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Sounds and sights

Matt Rogalsky]
 The Faculty Artist Series starts Sunday, Oct. 14 with the concert ‘Visitations and Revisitations: Matt Rogalsky and Friends’ at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Supplied photo)

A highly-versatile composer and sound artist, Matt Rogalsky is well known for his work with a wide range of performers and arts organizations. 

A continuing adjunct assistant professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music, Rogalsky also received one of the first Mayor’s Arts Awards in 2017 for his multifaceted and generous approach to creating music.

Also being hosted at the Isabel is the sound installation 'Discipline' by composer, sound artist and continuing adjunct assistant professor at the Dan School of Drama and Music Matt Rogalsky. (Supplied photo) 

On Sunday, Oct. 14, Rogalsky leads off the Faculty Artist Series with a concert titled: ‘Visitations and Revisitations: Matt Rogalsky and Friends’ at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, starting at 2:30 pm.

In curating the concert, Rogalsky invited Kingston composers and visual artists, Julia Krolik, Owen Fernley, Robert Mulder and Queen’s Music Professor Emeritus Kristi Allik to take part. The end result is a concert that will stimulate both the eyes and ears, using the surround-sound capabilities of the Isabel Concert Hall to full potential. Violinist, Gisèle Dalbec-Szczesniak, and cellist, Jeff Hamacher, will also be featured performers in compositions that integrate live instruments with electroacoustic music.

“My pieces on the ‘Visitations and Revisitations’ programme continue lines of work that seems to inevitably revolve around explorations and honourings of place, people, and memory,” Rogalsky says about the concert. “Two pieces stem from other lines of research which have been ongoing for some years. All the works combine elements of acoustic and electronic sound, where the electronic sound is often derived from underlying acoustic sources which may be revealed or remain unheard.”

Four of the compositions are accompanied by graphical projections by Krolik and Fernley, which respond to sound in real time.

The Isabel has also provided support in presenting Rogalsky’s sound installation “Discipline” in the Art and Media Lab in conjunction with the concert.  The installation features 12 beautiful electric guitars and is accessible during intermission and after the concert and will remain open to the public Oct. 15-19, from 10 am-4 pm.

Tickets are available from the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Queen’s receives more than $15.5 million for discovery science

The Government of Canada invests $558 million in NSERC’s Discovery Grants programs, including $15.5 million in support of Queen’s researchers.

Chemistry research
 More than 70  faculty and students across disciplines at Queen’s are receiving a combined $15.5 million in discovery research funding from the Government of Canada. (University Communications)

Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan announced an historic investment of $558 million in discovery research funding on Tuesday, Oct. 9, as part of the Government of Canada’s plan to attract global talent, promote diversity, and fuel discovery and innovation in science.

• The 70+ Queen’s researchers (faculty and students) have been funded through NSERC’s Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Research Tools and Instruments Grants, and Discovery Grant Northern Research Supplements, as well as Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships
• The $558 million research investment announced Oct. 9 includes $70 million in new funding from Budget 2018. The grants go toward NSERC discovery programs, graduate and postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and research tools and instruments
• This investment also includes $5.4 million in funding to more than 400 Early Career Researchers in the first year of their Discovery Grants to help them launch their careers
• Investments in science are essential to innovation and to the economic strength of a country

Supported through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grant programs, the funding will provide over 4,000 researchers and students across the country with the means to pursue world-leading scientific work. This includes the more than 70  faculty and students across disciplines at Queen’s whose funding amounts to more than $15.5 million.

“Through this historic investment, Queen’s researchers will have the resources and tools to tackle questions of critical importance to Canada – from food safety to protecting the nation’s coastal waters,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  

According to NSERC, this is the largest investment in research from the funding agency this year and it includes $70 million in new funding announced in Budget 2018. With this investment, the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to science by giving more support to researchers and students

“Canada supports science and our talented researchers. Today, we are delivering on our historic investment in research and in the next generation of scientists. These remarkable researchers and students we are celebrating are working to make the world a better place and to secure a brighter future for all Canadians,” says Minister Duncan.

For more information on the Discovery Grants programs, visit the NSERC website.

The Conversation: Sex-ed is crucial to the rights of children

Young people need to get the most comprehensive and contemporary information about relationships and sexual activity.

