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Exploring Indigenous identities

The Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) is organizing a week of events aimed at raising awareness of reconciliation and Indigenous matters.

Queen's Native Students' Association member Helena Kita (Artsci'19) and Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci'17) help take down the thoughts of the Queen's community as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)
Queen's Native Student Association member Helena Kita (Artsci'19) and Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci'19) help take down the thoughts of the Queen's community as part of Indigenous Awareness Week. (University Communications)

Through song, stories, food, and art, organizers of Indigenous Awareness Week hope to spend the next few days exploring what it means to have Indigenous identity.

“Whether you are an Indigenous person, a well-established ally, or beginning your journey towards ally-ship and educating yourself on Indigenous histories, cultures, and current issues, you are invited to join us this week,” says Queen’s Native Student Association (QNSA) Co-President Sarah Hanson (Artsci’19). “Our goal is to engage all members of our community in a discussion around Indigeneity and reconciliation, and further their knowledge of issues affecting Indigenous Peoples today.”

There are several activities planned throughout the week, with events scheduled for each day. This year, organizers have aligned Indigenous Awareness Week with the QNSA’s annual conference – blending the learning and social aspects of the two events.

On Monday, members of the Queen’s community can participate in a whiteboard session from 10 am to 3 pm in the Athletics and Recreation Complex (ARC). Organizers hope to use the time to gather thoughts on what reconciliation means to them, and share it on a canvas forever featured by QNSA.

Monday night will include a poetry slam featuring community poet Bob Mackenzie as well as Queen’s student poets in the Grad Club.

On Tuesday, organizers will lead a mass KAIROS exercise from noon to 2 pm. in the McLaughlin Room of the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). This exercise is a teaching tool used to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Later that evening, organizers will show Angry Inuk, a documentary about a new generation of Inuit as they participate in the traditional seal hunt. The film will be followed by a discussion lead by Professor Noel McDermott (PhD’15).

Those looking to broaden their palates should stop in to Wednesday’s bannock and tea sale from 9 am until noon at the intersection of Union and University.

A student contributes to the Indigenous Awareness Week whiteboard. (University Communications)
A student contributes to the Indigenous Awareness Week whiteboard. (University Communications)

Thursday will see a number of Indigenous vendors visiting campus to sell their artwork and other creations between 10 am and 2 pm in the JDUC. Some of the items that will be for sale include beautiful traditional items such as dreamcatchers and earrings. Later in the day, QNSA will host a Kehewin Cree Hoop Dance workshop.

Thursday evening, two acclaimed Indigenous models will visit the Queen’s campus to share their stories and experiences at a ticketed event. Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell and International Model and former cover of Vogue Ellyn Jade will join the Queen’s community for a wine and cheese event at the Agnes. The event is being co-hosted by the QNSA and the Vogue Charity Fashion Show.

Friday culminates in a town hall event featuring Clement Chartier, President of the Métis National Council. Mr. Chartier will deliver remarks from 12:15 to 1:15 pm in Goodes Hall, and a reception will follow at the Agnes from 1:30 to 3 pm.

Sixty volunteers are coming together to help make Indigenous Awareness Week a reality, and the QNSA has received support from a number of groups on campus including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, the Grad Club, and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations.

“We are so excited that Indigenous Awareness Week includes participation from students, staff and faculty from all parts of our university,” says Darian Doblej, (ArtsSci ’18). “Working towards reconciliation requires all of us, non-Indigenous and Indigenous people working together in order to create better futures. When everyone here comes out to events, I know we can be confident in just that – creating better futures.”

Queen's community members filled in their thoughts responding to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)
Queen's community members filled in their thoughts responding to the question, "What does the term Indigenous mean to you?" (Supplied Photo)

To stay up to date on Indigenous Awareness Week at Queen’s, please visit the Queen’s Native Student Association’s Facebook page.

Queen’s marks International Women’s Day

This year’s celebrations and reflections are being marked through art and powerful discussions.

In recognition of International Women’s Day 2018, which is Thursday, March 8, the Queen’s Gazette has gathered reflections from a variety of members of the Queen’s community about what the day means to them.

