NOI [Due – May 1]: SJRI Graduate Student Symposium

Opportunity to organize SJRI graduate student symposium


The Faculty Steering Committee of the SJRI invites Notices of Interest from affiliated SJRI members in mounting a funded graduate student symposium in Spring 2016 around an intellectually significant thematic/problematic, which is transdisciplinary in nature, relevant to social justice, and likely to be attractive to Masters and PhD students.

SJRI offers: a core budget of up to $3,000 (+ $2,000 for limited student travel support); financial administration of the project; logistical support; knowledge mobilization know‑how and infrastructure; and assistance with supplementary grant‑writing if needed.


SJRI‑sponsored thematic symposium involving about 15‑20 active participants in a workshop‑style event and featuring:

  • •one or more invited presenters with national stature;
  • a mix of Brock and non‑Brock, Masters and PhD student participants;
  • an adjudicated selection of presenters based on the response to a call for abstracts;
  • texts produced and circulated in advance of the symposium as a condition of participation;
  • a public event open to Brock faculty, students and or other constituencies

Symposium date: late April/early May 2016

Application and Adjudication Process

A two‑stage process:

(1) one‑page Notice of Interest (due May 1 2015);

(2) elaborated proposal from the lead applicant developed in consultation with SJRI FSC and staff, after which a final decision will be made about proceeding (due August 1 2015).

Stage 1 (due: May 1 2015):

A Notice of Interest outlining the following:

  • The proposed thematic/problematic and its relevance to SJRI’s aims for a student symposium (see SJRI Aims below);
  • One or more prospective invited presenter of national stature;
  • Knowledge-­‐mobilization plans (in addition to oral presentations at the symposium);
  • A minimum two-­‐member organizing committee comprised of at least one SJRI affiliate (as lead applicant) and one Brock-­‐enrolled graduate student.

Stage 2 (due: August 1 2015):

An elaborated proposal including the following:

  • •Strong indication of interest from prospective invited participants (i.e., presenters of national stature);
  • Evidence that the symposium theme is likely to be relevant/appealing to Brock graduate students, and graduate students at other universities within commuting distance;
  • Well-­‐developed ‘call for papers’ and plan for its dissemination;
  • Well-­‐developed process for adjudication of abstracts;
  • Plans for knowledge mobilization;
  • Clear evidence of organizing capacity by applicants;
  • Preliminary articulation of the components/schedule of symposium;
  • Draft budget, including plans (if any) for additional funding sources


Notices of Interest will be adjudicated by a committee of the FSC with a decision by May 15 2015. A final assessment and decision about proceeding will be made by the SJRI FSC after elaboration of the original idea by the applicant in consultation with the SJRI FSC. SJRI reserves the right to seek other proposals or to develop its own.

Proposed operating timeline (to be negotiated):

  • Decision to proceed by September 20 2015
  • Call for papers circulated: October 30 2015 (dates, venue and keynote confirmed)
  • Abstracts due: December 15 2015
  • Abstracts accepted: January 10 2016
  • Accepted papers submitted: March 30 2016
  • Event: late April/early May 2016

SJRI’s aims for the student symposium:

One of SJRI’s mandates is student mentorship, which it pursues by offering MA fellowships; supporting post-­doctoral fellowships; mobilizing knowledge relevant to students via its blog, other e-­communications, and events; co-­sponsoring the Niagara Social Justice Forum, which is organized largely by students; and supporting the scholarship of SJRI affiliates in ways that often have spin-­off benefits for students.

The proposed graduate student symposium is an additional way for SJRI to pursue its student mentorship mandate. The Faculty Steering Committee debated whether it was more effective to involve students and faculty together in the same thematic symposia, or to dedicate some symposia specifically to student presentations and dialogue. There are advantages and drawbacks to either approach. One advantage of holding separate student symposia is to create a space for inter-­university student dialogue that is somewhat protected from the academic hierarchies that can sometimes dominate scholarly conferences that aren’t reserved for students. We decided to proceed with a call for expressions of interest for a specifically graduate student symposium to gauge the level of enthusiasm for such an event, and to see how well such an event works in support of SJRI’s student mentorship goals. (This does not preclude graduate student involvement in other SJRI-­supported symposia, or necessarily establish a convention of promoting dedicated student symposia.)

SJRI’s goals for the symposium are:

  • •To produce and mobilize transdisciplinary social justice scholarship around a significant intellectual problematic relevant to SJRI;
  • To cultivate Brock students researchers in this endeavor, as part of SJRI’s mentorship stream;
  • To bring Brock graduate students into productive conversation with graduate students at other Canadian universities and across disciplinary boundaries, as a way to build a community of young social justice scholars;
  • To enable graduate students to share and develop their research and ideas in a context that is relatively protected from the academic hierarchies that often characterize conferences and symposia that are not reserved for student participants;
  • To increase Brock’s attractiveness as a place for students to pursue social justice scholarship and education.

For further information or to discuss ideas: David Butz (; Rachel Hirsch (

Submit Notice of Interest by May 1 2015 to:

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