[Sex-ed in the classroom]
Sex-ed in schools can help teach the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. (NeONBRAND/Unsplash)

Young people today live in a complex, fast-paced and perpetually connected world and face issues and pressures that were not even anticipated two decades ago.

They need a brand of sex education that is responsive to current realities, behaviours and pressures so they can get the most comprehensive and contemporary information about the issues that they will face and are facing in making decisions about relationships and sexual activity.

Public lecture
Valerie Michaelson and three of her colleagues hosted Your Body. Whose Rules? a public lecture designed to explore the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum through the lens of children’s rights, on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
A keynote lecture was given by Rebecca Bromwich, Program Director of the Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.
“Rather than having a debate about which adult holds the power, it’s the wellbeing of children that needs to be at the forefront of this discussion,” says Dr. Michaelson.
The main focus of the public lecture was the rights of young people. Dr. Michaelson says that children and youth should be asked to help identify the most pressing issues they face in their lives in relation to the curriculum, and that they have a right to have a say in how, what and when they learn about matters related to their own health and well-being, including learning about their bodies.
“We need to reach children early. It’s critical that even in elementary school we create a culture of consent and also teach children about healthy relationships. This event was not so much about starting a movement as it was drawing from our various disciplinary lenses to contribute to an important conversation that is already going on."

Yet value-laden debates have recently resurfaced on the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum, with attention focused on sex-ed. Political parties with opposing arguments often zoom in on cultural, moral, religious and family values, but for our children and youth, the stakes are much higher.

Research shows that comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) helps young people understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, and gives them tools to help protect them from violence and non-consensual sexual activity. When a young person has been abused, it helps them know how to get help.

Some of the aims of teaching comprehensive sexuality education are to empower and equip young people to “develop respectful social and sexual relationships,” to “consider how their choices affect their own well-being and that of others” and to help them protect their own rights as well as those of others.

Having relevant and current information is crucial to setting young people on a healthy path for life. It helps them learn to respect their own bodies and emerging sexuality and that of others, and it factors in on decisions around sexual activity.

What’s religion got to do with it?

Religion is sometimes raised as the reason for removing young people from sex-ed. Some religious leaders and parents might say their religion opposes certain teachings about sex. But religious groups are diverse and varied.

Religion is not against sex education. One Australian study shows that religious young people usually say they want to know about sex, even as they also want to maintain the religious values of their families.

Some worry that sex-ed might increase sexual activity among youth. Yet globally, a great many studies show that the provision of accurate CSE is associated with delayed sexual activity – not early. Evidence shows that youth who are taught sex-ed delay sexual activity, and for those who are sexually engaged, it reduces the number of sexual partners and unplanned pregnancies and increases the use of contraception.

Sex-ed is also directly linked with increased levels of autonomy, confidence, emotional well-being and better communication in adolescent relationships. Each young person has to make important decisions about their sexuality and sexual health, or will at some point in the future. Having accurate information is essential to their ability to make these decisions in a way that protects not only their health and well-being, but their dignity.

Equipping young people with sex-ed knowledge is something that many religious leaders and people of faith would argue is core to their beliefs. What can sometimes look like a “public contest” between religion and sex is often narrowly portrayed and reinforces the assumption that religion and sex only exist in tension. This is just not true.

Here in Ontario, many religious leaders have spoken out in support of CSE, including more than 250 United Church clergy. When the revised curriculum was first introduced in 2015, members of the Muslim community in Toronto also spoke out in support of it.

Rabea Murtaza, one of the founders of Muslims for Ontario’s Health and Physical Education Curriculum, said: “Curriculum is an opportunity for Muslim families to have mutual, two-way dialogue about values, relationships, marriage and sexuality.”

These voices, and more, see sex-ed not as an attack on anyone’s religion, culture or values, but as evidence-based lessons that complement the unique values of each family and community.

[Sex-ed in Ontario schools]
Sex-ed can equip and empower young people to make healthy and safe choices about their sexuality for themselves and for others. (Simeon Jacobson/Unsplash)

Barriers to sexual health

Internationally, overcoming barriers to contemporary, comprehensive sexuality education is a strategic and growing priority. One of the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to have CSE available for all children.

Globally, advocates argue for things that we may take for granted in Canada: that adolescents must have their bodies respected, and must be able to make their own decisions around choice of partner, and whether and when to be sexually active, marry or have children.

