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A glimpse of the world

  • QUIC Photo Contest Overall Winner
    Overeall Winner: Pause, Surabaya, Indonesia - Fenton Isaacs (Artsci’17)
  • QUIC Photo Contest - Home Away From Home
    Home Away From Home: Golden Rays from Home, Montreal - Werdah Iqbal (Artsci’15)
  • QUIC Photo Contest - People and Culture
    People and Culture: Early Rider, East Sussex, England - Mitchell Gleason (Artsic’17)
  • QUIC Photo Contest - Landscape and Nature
    Landscape and Nature: The Fog in the Fairytale, Venice, Italy - Erin Colwell (Artsci’15)
  • QUIC Photo Contest - Critical Global Issues
    Critical Global Issues: Street Dogs Puppy Love, Ghana - Kelsey Ross (Artsci’15)

There is beauty to be found all around the world — from grand buildings and cities to hidden treasures and everyday life.

A panel of judges has selected the winners of the seventh annual Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) Photo Contest in the categories of People and Culture, Landscape and Nature, Home Away From Home and Critical Global Issues, as well as a grand prize winner.

Sharing international experiences with others is an important step in the building of understanding, appreciation and enjoyment across cultures.

This year’s grand prize winner Pause was taken by Fenton Isaacs (Artsci’17).

Other category winners include:

  • Home Away From Home: Werdah Iqbal (Artsci'15)
  • People and Culture: Mitchel Gleason (Artsci'17)
  • Landscape and Nature: Erin Colwell (Artsci'15)
  • Critical Global Issues: Kelsey Ross (Artsci'15)

Photos from the contest will be exhibited March 3-4 from 4-6 pm at QUIC, located in the John Deutsch University Centre. There will be a  second exhibit of selected photos (RETROSPECT ’09 -’15) at the Pump House Steam Museum in downtown Kingston from April 1-25. Admission is free with Queen’s ID.

Voting for the People's Choice Award - including continues until Friday, Feb. 27 at 4 pm. You can cast your vote by following this link.

A new way to pay GRAs

Current and former graduate students who received payments as Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) between 2008 and 2012 could be receiving a tax refund from the Canada Revenue Agency in the next few months.

Effective January 1, 2013, Queen’s has changed the way it pays GRAs, who are typically graduate students who take on research positions that support their studies and provide financial compensation.

Historically, the support GRAs received for their studies was taxed as income from employment and a T4 was issued at tax time.

The university’s decision to change its tax treatment of payments to GRAs was made to reflect the fact that GRA positions are essentially research fellowships, funded directly from research grants awarded to the faculty members who recruit and supervise graduate students.

The change in tax treatment, which is in accordance with the Canada Revenue Agency’s guidelines, makes most GRAs eligible for T4A income (fellowship income) instead of T4 income (employment income).

The change, which aligns Queen’s with practices at other universities, also benefits graduate students by reducing income tax payments and increasing take-home pay. It may make some students eligible for a retroactive tax refund for the 2008-2012 period.

The change does not apply to a GRA if the graduate student held or holds the GRA for financial gain and also was or is performing work not directly related to his or her studies. Such students continue to be classified as employees receiving T4 income. If a graduate student simultaneously holds a GRA directly supporting his/her studies as a trainee and is also a research assistant whose work is not related directly to his/her studies, the student will receive a T4A for income received as a research fellowship, as well as a T4 for the income received as an employee.

Where applicable, the Canada Revenue Agency has agreed to issue retroactive refunds automatically to affected students and alumni and there is no need for anyone to re-file a tax return.

Questions should be directed by email to GRAT4A@queensu.ca

Internship program connects Canada and China

Representatives from Queen’s, partner organizations and the Chinese embassy recently gathered at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre to celebrate the six officials from the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) who completed a six-month internship program.

Li Xu, China Projects Coordinator in the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP), Professor John Meligrana, SURP, Professor Emeritus Hok-Lin Leung, SURP, Cynthia Fekken,  Associate Vice-Principal (Research), Mao Zhongying, Science and Technology Counsellor at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada. Front row are interns Yu Haitao, Luo Jia, Zhao Daoya, Wang Dejie, Niu Chunnying, and Gao Yongbao.

The annual program, a partnership between Queen’s and the MLR, sees a group of staff from the ministry spend between three and six months in a Canadian public or private organization, working as an intern in the field of land and resource management.

“Queen’s University is proud of its collaborative role in supporting the academic component of the internship program, which enables an exchange of ideas and practices, and shared learning between interns and their host organizations,” says Cynthia Fekken, Associate Vice-Principal (Research), who was on hand to present certificates of completion to the interns.

