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Artful reveal

  • [Jan Allen, Director, Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
    Jan Allen, Director, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, spoke to a full house at the season launch. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [Marla Dobson explains her exhibition]
    Marla Dobson (second from right) curated The Park and the Forest under the supervision of Alicia Boutilier as part of a practicum course in the graduate program of the Department of Art History and Art. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [Charles Stankievech]
    Artist Charles Stankievech in his exhibition Monument as Ruin. (Photo by Tim Forbes)
  • [Stephanie Dickey]
    Stephanie Dickey (Art History), Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art, introduced Artists in Amsterdam. (Photo by Tim Forbes)

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s unveiled its new exhibitions during a season launch event last week. Several hundred patrons explored the exhibitions and met artist Charles Stankievech, whose works are featured in Monument as Ruin, a probing examination of 20th-century military forms and the ways they’ve shaped spaces of conflict. Mr. Stankievech also participated in a panel discussion with David Murakami Wood, Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies, on Jan. 14 that filled the atrium of the Agnes.

Other shows featured this winter include The Park and the Forest – an exhibition of watercolours and sketches by British-born artists who received artistic training in England and worked in Canada during the 19th century – and Artists in Amsterdam – a new exhibition drawn from The Bader Collection that offers insight into the flowering of a distinctive school of art in 17th-century Amsterdam. The Agnes has also created a new display in the Etherington House focused on Sir John A. Macdonald.   

Researcher lends expertise to oil spills panel

Queen’s University professor Peter Hodson has joined a new Royal Society of Canada panel that will study oil spills and their impacts on freshwater and marine environments.

Peter Hodson has been named to a new Royal Society of Canada panel dedicated to studying the impact of oil spills.

Dr. Hodson, an expert in the area of toxicity of crude oil to fish, joins five other experts tasked with examining strategies and regulatory requirements for spill preparedness, spill response, and environmental remediation.

“If there is a spill and you can’t contain it, the panel is going to study where the oil will go and what effects it will have,” explains Dr. Hodson (Biology, Environmental Studies). “My expertise is focused on species that live in water and their responses to spills of crude oil.”

The panel, set up in response to a request from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, will endeavour to answer a number of questions including:

  • How do the various types of crude oils compare in the way they behave when mixed with surface fresh, brackish or sea waters under a range of environmental conditions or when chemically treated for spill remediation?
  • How do the various crude oils compare in their toxicity to organisms in aquatic ecosystems?
  • Given the current state of the science, what are the priorities for research investments?
  • How should these scientific insights be used to inform optimal strategies and regulatory requirements for spill preparedness, spill response and environmental remediation?

To answer these questions, the panel will hold a series of scientific stakeholder consultations and prepare an expert report for release this fall.

“We are developing this document to really highlight areas we don’t know a lot about,” says Dr. Hodson. “There is a lot of publicity and concern about the potential effects of oil spills associated with oil production and shipment by pipeline and rail, and it’s critical to emphasize these areas of research.”

For more information on the panel, visit the website.

Researcher digs deep

The search for dark matter continues in earnest at SNOLAB and the scientific team in Sudbury has a new research ally in Gilles Gerbier (Physics), the newest Canada Excellence Research Chair. In the four months since his arrival in Kingston, Dr. Gerbier has been busy setting up his home base at Queen’s and his lab two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton mine.

Gilles Gerbier is working hard to establish his research facilities at SNOLAB and also at Queen's.

A world-leading researcher in particle astrophysics, Dr. Gerbier is currently setting up a major collaborative project on cryogenic detectors for dark matter discovery, one of the most advanced detectors to date. This international research collaboration is pulling in 20 scientific teams from North America and 15 teams from Europe.

“My own technical contribution involves installing a detector tower test facility at SNOLAB,” explains Dr. Gerbier. “My expectations for the coming year are to start operating my lab at Queen’s, gather the parts needed for the facility and prepare to assemble it starting in 2016. SNOLAB is providing me with excellent opportunities.”

Dr. Gerbier is also preparing a second project of a two metre in diameter gaseous spherical detector at SNOLAB. He has met with research teams from France and Greece and the technical team at SNOLAB to determine the scope of the detector project.

Closer to home, Dr. Gerbier has hired one PhD candidate to work with him and invited two post-doctoral fellows and another PhD candidate to join his laboratory starting in the spring. They are coming to Queen’s from Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

SNOLAB and the Queen’s University Particle Astrophysics group, including Dr. Gerbier, were recently featured in Horizon 2020 report, which describes the European community’s strategic long-term science projects in Europe. SNOLAB is also gaining further international recognition after the DEAP-3600 dark matter detector was featured in National Geographic.

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines.