Jennifer Li (Artsci’17), AMS President

Jennifer Li
Jennifer Li (Artsci'17), AMS President. (Supplied Photo)

"To me, International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women and acknowledge ways to achieve gender parity. When I first got involved in student leadership at Queen's, I was very fortunate to have several female mentors and role models. They made it easy to envision myself serving in similar roles and forged a path for me to follow. We know that women doubt themselves more than men, which is why I think it's so important to invite other women to get involved at Queen's and encourage them to stay involved.

Even as AMS President, I have been asked if I am the Vice President because I am the only female on my team, or criticized for exhibiting traits that would be considered essential for a leader if I were male. These types of incidents make it even more intimidating for women to step up but, if given the chance, we are capable of greatness.

If you look around Queen's there are so many strong, inspiring and resilient women. Just imagine what they could accomplish if we continue to commit to helping them achieve their ambitions. Whether it's through advocacy work, a conversation with a friend, or a political campaign, I think we all have a role to play in ensuring that the women around us are supported and treated equally."

International Women's Day Events
● On International Women’s Day, the Isabel is hosting a special panel discussion from 11 am to 2 pm. The panel is a part of VOICES: A Multimedia Exhibition that is part of the Isabel’s Human Rights Festival.

● Also playing at The Isabel on March 8 – The Judge. This documentary “provides a rare insight into Shari’a law, an often-misunderstood legal framework for Muslims, told through the eyes of the first woman judge to be appointed to a religious court in the Middle East.”

● The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is currently hosting a number of gender-centred exhibitions including The Powers of Women: Female Fortitude in European Art, and Log Cabin: A Canadian Quilt which examines traditional gender roles in the creation of domestic space.

● On March 7, the Agnes presented a woman like that, a film about female artist Artemisia Gentileschi, at the Film Screening Room in The Isabel.

● The Queen’s Feminist Legal Scholars annual conference, which was held March 2 and 3, was themed around “(Re)Production: Inequalities of Gender, Racialization, and Class.” Learn more about this year’s conference.

● In the community, The City of Kingston is lighting up City Hall in purple for International Women's Day.

Carole Morrison, Director, Ban Righ Centre

“International Women’s Day is an important day when we publicly acknowledge that much work remains to be done to achieve gender equality in Canada and around the world.

My role is to help women to pursue their educational goals so that they can go into every boardroom, operating theatre, university classroom, and community, and make contributions in their chosen fields. I am confident that the participation of women improves and strengthens any organization. The Ban Righ Centre provides very practical support informed by the social and political realities that women face.”

To learn more about the work of the Ban Righ Centre, visit banrighcentre.queensu.ca.

Karen Yeates (Meds'97), Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

“As someone who does research in low income countries into women's reproductive health, cervical cancer screening access, and maternal health, I think the recent focus on women's rights in society – equal pay for equal work, access to reproductive health rights, as well as safe 'harassment-free' workplaces – are positive. I hope that the sea change we are seeing in high income countries will translate into other positive outcomes and priorities for the poorest women in our world.

The work of #MeToo is important, and yet, at the same time there is a woman dying each hour from childbirth in low-income countries due to lack of access to family planning and lack of access to safe delivery. Traditionally, women's health and maternal health has been prioritized by governments to improve the lives of women in low-income countries. Most recently, some major funders of foreign aid, such as the US, are reducing their funding or restricting how it can be used where reproductive health and family planning are concerned, and these decisions are already, in less than one year, having a massive impact on women in the poorest countries of the world.

I have great hopes that this philosophy of one country controlling the reproductive health rights of women in other countries of the world will end, but is unlikely to occur unless other countries, such as Canada and in the European Union, begin to fill that funding 'void' and apply pressure for critical policy change on the strings attached to funding.”

 

Dr. Yeates discusses a project where smartphones were used to provide mentorship to nurses in Tanzania, thereby improving women's health.

Grace Steed (Con.Ed’19), Logistics Director for Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP)

Grace Steed
Grace Steed (Con.Ed'19). (Supplied Photo)

“To me, International Women’s Day represents an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of women excelling in a variety of fields which were once closed to them, based on their gender. It is a day to honour the courage and sacrifices of the many way-pavers that came before us, as well as to recognize the work that remains to be done, in order to allow for the contributions of women to be valued in all areas of society.

Within the framework of the Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics’ conference, this occasion serves as a reminder of the importance of empowering women to mobilize and become activists in their own communities, in order to achieve gender parity in the spheres of government and civil service. I look forward to the day that I will be able to celebrate International Women’s Day under a female prime minister!

