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William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


Support for artists is key to returning to vibrant cultural life post-coronavirus

The Conversation: Policy makers and arts sectors together need to reimagine how we might organize contracts, leverage networks, and change supports to create more long-term opportunities for arts workers.

Three artists silhouetted on a theatre stage infront of a bright red curtain
Our society is vibrant in large part because it is infused with the work of artists and musicians. (Unsplash / Kyle Head)

Artists are crucial to the futures we’re imagining beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vitality of the societies we wish to return to are vibrant in large part because they sound and look vibrant, because they are full of artists thriving and sharing music in a variety of settings.

Who hasn’t missed the sound of people out and about, revelling in society, culture and the arts — whether we are talking about the sound of a band spilling out onto a nighttime street, or the sound of friends meeting before a concert? Our society is vibrant in large part because it is infused with the work of artists and musicians.

As musicologist Julian Johnson writes in his book Who Needs Classical Music? music facilitates “a relation to an order of things larger than ourselves.” Through music, the self, he writes, “comes to understand itself more fully as a larger, trans-subjective identity.”

These words, evoking togetherness, community and shared experience, have become even more powerful in this strange time of self-isolation and solitude. In its ability to draw us together to listen and experience together, live music performance is a crucial marker and facilitator of community.

$24,300 annual income

If we look at one particular arts field, that of classical artists (such as classical musicians, conductors or opera singers), we know that even before the age of COVID-19, these artists were struggling to sustain themselves financially.

Despite the fact that culture contributed over $53 billion to Canada’s economy in 2017, the median individual income for Canada’s artists was $24,300: 44 per cent less than the median for all Canadian workers ($43,500).

Only those artists with economic privilege can afford the precarity of the gig economy, and income data suggests that white and male privilege also mitigates its harshness. According to Canadian census 2016 data, artists who are women, Indigenous or from racialized communities report even lower median incomes.

This year, many artists won’t even earn this much: between February and May, for example, nearly 200,000 workers in information, culture and recreation industries lost their jobs.

The federal government recently extended the term of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) until the end of August. But many are concerned that even with these extended benefits, a return to performing might be months, if not years, away.

A Globe and Mail feature from the height of COVID-19’s first wave tells the heartbreaking stories of performers in various fields whose work has been put on hold as the result of the virus, also highlighting the terrifying scarcity of work and pay for musicians during this period.

The fragile, endangered ecosystem of music and musicians has been threatened by COVID-19, reported the New York Times.

Reticent audiences, even after the pandemic ends, will likely play a role in this: a survey conducted by the National Arts Centre and Nanos Research found that 34 per cent of Canadians are unsure when they will attend an indoor arts or cultural performance, even after venues have been reopened and are adhering to public health guidelines. This percentage is similar across age groups.

Gig economy

Many of these artists work in the gig economy and, as a result, have seen revenues evaporate — precious income they can ill afford to lose. Although many musicians are frustrated at the crisis created by COVID-19, those working in the arts were already in crisis. Quickly and starkly, the age of COVID-19 has not created, but rather has magnified, the precarious nature of creative work in our country.

Relief funding, both governmental and organizational, has been key, as are initiatives like the SaskMusic COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, the Canada Performs relief fund initiative and even sector-specific artist support like the Opera Artist Emergency Relief Fund. The arts should figure prominently in the federal government’s infrastructure stimulus package.

But as we anticipate moving into phases of less physical distancing and aim to resume some social and economic activities (with larger gatherings on the far horizon), we must continue to think about the systems we build with an eye towards increasing stability for performing artists. The COVID-19 crisis should serve as a wake-up call. Our long-standing characterization of the struggling, starving artist must change.

This ideal response to this artistic crisis is one that includes responses from a variety of sectors: in post-secondary education and training, in arts policies and structures, and in the financial support we offer our artists.

Policy crisis

To begin with, the present crisis has once again illuminated the need for contemporary classical artists to be multi-skilled. Many recent studies reveal that Canadian artists trained in post-secondary music programs must build what are known as “portfolio” careers, which effectively encompass work from a variety of fields or areas.

