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Arts and Science

Petroglyphs provide glimpse of the past

Queen's archaeologist Barbara Reeves and her team made a surprise discovery of 157 rock carvings that detail life thousands of years ago.

Dr. Barbara Reeves stands with petroglyphs in Humayma, Jordan

Barbara Reeves’ team of archaeologists accidently stumbled upon the first of 157 ancient images just days before leaving the Humayma excavation site in Jordan.  

Humayma – located in western Jordan – has been an excavation site since 1986. Even though researchers have conducted many archaeological surveys in and around the area for years, the numerous carvings on the rocks, known as petroglyphs, remained undiscovered until this summer.

“The area had been inspected by surveyors many times in the past, but these petroglyphs appear to have been overlooked since each surveyor was typically looking for something quite specific, and that didn’t include rock carvings,” says Dr. Reeves, professor of archaeology in the Department of Classics and director of the Humayma Excavation Project.

After Dr. Reeves’ team discovered one petroglyph in the area, the archaeologists went looking for more information to help with the analysis. They discovered more than 150 other petroglyphs and 20 inscriptions that had been there unseen for years.

Carved footprints, like this, could mean the area was once a major pilgrimage site.

For Dr. Reeves, who has been excavating at Humayma since 1995, the discovery was a significant find.

“The petroglyphs show soldiers, hunters, worshippers, animals and feet,” says Dr. Reeves. “These petroglyphs are also all covered in what we call a ”desert varnish,“ which is a chemical process that happens on the surface of the sandstone that gives older inscriptions a darker tone than newer ones, allowing excavators to estimate ages of the inscriptions.”

After some initial analyses of the images, Dr. Reeves and her team have hypothesized that one site was a major pilgrimage site, with more than 50 carved footprints and inscriptions.

“Carved footprints commemorate a person’s presence at a religious site,” says Dr. Reeves. “This discovery aligns with a fifth century foundation myth, which suggests that the area and its landscape had some spiritual significance.”

Now that Dr. Reeves is back in Kingston, she plans to include some students in the analysis of Humayma’s data until she returns to the site next summer to continue deciphering the ancient carvings.

The survey at Humayma this past year was funded by a research grant from the Queen’s Senate Advisory Research Committee.

Anti-bullying expert makes an impact

Queen's University professor Wendy Craig, an international leader in bullying prevention, has been named as one of three finalists for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Award. These awards are the highest achievements given annually by SSHRC.

The nomination recognizes a SSHRC-funded partnership for its outstanding achievement in advancing research, training or developing new partnerships. The Partnership Awards are one of five awards under the Impact Awards portfolio.

[Wendy Craig]

Wendy Craig is a finalist for a prestigious national award for her work as co-director of the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet).

Dr. Craig was nominated for her work as the co-director of the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet). The other co-director is Dr. Debra Pepler from York University.

"Dr. Pepler and I are honoured to receive this recognition for our work on bullying and healthy relationships through PREVNet, funded by SSHRC through the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE)," says Dr. Craig.

"Through this funding, we have been privileged to work with 63 partners across the country and 75 researchers and co-created more than 200 knowledge mobilization projects."

PREVNet works to create knowledge mobilization resources through four strategy pillars: education and training, assessment and evaluation, prevention and intervention, and policy. Dr. Craig says she has learned that through the process of co-creation with other partners PREVNet can move science into practice and practice into science to decrease bullying in Canada.

With this funding, Dr. Craig says they can continue to engage in knowledge mobilization efforts with the PREVNet partners.  The team plans to focus on working with PREVNet's youth to develop tools to address cyberbullying.

"Through PREVNet, Dr. Craig has developed a unique partnership model that has demonstrated influence both within and beyond the academic community," says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). "PREVNet's sophisticated knowledge-mobilization tools and bullying prevention resources are timely and effective in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing today's children and youth."

The winners will be announced at the annual award ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 3. For more information visit the website.

