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Mental health in the spotlight

Mental Health Promotion Week offers virtual events and initiatives to support mental health at Queen’s.

Mental Health Promotion Week offers virtual events and initiatives to support mental health at Queen’s.
During Mental Health Promotion Week supports and resources available to students, staff, and faculty at Queen's University is highlighted while also raising awareness about mental health and stigma.

Queen’s University’s annual Mental Health Promotion Week is a time to reflect on personal mental health and work towards creating a community of care. Built to surround Bell Let’s Talk Day (Jan. 26), Mental Health Promotion Week aims to address the stigma associated with mental illness while raising awareness of supports and resources available to students, staff, and faculty. The week-long event takes place Jan. 24-28 with various initiatives to increase social connections and improve emotional, physical, and mental health. 

Our goal is to spotlight some of the amazing mental health promotion efforts at Queen’s, especially the work done by student leaders and student staff,” says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator, Student Wellness Services (SWS).We hope this week helps to keep the conversation going on this crucial topic all year long.”

Postsecondary education can be a stressful time for students, particularly with changes to learning formats and public health guidelines. As the university enters its third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health education and advocacy continue to be an important focus at Queen’s. Encouraging open, respectful, and inclusive conversations, Mental Health Promotion Week is about feeling connected even during times of social distancing and remote learning.

“We know mental health is critical to our overall well-being and sometimes we can focus on personal care activities that help maintain good mental health but other times, it may not be enough,” says Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Special Projects, Student Wellness Services When someone is struggling, they often need a community of care that can help them find the necessary supports and resources. Mental Health Promotion week helps highlight some of those supports and reminds everyone that it is OK to talk about mental health, reach out when we need help and most importantly to support each other.”

Working to create an environment where everyone feels safe and accepted is paramount to ensuring everyone can achieve their full potential as healthy, resilient, and inspired members of the Queen’s community. Acknowledging the intersectionality between mental health and other areas of wellness, Student Wellness Services, along with various student-led groups and departments on campus, has created a number of virtual challenges, events, and workshops designed to stimulate discussion and social engagement.

Events and Initiatives

  • This year, in collaboration with the Queen's Student Mental Health Network, the Campus Wellness Project will be announcing nominees for Classroom Champions for Mental Health. Classroom Champions recognize professors, instructors, and TAs who create learning environments where student mental health is valued and supported.
  • Participate in the Get Active Challenge by registering for a virtual fitness class at the ARC, hosted by Athletics and Recreation. 
  • Get involved in the Rest & Relax Challenge by booking a Peer Wellness Coaching session or Professional Healthy Lifestyle appointment to learn strategies to improve sleep patterns.  Attend a workshop on how to create a customized self-care plan sharing evidence-based strategies to manage stress, or learn how to support someone who is struggling by enrolling in a seminar on identifying and responding to students in distress or crisis.  Find your safe-space through trauma informed writing exercises and guided mediation.
  • Grab your paper and writing utensils and create some beautiful affirmation art with the Queen's Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services. Connect with LGBQT community members by joining discussions about queer survivorship, hosted in collaboration with Sexual Assault Centre Kingston. Finding Your Joy Through Music encourages BIPOC students to come together and share their favourite songs from their playlist. Take a professionally-facilitated mindfulness session to visualize and promote positive self-growth. 
  • Visit the virtual photo booth available on Bell Let’s Talk Day, and take part in a digital scavenger hunt focusing on BIPOC resources. Drop by one of the various in-person locations on campus to pick-up Bell swag, including toques and speech bubbles. Go online and download the Bell Let’s Talk Tool Kit and see how you can further support mental health.
  • Nourish yourself by registering and picking-up a free Fresh Food Box containing all the produce and key ingredients needed to prepare a healthy meal, or check out the Food Access Resource website for more tips on where to find healthy, affordable foods. Join in on Stories Spark Change featuring conversations with internationally renowned author Roxane Gay and best-selling author Eternity Martis on healing and sexual violence.
  • Embrace nature by exploring the outdoors in the Get Outside challenge.