Since such portfolio careers are often created and arrived upon by happenstance, it is high time to ask how they might be more systematically embedded into educational and cultural policies and programs. Artists must be taught to think creatively and passionately, as well as pragmatically and strategically.

But the current crisis is also a policy crisis. It illuminates the need to support artists more fulsomely and creatively throughout the various stages of their careers. Central to this is imagining ways to limit the precarity of the gig economy which, perhaps surprisingly, characterizes the careers of even the highest echelon of performers, classical or otherwise.

Guaranteed work

There are proven ways to do this. Throughout Europe, for example, many opera singers sing in what are known as Fest contracts, which guarantee work at that opera house in a variety of roles over the course of a given season. This is accompanied by a monthly salary, with paid benefits and health insurance included.

While this may not be feasible in the Canadian context, examples like this might spur us to think creatively about how we might organize contracts, leverage networks and reimagine supports to create more long-term opportunities for cultural workers. We might also rethink the extent to which the public may be underpaying for arts and entertainment.

As we dream about reconnecting in person, we should take advantage of this opportunity for a collective reconsideration of arts policy. COVID-19 has brought us a unique opportunity to rebuild and reimagine a vibrant cultural sector. We need to collectively support artists if we believe in supporting the arts.The Conversation


Colleen Renihan, Assistant Professor and Queen's National Scholar in Music Theatre and Opera, Queen's University; Ben Schnitzer, PhD Student, Cultural Studies, Queen's University, and Julia Brook, Assistant Professor in Music Education, Queen's University.

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

Examining healthy behaviours in youth

New survey reveals concerns about the mental health of girls and new types of risk behaviours reported by young people in Canada.

A group of school-age children run outside a school.
The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey is administered to students in Grades 6 to 10 from across the country. (Supplied Photo)

Findings from the 2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey (HBSC) show that mental health, home life and social media use each play an important role in the health of young people. Queen’s University researchers Wendy Craig (Psychology) and William Pickett (Public Health Scienceswere co-principal investigators on this Canada-wide study. 

For the last 25 years, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) has been a unique source of information in Canada, describing the health experiences of young Canadians and the social contexts that impact their health. 

In Canada, the survey is administered to students in Grades 6 to 10 from across the country. It is coordinated by the Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG) at Queen’s University, and researchers from Queen's University, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, McMaster University, the University de Montreal, the University of Prince Edward Island, the University of Waterloo, and the Public Health Agency of Canada collaborate on this ongoing study.  The survey team is part of an international network of like researchers, organized in Europe and affiliated with the World Health Organization.

When we as researchers are studying the health of young people, their voices and ideas are important, and are in fact protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child," says William Pickett (Public Health Sciences). "While the themes that emerged from the HBSC survey findings are of great interest to us as researchers, so too are the views of young people, and their priorities.

Four key themes emerged from this year’s survey: 

  • First, the mental health and relationships of Grade 9 and 10 girls are of great concern. Girls in Grades 9 and 10 are consistently reporting the most negative health experiences. For example, they have the highest reported levels of issues like feeling hopeless, sad, nervous, and having low confidence, all symptoms of mental health problems.  
  • Second and more positivelythe majority of students in Canada report having a happy home life. They also report positive relationships with their parents and feel that they are generally understood by them.  
  • Third, profiles of risk-taking behaviours are changing. While young people report less engagement in many forms of risk-taking (e.g., cigarette smoking, sexual intercourse), engagement in other types of risk-taking and negative health behaviours are on the rise. One clear example is vaping, or e-cigarette use, which is now reported by about one in four young people by Grade 10. 
  • Fourth, social media use is a growing public health issue including addiction. Although social media can be used in positive ways to communicate, connect and engage with others, it can also be used negatively to engage in cyberbullying or teen dating violence. 

Understanding the experiences of young people is critical to ensure that they have the supports that they need to thrive and be successful," says Wendy Craig (Psychology).