PREVNet is a national network of leading researchers and organizations, working together to stop bullying in Canada. It is the first of its kind in this country and a world leader in bullying prevention. Through education, research, training and policy change, PREVNet aims to stop the violence caused by bullying so every child can grow up happy, healthy and safe.

Single tickets for the Isabel's classical series now on sale

Single tickets for the inaugural season at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts are now available for purchase.

The 2014-2015 season includes two series of classical concerts: The Soloists and The Ensembles. The line-up includes performances by internationally renowned artists like violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Cédric Tiberghien, as well ensembles like the Zukerman Chamber Players and Les Violons du Roy, who will perform with pianist Marc-André Hamelin.

Tickets for both series are available for purchase online from the Isabel'™s website. Significant discounts are available for Queen'™s faculty, staff and students.

Staff and faculty tickets for The Isabel Goes Alt series will be available online from Sept. 3.

For more information visit theisabel.com

 

Digital database puts music resources at educators' fingertips

Music resource opens up new realm for educators. 

Dr. Rena Upitis (left) and Kingston piano teacher Jodie Compeau use the DREAM website to search for digital music resources.

 

Starting this September, music educators from across Canada will be able to find and download the best available digital music resources for free.

The Digital Resource Exchange About Music (DREAM) is an online space created by collaborators at Queen’s University, Concordia University and The Royal Conservatory that can be used in French or English on all devices including computers, tablets and smartphones.

“The real strength of DREAM is that the resources are of high quality and relevance to music teachers. For example, teachers will often spend time sorting through a whole page of recordings trying to find one that is good enough to share – our website has done that work for them,” says Dr. Rena Upitis, a professor in the Queen’s Faculty of Education and project director of DREAM.

DREAM, which took two years to develop, also allows users to listen to high quality recordings of popular repertoire. Kingston piano teacher Jodie Compeau says that functionality will augment her students’ learning experiences.

“DREAM is a fantastic tool that streamlines my search for useful apps, websites and recordings that enhance the quality of my studio,” she says. “DREAM means quickly finding a game to help my students learn to read music, or locating an app to help students mix their newest musical creations. It’s a real time saver for music educators.”

Additionally, users who sign up for a free DREAM account are able to rate, review and add resources to the website. All resources are approved the DREAM team.

“DREAM aims to change the way that teachers learn by facilitating the exchange of information free from the constraints of distance or time,” says Dr. Upitis. “This means teachers can do what they do best: teach.”

DREAM belongs to a suite of digital tools developed by Queen’s, Concordia and The Royal Conservatory. Research leading to the development of DREAM was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. For more information, visit www.musictoolsite.ca

Staff and students prepare for orientation week

Student leaders undergo intensive pre-orientation week training to welcome new students to campus.

Faculty orientation week will have more than 1,000 student leaders on hand to welcome new students to campus.

Next week, Queen'™s will welcome approximately 4,000 new first-year students to campus and introduce them to the place that will become their home away from home.

Once students have moved into residence they begin orientation week activities. At Queen's, incoming first-year students have the option to participate in a two-part orientation week.

More than 1,000 student volunteers undergo intensive training to ensure they are equipped to prepare students for their new living and learning environment and to introduce them to the spirit that makes Queen's unique.

Arig al-Shaibah, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Learning, understands how important this training is for student leaders.

Orientation week by the numbers

More than 1,000 orientation leaders
will be on hand to offer advice and supervision

There are almost 150 SEO student volunteers, residence dons, and Residence Society members involved in university orientation

Queen'™s is welcoming 4,000 new students this fall

Each faculty orientation leader undergoes a minimum of 19 hours of training

There are 8 different faculty orientation weeks at Queen'™s

In 2013, Queen's raised $71,294.70 for Shinerama Canada

"œThe university is excited to welcome a new group of students to campus and give them an educational, inclusive, safe and enjoyable introduction to life on campus and the Kingston community," she says. "To do this, all of our student organizers and leaders receive training to handle a variety of situations in many different areas such as inclusivity, safety, accessibility and mental health."