Learn more about the virtual events being offered across campus on the Mental Health Promotion Week webpage. Events will continue to be added throughout the week.

Additional Resources

Queen’s students can access support from the AMS Peer Support Centre, and  Student Wellness Services Mental Health Services website.  Additional resources include Empower Me, a 24/7 phone service that allows students to connect with qualified counselors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues, and TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), an online, mobile friendly library of engaging, interactive pathways that promote wellness.

Nominations for Margaret Hooey Governance Award due Jan. 28.

The nomination period deadline for the Margaret Hooey Governance Award is Jan. 28, 2022.

The award, established in 2018 by the estate of Margaret Hooey (LLD’02), the long-time secretary of Queen’s, recognizes a student enrolled in any degree program who has made an outstanding contribution to the good governance of the university through work with Senate or any committee of the Senate.

Nominations can be submitted to the University Secretariat at senate@queensu.ca.

During her more than 30 years at Queen’s, Margaret Hooey, was a valued adviser to four principals and their administrations, and a trusted mentor to students, staff, faculty and trustees. She played a key role in shaping Queen’s modern governances system and was an advocate for the unique form of student government. More than her role as an administrator, she was viewed by student leaders as a mentor and friend. For her contributions and dedication Dr. Hooey received the Queen’s Distinguished Service Award (1992), the John Orr Award (1998), and an honorary doctorate (2002).

Application forms and further information are available on the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website.

Senate committee vacancies now posted

The University Secretariat invites all faculty, staff, and students to put their names forward for membership on Senate committees. Senate is Queen’s highest academic governing body and its committees deal with issues related to academic programs and their review, educational equity, residences, student aid, the library, and research.

All existing vacancies are listed on the vacancies page. The application deadline is Feb. 25, 2022.

  • Committee terms are usually for two years, with the number of meetings per year depending on the particular committee’s area of responsibility.
  • Most terms will start Sept. 1, 2022, but any exceptions are listed next to the committee name on the vacancies page.
  • Note that Individuals holding an appointment at the level of Associate Dean, or equivalent, and above (e.g., Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Vice-Principal, Associate Vice-Principal, Dean, Vice-Dean, University Librarian, Associate University Librarian, University Archivist, Associate University Archivist) are not eligible to serve as a faculty senator or as a faculty member on a Senate committee.
  • An informational panel hosted by the Senate Governance and Nominating Committee will be held on Feb. 3, 2022 at 1 pm and all applicants are invited to attend.

Senate committees discuss issues of broad interest to the academic community and make recommendations on policy and practice that are essential to the university's operations and evolution.  Committee work allows you to directly affect the way Queen's functions as a teaching and research institution, and as a community of scholars, students, and staff.

Contact senate@queensu.ca if you have any questions.

Efforts to advance equity initiatives at Queen’s make positive strides

EDII and TRC Reports 2022
Queen's University has released two new reports on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII), and TRC Task Force Implementation.

The Queen’s community has spoken clearly about its desire to build an inclusive and welcoming campus community. Two new reports are now available that highlight the progress made during the 2020-21 year toward the goals on equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization at Queen’s.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization Annual Report, 2020-21

TRC Task Force Implementation Report - Year Four

Commitment to EDII

The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization Annual Report underlines the commitment made by Queen’s Senior Administration in August 2020 to bolster an inclusive and anti-racist community through its support of the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism. The commitment includes 11 areas of focus aimed at understanding and addressing systemic racism and exclusion on campus, strengthening support resources and policies, and closing representation gaps.

“Queen’s, like so many institutions across Canada, must come to terms with its colonial past and acknowledge that the lens we use to view our operations too often discounts those who may have been denied any voice in creating them,” Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane,  wrote in the introduction of the report. “And so, while we must continue working to address this challenge, I am pleased that we are making strides.”