Piano Festival a treat for music lovers

Piano Festival
The Queen's School of Music's 10th Piano Festival is being held Jan. 16-18, featuring Roman Rudnytsky and Amanda Johnston (Mus’93). (Supplied photos)

The Queen’s School of Music is marking the 10th edition of the Piano Festival with an outstanding lineup of artists and events.

Being held Jan. 16-18 and March 13, the festival will be headlined by Roman Rudnytsky, a winner of 10 international competitions who has enjoyed a varied career as performer and is currently Distinguished Professor at Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University.

Mr. Rudnytsky will hold a piano master class on Saturday, Jan. 17 starting at 11 am in Room 124, Harrison-Lecaine Hall. He will also perform a recital at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Jan. 18 at 2:30 pm.

Bringing top-level artists to Kingston has drawn interest not only from music lovers but students as well.

“I have found that the master classes, recitals and lectures offered by PianoFest guests inspire students to play better,” says festival organizer Ireneus Zuk, a professor in Queen's School of Music. “They hear the calibre of performances by artists on the international scene and then strive to reach that level. It is very important for students to be able to interact with and learn from such exceptional individuals."

Also participating in the festival is Amanda Johnston (Mus’93), an associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi. Her studies at Queen’s and institutions in Germany and the Czech Republic helped her establish a multifaceted career as an accompanist, coach and diction specialist. 

Ms. Johnston will take part in a pair of events Friday, Jan. 16: a colloquium presentation at 12:30 pm and a master class for voice students at 3 pm. Both events are in Room 124, Harrison-Lecaine Hall. On Saturday, Jan. 17 she will hold a voice and piano recital with tenor Robert Martin at the Isabel.

On March 13, a pair of events will be held featuring Yoko Hirota, a professor of piano at Laurentian University.

The festival receives support from the G.T. Richardson Fund, the Faculty of Arts and Science Visiting Scholar Program and the International Visitors Program.

All events are free with the exception of Mr. Rudnytsky’s recital which is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door.

For further information, visit the Queen’s School of Music’s website.

Fruitful fellowship

  • [Emily Gong in China]
    Emily Gong (Artsci'15) on site at the Mogao grottoes in Dunhuang. (Submitted photo)
  • [Emily Gong]
    Emily Gong (Artsci'15) explains her research to Principal Daniel Woolf during the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships poster presentation held in October 2014. (University Communications}
  • [Emily Gong with artwork]
    Emily Gong (Artsci'15) displays her artwork that was inspired by the research she conducted as a participant in the 2014 Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship program. (University Communications)

With graduate school on the horizon, Emily Gong (Artsci’15) credits her participation in the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship (USSRF) program for expanding her options.

“Through the research fellowship, I became much more interested in exploring China’s ethnic diversity, a different area of study compared to what I had been doing during my previous three years of undergrad,” says Ms. Gong, a fine arts major. “The experience last summer gave me the resources and confidence to apply for master’s programs in Chinese studies.”

USSRF provides an opportunity for continuing undergraduate students in the social sciences and humanities to develop their research skills under the guidance of a faculty researcher. Over the course of the summer, students complete a research project in an area of interest and/or participate in the research program of a selected researcher.

Working with Xuelin Bai (Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Ms. Gong researched the Mogao and Yulin grottoes at Dunhuang on China’s western frontier. Dunhuang is historically significant because the city is situated at the junction of the northern and southern Silk Routes.

While in China, Ms. Gong conducted field research, collected data and observed the paintings on the cave walls in Dunhuang. The fellowship gave her valuable experience analyzing archival information and literature and working with scholars and experts in a variety of fields such as Imperial Chinese history, cultural anthropology and archaeology.

Read more about Emily Gong’s experience with the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship in the current issue of (e)AFFECT

“This research fellowship allowed me to apply the knowledge from my rigorous academic studies and then expand on my area of interest to develop a deeper understanding informed by primary research,” she says.

Applications for summer 2015 are due on Jan. 28. More information is available on the University Research Services website.

Loran Scholars recognized by Queen’s

[Loran Scholars]
Queen's University recognized its Loran Scholars at a special event on Monday. This year's scholars are: front, from left, Emma Clark (Artsci’18) and  Jena Hudson (Artsci’18); back, from left, Sean Davidson (Com’18), Callen Hageman (Sc’18), Terry Zhang (Com’18) and Kit Dashwood (Sc’18). (Photo supplied by Loran Scholars Foundation)

A group of exceptional Queen’s University students were recognized Monday with a special reception that highlighted their activities.

Queen’s Loran Scholars gathered along with supporters, mentors and representatives from the university and the Loran Scholars Foundation.

Only 30 students nationwide each year are selected to receive the multi-year scholarship and of the most recent group, six are attending Queen’s for their first year of studies. Overall, Queen’s has 22 scholars covering such programs as Arts and Science, Commerce and Engineering.