In my opinion, Malala Yousafzai summarizes the purpose of this day succinctly, saying “I raise up my voice - not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”’

Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Five members of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre team, including Director Jan Allen (second from right), pose in the "Powers of Women" exhibit. (University Communications)
Five members of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre team, including Director Jan Allen (second from right), pose in the "Powers of Women" exhibit. (University Communications)

“International Women’s Day is a moment to take measure of equity for women in our community and around the globe. It’s a time when women’s voices are raised, and – most importantly – raised together. This year, #MeToo’s spectacular and proliferating calling out of systemic sexual misconduct signals women’s refusal to suffer such humiliation and manipulation in silence. Denying impunity to abusers is only one more step toward equity, yet it feels like a thrilling breakthrough. 

Recognizing womens’ achievements is the other side of this occasion. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, founded by a visionary woman, has a long and distinguished history of championing art by women. We celebrate their creative work and forms of expression, and, at the same time, present exhibitions that speak back to stereotypes and gender binaries. Our three major shows this winter confront these issues in explicit and surprising ways. For me, the informed receptivity of the current generation of students to these issues is truly inspiring.”

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is currently hosting a number of gender-centred exhibitions including The Powers of Women: Female Fortitude in European Art.

Alexandra da Silva (Artsci’20), incoming Rector

Alex da Silva
Alex da Silva (Artsci'20), incoming Rector. (Supplied Photo)

“International Women's Day is about a number of things – recognizing and appreciating the work that has already been done, acknowledging the projects that are ongoing, and identifying where we need to go in the future. Each of these areas holds equal importance, as we cannot expect to justly move forward in the area of gender equality without having first properly acknowledged the work that was done by those who came before us.

In the future, I hope we can take a more intersectional approach to feminism. We need to really acknowledge that feminism has been predominantly focused on the middle-class white woman and push to work on the gaps which exist as the result of that.

It means really working to understand why the accomplishments of women like Dr. Donna May Kimmaliardjuk are so spectacularly important, considering struggles which are specific to the transgender female community, and advocating for feminism to represent the equity which it is meant to be founded on.”

 

The theme for this year's International Women's Day in Canada is #MyFeminism. For more information on the day, please visit the federal government's website.

The theme for International Women's Day is #PressforProgress. Learn more at internationalwomensday.com.

 

Additionally, Athletics and Recreation has launched a new campaign to support female varsity student-athletes. Visit gogaelsgo.com/womenintricolour to learn more.

Queen’s Law reveals shortlist of Indigenous art proposals

Have your say on the three proposals submitted by Indigenous artists seeking to create a permanent art installation in the Queen’s Law building.

  • Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.”  The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
    Wally Dion’s proposal is entitled “It will put your mind at ease, that we still remember these words.” The art piece consists of three large wampum belts suspended vertically from the wall with three smaller belts woven between them. (Supplied Photo)
  • All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
    All six of Mr. Dion's wampum belts are constructed using recycled computer circuit boards that are painted with acrylic enamel paint (auto paint) then sewn together with steel wire. The piece would be just over 23 feet in length. (Supplied Photo)
  • Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
    Rebecca Baird’s proposal is entitled “Kihewataniy” (“eagle feather” in Cree). The eagle's feather is honored by Indigenous peoples, and is a symbol of truth, power and freedom. It has been included as part of the reconciliation initiative and has been established as a legal oath-swearing option in the courts of Canada. (Supplied Photo)
  • Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
    Ms. Baird's art would be suspended in the air above the Gowlings Atrium. (Supplied Photo)
  • Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
    Hannah Claus’ proposal is entitled “words that are lasting”. It consists of wampum belts hung vertically from the ceiling. (Supplied Photo)
  • The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)
    The belts would be made from translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets. Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation to nation agreements. (Supplied Photo)

 

This fall, the Faculty of Law atrium will be home to a permanent art installation created by an Indigenous artist – and the project committee that launched the special commission is seeking your input on three proposals.

“The Indigenous community at Queen’s Law is excited to have a permanent visual representation of our heritage, culture and presences on campus,” says Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment and Support Co-ordinator at Queen’s and project committee member. “This art will reflect our history, present and future in Canada, and the evolution of law.”