The progress toward building a more diverse campus is highlighted in several key successes over the past year. In 2020, Queen’s hired women, racialized, and Indigenous faculty members at a rate that exceeded their workforce availability. In the 2020-21 academic year, students who identified as racialized or as having a disability had the highest undergraduate retention rates within the university, at 95.9 per cent and 96 per cent respectively.

Additionally, Queen’s has continued to embed EDII and accessibility into its academic programs, such as the work underway to strengthen equity, diversity, inclusion, global engagement, and Indigenization in Queen’s Degree Level Expectations.

To gain a more robust understanding of the campus climate, the Student Experiences Survey was distributed to the campus community during the 2021 Winter Term. The survey is a wide-ranging initiative to understand systemic racism, exclusionary and discriminatory behaviours, and sexual violence on campus. Over 5,400 students responded to the questionnaire and reflected on their experiences over the previous year. The outcomes confirm that while Queen’s has made progress in many areas, there is still more to do.

Truth and Reconciliation Implementation Report

The Truth and Reconciliation Task Force Implementation Report – Year Four delivers an important update on Indigenization and reconciliation efforts at Queen’s amid the continued discovery of large, unmarked burial sites at former residential schools across Canada, as well as nationwide conversations around Indigenous identity.

“The importance of truth telling remains a vital tool for Indigenous peoples in regaining our power through our own stories and our own voices,” Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), wrote in the report. “Attentive listening is required to fully understand what is required for meaningful reconciliation to take place. Once again, I would like to encourage everyone to think deeply, be bold, and consider the inclusion of decolonizing and Indigenizing work within the curricula, within our governance systems, and within our work of breaking down barriers to access on many levels for Indigenous inclusion at Queen’s.”

The report reflects multiple advancements in relation to the original 25 recommendations from the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRCTF).  One recommendation was to increase access to Queen’s for Indigenous students. In 2020-21, first-year undergraduate enrolment of Indigenous students increased by 20 per cent, while the number of first-year undergraduate applications from self-identified Indigenous students increased by eight per cent.

During the 2021 academic year, there were 10 Elder meet-and-greets and education sessions. Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Rahswahérha Mark Green has led monthly Talking Circles with the Queen’s Indigenous community. This forum allows Indigenous students, faculty, and staff to gather as a community to support each other. The initiative aligns with the TRCTF’s recommendation to incorporate Indigenous languages and knowledge into the Queen’s ethos.

Indigenous-focused education and research are growing areas of strength for the university and a priority for continued growth. Work is underway in this area across faculties and schools to decolonize curricula and increase Indigenous-focused courses, which addresses TRCTF Recommendation 21.

The Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS) developed a case for support related to Indigenous initiatives across the university, including language and culture courses, writers in residence program in English, Indigenous Creative Writer in English Language and Literature, and establishing a pan-university Indigenous Community Research Fund.

Additionally, Indigenous legal issues are taught as components of the mandatory first-year program to all students. As part of the FAS Strategic Framework 2021-2026, the faculty will launch a second phase of its curricular reform that will focus more squarely on Indigenous law and Indigenous perspectives. The faculty is exploring innovative approaches to teaching and learning about Indigenous law, including ‘on the land’ teaching and learning classes in Indigenous communities. Queen’s Law presently offers upper-year electives in Aboriginal Law, Aboriginal Child Welfare, and First Nations Negotiations.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning, a member of the Academic Diversity Sub-Council of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE), has been collaborating to introduce elements of the Queen’s Revised Learning Outcomes Framework in ways that facilitate instructors’ ability to identify meaningful learning outcomes related to both Indigenous content and Indigenous ways of knowing and doing. The Queen’s University Quality Assurance Processes (QUQAPS) and self-study templates are also being revised in ways to support programmatic changes toward Indigenization.

For more information and resources on EDII efforts at Queen’s, please visit the Inclusive Queen’s site.

On-campus academic activities cancelled today due to weather

Only essential areas on campus are operating. 