More than a scholarship, the students create a bond with the foundation, the university and each other says Devon Jackson (Artsci’15) who spoke at the event.

“It is at Queen’s that we find and nurture our communities and it is through Loran that we are pushed to improve them,” he says. “While there is certainly merit in alone-time, Queen’s and Loran ingrain it in our mindset from the first September that this is the beginning of four years of partnership, not only with them, but with the people you will meet at the university. Both institutions support us, root for us, and challenge us.”

Thousands of students apply each year and scholars are based on a mix of academic achievement, extracurricular activity and leadership potential. The program provides students with a tuition waiver and a living stipend.

Loran Scholars also receive personal and professional development opportunities, participating in enterprise-related summer employment, a professional development experience (often an international volunteer experience) and an opportunity in a public policy environment.

The program also connects the students with a mentor for the duration of their undergraduate studies. The mentors are generally individuals who are influential in communities, government or various disciplines.

For more on the Loran Scholars Foundation, go to loranscholar.ca


Queen's Model Parliament heading to the Hill

[Queen's Model Parliament]
Students participating in last year's Queen's Model Parliament enter the House of Commons. (Supplied photo)

The House of Commons will take on a decidedly youthful look this week.

A group of 330 students from Queen’s University will be in Ottawa for Queen’s Model Parliament (QMP), a three-day event starting Wednesday that will see them forming political parties, drafting legislation and engaging in debate on issues of the day in the House of Commons itself.

While several other post-secondary institutions have similar programs, QMP, at 68 years and counting, was the first to actually be held in the House of Commons and is the longest at three days.

According to Read Leask (Artsci’17), QMP co-chair along with Lucia Guerrero (Artsci’15), the focus of the conference is to engage youth in the nation’s political process with experiences that can’t be gained through the classroom or textbooks.

“We bring 330 delegates and our goal is not to create 330 Members of Parliament or future leaders. Our goal is to make 330 engaged citizens who are very informed about the political process in Canada,” he says. “That is what they gain. They gain the skills of being able to know how to write an actual parliamentary bill, how to participate in a parliamentary debate.”

Another difference, Mr. Leask points out, is that QMP brings in a different member of political life to preside over each bill.

“So that gives us the opportunity to bring about 20 speakers over the course of the three days,” he says. “There’s a huge diversity in opinions and ideas that the students are exposed to from these leaders.”

Last year’s event drew such political names as Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, former Liberal leader Stephane Dion, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Kingston and the Islands MP Ted Hsu and former Speaker of the House and current Fellow at Queen’s Peter Milliken.

New to this year’s edition is a panel discussion with high-profile members of Parliament Hill’s press corps to give students an inside view of the media.

While the debates and bills passed are not binding, the debates are real and delegates prepare for months by attending weekly meetings where they learn about the political process.

This year’s QMP is being held Jan. 14-17. For more information visit queensmp.ca.

Making education more accessible

Queen’s University and the Faculty of Arts and Science have introduced a new Dean’s Admission Scholarship for incoming Bachelor of Arts students. The $1,500 to $2,000 first-year scholarship is available to students with an 88.5 to 89.9 high school average.

Students will be automatically considered for this award upon application.

“Canada needs more well-rounded, multi-talented arts graduates,” says Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “To meet this need, Queen’s is establishing additional admission scholarships to attract exceptional students. As well as a financial boost, these awards will provide a symbolic ‘vote of confidence’ in a student’s ability to succeed at Queen’s.”

To increase both applications and acceptances from high-caliber, well-rounded students to the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program, the dean has made admission scholarships the highest faculty priority.

“Recognizing and acknowledging students for what they have already achieved, and underlining their potential to go further, is a significant commitment. Such an award from Queen’s can be a valuable endorsement on a graduating student’s resume,” says Dean Mumm. “We are excited to see this available for the incoming 2015 class thanks to our alumni and donors.”

The goal of Queen’s Initiative Campaign is to raise funds for all forms of student assistance for undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. To date, more than $60 million has been donated toward this purpose. Currently 50 per cent of arts and science students receive some type of financial support from the university.

For more information visit the website.

Rethinking Macdonald

[Erin Sutherland]
PhD candidate Erin Sutherland is curating a performance series that examines Sir John A. Macdonald's role and impact on Indigenous/settler relationships.

When Erin Sutherland (MA’12) arrived in Kingston from Alberta five years ago, planning for the 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth had already begun. With a background in native studies, Ms. Sutherland decided to work on incorporating Indigenous voices and perspectives into the commemoration.

Her efforts led to “Talking Back to Johnny Mac,” a performance series that will focus on Macdonald’s role and impact on Indigenous/settler relationships. The series launched on Jan. 11, Macdonald's bicentennial, with a performance by Métis artist and scholar David Garneau. 

