Media releases

  • Racial issues on the agenda this fall as U.S. conference comes to Brock University

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00098 – 3 May 2016

    For the first time in its history, the White Privilege Conference — a prominent American symposium of educators and students “designed to examine issues of privilege beyond skin colour” — is venturing outside of the U.S.

    This fall, Brock University will be the host site for the White Privilege Symposium Canada (WPSC). The two-day event Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 will use a format of guest speakers and group workshops to examine the impacts of, and solutions to, racial and cultural oppression.

    Organized by Brock’s Task Force on Racial Climate, and supported by the U.S. parent group, the WPSC will be themed “Academics & Activists: Advocating for Equity, Justice and Action,” and is expected to draw attendees from Canada and the U.S.

    Topping the list of speakers at Brock will be American scholar and racial justice activist Eddie Moore, who founded the White Privilege Conference as well as The Privilege Institute, which engages people in research, education and leadership through workshops and conferences.

    Other scheduled keynote speakers include Shauneen Pete, a First Nations educator and University of Regina associate professor; Ritu Bhasin, a Canadian lawyer and equity consultant; Afua Cooper, the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies and professor at Dalhousie University; rap artist and anti-violence activist Jasiri X; and U.S. author and racial justice educator Debby Irving.

    Organizers expect the Brock WPSC event will attract a diverse audience of students, parents and community leaders, as well as school teachers or counsellors who work on issues of equity and social justice.

    Dolana Mogadime, Associate Professor in Brock’s Faculty of Education and a member of the Task Force on Racial Climate, said holding the conference at Brock will help the entire Niagara community better understand inclusivity.

    “We have more than a War of 1812 discipline of heritage,” said Mogadime. “This is about acknowledging and growing our knowledge of our own history.

    “As the first Canadian institution to host the White Privilege Symposium, Brock is leading a national discussion. And it is informed by collaboration with American thought leaders who bring expertise in grappling with issues of inclusion, and advocating for redressing communities that are marginalized by asking important questions that lead to positive change.”

    Mogadime said Canada is one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world, and Brock’s own campus community continues to be broadened by students from the GTA and overseas. She said a major event like the WPSC plays a big part in helping people have the conversations that lead to understanding diversity and living in a diverse community.

    The Task Force on Racial Climate was created after a “black face” incident occurred at a Halloween costume party in Brock’s student pub in 2014. Task force chair Brad Clarke, who is also Brock’s Director of Student Life and Community Experience, said its mandate is to bring together students, staff and faculty to examine and consider the dynamics of race within the Brock context, and to initiate activity that will improve the racial climate at the University.

    “Unfortunately racism — implicit and explicit, intentional and unintentional — is present on every campus and in every community,” said Clarke. “Brock is no different. We must encourage activities that acknowledge and embrace diversity, while increasing equity and inclusion for all.”

    In the coming months, watch for more interviews and details about the symposium. In the meantime, use these links to see the agenda as well as biographies of keynote speakers.


    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    – 30 –

    Categories: Media releases

  • David Vivian named next Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00097 – 29 April 2016

    Professor David Vivian, a scholar and scenographer, has been named the new Director of Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    His appointment begins July 1 and runs for a three-year term. Currently chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts, Vivian has been with Brock since 2004.

    “I can’t think of a task I would rather have than being the Director of the MIWSFPA. It’s what you might call the opportunity of a lifetime,” Vivian said. “This is such an important time for the city and the University.”

    Fostering creative and research-driven relationships within the Faculty of Humanities as well as in other academic programs at Brock is something he looks forward to in his new role.

    “As the downtown-located campus of the University, we look forward to facilitating knowledge exchange in the heart of our community,” he said.

    Carol Merriam, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, is pleased Vivian is stepping up to serve as the new director.

    “Professor Derek Knight leaves some very big shoes to fill and David is up to the challenge,” Merriam said. “He has the administrative background at Brock, and especially in the arts department, to prepare him for the role.”

    As Director of the MIWSFPA, Knight helped oversee its construction and implementation from the design phase through the first year of classes.

    Merriam said Vivian was an active participant in the planning of the school and the move into the downtown facility.

    “He’s extremely well placed to serve Brock, the MIWSFPA and arts in Niagara,” she said, noting he has made many contributions to and connections in the local arts community.

    In 2009, Vivian was honoured at Spring convocation with the Humanities Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2011, he was awarded three Volunteer Recognition Certificates from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of St. Catharines for his work as Chair of the Culture Committee of the City of St. Catharines and other contributions to the local community.

    Vivian grew up in music, playing cello and oboe through high school before studying art and art history at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College.

    He has an MA in fine arts from the University of British Columbia and studied Scenography (design for theatre) at the National Theatre School in Montreal.

    Until the beginning of 2012/2013 year, Vivian was the Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture at Brock. More recently he designed the set and costumes for The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (in the DART theatre of the MIWSFPA this past November) and collaborated in The Whole Shebang, a four-year long project commissioned for the inaugural season of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    “The MIWSFPA is an absolutely delightful group of artist-scholars and researchers brought together under the excellent leadership of our current chairs Professors Karin diBella, music, and Duncan MacDonald, visual arts and studies in arts and culture, as well as our current Director Professor Derek Knight,” Vivian said.

    “We are graduating students who continue to be game changers in our community, putting us on the national and international maps with their innovation, imagination and critical thought. My challenge is to make certain we continue to bring to St. Catharines the very best in student applicants, visiting artists, professional staff and faculty so that the MIWSFPA can assist with building an excellent future for the city and the Niagara Region.”

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University,
    905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Categories: Media releases