Due to COVID-19, Queen’s university has already been operating with most academic and operational activities occurring remotely. 

As the result of the current and forecasted weather conditions, the few remaining on-campus academic activities are cancelled. In addition, the university will only operate with a reduced level of service.  This means:

  • Instructors with classes on campus/in-person will determine whether they will continue remote or cancel the class.  Instructors will provide further details.
  • Remote classes will continue as scheduled.
  • Employees working remotely should continue to do so.
  • Employees that are scheduled to come to campus should work remotely if possible. 
  • Only essential areas should be operational on campus. Managers of these areas should determine the level of staffing that is needed to keep these operations functioning. 

More details on the University’s inclement weather process and a list of essential areas can be found on the Inclement Weather webpage

If you are required to travel to campus, please allow extra time and proceed with caution.

Queen’s remembers Art Cockfield

Professor and Associate Dean (Academic Policy) in the Faculty of Law was an innovative teacher and one of the world’s leading tax law scholars.

Art Cockfield, Professor and Associate Dean (Academic Policy) in the Faculty of Law, was an innovative teacher and one of the world’s leading tax law scholars.
Art Cockfield, Professor and Associate Dean (Academic Policy) in the Faculty of Law, was an innovative teacher and one of the world’s leading tax law scholars.

The Queen’s community is remembering Art Cockfield, Professor and Associate Dean (Academic Policy) in the Faculty of Law, who died on Sunday, Jan. 9. He was 54.

Dr. Cockfield was one of the world’s leading tax law scholars, a policy consultant, and an innovative instructor.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Western University, Cockfield attended Queen’s Law, earning his LLB in 1993. He would later earn a Master of the Science of Law (JSM) and Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) from Stanford University.

Dr. Cockfield returned to Queen’s as a faculty member in 2001 as a Queen’s National Scholar.

“For the many, many graduates of our law school who had the great fortune to learn law from Professor Cockfield, and for Art’s former classmates, this news will be very difficult to understand and process. Art was a mainstay of our law school,” says Mark Walters, Dean, Faculty of Law. “Art was one of the world’s leading tax law scholars and his work on comparative and international tax law was truly innovative and extremely influential. He was a loyal and dedicated teacher who cared deeply for his students. Art was cherished as a mentor and a friend to so many of us.”  

Prior to joining Queen’s, Cockfield worked as an articling student and associate lawyer for Goodmans LLP in Toronto. He has worked at the University of West Indies in Barbados and at U.S. law schools, most recently as a Fulbright Visiting Chair in Policy Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

During his career, Dr. Cockfield served as a legal and policy consultant to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, the Department of Justice, the Department of Finance, the Advisory Panel on Canada’s System of International Taxation, the National Judicial Institute, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

To learn more about Dr. Cockfield and his impact at the university, read this article published by Queen's Law.

A family obituary is also available online.

Queen’s community remembers Tom Bradshaw

Tom Bradshaw
Tom Bradshaw

The Queen’s community is remembering Tom Bradshaw, the long-time manager of the School of Computing, who died on Dec. 29, following a battle with cancer. He was 66.

Bradshaw had a connection with the university spanning nearly 50 years, first arriving at Queen’s in 1974 as a student and graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics in 1978. He would then join the Department of Computing and Information Science in September 1979. On the systems side he began with punch cards and guided the department and then the School of Computing all the way through Unix servers, virtual machines, the rise of Linux, Internet of Things, cloud computing, and machine learning.

“The School of Computing has lost one of its foundational members. For 42 years, Tom was instrumental in the development of the School of Computing to what it is now,” says Hossam Hassanein, Director, School of Computing. “Throughout his years of service, Tom was always there to help, support and take action. He always went over and beyond to serve the school. I will miss him and learned a lot from him. We will continue to work hard for the school as Tom would have wanted us to.”

While continuing his work, Bradshaw also earned his Master’s degree in Computer Science 1987.