Worldwide, adolescents face significant barriers in these areas.At least 23 million girls aged 15 to 19 have an unmet need for modern contraception, which is largely due to the social stigma associated with sexuality education and any discussion of premarital sex. The leading cause of death in this age group is related to unsafe abortions and pregnancy complications..

Ignoring the rights of children

This highly political battle has been centred on which group of adults has the power to determine the information that children will hear. Setting up discussions about what children should learn in school as a battle between various “authorities” misses a fundamental aspect of what is at stake: the health, sexuality, involvement, self-expression and rights of our youth.

International treaty obligations, Canadian constitutional rights under the Charter, and human rights legislation do not explicitly mention sex-ed curriculum. However, it is a matter of law, both domestically and under international treaty obligations, specifically those outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, that children are persons with rights to make choices for themselves.

Ultimately, when we are talking about bodily autonomy, health and consent, it is not the rights, beliefs or values of adults in authority, but the power of youths themselves to make informed decisions about, and protect, their own bodies, that should be the focus of education.

Children and youth are no one’s property. They own their own bodies and have legal rights to information, freedom of expression, identity and autonomy.

We need to stop using health education as a political tool deployed in the interests of winning elections and focus instead on the interests of the next generation.


Valerie Michaelson is a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Religion and Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen's. Colleen M. Davison is an assistant professor of Global Public Health at Queen’s.  Pamela Dickey Young is a professor of Religious Studies and acting director, Queen’s School of Religion.

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

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

Beauty of research resonates on campus

  • Art of Research photo exhibit
    Photos from the Art of Research contest are featured in a travelling, pop-up photo exhibit currently being held on the first floor of Stauffer Library.
  • Art of Research building banner
    New building banners highlighting Queen's research were recently placed on prominent buildings, including Stauffer Library and Grant Hall.
  • Art of Research light post pennants
    A series of four pennants, featuring photos from the Art of Research contest, adorn the light posts along University Avenue.

Every day impactful, cutting-edge research is being conducted at Queen’s and the university wants everyone to know about it.

Enter a new multi-faceted campaign on campus aimed at promoting and celebrating the groundbreaking work of the university’s researchers.

“Research is core to the foundation of Queen’s as an institution, yet much of the work takes place where it isn’t easily accessible to the public – in labs, archives, and in the field,” says Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives. “While many of our research promotion initiatives are aimed at external stakeholders, the goal of this campaign is to showcase the breadth and impact of our research to the Queen’s and Kingston communities, while at the same time adding a little more beauty to campus.”

Other building banners and light pole pennants around campus are highlighting a pair of celebrations – the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Education and the 125th anniversary of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

At the heart of Queen’s, building banners celebrating award-winning research don Grant Hall and Stauffer library. Pole pennants have also been installed on the light posts along University Avenue, featuring images from the Art of Research photo contest. Each year the popular photo contest provides faculty, students, alumni, and staff the opportunity to showcase their research, scholarly, and artistic work. It also provides many amazing photos.

Together, the new banners cover a wide array of research – from arts and humanities to physics to cancer and health sciences to biodiversity and climate change.

The first image, Santa Fina, was taken by Una D’Elia, a faculty member in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation, at Musei Civici in San Gimignano, Italy. The striking image shows a marble bust of a saint by sculptor Pietro Torrigiani, a competitor of Michelangelo.

The second image, Leaving Home, features a spheroid of cancer cells embedded in a 3D protein matrix as seen through a microscope. Taken by Eric  Lian, a PhD  student in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, individual cells can be seen radiating away on all sides.

The third image, Razorbill, was captured by Brody Crosby, a Master’s student in the Department of Biology during fieldwork on seabirds in Witless Bay, Nfld. Mistakenly assuming the approaching researchers were its parents, the razorbill chick is captured as it begs for a meal.

The fourth image is a rendition of the universe, and captures the work of researchers elucidating the fundamental building blocks of the universe, shedding light on things we cannot see.

The Art of Research is also being featured in a travelling, pop-up photo exhibit currently being held on the first floor of Stauffer Library. Offering a large selection of photos from the last three years of the contest, the exhibit highlights the diversity of research happening across campus.

