCARE), and Co-chair of the Queen’s Native Students Association Conference Planning Committee 

"I am proud to see Queen's take steps to make campus a better place for Indigenous students. But there is always much more to do. The end of the report should have read 'to be continued' as this work will never end here on campus so far that Indigenous students aren't achieving their full potential, and that Queen's students aren't being fully educated on issues that matter to Canada, their fields, and to them.

As we look to one year and beyond, we have an opportunity to make history and create new paths to be one of the best campuses across Canada for Indigenous students. The TRC gives Queen's the mandate to set out an ambitious vision, take bold steps and think of new ways."

Dylan Robinson, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts

“I am happy to see the university implementing change that responds to the TRC report. And yet the reality is that we still have few Indigenous faculty at Queen’s, and the kind of transformation called for in the report will not be able to occur without the leadership of Indigenous faculty across all departments and programs.”

Doctoral candidate receives inaugural art award

Tanya Lukin Linklater is the first recipient of the Wanda Koop Research Fund, which supports mid-career artists.

[Tanya Lukin Linklater]
Tanya Lukin Linklater is a doctoral candidate and artist. She recently received a national research fund recognizing her work. (Photo by Brandon Gray)

It was a call Tanya Lukin Linklater wasn’t expecting.

Ms. Lukin Linklater, an artist and Queen’s doctoral candidate, was recently named the recipient of the Canadian Art Foundation’s inaugural Wanda Koop Research Fund. This new research fund, worth $15,000, was named for the Winnipeg artist appearing on the cover of the first issue of Canadian Art in fall 1984.

Ms. Lukin Linklater is Alutiiq and originates from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions in Alaska. She is currently based in northern Ontario, and that setting has been inspiring her most recent work.

“I spend time thinking through and investigating Indigenous ideas in dance, performance, video, and installation primarily,” she says. “My work carries a deep responsibility to Indigenous peoples, and I am mindful to work in a good way and to respectfully be in relation to community. I follow questions or ideas, investigating where they will go, and that helps me determine which medium I work in and through to share an idea.”

Most recently, Ms. Lukin Linklater developed a performance called Sun Force, in response to the work of Rita Letendre at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ms. Lukin Linklater was an artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario where Rita Letendre’s retrospective, Fire & Light, was shown. Letendre’s practice of abstract painting became the impetus for Ms. Lukin Linklater’s performance.

She also completed a video entitled The treaty is the body which shares Indigenous understandings of treaty relationships, and challenges non-Indigenous audiences to consider their responsibilities in relation to treaty.

[A still from The treaty is the body video. By Tanya Lukin Linklater and Liz Lott]
A still from The treaty is the body video highlighting two of the video's youth dancers. (Photo by Tanya Lukin Linklater and Liz Lott)

The recipients of the Wanda Koop Research Fund are selected by a ‘who’s-who’ of art experts from across the country. The judging panel called Ms. Lukin Linklater’s work, “complex, engaging, multidimensional, and inspiring”.

“Our selection recognizes an artist who continues to grow and flourish in her art creation and intellectual artistic investigations,” Julie Nagam, chair of the history of Indigenous arts of North America at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the University of Winnipeg told CanadianArt.ca on behalf of the judging panel. “Her practice is leading the way in terms of performance, dance and installation-based work and we were excited for her to be the inaugural recipient of a mid-career award for a visual artist.”

[Sun Force by Tanya Lukin Linklater]
Sun Force by Tanya Lukin Linklater. (Supplied Photo)

Ms. Lukin Linklater’s next works will explore Alaskan Native objects – a topic that is personal to her, but one she has not revisited recently. The Queen’s community will get to see the outcome of that work as she produces a new performance for the Soundings Festival that is scheduled for March 2019 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

In the meantime, Ms. Lukin Linklater also has her doctoral studies to work on. She started her doctorate part-time in 2015 in the field of cultural studies. Ms. Lukin Linklater’s supervisor, Dylan Robinson, was pleased to hear about the recognition for her artistic practice.