“Tom helped guide the department into the School of Computing and managed generations of staff,” says Ben Hall, a colleague and friend for 20 years. “He helped his colleagues through countless crises, both personal and professional, and has done much to establish and maintain the amazing culture of the School of Computing.

“Tom’s impact here has been quiet but profound and will be felt for many years to come. We have all benefited greatly from his presence. He wouldn’t stop helping despite being diagnosed with cancer, and even when that forced his retirement.”

Graduate Inclusivity Fellows help promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity

Eight members of the Queen’s graduate community are working together to foster a culture of belonging for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Compilation image of the inaugural Graduate Inclusivity Fellows.
The inaugural Graduate Inclusivity Fellows (GIF) are, clockwise from top left: Adaku Echendu; Andrés Ramos; Sabrina Masud; Jacob DesRochers (PhD, Education); Nishana Ramsawak; Allen Tian; Jodi Webber; and Suyin Olguin. (Submitted photos)

With a goal of fostering a culture of belonging for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Queen’s, the School of Graduate Studies last year launched the Graduate Inclusivity Fellows (GIF) initiative.

Eight members of the Queen’s graduate community were selected through an open application process for the inaugural year, with each offering diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise from various academic programs.

Adaku Echendu, a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Studies and one of the initial GIFs, understands firsthand the impact mentorship can have. As a graduate student driven to find solutions to environmental problems, her passion is rivaled only by her willingness to help others learn, grow, and succeed.    

“I became involved with GIFs because the objectives strongly align with changes I want to see happen to foster a sense of belonging in the School of Graduate Studies,” says Echendu. “Going through graduate school is an arduous journey and can feel overwhelming at times. My biggest accomplishment during my tenure would be students having whatever support they need for their social, academic, and mental wellbeing. This feeling alone is enough to bring out the best in every one of us.”

The GIFs – Echendu; Jacob DesRochers (PhD, Education); Sabrina Masud (PhD, English); Suyin Olguin (PhD, English); Nishana Ramsawak (PhD, Civil Engineering); Andrés Ramos (PhD, Biomedical Engineering); Allen Tian (PhD, Biology); and Jodi Webber (PhD, Aging and Health) – facilitate inclusivity by applying their lived experience and professional skillset to support current and prospective graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Serving a two-year term, GIFs also advise the School of Graduate Studies on matters related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII), including the development of strategies and programs to improve learning experiences for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. GIFs use their valuable insights to also support recruitment processes to Queen’s by promoting EDII-focused initiatives in an effort to make graduate and postdoctoral studies more welcoming to diverse populations. 

“At the School of Graduate Studies, our mission is to foster a learning and research culture that inspires graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to cultivate a better future for our global community,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies “A key aspect in achieving this mission is the continuous evaluation of our programming and processes in a way that supports the diversity of our community and nurtures a sense of belonging. The launching of this fellowship reinforces our deep and continued commitment to equity, diversity, indigenization and inclusion. I am excited to learn from and work with these students as they identify priorities to make Queen’s a more welcoming academic home.”

Whether supporting an international student as they adapt to a new environment, adjust to the pace of a new workload, or are just looking for someone to talk to who can relate to the challenges of exploring their identity, GIFs are a resource to help build a community of respect where all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows feel accepted, empowered, and thrive.

Understanding the need for the student body to better reflect the broader Canadian population, the School of Graduate Studies recognizes the importance of being responsive to differing perspectives and experiences in the academic process, as well as the development and implementation of programming and initiatives. Working to remove barriers to participation and assisting students who are integrating into the Queen’s community will ensure graduate students and fellows feel supported from admission to graduation.

To learn more about the Graduate Inclusivity Fellows visit the School of Graduate Studies website.

A new musical composition memorializes the victims of Flight PS752

Two years ago, 176 passengers and crew were killed when the Iranian military shot down a Ukraine International Airlines jet. An elegy drawing on santur, soprano, percussion, and choir memorializes the victims.