The photo exhibit will subsequently be on display in Grant Hall for Homecoming, Oct. 19-21, and then in the Lederman Law Library, Oct. 22-Nov. 5.

The exhibit is also available to campus partners throughout the year for events and display purposes.

For more information on research at Queen’s or the Art of Research photo contest, visit the website.

A member of the prestigious U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, Queen’s has a long history of unmistakable discovery and innovation that has shaped our knowledge and helped address some of the world’s deepest mysteries and most pressing questions

Tiny idea a big winner for student team

{SURP Team]
A team of four master's students from the Queen's School of Urban and Regional planning recently received the top prize from a contest hosted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Clockwise from top left: Lindsay Allman; Andrew Eberhard; Peter Huan; and Gabrielle Snow. 

Four master’s students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) at Queen’s University have won the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) challenge to bring fresh and innovative ideas to creating affordable rental housing in Canada.

The team, which earned the full award of $10,000 for their project Compact Homes: Innovative Solutions Solving the Affordability Challenge, included Lindsay Allman (MPL’18), Andrew Eberhard (MPL’18), Peter Huan (MPL’18), and Gabrielle Snow (MPL’19).  The Queen’s team was one of only three top prize winners from across Canada.

[Tiny house by TinyWorld.com]
The SURP team proposed a community of compact homes as a solution for the shortage of affordable housing. (Photo by tinyworld.com)

Ms. Allman says that “providing safe, affordable, and equitable housing for all is one of Canada’s greatest challenges.” The team’s CMHC project addresses that challenge by proposing “an innovative tiny home community” that leverages existing programs and unused sites in the city to produce homes at rents based on the incomes of single people struggling to find an affordable place to live.

The team learned about the CMHC challenge in Patricia Streich’s housing course last term. Dr. Streich offered her students the opportunity to participate in the challenge as an option in her course to learn more about Canada’s new National Housing Strategy launched in 2017.

Ms. Allman explained that the team members decided to compete in the challenge because of their own experience as students in urban planning living in Kingston:

“We have experienced first-hand the anxiety of searching for a room on a tight budget and we have learned about how inter-generational poverty is difficult to escape,” she says. “My team and I felt that it is our responsibility as planners to bring new housing ideas to the table.”

Kingston was the project’s case study site, and the location is just one of the many innovative aspects of the proposal.

“The idea of small homes is not new, but so far they have been built mainly in rural areas and on the outskirts of urban areas,” Dr. Streich sasys. “Building tiny homes within the city for low-income single people has not been proposed before.”

The case study in Kingston is also groundbreaking in terms of housing affordability and financing. Compact homes are much cheaper to build than apartment buildings and constructing the homes on vacant sites reduces costs for homes where residents are close to existing city services. The units can be constructed to meet stringent accessibility, environmental efficiency and sustainability requirements.

Perhaps most importantly to the team members and stakeholders, the model works for rent geared to income tenants with private market financing and does not require ongoing subsidies from governments. As a result, says Ms. Allman, it is “an approach to housing that provides equitable opportunities for all.”

The experience of participating in the challenge and the sense of responsibility for creating affordable housing for Canadians is something that the team members will take with them as they move forward in their careers as urban planners. Ms. Allman says she intends “to continue to advocate for affordable housing” and that she hopes that post-secondary students continue to engage with CMHC to bring innovative ideas to life.

For more information about the School of Urban and Regional Planning, visit the SURP website.

For more information about the challenge, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website

Honouring courageous women

The federal government unveiled an initiative Tuesday designed to pay tribute to more than 100 Canadian women.

  • [Queen's University Status of Women Maryam Monsef Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
    Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, asks students what they would tell their younger selves. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University QFLIP co-chairs Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
    Queen's Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) co-chairs speak with Professor Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University Status of Women Maryam Monsef Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
    A panel including Minister Monsef, Professor Goodyear-Grant, peace advocate Alaa Murabit, Cuddles for Cancer founder Faith Dickinson, and military trailblazer Louise Fish. (University Communications)
  • [Queen's University Status of Women Maryam Monsef Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
    Various reporters attended the announcement and discussion session. (University Communications)

They come from coast to coast, from a wide variety of fields and disciplines, and from nearly every decade of our country's more than 150-year history.