The partnership has been in place since 1995, an initiative of Hok-Lin Leung, professor emeritus and former director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning. Queen’s and the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources recently extended this partnership with the signing of a memorandum of understanding last summer.

The Queen’s-MLR partnership also includes an internship for Queen’s student in China and a program that sees up to 50 MLR staff members and mining professionals attend a three-week training program run jointly by the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering and the Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining.

The partnership between Queen’s and the MLR is one of many that the university has developed with partners in China. Highlights include a recently established Master of Finance program with Renmin University, a semester abroad program with Fudan University, as well as a 2+2 degree program and environment research network with Tongji University. China is a priority region in Queen’s efforts to enhance its international reach.

Project grants promote partnerships

Two Queen’s researchers have received Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Strategic Project Grants.

Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry, $596,870) and her team are working on the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy. James Fraser (Physics, $408,914) and his team are improving the 3D laser manufacturing process.

Both hydrogen and oxygen need to be generated in water-splitting approaches for the generation of hydrogen fuel in the automotive industry. Dr. Crudden’s team including J. Hugh Horton (Chemistry), Pierre Kennepohl (University of British Columbia), Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz (University of Toronto) and Martin Albrecht (UCD Ireland) is designing a supported catalyst, a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected, to help complete the cycle for hydrogen generation.

“The development of viable catalysts for production of hydrogen from water using solar energy is the holy grail of energy research, and when accomplished, will revolutionize the way we generate energy, and virtually eliminate pollution from the transportation sector,” says Dr. Crudden.

Dr. Fraser is working in the field of 3D laser writing. The process scans an intense focused laser beam over a material (such as metal powder) to create a 3D metal component layer by layer directly from a computer drawing. Dr. Fraser is trying to improve this often imperfect technique.

“This type of manufacturing builds a part up layer by layer and is generally slow,” says Dr. Fraser. “If there is a defect in an early layer, for example an air gap, this might not be detected until the part was completed. The challenge is that there is a lot going on in the laser melting process –hundreds of watts of laser light, glowing liquid steel, occasional sparks and powder being ejected— so it is challenging to see with micron precision.”

To combat this problem, Dr. Fraser’s team will create and use a coherent imaging technique that views the sample through the same lens that the processing laser uses and can measure the location and changes to the surface of the part. This will reduce the component processing time. The funding also allows the training of nine researchers and students in a key field in Canadian manufacturing.

For more information on the Strategic Project Grants visit the NSERC website.

Speaking the world’s language

Campus has gotten a little more multicultural since the creation of the World Languages Club this January.

Daniel Hu and the World Languages Club want to make campus more multilingual. (University Communications)

Aimed at people who want to speak new languages and learn about world cultures, the club holds language- and culture-themed nights out of the Queen’s University International Centre. They’re hoping to spark greater interest in cross-cultural sharing and learning.

“Language is such a big thing that connects and it’s not given enough focus in our predominantly English-speaking environment,” says Daniel Hu (ArtSci ’15), the club’s president. “We want to encourage a campus culture of multilingualism.”

Leading by example, Mr. Hu, who is also chair of the Department of Literatures, Languages and Cultures’ student council, is fluent in or working on learning five different languages.

Though there are a number of smaller language clubs around campus, Mr. Hu says they struggle to maintain consistent membership and interest, something he hopes the World Languages Club can fix. Its plan is to have chapters within the club that run events about a given language or culture, such as an Oktoberfest for German and the Lunar New Year for Chinese. That way, events will be more regular, structured and the club can retain more members.

In order to make sure the events are accessible for all skill levels among speakers, they’ll utilize a rotation system. The system groups together those with similar skills and has more proficient speakers deliver lessons to those who need them.

“We would really like to build a membership that is not restricted to language concentrators and international students,” says Mr. Hu. “We want to make this opportunity available to wider Queen’s community.”

Along with culture-specific nights, the club will also hold multilingual events celebrating international exchange and the benefits of multilingualism. Complementing all events will be a spread of food related to their culture, either provided by the club or assembled by potluck.

“This is a great venue for students to get together, discuss what they’ve learned and even practice their foreign language skills,” says Dr. Donato Santeramo, Head, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

The department will be assisting and liaising with the club as it continues to grow.

More information can be found at the club’s webpage.

Flags lowered for professor emeritus, long-time supporter

Flags on campus currently lowered for Geoff Lockwood will remain lowered to honour Professor Emeritus Ronald G. Weisman and Lawson Bruce Cronk, a former member of University Council.