The Indigenous Art Commission was launched by Queen’s Law in September 2017. The purpose of the commission is to further the cause of reconciliation on campus by increasing the visibility of Indigenous art and culture and the recognition of Indigenous territory, specifically within the Faculty of Law. Additionally, the members are seeking to create a welcoming space for Indigenous people and to promote awareness around historical and contemporary issues that are relevant to Indigenous people and law.

“Queen’s University is situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “By honouring this traditional territory, we acknowledge its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it. Having a work of art that reflects Indigenous culture and values in the entrance to our school will be one of many ways we honour this traditional territory and embrace Indigenous engagement in all that we do in the Faculty of Law.”

The project committee has shortlisted three artists who will be presenting their proposals on Monday, March 12 from noon to 1 pm in the Queen’s Law atrium. Each artist will display a three-dimensional maquette or digital scale-rendering of their proposed artwork. Attendees of the open drop-in will have an opportunity to ask the artists about their proposals, and submit comments to the project committee via a survey.

Later that day, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm at an Agnes Etherington Art Centre reception, the Queen’s community can meet and chat with members of the project committee and the three shortlisted artists.

The project committee members will consider public input when making its final decision. Those who are unable to attend the open house can submit their feedback via an online survey.

For those who are unable to attend the presentations on March 12, a summary of the three shortlisted proposals and the online survey is available on the Faculty of Law Indigenous Art Commission web page.

Unprecedented grant awarded to Queen’s Art Conservation

Prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding for Queen’s Master of Art Conservation program increases focus on Indigenous material culture.

The internationally-recognized Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s has received a grant of $632,000 over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop conservation research and online courses with a focus on Indigenous material culture.

Specifically, the new funding will help initiate and implement comprehensive change to the program’s curriculum and research activities and will help advance the university’s goals of diversity, equity, anti-racism and inclusion. 

Art Conservation student Paige Van Tassel  at work on a piece of art
Conservation student Paige Van Tassel is mechanically surface cleaning a 19th century Iroquois beaded frame. Photo by Marissa Monette

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to a heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Importantly, this is the first time the United States-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded a Canadian art conservation project.

“We are very grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support for this project,” says Rosaleen Hill, Director of the Art Conservation Program. “We are excited to have this opportunity to engage with the broader community, nationally and internationally, in curriculum diversification. This project will have a significant and lasting impact through the development of online courses and the creation of an international network of colleagues focused on diversity."

Founded in 1974 as Canada’s only graduate program in art conservation, the Queen’s program has established key priorities, including an increased focus on Indigenous material culture and ethics. As graduates from this program go on to care for objects and artworks in public and private collections, this project will have a fundamental influence on how these objects are preserved and accessed in future.

The new five-year project also focuses on developing strengths in research and curriculum on both Indigenous material cultures and modern media and is designed to increase course accessibility through the use of web-based learning.

The proposed activities of the project include:

  • Symposiums to engage the Canadian and international conservation communities, and the broader field of cultural heritage, in an open discussion related to the challenges involved in the development of new curriculum
  • Hosting visiting scholars to build local, national and international networks which include Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers, to support curriculum diversification focusing on Indigenous material and modern media
  • Web-based courses to maximize access to new curriculum content
  • Increasing diversity in the conservation profession through engagement with under-represented groups, coordination with heritage institutions with Indigenous youth programs to provide a pathway to graduate studies in art conservation

“One of our institutional research strengths, the Art Conservation program is internationally recognized for excellence in scholarship and for the development of graduates who go on to work in the world’s leading museums, archives and galleries,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). "This support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow the program to better diversify and support a more inclusive and global approach to preservation, such as exploring new and innovative ways to recognize and incorporate traditional knowledge.”

For more information on the Queen’s program, visit the website.

  • Art conservation professor and students work to restore baskets.
    Amandina Anastassiades, Assistant Professor, Artifact Conservation, works with students restoring a selection of unique woven baskets.
  • Alison Murray, Associate Professor, Conservation Science, discusses techniques with a student of the Master's of Art Conservation program at Queen's.
  • A student of the Master's of Art Conservation program
    A student of the Master's of Art Conservation program works on restoring a painting. The program has received a grant of $632,000 over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • An art conservation student works with an old photograph.
    Students of the Master's of Art Conservation program work with a range of media, including artistic objects, paintings, and photographs.