They are the Women of Impact in Canada, part of a new initiative unveiled by the Ministry of Status of Women as part of Women’s History Month. Minister Maryam Monsef visited Queen’s on Tuesday to unveil an online gallery which includes photos, stories, and quotes from prominent Canadian women. The gallery inspired the theme for this year’s Women’s History Month, which is “Make an impact”.

“Whether reaching for success in fields as diverse as STEM, the arts, and politics, or paving the way for others as trailblazers and human rights defenders, all the women that we celebrate in the Women of Impact in Canada gallery have something in common: courage,” says Minister Monsef. “Their accomplishments are an inspiration and their stories are a call to action, reminding each of us of the potential we have to make an impact and change the world.”

Minister Monsef also encouraged the dozens present to go online to the Status of Women website to view the gallery, and consider submitting a name for consideration. She noted the gallery will continue to evolve, and hopefully serve as a valuable resource to educators.

The ministry partnered with Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) student group to host the launch announcement and panel discussion at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Queen’s has connections to 17 of the featured women of impact, including a number of honorary degree recipients.

Later this month, the federal government will recognize International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, and Persons Day on Oct. 18 – which marks the day when women were included in the legal definition of “persons.”

Read more about this event in this preview article in the Queen's Gazette.

Women of impact

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre will host an announcement by Canada’s Minister of Status of Women on Tuesday.

[Women of Impact]
The federal government is honouring a number of "Women of Impact in Canada", and seeking nominations of additional women to honour. (Supplied Photo)

Editor's note: This event was originally scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1 and has been moved to Tuesday, Oct. 2.

A number of Canadian women of impact will visit Queen’s next week, in a sense.

To launch Women’s History Month in Canada, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister of Status of Women, will make an announcement at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on Tuesday.

She will launch a Government of Canada initiative called the “Women of Impact in Canada” Gallery – an online museum exhibit where Canadians can learn about and celebrate the accomplishments of women in fields ranging from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); arts; politics; human rights; and women who were trailblazers in new fields. Some prominent Queen’s women appear in the group, including Suzanne Fortier – the university’s former Vice-Principal (Academic) and Vice-Principal (Research) who is now the Principal of McGill University.

Minister Monsef will be hosted by the Queen’s Female Leadership in Politics (QFLIP) student group. Co-chair Meredith Wilson-Smith and Frannie Sobcov were contacted by the Minister’s office earlier this week about the announcement.

“We’re thrilled and proud to have the opportunity to work with Status of Women Canada to amplify the representation of these Canadian women and leaders whose successes often go under-recognized,” says Ms. Wilson-Smith. “The Women of Impact initiative shows every Canadian that women have always had the ability to make trailblazing strides in the face of sociocultural barriers.”

[Queen's University Agnes Etherington Art Centre QFLIP]
Frannie Sobcov and Meredith Wilson-Smith. (University Communications)

“Meaningful relationships between organizations such as these provide an incredible chance for discourse on our shared passion of women’s political leadership,” adds Ms. Sobcov. “It’s an honour to launch Women’s History Month with a woman like Minister Monsef—a living example that age, nationality, and gender are not impediments to a political career in Canada, but rather assets and opportunities.”

The Women of Impact gallery is a living initiative, meaning that Canadians can also nominate a woman of impact in their communities by completing a form on the government’s website.

Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, faculty supervisor for QFLIP, says she was “very excited and honoured” that the Minister will be launching the gallery and Women’s History Month at Queen’s, and believes the gallery is an important initiative.

“Most immediately, it is important because it serves a role modelling function for younger women and girls who will see people like them in all types of roles and fields, particularly in roles as innovators and leaders,” she says. “Also, research is clear that women are less comfortable talking about and promoting their own achievements – so it’s important to have initiatives that ensure women’s achievements receive due recognition.”

The unveiling of the online gallery will take place Tuesday. Oct. 2 at 10 am at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the event is open to the public.

Visit the Women of Impact in Canada website for a full listing of honorees.

Opening up the Nuremberg Chronicle

[Nuremberg Chronicle]
A hand-coloured 1493 edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle is now part of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection. A lecture on the book on Wednesday, Oct. 10 is open to the public. (Supplied Photo)

A new course featuring one of Queen’s University Library’s newest acquisitions – a hand-coloured 1493 edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle that is now part of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection – is opening its doors to the public for an upcoming class.