The first part of the week, university orientation, begins with the Queen's Welcomes U event, the evening of Sunday, Aug. 31, after residence move-in. University orientation days continue on Monday, Sept. 1 and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

University orientation days are co-ordinated by the Student Affairs staff in the Student Experience Office (SEO) who work with Residence Life staff and dons, Residence Society members, and the AMS First Years Not In Residence (FYNIR) student group to ensure students living in residence and off-campus are introduced to their new home and life at Queen'™s and in Kingston.

After university orientation, new students can take part in their faculty-specific orientation days, which run Wednesday, Sept. 3 through Saturday, Sept. 6. Events during faculty orientation days are co-ordinated by the AMS Orientation Roundtable (ORT), comprising student leader representatives from all faculties and schools, as well as incoming exchange, transfer and Bader International Study Centre students.

"œTraining for faculty orientation week leaders is a fundamental part of equipping these students with the knowledge needed to assist in achieving the goals of our orientation week," says Erin Maguire, AMS Orientation Roundtable Co-ordinator. "The AMS looks forward to helping provide incoming students with a solid foundation for a successful academic and social transition to Queen's."

For more information on orientation week at Queen's, visit http://www.queensu.ca/orientation/. More information on the inclusivity and accessibility training provided to all orientation leaders can be found on the Accessibility Hub.

Report advocates improved police training

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

A new report released yesterday by the Mental Health Commission of Canada identifies ways to improve the mental health training and education that police personnel receive.

“People with mental illnesses is a prominent issue for Canada's police community, and today's report builds on the increasingly collaborative relationship between law enforcement and people with mental illnesses,” says Queen’s adjunct professor Dorothy Cotton, a forensic psychologist with an interest in the area of police psychology. “This is a gap-analysis tool that police academy and police services can use to improve their education and training.”

Dorothy Cotton has released a new report on the police and people with mental illness.

TEMPO: Police Interactions – A report towards improving interactions between police and people living with mental health problems includes several key recommendations:

  • That police learning be designed and delivered by a combination of police personnel, adult educators, mental health professionals, mental health advocacy organizations and people living with mental illness.
  • More uniform inclusion of non-physical interventions (verbal communications, interpersonal skills, de-escalation, defusing and calming techniques) in use-of-force training.
  • The incorporation of anti-stigma education to challenge the attitudinal barriers that lead to discriminatory action.
  • That provincial governments establish policing standards that include provision for mandatory basic and periodic police training qualification/requalification for interactions with people with mental illness.
  • Provision of training on the role of police, mental health professionals, family and community supports in encounters with persons with mental illness.
  • That training provides a better understanding of the symptoms of mental illness and the ability to assess the influence a mental illness might be having on a person's behaviour and comprehension.

“The most important part of the report and what comes after is making sure people living with mental illness are involved in the delivery of training,” says Dr. Cotton, who earned a Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizing her work in relation to interactions between police and people with mental illness.

The TEMPO report is the result of a comprehensive survey of Canadian police organizations; a literature review; an international comparative review of police learning programs; and direct interviews with a variety of police and mental health professionals.

The report was launched at the 109th annual conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). Read the full TEMPO report here

Queen's professor receives prestigious national grant

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer
 
Queen'™s University international security expert Stéfanie von Hlatky (Political Studies) has received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), one of only three professors to ever receive funding from the Partnership Development Grant in the program'™s four-year history.
 
The director of Queen'™s Centre for International and Defence Policy received $199,944 over three years to study corporate social responsibility practices within the mining industry.
 
Stefanie von Hlatky has earned a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant.
"There is a growing recognition from industry stakeholders and community actors for the need to develop holistic security approaches to manage projects in conflict-prone environments," says Dr. von Hlatky, pointing to recent events in Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Tanzania. "Given Canada's involvement in the mining sector, this project will focus on the extractive industries as a test case and will help community-level stakeholders and the private sector to anticipate and manage security problems everywhere they operate."
 