The spirit of Black History Month 2018 lives on

The themes of Black History Month 2018 included perseverance, and looking to the future. Both were on display throughout February as part of events organized by the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) and the African Caribbean Students' Association (ACSA).

  • Amanda Parris, CBC television and radio personality, provided the opening keynote for Kingston Black History Month 2018. (Supplied Photo)
    Amanda Parris, CBC television and radio personality, provided the opening keynote for Kingston Black History Month 2018. (Supplied Photo)
  • Dozens gathered in the Renaissance Event Venue for the February 4 opening event. The night included performances, guest speakers, and the announcement of all planned events. The events were open to the community and attracted a wide array of participants. (Supplied Photo)
    Dozens gathered in the Renaissance Event Venue for the February 4 opening event. The night included performances, guest speakers, and the announcement of all planned events. The events were open to the community and attracted a wide array of participants. (Supplied Photo)
  • Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MASc’12) presents to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and community members about the fate of black medical students who were expelled in 1918. (Supplied Photo)
    Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MASc’12) presents to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, and community members about the fate of black medical students who were expelled in 1918. (Supplied Photo)
  • Mr. Thomas, who is also a Queen's employee and former journalist, spent hours sifting through public documents and the Queen’s Archives to uncover the fate of 10 of the students. According to Mr. Thomas' research, some of them became medical heroes, statesmen, patrons, tycoons, clerics, builders, activists, and advocates. (Supplied Photo)
    Mr. Thomas, who is also a Queen's employee and former journalist, spent hours sifting through public documents and the Queen’s Archives to uncover the fate of 10 of the students. According to Mr. Thomas' research, some of them became medical heroes, statesmen, patrons, tycoons, clerics, builders, activists, and advocates. (Supplied Photo)

From delving into the past, to looking into the future.

From food and dance, to reminders of the struggles faced, and overcome, by Black Canadians.

From reflections on diversity and mental wellness, to community building.

Black History Month 2018 explored it all through a series of social and academic events. It kicked off Sunday, Feb. 4 with an opening ceremony, and carried on with discussion panels, food and dancing lessons, and a campaign across campus centred on the legacy of alumnus Robert Sutherland. The Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) and the African Caribbean Students' Association (ACSA) partnered to organize this year’s festivities.

“It's such a meaningful experience each year to work on putting together Black History Month with people from different backgrounds and walks of life," says Asha Gordon (Artsci'18), President of the Queen's Black Academic Society. "This year's opening ceremony and events surrounding resilience showed me the multitude of ways in which people of the Black diaspora, unify, celebrate, and overcome. There is such a fortitude of mutual support and resourcefulness in our communities and I can't wait to see where we go with celebrations for February 2019!"

In support of QBAS and ACSA’s plans, the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) and the Alma Mater Society each provided grants to support Black History Month festivities.

For those who missed Edward Thomas’ presentation in Robert Sutherland Hall on the fate of the black medical students who were expelled in 1918, please visit the Principal’s blog for a guest column.

To carry the momentum forward from Black History Month, the Queen’s Black Academic Society is planning an inaugural conference on the future of black scholarship. The conference, which will take place Saturday, March 10 at the Tett Centre, will look at the subject of, “Learning in White Spaces”. To learn more about this conference, visit their registration page.

Residency a homecoming for soprano

Susan Gouthro returns to Kingston and Queen's as artist-in-residence at the Dan School of Drama and Music, will perform at The Isabel on March 9.

Susan Gouthro returns to Kingston and Queen's as Artist-in-Residence at Dan School of Drama and Music, will perform at The Isabel on March 9.
Soprano Susan Gouthro (Artsci'99) will be artist-in-residence at the Dan School of Drama and Music from March 5 to 10 and will perform at The Isabel on March 9. (Supplied Photo)

When Canadian soprano Susan Gouthro arrives at the Dan School of Drama and Music as the artist-in-residence from March 5 to 10, it will also be a homecoming for the Queen’s University alumna.

After graduating in 1999 with a Bachelor of Music, Ms. Gouthro then completed her formal training with a Master’s of Music from Western University. Her training then led her to Europe and she took up a permanent soloist position with the Kiel Opera House from 2002-2014, performing roles including Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Rosalinde in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.