Dr. Weisman completed his undergraduate and PhD degrees at Michigan State University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California from 1965-66. In 1966, he joined the Department of Psychology at Queen’s. Later, he obtained a cross-appointment to the Department of Biology.

Dr. Weisman was fond of saying that he worked at Queen’s “as both man and boy.” Following approximately 35 years of service, he retired from Queen’s as professor emeritus but his prolific research career continued up to a few short months before his death. His research interests included animal learning, comparative cognition and evolutionary biology. Dr. Weisman was cofounder of the Conference on Comparative Cognition and cofounder and co-editor of its electronic journal, Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews.

Dr. Weisman’s memorial celebration will take place on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 2-4 pm at the Kingston Yacht Club (1 Maitland St.) His family invites people to post on Facebook or email condolences, stories, anecdotes, one-liners, pictures and moments that celebrate his life. Anyone wishing to become a friend of Dr. Weisman’s on Facebook, so they may post a message about him, can send a friend request and Mitchell Weisman will accept and update those requests on a regular basis. 

Memorial donation suggestions include OXFAM Canada, NPR and PBS.

Dr. Cronk possessed remarkable affection for Queen's

Dr. Cronk, Meds’47, built an illustrious career in medicine after graduating from Queen’s. He was fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. During his practicing career he was chief of medicine and president of the medical staff of Belleville General Hospital on recurring occasions, and a consultant to the Picton, Trenton, Campbellford, and Cobourg hospitals, as well as the CFB Trenton base hospital. He was involved in numerous community service projects during his lifetime. 

A cornerstone of Dr. Cronk’s philosophy was his tremendous dedication to education and its institutions generally, and medicine in particular. His remarkable support and affection for Queen’s spanned his adult life. He was permanent president of the Class of Meds’47, graduating with the gold medal in surgery; the W.W. Near and Susan Near Prize for the second highest standing throughout his medical degree program; and the Hanna Washborn Colson Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Diagnosis in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics. He was president of the Queen’s Aesculapian Society (the undergraduate body of the School of Medicine), and a member of the Queen’s Alma Mater Society executive. He was recipient of the Queen’s Tricolour Society Award and played three seasons with the Golden Gaels football team.

He was a faculty member in the School of Medicine as a clinical assistant, then lecturer, then assistant professor, from 1953 until his retirement in 1988. He was a life member of the Queen’s Grant Hall Society and a member of Queen’s University Council. In 2013, Queen’s established the Dr. Bruce Cronk Distinguished Lecture Series in his honour. This endowed annual event is designed to host eminent scholars involved with all areas of medicine. 

Visitation will be held at the John R. Bush Funeral Home (80 Highland Ave., Belleville, Ont.) on Friday, March 6 from 1-7 pm. A celebration of life ceremony will be held at Bridge Street United Church (60 Bridge St. East, Belleville, Ont.) on Saturday, March 7 at 2 pm with Rev. David Mundy officiating. It was Dr. Cronk’s wish that any donations in his memory be made to Bridge Street United Church, Doctors Without Borders or the charity of your choice. 

Victims of violence given voice in upcoming play

[If We Were Birds]
Members of the cast and production crew talk over a scene during a rehearsal for the Queen’s Drama Department’s upcoming staging of If We Were Birds at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Allie Gottlieb)

For its winter major production the Queen’s Department of Drama is staging one of the most powerful contemporary Canadian plays.

If We Were Birds is a Governor-General Award winning play by Erin Shields based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the poem that also inspired Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, and is a poetic re-telling of the myth of sisters Philomela and Procne. In Shields’ work the ancient tale is transformed into a modern parable about violence against women in times of war as revealed through a chorus of testimonials of loss and suffering.

The play was selected as it has a large female cast explains drama professor and director Kim Renders, who points out that the department is comprised primarily of women. She also says the subject matter is particularly timely because of the ongoing conversation on campuses across the country, including Queen’s, surrounding sexual assault.

It’s a powerful play, Renders says, and a great script,

As a result, one of the main challenges in the production has been how to handle the powerful testimonials. There are times when the material is so heavy that a lighter touch may be required, Renders says.

“Dealing with this script at various times, that’s the balancing act,” she says. “When do we really punch it in and drive it home to the audience with hair pulling and chest beating and when do you need to hold back and just let the words do the work by themselves.”

Months of preparations are down to the final weeks and days but there is an eagerness to take to the stage. Renders, a co-founder of Nightwood Theatre and former artistic director of Theatre Kingston, says she is impressed by how the students are approaching the play from acting and production perspectives as well as the three student assistant directors.