The research project identifies four objectives:
  • Promoting cross-sector knowledge exchanges on core security themes by undertaking field research and organizing practical workshop 
  • Creating a framework to address conflict prevention and conflict management as part of corporate social responsibility activities
  • Training and mentoring emerging security experts by providing hands-on methods training and internship opportunities for professional development
  • Disseminating the team's research findings through proactive engagement with non-academic stakeholders, from governments to local communities.
"œI was thrilled with the news that Dr. von Hlatky had been successful in her application for such competitive funding," says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). "She has been doing tremendous work in the international security field and her research also contributes and enhances Queen's leadership in promoting safe and successful communities, a major theme of the Strategic Research Plan."
 
Six institutional partners will contribute to the research project: the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen's (CIDP), the McGill/Universite de Montreal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the Center for Security Governance (CSG) and Rio Tinto.
 
See all the successful applicants here.

Queen's grad finalist for British art award

By Communications staff

A Queen'™s University graduate is in the running for one of Britain's most prestigious art awards.

Ciara Phillips (Artsci'00) is one of four artists who made the shortlist for the Turner Prize earlier this year.

Ciara Phillips is the first Canadian-born artist to make the short list for the Turner Prize. Photo Tate Britain

Currently living in Glasgow, Scotland, Ms. Phillips received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Queen'™s before earning a Master of Fine Art in 2004 at the Glasgow School of Art.

Ms. Phillips, the first Canadian-born finalist in the award'™s 30-year history, is nominated for her exhibition Workshop at The Showroom in London, where she turned the gallery into a print workshop, bringing in other artists designers and even local women'™s groups to make prints with her.

Her work often involves a range of media including screenprints, photos, textiles and wall paintings.

The Turner Prize is awarded annually to an artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of his or her work in the previous year. None of the four artists are "˜big names"™ in the art world, which falls in line with the award'™s aim of promoting "œpublic discussion of new developments in contemporary British art."

A special exhibition featuring the work of the nominees will be held at Tate Britain from Sept. 30 to Jan. 4. The winner of the £25,000 prize will be announced Dec. 1. Each of the other nominees will receive £5,000.

Also making the shortlist are Duncan Campbell; James Richards; and Tris Vonna-Michell.

Emerging researchers earn national support

Three doctoral candidates and a researcher recently received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships while a researcher received a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. From left: Midori Ogasawara; Oluwatobiloba “Tobi” Moody; Tyler Cluff; and Mike Best. Supplied photos

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Four promising Queen’s researchers recently won national awards.

Doctoral candidates Mike Best, Oluwatobiloba “Tobi” Moody and Midori Ogasawara each received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships worth $50,000 per year over the next three years. The federal government established the program in 2008 to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to make Canada world-renowned for excellence in research and higher learning.

The same day the Vanier Scholars were announced, Tyler Cluff learned he was the recipient of a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, a bursary program that provides funding to the top postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country's economic, social and research based growth.

Dr. Cluff will receive $70,000 per year over the next two years, which will allow him to test promising new ideas in movement neuroscience, including how humans use sensory information about their bodies and the world around them to make skilled movements.

“This research will not only help us understand basic aspects of motor control and learning, but may lead to advancements in neurological assessment tools and treatment options for movement impaired individuals,” says Dr. Cluff, who is a member of Dr. Stephen Scott’s Laboratory of Integrative Motor Behaviour (LIMB) in Queen’s Centre for Neuroscience Studies.

As a Vanier Scholar, Mr. Best (Psychology) plans to build on his master’s thesis that found members of the general population have an early neurobiological bias towards the speech of people with schizophrenia that results in reduced attention and processing of what someone with schizophrenia is saying. This bias could be a major factor in understanding why people with schizophrenia are excluded, he says.