In addition to the survey findings, researchers also asked young Canadians themselves about the issues that they felt were most influential on their health. Some of these paralleled the survey findings, and others were new. Gender, gender norms, and their impacts on health were on the top of young people’s list of themes. Illustrative examples included gendered ideals of body shapes and sizes and differing social expectations on boys and girls associated with physical activity, mental and spiritual health, and aggression.  

A second theme identified by youth surrounded the transition from childhood to young adulthood, and its perceived impacts on health and well-being. Such transitions were a source of worry to young people and had notable impacts on their self-confidence and sense of well-being, as young people navigated their disconnections from traditional adult supports as they themselves moved towards adulthood 

Like the survey findings, young people also emphasized the existence of both positive and negative aspects of technology in their lives, and the need for balance in the use of technology. And that social media was important to them. 

The survey was administered to about 22,000 students from across Canada. The study was conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) internationally and with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) nationally. 

Engineering researchers lauded for contributions

Two Queen’s University professors earn Canadian Academy of Engineering Fellowship for lifetime of critical research.

Two Queen’s University researchers have been inducted as Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), one of Canada’s national academies. Michael Cunningham is an internationally-recognized authority on sustainable polymer manufacturing and Jean Hutchinson has developed an international reputation for assessing and managing the risks associated with natural rock slope hazards, along rail corridors.

Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham

The CAE is a national institution through which Canada's most distinguished and experienced engineers provide strategic advice on matters of critical importance to Canada. Fellows of the academy are elected by their peers.

“Election to the Canadian Academy of Engineering is one of the highest professional honours awarded to engineers in Canada,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “My sincere congratulations to Drs. Cunningham and Hutchinson on this well-deserved recognition.”

Dr. Cunningham’s (Chemical Engineering) research has contributed to producing materials using water-based rather than solvent-based processes. He collaborates and consults extensively with industry, and for 15 years has taught industry courses in North America and Europe.

His award-winning green chemistry/engineering work has important societal, economic, and environmental implications, and he has been recognized nationally and internationally, including as a recipient of the 2019 NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize with fellow collaborators from Queen’s. 

“I am honoured to be elected as a Fellow of the CAE and gratefully acknowledge my colleagues and current and former students with whom I've enjoyed stimulating and creative collaborations during my career,” Dr. Cunningham says. “I look forward to engaging with the CAE in its pursuit of promoting science and engineering principles in furthering the best interests of the country and quality of life for all Canadians.”

Jean Hutchinson
Jean Hutchinson

Dr. Hutchinson (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) and her team pioneered the use of new engineering approaches to support risk-based decision-making and rock slope stability assessment using remote sensing. Her most recent research applies novel tools such as remote sensing data collection on large and remote rock slopes, machine learning to analyze data streams and game engine based numerical simulation to assess and simulate rock slope hazards along rail corridors.

“It is my great pleasure and honour to be elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering, which engages engineering excellence across many sectors and with diverse perspectives. I look forward to contributing to the CAE’s efforts to promote and lead responsible and transformative engineering contributions to society, considering environmental, societal and economic sustainability,” says Dr. Hutchinson.

For more information, visit the CAE website.

QUBS celebrating 75th anniversary

Queen's University Biological Station launches video highlighting its role in fostering leading-edge research, experiential learning, science outreach, and biodiversity conservation.

It has been 75 years since the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) was established on Queen’s Point on Lake Opinicon. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the QUBS community of researchers and staff at the field station are set to celebrate.

Queen's University Biological Station seen from an aerial viewEach year the anniversary is celebrated with an in-person Open House, originally scheduled for Sunday, June 28, where professors and students interact with hundreds of visitors who can also tour the Lake Opinicon campus located just a 50-minute drive north of the university.

The 75th anniversary celebration will unfold virtually this year and kicks off this week with the release of a special five-minute promotional video highlighting the important role QUBS has served over the years in fostering leading-edge research, experiential learning, science outreach, and biodiversity conservation.

Five additional short films focused on researchers who use the unique resources offered by QUBS will be released throughout the summer and autumn. 