During her Queen’s residency, Ms. Gouthro will visit several classes, lead a vocal master class and will be available for consultation with students or faculty. The residency will culminate with a public recital with Queen’s alumna and pianist Allison Gagnon, at the Isabel Bader Centre on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 pm. The program includes works by Poulenc, Wolf, Burge, Harbison and Yeston.

She is certain that returning to Queen’s, and her hometown Kingston, will be special.

“I haven’t had much contact at all with the university since I left. I had been toying with the idea of doing a concert in Kingston or at Queen’s for years but it just hadn’t come to fruition since I was always working in Germany,” she says. “I’ve never really sung professionally in my own country, let alone hometown.  Therefore, despite singing professionally for 15 years, many of my friends and family have not had the opportunity to see me perform live. So, doing this concert at Queen’s enables me not only to perform for the university and music community, but also for some dear friends and family members.” 

Dr. Gagnon has led an outstanding career both as a pianist and an educator. She currently directs the Collaborative Piano Program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and appears in recital with both instrumental and vocal colleagues. Before joining the UNCSA faculty in 1998, she taught at Queen’s and was staff pianist at McGill University.

Recently, Gouthro moved to Harrisonburg, Va., where she is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance, Pedagogy and Literature at James Madison University.

However, Queen’s will always be a special place for her, thanks to the friendships she developed as well as finding her love of music even though she started off in English studies.

“My time as a student at Queen’s is very full of fond memories,” she says. “I remember vividly switching into the School of Music and just being amazed at how I was learning something new each day that I had never heard of before.  You see I fell into music and did not have a background of musical training. Starting at 21 is late indeed – but it worked. I was fascinated with the idea of performing and so drawn to it.  I am so grateful to have found the opportunity to have that nurtured at Queen’s.” 

Concert information and tickets are available at The Isabel website. Further information about the performers is available online.

Gouthro’s residency is supported by the George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund and the Faculty of Arts and Science Visiting Scholar program.

Queen’s Reads author to visit Kingston

Program organizers are preparing to welcome Katherena Vermette to campus, and announce winners of  creative  contest.

Queen’s Reads held a well-attended discussion panel in November about The Break in November, featuring professors and students providing their perspectives on the book. (Supplied Photo)
Queen’s Reads held a well-attended discussion panel about The Break in November, featuring professors and students providing their perspectives on the book. (Supplied Photo)

If you have yet to pick up your free copy of this year’s Queen’s Reads book, The Break, there is still plenty of opportunity to be a part of the conversation.

Students have been invited to participate in a creative contest on the themes of identity and resilience, and the common reading program is hosting author Katherena Vermette for a talk and book signing session. Ms. Vermette will be discussing The Break at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 pm. The event is being hosted through a partnership between Queen’s and Kingston Writer’s Fest. All tickets for the event went quickly, including seats reserved for students, but there is a waitlist

“We are very excited to welcome Ms. Vermette to Kingston and to learn more about her work and writing process,” says Lindsay Heggie, an organizer with Queen's Reads. “Queen's Reads has been tremendously successful, with 4,200 books already distributed and many events which have allowed the Queen’s community to explore questions of identity, overcoming adversity, and some of the challenges faced by Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.”

Following the talk, the Agnes is encouraging guests to stay and visit Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice art exhibit.

In 2017, The Break was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, shortlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads, and received the Amazon First Novel award. This bestseller is an important new work of Canadian literature that tells an intergenerational story of a Métis family as they navigate the effects of trauma.

Queen’s Reads is a common reading program that aims to engage the Queen’s community in a dialogue. The initiative aims to explore themes around difference and diversity in connection with identity, reflecting on stories of resiliency, identifying the internal and external skills, strengths, and resources that members of the Queen’s community draw on in overcoming adversity.

As part of this year’s campaign, students are invited to submit an original work on the theme of “Identity and Resilience”. Submissions may include writing, media, and art, and are due to student.experience@queensu.ca by end of the day on Monday, February 19. The top three entries will be featured on the Queen’s Reads blog and the winning authors will each receive a $100 gift certificate for the Queen’s Bookstore.

This year, Queen’s Reads was extended beyond its previous focus on first-year students to include the broader Queen’s community – undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Visit queensu.ca/studentexperience/queensreads to learn more about Queen’s Reads.