“Sir John A. Macdonald was obviously a complex person and part of a complicated history,” says Ms. Sutherland, a PhD candidate in the cultural studies program. “I see this series as a way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to engage in this celebratory moment while adding to the conversation about the multiple sides of Canada’s first prime minister.”

Five interdisciplinary artists will produce site-specific performances that explore issues of colonialism and Indigenous identities. The performances will occur in public spaces and be open to everyone.

Ms. Sutherland’s PhD research focuses on Indigenous curatorial methodologies and, more specifically, Indigenous performance art. “The series is a perfect way to meld my PhD interests and my desire to engage in this bicentennial,” she explains. “I am also excited to bring diverse artists to Kingston who haven’t performed in the city.”

While many of the bicentennial events celebrate Macdonald’s contributions as a nation-builder, Ms. Sutherland believes it’s important to think critically about one of Canada’s enduring icons.

“Sometimes we forget about the ways our colonial past influences our present,” she says. “Some people have talked about how Macdonald was a man of his time, but policies he was a huge part of such as the Indian Act and residential schools still have very real impacts today.”

Ms. Sutherland is still finalizing the dates for the other performances by Leah Decter, Ayumi Goto, Peter Morin and Adrian A. Stimson. 

India project a valuable experience for SURP students

[SURP Project in Pune India]
School of Urban and Regional Planning students attend a workshop at Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University (BVDU) after arriving in Pune, India. (Supplied photo)

There’s no better learning tool than hands-on experience. Add in international experience and you have the core of the Queen’s School of Urban and Regional Planning’s annual project course in India.

In its third year, and led by Professor Ajay Agarwal, a group of nine students made their way to Pune, a burgeoning city of more than 3 million located 150 km southeast of Mumbai.

The previous two projects took place in Auroville, but during that time Dr. Agarwal met with representatives of Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University (BVDU) and signed an MOU for scholarly collaboration.  They then found a good match for the Pune project in Janwani, an NGO funded by the local Chamber of Commerce that does work in different parts of city planning.

 “An arm of this NGO does heritage promotion. So they wanted us to help them do a heritage promotion for a particular part of Pune called ‘The Camp’ where not much has been done at all,” Dr. Agarwal explains. “The Camp is very rich in terms of both cultural heritage and architecture with different ethnic groups –Zoroastrians, Parsis, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. It’s an eclectic mix. For our project we delineated a part of The Camp called “Sadar Bazaar.”

A key to the annual project is that the group of students work as a mock-up consultant team, with members filling various roles, and take on real-life projects.

The first part of the fieldwork, which took place Dec. 5-17, was conducting an audit of the designated streets and designing a heritage walk using the principals of urban planning.

“So the walk should be interesting, walkable, comfortable, connecting interesting sites to look at, architecturally-rich buildings,” Dr. Agarwal says. “It should also give an experience of everyday-lived heritage – more than 100-year-old cafes where local residents hang out, there are a couple of blocks that are all tailors, there are a couple of blocks that are all jewelry stores. Those are the sorts of things that you don’t see in a modern-day city environment. Then there are these ethnic enclaves within The Camp. A heritage walker should experience the different flavours of these ethnicities.”

The second part was creating a heritage promotion plan, that included steps to brand the area as a heritage neighbourhood, how to preserve and highlight the heritage characters and distinguishing The Camp from the rest of Pune.

The work started months before they arrived in India with students conducting exhaustive background research on Pune including the history and architecture and looked into the best practices for designing heritage walks and branding heritage.

It also proved to be an invaluable learning experience outside the classroom, under challenging work conditions. Dr. Agarwal says the team had to deal with sporadic power supply and internet service and set up their office in a guesthouse.

“But that’s the learning experience,” he says.

This year, SURP students teamed up with six BVDU architecture students for fieldwork, which turned out to be an extremely enriching learning experience in itself.

Dr. Agarwal says that he feels fortunate that Queen’s, along with funding from Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, has given him the opportunity to continue the project. It is also a big commitment for students as they have to pay their own travel and living expenses.

Three years in Dr. Agarwal says the program has not only been beneficial for the participants but for SURP and Queen’s as well.

“It’s become a part of SURP culture now. Because we all stay together when we are in India I get to interact a lot with students and several of them mentioned that they joined SURP and not another planning program because of this international project opportunity,” he says. “Nowhere else in Canada does something like this take place. There are other international projects but they are more like studies. You go in, study a neighbourhood and you come back. You don’t actually go and do a project as a consultant and deliver it to a client.”

The project's final presentation will be held Jan. 21 from noon to 1 pm in Room 554 of Robert Sutherland Hall.


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