“I’m feeling people are taking a very responsible approach to the material, very mature, professional,” Renders says. “People are quite dedicated to the work, and there is a ton of work because one of the students, Adrienne Miller , is choreographing the chorus and another student, Deanna Choi, is creating a soundscape that goes all the way through the entire production. And she is also playing music live.”

For the assistant directors it’s a further learning experience as they step off the stage and take on wider responsibilities.

“I think that being an assistant director is a very interesting learning experience because we are observers on one part, where we are watching and learning from Kim and her decisions as well as the actors,” says Holly Molaski (Artsci’15). “With such a big cast they have so many ideas too. So I’m really trying to observe and get ideas from everyone else.”

For Colleen Rush (Artsci’15) seeing the wider scope of the production has been valuable.

“What I’ve found interesting is seeing how quickly the images take form,” she says. “I also find interesting that Holly and I have a lot of input and it matches up. There’s a lot of agreeing.”

If We Were Birds will be staged at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Performances will take place in the Studio Theatre Feb. 4-7 and 12 at 8 pm, with a matinee on Feb. 8 at 2 pm. The play will be staged in the Grand Lobby on Feb. 10 and 11 at 8 pm as well as a special “Sunrise Performance” scheduled for the morning of Feb. 7. The time has yet to be finalized.

Tickets are $22 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at theisabel.ca/tickets, at the Isabel box office (12:30-4:30 pm), or at the door prior to performances.

Playing the odds with Union Gallery

Making good art requires hard work and exceptional talent, but thanks to Union Gallery, getting good art simply requires a bit of luck. That’s the idea behind Cezanne’s Closet, Union Gallery’s annual fundraiser. Attendees of the event are entered into a draw to win artwork that has been donated by artists from Queen’s, Kingston and beyond.

Union Gallery has been open in Stauffer Library since 1994. (University Communications) 

While musicians play and hors d’oeuvres are served, those at the fundraiser get to view the available art pieces, speak to artists and track their favourites. Once everyone has made their picks, names are drawn one by one and the winners get to choose their prize.

“It’s a fantastic event,” says Jocelyn Purdie, Director, Union Gallery. “Queen’s staff, faculty, parents, alumni and community members all come out to show their support.”  

Even though everyone in attendance will win a piece eventually, there’s still a healthy spirit of competition.

“People cheer when their name gets picked and groan when it doesn’t, so we keep the atmosphere fun,” she says.

Proceeds from the event go towards supporting Union Gallery, a non-profit gallery that includes exhibits of contemporary work by students from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program as well as other student artists and professionals. Located in Stauffer Library, the gallery has professional staff, but students play a large role in its operation.

“Students are involved in every aspect of the gallery: its board of directors, its committees, its programming of displayed work and events, and the gallery’s governance,” says Ms. Purdie.

"Oh Dear ..." by Laura Rosentzveig is among the pieces available at Cezanne's Closet. 

Because Cezanne’s Closet holds such importance to the gallery, students are happy to make a contribution.

“The event is a great way to support the gallery and an excellent professional opportunity for the student artists involved,” says Lindsay Wilson, BFA ’15 and the President of Union Gallery. “Cezanne’s Closet is a bridge between Queen’s and Kingston’s art communities.”

She says the event and the benefit it confers to gallery are a major boon to fine arts students.

“Union Gallery is a huge draw to the BFA program at Queen’s — getting to show your work at a professional gallery while still a student is something you otherwise don’t get a chance to do,” she says.

Cezanne’s Closet is on Saturday, Feb. 7. Tickets are $150 can be purchased from Union Gallery’s website

Screening sparks surveillance discussion

Queen’s University surveillance expert David Lyon will speak following the Kingston premiere of Citizenfour, a critically acclaimed documentary about Edward Snowden.

David Lyon is leading a discussion at The Screening Room Monday night following the screening of Citizenfour.

The Screening Room is showing the documentary by Laura Poitras, the filmmaker whom Edward Snowden first contacted with his revelations about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program. Dr. Lyon is currently writing a book, Surveillance after Snowden that examines the Snowden revelations and assesses the global response to those revelations.

“The topics and issues raised by the Snowden leaks are so important,” says Dr. Lyon, the director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s. “The details are so stunning and people need to remember, lives like ours are affected by this. Still, paranoia is not the appropriate response – we need to think about it and develop new everyday practices and political responses.”

After the screening, Dr. Lyon will lead a discussion on the movie and how the messages in the film are relevant for everyone in the room.

His new book, due out in September, aims to put the Snowden revelations in context. “We need to go behind the overall revelations and find out what it means for us and what we can do. Snowden gives us hope that something can be done.”