“Over the past 75 years QUBS has provided incredible opportunities for students to obtain hands-on experiences, including summer internships, undergraduate field courses, and graduate field research,” says Stephen Lougheed, Professor in the Department of Biology and the School of Environmental Studies and the Director at QUBS. “Developing strong field and science communication skills and a deep understanding of the ecology and evolution of the biodiversity of the Frontenac Arch are a few of the positive experiences that thousands of students have gained at the station.”

The QUBS team has been busy marking the milestone with a social media campaign using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The QUBS team of undergraduate summer interns and full-time staff is also facilitating many initiatives, including a remote virtual camp for youth in place of what would have been the 10th annual in-person summer day camp at Elbow Lake. Seminars from diverse speakers and community outreach talks are available online throughout the summer on the Official QUBS YouTube Channel

“The greatest issues facing humanity today center on the environment, including pollution, invasive species, emerging diseases, loss of habitat, global declines of biodiversity, and climate change. Exacerbating these are pronounced social, racial, and gender inequities, lack of diversity in many professions including the sciences, and lagging progress in reconciliation with Indigenous people,” says Dr. Lougheed, also the Baillie Family Chair in Conservation Biology. “In the next few decades, I would like to see QUBS at the forefront of all of these challenges, working to attract top-flight researchers from diverse backgrounds to Queen’s to offer tangible solutions.”

75 years in the making

From its founding in 1945, QUBS has had a dual mandate of teaching and research in biology and related sciences, while also engaging in active stewardship to conserve local terrestrial and aquatic environments, and biodiversity.

Today QUBS’ lands comprise more than 3,400 hectares, including nine small lakes plus extensive shoreline on Lake Opinicon and Hart Lake, and habitats ranging from abandoned pastures to mature second-growth forest.

The main facility at Lake Opinicon has 32 buildings, including the Raleigh J. Robertson Biodiversity Centre, a library and natural history collections, conference rooms, 12 laboratories for research, a workshop, and a variety of accommodations, ranging from one-person sleeping cabins to large cottages and dormitory space. The Biodiversity Centre includes a conference space/classroom, kitchen and dining room, administrative offices, a computer/GIS facility, and an interpretive area. Plans are being finalized for a two-story research and teaching building that will provide new lab spaces for aquatic research, teaching spaces, and offices.

The Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre campus has 14 core buildings including a large central pavilion and 10 hexagonal, two-bedroom cabins. Together, these buildings can accommodate groups of 30-40 people comfortably for meetings, small conferences and public outreach events. Elbow Lake is the outreach arm of QUBS, offering programs in environmental and conservation science and natural history to school groups and the public.

The QUBS staff hope that you will celebrate with them – virtually – through the new promotional video and its growing array of online resources.

Collecting race-based data during pandemic may fuel dangerous prejudices

The Conversation: The coronavirus pandemic presents potentially concerning trajectories for race relations and many of these might originate within the medical profession.

Racially sorted patients are surveilled, often with negative consequences. (Shutterstock)
Racially sorted patients are surveilled, often with negative consequences. (Shutterstock)

Brian Sinclair wheeled himself into a Winnipeg emergency room in September 2008 seeking assistance with his catheter bag. He had a bladder infection, but instead of receiving treatment, remained in the waiting room for 34 hours until his body — now lifeless — finally received medical attention.

The Conversation logoSinclair was an Indigenous man who hospital staff believed was there “to watch TV,” appeared “intoxicated” and was simply “sleeping it off.” He was arguably triaged within what scholars of Indigenous histories Mary Jane Logan McCallum and Adele Perry call a “highly racialized” health-care system.

Sinclair’s case shows how stereotypes of indigeneity in Canada can influence patient care with fatal consequences. More broadly, this adds to trends of cumulative disadvantage, where negative circumstances that affected population groups in the past continue to affect the same groups today.

Is there a risk that the COVID-19 pandemic will fuel such trends in Canada, especially against the backdrop of the country’s racialized past? As a sociologist, my answer to this question is yes.