‘A powerful voice in promoting awareness and action in human rights’

The second annual Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival brings a diverse series of events to the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

After making a successful debut in 2017, the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival is back for a second year with a diverse lineup that includes concerts, films, multimedia exhibitions and a trial for Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

Isabel Human Rights Festival
The Isabel Human Rights Festival opens Monday, Feb. 26 with the Art of Time Ensemble’s A Singer Must Die – The Words & Music of Leonard Cohen featuring singers, clockwise from top left, Steven Page, Sarah Slean, Gregory Hoskins, and Tom Wilson. (Supplied Photo)

“The arts are a powerful voice in promoting awareness and action in human rights,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel. “We are privileged to partner with diverse artists and human rights activists who have dedicated their lives to create a fairer and inclusive future for humanity. Nothing could be more important in this challenging political world climate, in which we are now immersed, than to inspire people to actively participate and create a political and legal environment that will protect world citizens from prejudice, hatred, and violence.”

The festival opens Monday, Feb. 26 with the Art of Time Ensemble’s A Singer Must Die – The Words & Music of Leonard Cohen, featuring singers such as Sarah Slean, Steven Page, Tom Wilson, and Gregory Hoskins performing some of the Canadian music legend’s best-known works.

Then on Friday, March 16, CBC Radio’s Ideas will host Sir John A. Macdonald on Trial for a national broadcast. Jean Teillet, a renowned Métis lawyer, founder of the Métis Nation of Ontario, and the great-grandniece of Louis Riel, will act as prosecutor, while Frank Addario, an award-winning criminal defence lawyer as well as vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, will act as Macdonald’s legal defence. The event was initiated with the support of Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science.

Young talented women filmmakers will be in the spotlight during Flip the Script – Women, Cameras, and Justice. Features include: The Judge, directed by Erika Cohn (Thursday, March 8); The Hunting Ground, directed by Kirby Dick (Friday, March 9); An Evening of Indigenous Short Films, with four short films (Thursday, March 22); and Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, directed by Mouly Surya (Friday, March 23).

At the same time, the multimedia exhibition Voices – a multi-disciplinary showcase of painting, sculpture, costumes, and poetry that highlights and strengthens the marginalized voices that exist within the Queen’s community – will be hosted in The Isabel Art and Media Lab March 5-8.

On Saturday, March 17, the African Caribbean Students’ Association will present its annual Culture Show, with Queen’s students taking the stage with dance, spoken word, musical and theatrical expression and fashion. The event is also part of the group’s Black History Month celebrations.

A few days later on Tuesday, March 20, works by artists such as k.d. Lang, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers & Hart, Ani DiFranco, Stephen Sondheim, and more, will be featured in Songs of Resilience, a concert by the Queer Songbook Orchestra.

The festival then concludes with H’art Centre’s A Gift from Martadella, with more than 40 local performers, most with developmental disabilities, in performances that showcase their talents as actors, musicians, and in the visual artists.

Full details and schedules are available online.

Tickets are available at The Isabel’s website or at 613-533-2424 (M-F, 12:30-4:30 pm). 

Learning Indigenous languages

Practice your “Boozhoo” (how the Anishinaabe say “greetings”) and “Miigwetch” (“thank you”) and learn about Indigenous cultures in a new Queen’s program.

Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) leads an Anishinaabemowin class. (University Communications)
Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman) leads an Anishinaabemowin class. (University Communications)

A new certificate program will provide students with an introduction to three Indigenous languages, while also deepening their knowledge of Indigenous cultures.

Launching this fall, a new Certificate of Indigenous Languages and Culture will provide an introduction to Mohawk, Inuktitut, and the Anishinaabe language – known as Anishinaabemowin, meaning ‘language of the people’.

The certificate brings together existing Indigenous language courses at Queen’s plus new Anishinaabemowin training into a program which can be completed through full-time studies in one year, or part-time over two years. The existing language training tends to attract both Indigenous students seeking to learn more about their history, and non-Indigenous students hoping to better understand Indigenous culture.

“Offering this type of program helps us respond to both the needs of our community and the broader responsibilities we have as an institution,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “This certificate will assist in revitalizing Indigenous languages and fostering greater understanding of Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing.”