Wendy Huot, owner and operator of The Screening Room, is “always looking for opportunities to bring in a local expert to speak in conjunction with a film.

“Having an expert give a brief talk or conduct a Q&A transforms what would otherwise be a routine movie screening into a proper event -- it's a community learning experience that deepens our appreciation of both the film itself and the expertise of fellow Kingstonians.”

Citizenfour is showing Monday, Jan. 26 starting at 6:55 pm at The Screening Room.

The Surveillance Studies Centre (SSC) aims to be a leading global hub for research on expanding surveillance practices. Through collaborative and international projects, the SSC promotes multi-disciplinary understanding of a full range of surveillance and the issues raised by its increasing organizational centrality.

LIVES LIVED: A gifted mentor and educator

Professor Emeritus David McTavish died on Nov. 27, in Kingston, depriving the Queen’s community of a gifted scholar, educator and friend.

Professor Emeritus David McTavish studied at the University of Toronto before completing a Ph.D. at the University of London’s prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art (1978). His exemplary dissertation on the Italian Mannerist painter Giuseppe Porta Salviati was published in 1981, and more than 30 years later it remains the seminal monograph on this important artist. Dr. McTavish’s reputation as an Italian Renaissance scholar and drawings specialist was international. He was extraordinarily broad in his knowledge of the visual arts, but was particularly esteemed for his authoritative opinion in his field, loved for his soft-spoken nature, reluctant to seek the limelight.

Professor Emeritus David McTavish
Professor Emeritus David McTavish

Dr. McTavish began teaching art history at Queen's in 1973 and was promoted to full professor in 1989. He was Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1986 to 1989, where he had served as chair of the first collection committee of the newly-formed Department of Prints and Drawings in 1978. Upon his return to full-time teaching at Queen’s, Dr. McTavish served as Head of Department (1989-1997), and simultaneously as Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1991-2001). Under his watch the art history graduate programs began, the Bader fellowships for Ph.D. students were put in place and the first of two endowed Bader chairs was established, and the Macdonald Stewart Lectures in Venetian Culture were inaugurated. He taught and directed the Department of Art’s Venice Summer School, and his staunch support of this treasured student experience ensured its survival; it will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2015. Dr. McTavish was also a driving force in shaping the university collection at Queen’s, leading the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC) through an $8 million fundraising campaign towards a major renovation project in the late 1990s. He was instrumental in attracting at least two major private bequests which established the AEAC as a premier university collection with a strength in European historical art: an impressive assembly of Italian drawings from Duke Roberto Ferretti, and the bulk of the collection of Old Master paintings belonging to Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader. Dr. McTavish curated numerous important exhibitions at the AEAC and the AGO, and since 2009 had been advisor to the acquisitions committee of the board of the National Gallery of Canada.

Dr. McTavish retired from the university in 2013 but continued to engage with a range of professorial duties, from graduate supervision to research and publication with commitment and dedication. He was particularly active over the course of the last year in research relating to El Greco’s Adoration of the Shepherds, a picture he first attributed to the painter and later helped to secure for the AEAC. The publication of this magisterial study was well timed to the celebrations surrounding the 400th anniversary of the death of the painter, and another essay on the subject, completed during the last weeks of David’s life, is to be published in the acts of a conference he attended in Greece last summer.  

David’s scholarship was concerned with relationships, networks, the way information moved, and indeed, he dedicated much of his life to facilitating these same things in our community and beyond. He genuinely cared about people, something that shone through in the speech he gave at his retirement celebration, in which he reflected on three “Cs” – community, civility and collegiality – things he valued about his time at Queen’s, and indeed, things he modelled as a gifted mentor and educator. David brought to his teaching a generosity of spirit and an enthusiasm for his subject that was infectious, and through his own example, inspired his students to new levels of intellectual rigour. His legacy is evident in the remarkable works he has contributed in print, in the many initiatives he facilitated on campus, but it resides most powerfully in the countless generations of students in whom he has instilled an enduring appreciation for the visual arts, and especially in those whom he has inspired to pursue careers in the history of art, many of them contributors to a forthcoming Festschrift edited by his colleague, Una D’Elia, Rethinking Renaissance Drawings: Essays in Honour of David McTavish (McGill-Queen’s Press in 2015). David McTavish is survived by his wife Anndale, their daughter Sarah and her husband, Gregor Campbell, as well his beloved grandson, Sebastian.

Allison Sherman is a former student of Dr. McTavish’s, and is currently the Graduate Chair for the Department of Art History as well as the Director of the Queen’s Venice Summer School. Pierre Du Prey is a Professor and Queen's Research Chair Emeritus in the Department of Art History.

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