Members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities are invited to join professors Sharday Mosurinjohn and Richard Ascough (Queen’s School of Religion) and their students for a lecture in Religion and Art (RELS 345) on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 11:30 am at the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections in Douglas Library. The event, and the Nuremberg Chronicle, will be introduced by Principal Daniel Woolf.

In their remarks, Dr. Ascough and Dr. Mosurinjohn will explore multiple facets of the Nuremberg Chronicle, known as one of the most important and extensively illustrated books of the 15th century.

For 15th century readers it was a chronicon – a history – made of text and image. As an artefact, the book embodies an important story, one of both the fracturing of Europe along socio-political and religious lines and its expansion through trade and exploration – aspects of the globalization we see today.

Yet another story is that of the book itself, which has been around the world and in the hands of many owners and readers in its 500-year lifetime. The Queen’s copy is a stunningly beautiful volume in Latin printed by Anton Koberger on July 12, 1493 and hand-coloured in 1521 by its one-time owner Johann Kruyshaar of Lippstadt (1484-1555), better known as Joannes Cincinnius, a Westphalian humanist, author and scholar of considerable significance. It is a large first edition folio containing 1,809 woodcuts, ranging in size from small medallion portraits to large double-page maps. Joannes Cincinnius’ marginal notes are found intermittently throughout the text.

While there are more than 1,240 extant copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle in Latin and 1,580 of it in German, not all are hand-coloured and of those many are not signed or dated. Joannes Cincinnius’ signature and annotations make this copy unique. 

Now, residing in a collection that is part of a vast network of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, this book is not only treasured and protected but available for study as artefact, literature, and visual art. Indeed, the images of European cities, maps, portraits, and other illustrations, plus the graphic designs and printing, have made this book famous.

“We’re delighted that our students have access to this inspiring book, and that we’re able to draw upon it in our course to connect ideas across disciplines and cultures,” says Dr. Mosurinjohn.

The Nuremberg Chronicle was acquired thanks to a generous donation from renowned philanthropist Seymour Schulich. It is one of the recent additions to the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection established by Mr. Schulich and Principal Daniel Woolf in 2016. The Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection combines more than 400 volumes from their personal collections. Mr. Schulich has also provided funds to enable additional acquisitions and exhibits, on site and online, with a goal of building and sharing one of Canada’s finest English rare book collections.

RSVP online to attend the lecture.

Learn more about the Nuremberg Chronicle at the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection website.

The Conversation: Why life insurance companies want your Fitbit data

Fitbit data
Insurance companies have been keeping track the physical activities of customers, but previous initiatives were pilot projects. (Photo: Unsplash/John Schnobrich)

I recently predicted that health data from electronic sources could soon be compiled into a health or wellness report and shared with insurance companies to help them determine who they’ll cover.

And now John Hancock, the U.S. division of Canadian insurance giant Manulife, requires customers to use activity trackers for life insurance policies in their Vitality program if they want to get discounts on their premiums and other perks.

Customers can withhold their fitness data, but that will result in higher premiums, which may put life insurance out of reach for low-income earners. This in turn could have an impact on whether would-be homeowners can take out mortgages, some of which can require a life insurance policy on the principle borrower.

The fact that insurance companies track the physical activities of customers has been making headlines for years, but previous initiatives were pilot projects.

Now, customers who don’t want to offer up their health data to John Hancock have two choices: Don’t report it and pay higher premiums, or go somewhere else for their insurance.

But what’s going to happen if other companies follow suit?

Figuring out when you’re having sex?

Your privacy will be infringed upon by apps that pass on to your insurer all of the activities you do while wearing your smartwatch.

That could include steps walked, heart rate, blood pressure – your insurer may even be able to figure out when you’re having sex.

This is nothing new. We’ve long known that wearable technology records “data about you and your condition, activities and day-to-day choices.”

And we know that that data collected by these devices and through our internet activities “continually leak.” In fact, researchers have discovered that 70 per cent of third-party apps collect data that can then be used to create a profile of buying and spending habits.

So is it really a problem that customers use wearable technology like Fitbit and report their healthy activities, such as workouts and healthy eating, to their insurer?