Professors in this program include Mishiikenh (Vernon Altiman), an Elder-in-Residence and Cultural Counsellor at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, who teaches Anishinaabemowin; Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow), Lecturer and part-time Chaplain at Queen’s, who teaches the Mohawk language; and Noel McDermott (PhD'15), an Assistant Professor who teaches Inuktitut.

In addition to helping students recognize the three languages and grasp them at a beginner level, the certificate will also include exposure to Indigenous ceremonies, traditions, and contemporary issues. For instance, weather permitting, each Anishinaabemowin class begins with a smudging ceremony held outside Kingston Hall. 

Students introduce themselves in Anishinaabemowin to start each class. (University Communications)
Students introduce themselves in Anishinaabemowin to start each class. (University Communications)

The creation of this certificate program supports the recommendations of both the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report and Queen’s own TRC task force report, both of which call for the creation of “credentialed Indigenous language programs” at post-secondary institutions.

In the future, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is working with Tsi Tyonnheht Onkwawenna Language and Culture Centre (TTO) to launch a Mohawk language certificate within the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The two-year program would intensively focus on language instruction and would aim to help revitalize the language among the Indigenous community as well as their understanding of the rich Mohawk culture.

“I am very excited by the recent unanimous Senate approval of this new certificate program, and by the prospect of the collaborative certificate in Mohawk Language and Culture,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill). “I am very happy to see the university taking up the Call to Action and the recommendation in our very own Extending the Rafters report through the further development of Indigenous language offerings. Further, ensuring these programs are credentialed by the university ensures student eligibility for financial assistance and makes these important programs more accessible.”

Applications for this certificate program will open in May. It is expected to attract approximately 10 to 15 students annually. 

Black History Month looks to the future

The theme for February’s celebration of African and Caribbean culture is the resilience of black people throughout history, and how that resilience continues today.

This year’s Black History Month at Queen’s will examine the struggles faced and overcome by black people both here at Queen’s and throughout the world. It will also look at how their collective strength through those moments has shaped their present and future.

The African and Caribbean Students’ Association (ACSA) and the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) will be working together to organize an opening ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 4 at Renaissance Event Venue in downtown Kingston.

Organizers, speakers, and some attendees of Black History Month 2017. (Supplied Photo)
Organizers, speakers, and some of the attendees of Black History Month 2017 gather in Robert Sutherland Hall. (Supplied Photo)

QBAS will be holding talks on diversity and mental wellness within the black community, exploring structural sources of mental wellness obstacles for persons of colour and ways in which the community can work together to eliminate obstacles for individuals seeking resources and help.

They will also be hosting a social mixer, and running a unique campaign within the Queen’s community centred on one of its most prominent black alumni, Robert Sutherland.

“His story is carved into the very structures of Queen’s University and it lives through the black excellence and resilience of Queen’s black students and alumni,” says Asha Gordon (Artsci’18). “Through a media and tabling campaign called “I Am Robert Sutherland”, we hope to show his story is both a narrative of the past and of the present. The faces of the Robert Sutherland legacy are all around us.”

ACSA will also be looking at the history of black people within the Queen’s context, and highlighting their story of resilience. As one example, they will be hosting Queen’s employee and former journalist Edward Thomas (Sc’06, MSc’11) who, on the one-hundredth anniversary of the event, has investigated the expulsion of black medical students in 1918, and what happened to them after Queen’s.

“We chose the theme of resilience because black people have gone through so much and have come out stronger than before,” says Elorm Vowotor (Artsci'18). “Another focus this year is on bringing the community into our celebrations, so everyone – Queen’s students and the broader Kingston community – is welcome to join us at our events. We are inclusive and want to welcome everyone to learn more about the history of black people in Canada.”

The group will also host a dance workshop, and an event celebrating African and Caribbean food, with traditional dishes such as Jamaican jerk chicken, West African jollof, and Guayanese pholourie.

Both QBAS and ACSA received grants from the Alma Mater Society and the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) to help fund this year’s activities. The two groups will be regularly providing updates and photos throughout the month through social media.

Planning for Black History Month began last semester, and involves both students and members of the Kingston community. For more information on the launch of Black History Month at Queen’s, please stay tuned to the Kingston Black History Month Facebook page.

To learn more about the history of Black History Month in Canada, please visit the Department of Canadian Heritage’s website.

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