Santur player Sadaf Amini performs in front of singers from the Kingston Chamber Choir. (John Burge)
Santur player Sadaf Amini performs in front of singers from the Kingston Chamber Choir. (Photo provided by John Burge)

On Jan. 8, 2020, the Iranian military shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 while the plane was leaving Iranian airspace.

In total, 176 passengers and crew were killed including 57 Canadian citizens and 29 Canadian permanent residents. The reverberations of this tragedy were felt across Canada and around the world.

A new composition, Flight 752 Elegies, memorializes the victims. This was first broadcast online in December at the website of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (IBCPA). The centre is located in Kingston, Ont.

Santur with piano

At the time of the Flight PS752 plane crash, I was finishing up work on a composition for string quartet and santur. This 72-stringed instrument of ancient Iranian origin is akin to the hammered dulcimer.

The santur player for this project, Sadaf Amini, is a virtuoso performer and improvisor who was born in Iran and later immigrated to Canada. As we both reside in Kingston, it has been inspirational to hear Sadaf capture beautifully expressive melodies and complicated rhythmic textures on her instrument.

During fall 2019, we began meeting for improvising sessions where I would play the piano and Sadaf would try some of my suggested musical ideas on the santur. The initial goal was to create a composition for santur and string quartet, a project we hoped to realize in the future.

In January 2020, after the tragic news of the crash, we agreed to collaborate on a work for choir and santur in remembrance of the flight’s victims. While I composed all the music for this project, I also provided a few opportunities for passages of improvisation on the santur.

Compositional structure and symbolism

The use of music to create a memorial tribute has a long tradition across cultures and eras. Through my training and creative work as composer I have studied a range of western classical and contemporary musical modes of memorializing.

Some memorial composition titles seek to speak directly to the audience in a powerful way, such as in naming who is being memorialized.

Out of Christian classical traditions come “requiem” compositions (from Latin, meaning “rest,” referring to a mass for the repose of the soul of the dead).

There are also “threnodies” (from Greek, a funeral lament), such as Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.

An elegy is a poem, usually a lament for the dead — but also, there are many purely instrumental compositions from classical and contemporary eras that memorialize using Elegy as a single-word title.

In titling the composition of Flight 752 Elegies, I used the plural form of “elegy” to both imply that each movement would have a different sense of lamentation, but equally to suggest that multiple elegies are required as many individuals were killed. I decided early on that the work would be in seven movements, with a duration of approximately 30 minutes.

Composing and presenting ‘Flight Elegies 752’

Darrell Christie, music director and conductor of the Kingston Chamber Choir, quickly agreed to have the choir contribute to a project and proposed a premiere date in early 2021. However, these plans were put on hold due to COVID-19.

While many live, in-person events and concerts have been cancelled or postponed over the past few years, in Kingston, the resourcefulness and creativity of the IBCPA and its Imagine Project has been tremendously helpful for artists. This project provided musicians with the opportunity to use the IBCPA Concert Hall for creation-based residencies, online arts education and film/recording projects.

Sadaf obtained funding through this project to record a video premiere performance of Flight Elegies 752 at the IBCPA in March 2021. She was joined by soprano, Colleen Renihan, and the Kingston Chamber Choir, and I played the percussion parts.

A woman stands in front of a santur.
Santur player Sadaf Amini. (Photo provided by John Burge)

Consoling, symbolizing loss

The unifying element of this composition is that the choir sings the same wordless music for movements 1, 3, 5 and 7 which serves as a consoling chorale or refrain. Each of these refrains ends with a slightly different final cadence and is sung at a slower tempo with each repetition.

In these “refrain” movements, the santur plays independently of the choir, beginning in the first movement with rhythmic groups of seven notes, then five notes, then two.

Remembering Amir Moradi
Among the 176 victims of Flight PS752 were Iranian students and faculty members from Canadian universities, including Amir Moradi, an undergraduate student at Queen’s.

For Movement 3, the santur is reduced to five- and two-note groups. Movement 5 reduces the santur part to just two-note groups, spaced far apart. In Movement 7, the santur does not play at all.