As a researcher affiliated with the Surveillance Studies Centre, I am also concerned with how racially sorted patients are surveilled, often with negative consequences. Therefore, as a privacy and ethics officer evaluating health data for Ontario’s Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR), I caution the Ministry of Health and its partners against the use of race- and ethnicity-based health data in dealing with COVID-19.

Collecting race data for good medicine?

Canada’s attention to race during the first 100 years of immigration policy shaped aspirations of a settler colonial “White Canada Forever.” Unsurprisingly, historical racial inequalities shape Canadian experiences in health care.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie of Toronto’s Wellesley Institute believes that race-based data is essential for “good medicine.” And many additional doctors and scholars believe that collecting race data might improve understandings of the social determinants of health.

However, when race data is collected to understand the social determinants of health, it could inadvertently legitimate biological understandings of race. This is an essentialist position that necessarily ties the racial attributes and behaviours of one person to another.

Further, when race data is used in these circumstances, it creates more scope to arrive at racist responses to a pandemic than it does to address social vulnerabilities like the poor work conditions of minority populations in essential services.



Linking race and health

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, acknowledges that systematic racism disadvantages certain populations. However, Hinshaw has not yet committed to collecting such data. Initially, her Ontario counterpart, Dr. David Williams, said the province would focus on age and chronic illness “regardless of race, ethnic or other backgrounds.” Ontario now says it will collect race-based data during the pandemic.

Williams’ revised position certainly eases tensions with a coalition of Black health leaders that has called for attention to race.

Endorsed by 192 organizations and 1,612 individuals, the coalition wrote an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other provincial officials. It argues for “the collection and use of socio-demographic and race-based data in health and social services … as it relates to COVID-19.”

But the use of race data may be problematic because links between health conditions and race have been connected to discriminatory outcomes in the past.

Race-based medical practice

Diseases like Tay-Sachs and sickle cell anemia have discursively been described as a “Jewish disease” and “Black disease” respectively at least since the early 1900s, even though these associations with races can lead to inaccuracies in terms of who is deemed high risk. Moreover, racializing these diseases reinforced discriminatory notions of race that were tied to other policies of racial oppression, such as anti-immigrationism.

Because race data are routinely associated with medical conditions and treatment, many medical doctors turn to race as illness inducing, instead of examining an individual’s symptoms, individual patient history or family history.

Racial categories are therefore deemed scientific, despite their unscientific construction.

Racializing COVID-19

If race-based data collection is to be attached to COVID-19 in Ontario, then attention should be given to what happens when medical conditions are associated with one’s race.

What happens when a disease is racialized? One example of the racializing of COVID-19 are the many cases of anti-Asian racism across North America ignited by xenophobic hysteria.

Another example comes from China where a McDonald’s franchise in Guangzhou allegedly posted a sign in April reading, “We’ve been informed that from now on Black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant” because of “rumours” that coronavirus was spreading among African people.

If surveillance is the attention to human attributes and behaviours so that people can be “socially sorted” and potentially treated differently, then the systematic collection of race data is also a form of surveillance.

When rumours like those in the McDonald’s example are connected to reports generated through racial surveillance by leading health agencies that monitor COVID-19 by race (like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), then the racial dimensions of the virus can further fuel xenophobia.

Therefore, a call for increased racial surveillance potentially fuels racism.

Measuring race, fuelling racism

Health scholars have raised concerns about “… how anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism and other forms of intersectional violence will impact the health of our communities during this crisis.”

In the open letter from the coalition of Black health leaders to Ontario’s political leaders, a case is made for collecting race data because, “We cannot address what we cannot measure.” But can race be measured?

What determines the boundary between one race and another, especially if self-identification means that race is a subjective term, not a medically objective one?

Prejudicial inferences from race-based data are of significant concern. It is these prejudices, contributing to historical trends of racism, that we are reminded of when recalling Brian Sinclair’s tragic death in a Winnipeg ER.