Well, yes. One problem is that this information is not always correct. Fitbit itself acknowledges that “the algorithm is designed to look for intensity and motion patterns that are most indicative of people walking and running” and that it may not always be accurate in reporting other activities, such as riding a bike or working.

Then there’s the question of what happens with your premiums if you stop engaging in these activities. How much time will insurance companies allow women to recover from childbirth before they have to get back to their insurance plan’s requirements for physical activity?

What about people recovering from joint replacements or heart surgery? How long will these people have before their premiums go up?

Active Seniors
Older adults’ exercise activities may not be accurately detected by wearable technology. (Photo: Unsplash/Lucie Hosova)

Older adults at risk

Older adults are especially vulnerable to this sort of data-based gatekeeping. The glitches in wearable technology’s data collection may be amplified with older people, whose exercise behaviour might not be as strenuous as that of younger adults, and therefore subject to more recording errors.

In addition to the potential under-recording of their fitness activities, many people over 65 years old have at least one illness, which, when combined with data errors, may make them ineligible for discounted insurance programs. This could change the retirement opportunities for many older adults.

And what about the healthy lifestyles that insurance companies reward their customers for living?

Diet, fitness and medication regimes go in and out of favour. Taking “baby aspirin,” for example, to prevent heart attacks and stroke has recently been shown to be ineffective for healthy adults.

Another example of the fickleness of health trends involves healthy eating guru Brian Wansink, who’s had some academic articles retracted, including those that told us not to go grocery shopping when we’re hungry and not to use large bowls when we’re eating.

This all suggests that the food and activity choices of insurance companies are linked to scholarly research.

Conflict of interest?

But what happens if a multinational business owns both insurance and manufacturing companies? Is it possible that insurance perks and discounts could be linked to purchases from their subsidiaries, disguised as “health initiatives?”

In other words, the insurer could reward customers for adhering to a health regimen that might be helpful, but could also be bogus or, in the worst-case scenario, harmful or exploitative while financially benefiting the insurance company.

If legislators don’t get involved, Big Business could end up literally dictating to us what we can and can’t do, or eat, if we want or need insurance.

For those who can’t afford healthy food or recreational fitness, and those who refuse to allow their data to be harvested, life insurance premiums, and other products like mortgages, may drift out of reach.The Conversation


Lisa F. Carver is and adjunct professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Post Doctoral Fellow, SSHRC-funded ACTproject at Queen’s University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation, which provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen's researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors.

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Faculty of Arts and Science publishes annual review

It has been a year to celebrate for the Faculty of Arts and Science. Increased enrolment numbers, combined with significant efforts made towards campus diversification, faculty renewal, and many more exciting initiatives are recognized and celebrated within the faculty’s 2017–2018 Annual Review. Making this year’s edition even more significant is that it marks Dean Barbara Crow’s first year at Queen’s University.

[Faculty of Arts and Science Annual Review]
The Faculty of Arts and Science Annual Review is available online.

As Dean Crow notes, there is much to celebrate within the Faculty of Arts and Science, with many new faculty- and student-centred initiatives coming to fruition “through a reinvigorated focus on research promotion, faculty renewal, and deliberative actions toward equity, diversity, and inclusivity.”

“As we embark on new initiatives, both in the classroom and with our research, the Annual Review is a fantastic way to thank everyone for and to celebrate all of the wonderful accomplishments we achieved together last year. We hope you enjoy seeing what we have been up to and where we are going. 2017–2018 has been an important transitional and transformational year.”

From increased collaboration with the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS), which led to the first-ever career summit event, Life After ArtSci, to the introduction of a suite of recruitment initiatives to support a growing graduate student community, to continued work with our Dean’s Council of amazing alumni who help provide industry insights, the Faculty of Arts and Science made great strides in terms of improving the student experience.

The faculty has celebrated many other notable accomplishments over the past year, but a few of the stand-out moments include:

The 2018–2019 year will see a sustained and expanded focus on the faculty’s priorities: equity, diversity, inclusivity, Indigeneity, international student support, and graduate enrolment. In addition to these major priorities, there will also be new initiatives centred on research prominence, graduate student experience, and financial sustainability through revenue diversification.

“At this time next year, we hope to have as many good news stories to share with you and I hope that you see the gains we are making,” says Dean Crow.

The 2017–2018 Annual Review of the Faculty of Arts and Science, is available online.


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