The arc of hearing the same refrain sung by the choir with diminishing contributions from the santur, can be seen in the choir’s faces and the santur player’s movement, and heard in the music, as a real-time symbol of loss.

In the same way someone grieving can lose a sense of time, the santur’s disregard for the tempo taken by the choir in these refrains mirrors this sense of timelessness. The constant slowing down of the tempo for each subsequent statement of the refrain stretches the sustaining of notes to a level that is almost impossible to sustain. To my own ears, it voices despair.

Verse by Rumi

The even-numbered movements have more active santur and choir parts, sung to poetry referencing the day of one’s death and the soul’s longing by the 13th-century Islamic mystical poet Rumi. Multiple sources of public domain English translations were used in compiling these texts.

Sadaf had long admired and studied the poetry of Rumi in the Farsi language. She indicated it seemed fitting to include the poet’s verses in the composition, especially given how Rumi is well-known in Iran, in Sadaf’s words, for his “passion to merge and unite with the original love between him and his creator.”

Rumi translator Ibrahim Gamard notes that Rumi “remains highly read and appreciated in Iran.” In a 2010 interview, he also said it’s possible the poet is more popular in the West than in Muslim countries.

Omid Safi, a scholar of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, notes that dating back to the Victorian period, westerners began to separate Rumi’s mystical poetry from its Islamic roots with assumptions the poet was “mystical not because of Islam but in spite of it.” He has explored Rumi as Muslim sage such as in his book Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition.

In the composition, to give the Rumi movements a more distinctive focus from the refrains, I added simple percussion parts.

Expression of public grief

Most of us cannot know the grief felt by the families and friends of those killed on Flight PS752. However, in taking a moment to listen to and reflect upon Flight 752 Elegies, it is possible to collectively, and with compassion, convey our sorrow.

There is more that could be written about this work, as well the process and efforts to create this video. But best to simply express a hope that the opportunity to observe this performance provides a focused moment of reflection and shared condolences.The Conversation


John Burge, Professor of Composition and Theory, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Director, Thought Leadership and Strategic Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

Feedback sought on revised Naming Policy

Following nearly a year of review and consultations, a revised Naming Policy is now posted on the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website, and Queen’s community members are invited to provide feedback on the draft by Jan. 30, 2022.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane struck a working group in February 2021 that was tasked with developing a principles-based naming policy to address various forms of naming at Queen’s University, including philanthropic, service, commemorative, and Indigenous namings. The revised policy provides an overarching framework and identify the core principles to which related policies and/or procedures must adhere, as well as address concepts of naming, renaming, and de-naming.

Chaired by Vice-Principal (Advancement) Karen Bertrand, and consisting of representatives from various Queen’s stakeholder groups, the Naming Policy Working Group delivered a draft policy that was presented to the community for consultation in June 2021.

The most notable changes to the existing policy are:

  • Terms in the Naming Policy have been defined for clarity.
  • The policy officially celebrates and embraces Indigenous namings of the land on which Queen’s University is situated from the Indigenous community.
  • Expanding the scope of the policy beyond namings to recognize individual service or philanthropic donations supporting Queen’s to include additional types of naming – including commemorative naming.
  • The addition of a section on principles, many of which already existed throughout the earlier Naming Policy.
  • Highlighting the university’s values related to equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity.
  • New sections on de-naming and renaming.
  • Several procedural elements have been removed from the policy. These elements will be considered in the revisions/development of procedures and/or guidelines related to this policy which began during the summer of 2021.
  • Term-limits have been placed on corporate namings.
  • Recommendations on philanthropic namings from benchmarking and consultations completed in 2019 – including new delegated authorities for philanthropic naming – and reviewed by the External Relations and Development Committee of the Board of Trustees in September 2019 and February 2020 have been incorporated.

Following this final phase of public consultations, the working group hopes to deliver a revised Naming Policy to the Board of Trustees for approval in May 2022.


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