It is these prejudices that are fuelled by collecting race data for health care, especially when coupled with public hysteria during a pandemic.The Conversation


Sachil Singh, Adjunct Assistant Professor (Sociology), and Associated Faculty member (Surveillance Studies Centre), Queen's University.

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

Conversations Confronting COVID-19 Virtual Event Series

With its first event on June 24, the new series aims to address some of the challenges and opportunities presented by the global pandemic

[Text: Discover Research@Queen's - Virtual Event Series; Student testing solution]
Department of Chemistry graduate student Hailey Poole takes samples from a prototype batch of sanitizer.

Since the global pandemic hit earlier this year, Canadians and global citizens have been confronted with a myriad of questions – from how to understand and treat the virus, to how to cope with life in quarantine, and what life will look like when we surface from this international crisis.

A new virtual event series, Conversations Confronting COVID-19, has been launched as part of the Discover Research@Queen’s campaign to examine these questions at the forefront of our minds and assess both challenges and unique opportunities the situation has presented.

Launching on Wednesday, June 24 at 11:30 EDT, the first installment of the monthly series will focus on the theme of Innovation Pivots and feature members of the Queen’s community who have effectively pivoted their research and programs to come up with creative and innovative solutions to the pandemic.

The open, free session, moderated by Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation), will take a deep dive into three initiatives that are working to confront various aspects of COVID-19:

  • The Mechanical Ventilator Milano initiative, an international project aimed at developing a low-cost, easy-to-build ventilator to treat COVID-19. The project has gained international media attention, and the Canadian arm of the collaboration is being led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate, Dr. Arthur B. McDonald. Represented by Dr. Tony Noble, Professor, Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy, and Scientific Director, Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute
  • The Hand Sanitizer Initiative mobilized by Queen’s researchers and industry partners to support Kingston hospitals. Represented by Ms. Emily Albright, PhD Candidate, Chemistry, and Dr. Richard Oleschuk, Professor, Chemistry

“We are excited to share, with our alumni and the greater Queen’s community, the important work that our researchers, students, and affiliates are doing in our fight to understand and confront the challenges associated with the pandemic,” says Karen Bertrand, Vice-Principal (Advancement).

The Conversations Confronting COVID-19 series is free and open to the public. To register for the event on Wednesday, June 24, please visit the Queen’s Alumni website. To learn more about the projects featured in the event, visit the Research@Queen’s website.

New Bader Chair to help Queen's become a world leader in art conservation

Queen's to recruit a top scholar to the university to work in imaging science, an emerging field that is revolutionizing art conservation.

A new research and teaching chair at Queen’s University is going to help the next generation of art conservationists better preserve our history and heritage. 

“Art is a window into the struggles, ambitions, hopes, and ideals of people living eons ago, just as it is for people today,” says Dr. Norman Vorano, head of the department of Art History and Art ConservationIt allows us to understand each other, and who we are as a nation.  

“If Canada is serious about protecting our cultural heritage and who we are in the world, it has to train the best art conservators in the worldSo the new chair is not only exciting for Queen’s, but for the country.”  

Queen’s is announcing a $3-million (USD) gift from Dr. Isabel Bader, LLD’07, to establish the Bader Chair in Art Conservation that will help students and researchers become world leaders in imaging science, an emerging field that is revolutionizing art conservation. 

“Art conservation is seeing a technological shift and imaging science allows us to look below the surface of paintings and other works of art in ways that were never previously possible,” says Dr. Vorano. “The new Bader Chair will put our students on the forefront of training in this field. Very few places around the world will be able to offer the kinds of training and experiences that a student can get at Queen’s.” 

The university recently received a $1-million gift from The Jarislowsky Foundation, giving it several pieces of cutting-edge technology that can examine art at the atomic and molecular levels. It allows researchers to better understand how art is deteriorating and come up with better conservation techniques. In North America, the technology is found in only a select few institutions, such as Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  

The gift from Dr. Bader will allow Queen’s to recruit a top art conservation scholar to the university and create unparalleled opportunities for research and teachingThe new chair will help the Master of Art Conservation program open up a fifth stream of study, imaging science, which will complement painting conservation, paper conservation, object conservation, and conservation science. The new chair will also give the program the ability to accept more students, allow Queen’s to work toward expanding graduate and undergraduate offerings in art conservation, and help the university access new opportunities for grant funding.  