“Receiving the Vanier CGS provides me with the freedom and financial support to focus more thoroughly on conducting and disseminating my research,” says Mr. Best, who won this year’s Queen’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition. “Social exclusion can be devastating for people with psychosis. With the support of this award I can continue to expand my work to reduce social exclusion and improve the lives of millions of people living with psychosis.”

Mr. Moody (Law) is analyzing the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, the legal framework that is intended to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Mr. Moody is examining biopiracy debates as well as ongoing related efforts to protect traditional knowledge in international forums. He argues that a coherent global intellectual property system is critical for the Nagoya Protocol’s effective implementation and, ultimately, for the effective protection of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

“The Vanier Scholarship represents to me a humbling affirmation of the significance and importance of my current research within the context of ongoing international efforts to address the effective protection of the traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources of indigenous peoples and local communities,” says Mr. Moody, a Nigerian by birth who started his PhD in the Faculty of Law in September 2012. “I am elated as the Scholarship will equip me with resources to enable me participate in relevant conferences and will afford me the opportunity to devote maximum time and concentration to the development of quality research in this area.”

Ms. Ogasawara (Sociology) is examining the development of national identification systems in Japan from the colonial times to today. The focus of her PhD will be the origins developed in Manchu-kuo, an area of northeast China occupied by the Japan from the 1920s to 1945, as well as the roles of the national ID systems in relation to the colonization then and neoliberal economy nowadays.

“I am very excited to receive a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship because it enables my research to expand to a geographically wider scope and pursue the historical understanding,” says Ms. Ogasawara. “As an international student who has a domestic responsibility for a young child, there would be no other scholarships that could support me in the same way as the Vanier scholarship does.”


 

 

The ethics of driverless cars

 By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer

Jason Millar, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Philosophy, spends a lot of time thinking about driverless cars. Though you aren’t likely to be able to buy them for 10 years, he says there are a number of ethical problems that need to be tackled before they go mainstream.

“This isn’t an issue for the next generation, it’s happening right now. Driverless cars are on the road in certain jurisdictions as they’re being prepared for a mass market,” says Millar, whose dissertation focuses on robot ethics and the implications of increasingly autonomous machinery. “These cars promise safety benefits, but I’m interested in what happens to the cars in a difficult situation, one where lives are on the line.”

Illustration by Craig Berry.

To explore this problem he created a thought experiment, called the Tunnel Problem, which attracted hundreds of thousands of readers and commenters online. The Tunnel Problem reworks ethical philosophy’s Trolley Problem.

The setup is this: You are driving in an autonomous car along a narrow road, headed towards a one-lane tunnel when a child errantly runs on to the road and trips. The car cannot brake fast enough to avoid hitting the child and so it must decide whether to swerve off the road, effectively harming you, or remain driving straight, harming the child.

“This is a problem with only bad outcomes that even a human driver cannot easily solve,” says Mr. Millar. “What’s particularly useful about this situation is that it focuses our attention on a design question, as the car will be programmed to respond a certain way — I want to ask who should make the decision about the car’s response.”

After initially posting his article on Robohub.org, the site ran a poll to gauge readers’ responses and rationales as to who should render the judgement.

“A near majority responded that the passenger in the car should have the right to make the decision about whether to swerve or not, and only about 12 per cent suggested it should be up to the car’s designers,” he says. A full third of respondents said it should be left up to lawmakers and legislators to make the call.

“That so many people were willing to trust a life and death situation to politicians and lawmakers really surprised me,” Mr. Millar says. “Many of them said they wanted a standard behaviour so that people would know what to expect in that situation, while others simply wanted someone else to make the decision and take it off their hands.”

The Tunnel Problem is just one of a series of problems that Millar foresees being an issue with driverless cars. “There’s also the problem of who’s culpable when a car crashes. If we maintain current standards of product liability, then the fault will tend to lie with the manufacturer, but we may also shift to a system where we consider the robot at fault,” he says.

It’s a possibility, but Millar says the future of driverless cars is far from certain. “Holding the robot responsible may be less satisfying for those with a mind for punitive justice.”
 

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