“Her work has received significant attention over the past few years, with major commissions including her work for La Biennale de Montréal in 2016 and her participation in documenta 14, a major international series of contemporary art exhibitions,” says Dr. Robinson, who is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s. “The PhD research she has undertaken through Queens’ Cultural Studies Program is exciting and this important award recognizes her leadership in the area of Indigenous research-creation.”

“I am privileged to work with Dr. Robinson and my committee,” she says. “My doctoral work has contributed significantly to my practice by reminding me of some of the essential questions I grapple with – for example, how Indigenous ways of being and knowing are embodied in our present circumstances, despite colonialism – while giving me an opportunity to investigate, learn, and contribute to the production of knowledge in the field of Indigenous arts.”

The Wanda Koop Research Fund prize is valued at $15,000, and is intended to support travel and research costs.

To learn more about Tanya Lukin Linklater and her work, visit her website. She was also recently featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC’s) Exhibitionists program.

Students answer the prime minister’s reconciliation challenge

A joint class of Arts and Science students examined the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settler communities through a social justice exposition.

  • Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18) speaks with Madeline Heinke (Artsci'18) in front of their team's exhibit, Maanamaji'o. The word means "the community (or the person) is sick." (University Communications)
    Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18) speaks with Madeline Heinke (Artsci'18) in front of their team's exhibit, Maanamaji'o. The word means "the community (or the person) is sick." (University Communications)
  • The Maanamaji'o exhibit includes items gathered from Pikangikum. The First Nations community has "an alarmingly high suicide rate", says Ms. Cornwall. (University Communications)
    The Maanamaji'o exhibit includes items gathered from Pikangikum. The First Nations community has "an alarmingly high suicide rate", says Ms. Cornwall. (University Communications)
  • Other topics explored by the joint class include "The Monstrous Other" in pop culture - demonstrating unfair portrayals of, among others, Indigenous Peoples. (University Communications)
    Other topics explored by the joint class include "The Monstrous Other" in pop culture - demonstrating unfair portrayals of, among others, Indigenous Peoples. (University Communications)
  • Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre performs an honour song to open the expo. (University Communications)
    Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre performs an honour song to open the expo. (University Communications)
  • Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater) and student Cosimo Morin (Artsci'18) lead the joint class in an Indigenous song the class rehearsed in anticipation of the event. (University Communications)
    Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater) and student Cosimo Morin (Artsci'18) lead the joint class in an Indigenous song the class rehearsed in anticipation of the event. (University Communications)

Students in a Global Development Studies course and a Languages, Literatures, and Cultures course have come together to spark a dialogue around the issues identified in the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

Under the guidance of Thohahoken (Michael Doxtater), Queen's National Scholar in Indigenous Studies: Land- and Language-Based Pedagogies and Practices, the students have organized the “Treaty Peoples Social Justice Expo”, a poster fair in Stirling Hall. The event was aimed at increasing awareness of Indigenous Peoples issues and honour their cultures and languages. The idea to host a poster fair was Dr. Doxtater’s, as a way to foster his students’ learning while also providing them an opportunity to find topics that relate to their interests.

“The aim was to engage these young people in the prime minister’s challenge to ‘move towards a nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition, rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership’,” says Dr. Doxtater. “I am proud of the students’ efforts, and pleased that we were able to engage two distinct classes in this multidisciplinary look at contemporary Indigenous issues.”

To help create a respectful and inclusive environment, Wednesday’s event opened with greetings from Elder Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. Then, guests were welcome to explore the room and learn about 13 topics related to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples.

“The poster fair included examinations of issues such as environmental resistance and the impact of development on Indigenous health, incarceration of Indigenous peoples, and even portrayals of Indigenous Peoples in sports,” says Penny Cornwall (Artsci’18), one of the organizers. “My team’s project, Maanamanji’o, focused on suicide and mental health in Pikangikum First Nation – a community with an alarmingly high suicide rate.”

Ms. Cornwall notes one of her peers has a personal connection to the Pikangikum community, and this student’s passion led the team to explore that topic.

Dr. Doxtater was hired in 2017 as part of the Principal’s faculty renewal efforts. He is a Queen’s National Scholar cross-appointed to the Departments of Global Development Studies and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Learn more about Dr. Doxtater here.


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