Dr. Vorano sees the new chair as an innovator, growing not only the department but helping the university become an international leader in conservation imaging and helping to preserve Canadian history. 

Queen’s Announces Investments in the Arts 

The gifts to the Department of Art History and Art Conservation from ThJarislowsky Foundation and Dr. Bader are among a number of philanthropic investments Queen’s is announcing in support of the arts this month. Follow Queen’s Alumni on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest news. 

Supporting Rapid Response research

The Vice-Principal (Research) announces the second round of internal funding for projects supporting medical and social coronavirus-related solutions.

A second round of funding for COVID-19-related research has been allocated as part of the Rapid Response competition, announced by the Vice-Principal (Research) in late-March. Thirteen projects that contribute to the development, testing, and implementation of medical or social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 have already been funded through the program. Now, seven more applicants have received funding in a second round of the competition.

The diverse projects cross several fields and disciplines. They range from learning how Indigenous peoples living with chronic health issues are impacted by COVID-19 to studying the psychosocial implications of the pandemic among cancer survivors.  

The successful projects are:

  • Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) – Developing sweet prophylactics: targeting glycans to prevent COVID-19 spread
  • Amrita Roy (Family Medicine) – Indigenous peoples living with chronic health issues during the COVID-19 era – examining experiences in Katarokwi (Kingston, Ontario area)
  • Jacqueline Galica (Nursing) – The psychosocial implications of COVID-19: How are cancer survivors coping?
  • Kristy Timmons (Education) – Using social and behavioural science to help teachers and principals mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 in K-12 contexts
  • Elaine Power (Kinesiology & Health Studies) – Leave no one behind: Income security for the 21st century
  • Elijah Bisung (Kinesiology & Health Studies) – Mobilizing local stakeholders to address COVID-19 misinformation and mistrust in Ghana
  • Stephen Vanner (Medicine) – COVID-19 testing of health professional students: Informing testing and public policy for universities and society

For more information on the Rapid Response competition, visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)  website.  

Revolutionizing art conservation at Queen's

A $1 million donation from the Jarislowsky Foundation allows Queen’s to acquire leading-edge technology that will be the only of its kind in Canada.

A $1-million gift from The Jarislowsky Foundation will bring leading-edge technology to Canada and help to preserve some of the country’s most important works of art.  

“The donation will create opportunities for Queen’s students and researchers to better understand the materials and techniques used to create artworks and other cultural objects,” says Patricia Smithen, assistant professor (Paintings Conservation) at Queen’sThe equipment will allow us to start new research programs, establish partnerships with leading art museums and collectors, and attract top students to study at Queen’s.”    

Queen’s is purchasing five pieces of equipment, some of which is highly sought-after technology used by the world’s top art institutes such as the Getty Conservation Institute, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  

These powerful new tools will impact art historians and students in many ways, such as being able to more accurately analyze the type of materials used in works of art. This will lead to better preservation strategies. 

Queen’s will be the only museum or institute in Canada to have Bruker M6 Jetstream, a highly advanced form of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology that allows researchers to scan paintings and create an elemental map of the surface. This instrument was recently used to scan Rembrandt’s famous painting, The Night Watch, at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, allowing conservators and scientists to identify pigments and reveal the artist’s working process, including changes he made to the composition.  

In addition to the Bruker M6 Jetstream, the other equipment includes: 

  • X-radiography Suite with New Mid-range Source 225 KV, Gantry and Tracer-Fluorescence Spectroscopy Unit 

  • Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR, Portable) 

  • Foster and Freeman VSC 8000 Multispectral Document System 

  • Instron Tensile Tester 

The Jarislowsky Foundation was created by Stephen Jarislowsky, LLD’88, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid art collector. 



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