Articles tagged with: Carol Merriam

  • Humanities launches second season of Foreword podcast

    Image caption: Alison Innes, Social Media Co-ordinator for the Faculty of Humanities, produces and hosts Foreword, a podcast featuring Humanities faculty members and graduates.

    Originally published in The Brock News | MONDAY, JUNE 07, 2021 | by 

    After a successful first season, Foreword has returned to again connect listeners with researchers in Brock’s Faculty of Humanities.

    The podcast, which recently passed the 1,000-downloads mark, features interviews with professors and graduates from across the Faculty, exploring not only what they do, but also why they do it and why it matters.

    The second season returns with 11 episodes. Each one-hour episode is released each Wednesday until the end of August.

    Similar to a foreword in a book, the podcast acts as an introduction to the Humanities and the diverse and impactful research being conducted at Brock, said Alison Innes, the Faculty’s Social Media Co-ordinator, who produces and hosts the show.

    “I want to convey the forward momentum — how the humanities are relevant and important both today and as we move forward,” Innes said.

    Listeners can expect to dive into topics such as literary journalism, the connection between art and engineering, the need for a global perspective on the ongoing pandemic and the how societies have responded to plagues and unrest in the past.

    The season kicked off with a conversation with Nina Penner, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music, who specializes in opera, musical theatre and film music.

    In the June 2 episode, Penner helps to demystify the world of opera for listeners and shares how modern opera is responding to social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter.

    “You do not need to be an opera aficionado to appreciate the conversation,” Innes said. “All of the episodes are geared towards people who don’t necessarily have an academic background in these topics. They’re meant to feel accessible and be engaging.”

    The episodes, she said, are “made to sound as though we’re in a coffee shop and there’s me, the researcher and the listener at the table.”

    Foreword also aims to “pull back the curtain on the research and academic process,” Innes said.

    For instance, an upcoming episode features Modern Languages Associate Professor Cristina Santos and her work on the Argentinian disappearances from 1977 to 1983.

    “We talk about what it is like for researchers to deal with really difficult topics,” Innes said. “We talk about how, as a researcher, you examine a topic that’s traumatic without traumatizing yourself.”

    The podcast helps listeners to understand the role the Humanities play in society, said Faculty Dean Carol Merriam.

    “The research and creative activity practised in the Faculty of Humanities is central to all of the questions and issues that confront us today,” she said. “We’re asking and answering the crucial questions, and the world needs to hear about those questions and answers.”

    The podcast, Merriam said, is an “innovative way to take our work into the mainstream of people’s lives and thoughts.”

    “The impressive performance of the podcast, and the audience that it has reached, demonstrates the importance and vitality of the Humanities in today’s world.”

    Supported by the Dean’s Discretionary Fund, the podcast is also made possible by the sound-editing skills of first-year Interactive Arts and Science student Nicole Arnt.

    Arnt said the experience has taught her that Brock “offers opportunities for learning and connection beyond the obvious places,” and she was thrilled to get involved with the project.

    “This podcast highlights how professors are not only teachers but also learners,” she said. “It’s a good reminder that universities in general and Brock’s Faculty of Humanities specifically, are places to stimulate thought, discussion and curiosity.”

    Foreword is more than just a “transfer of knowledge,” she said, while encouraging her fellow students to tune in.

    “It allows listeners to get a sense of who some of the Humanities professors are outside the lecture hall: What motivates them, what they are concerned about and why they are passionate about a certain topic. It brings the humanity back to the Humanities and it will give us a connection point in class beyond marks and assignments.”

    New Foreword episodes are released every Wednesday on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts and Spotify. Transcripts of the episodes are also available here.

    Some upcoming episodes of Foreword include:

    • June 9: Associate Professor Rob Alexander (English) — “Literary Journalism”
    • June 23: Associate Professor Elizabeth Vlossak (History) — “History Beyond the Classroom”
    • June 30: Alumna April Pett (French) — “April in Paris”
    • July 7: Professor Christine Daigle (Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD) — “Entangled Humans”

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • MIWSFPA welcomes Elizabeth Vlossak as Director

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will take on the role of Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1.

    (adapted from The Brock News, Sunday, June 03, 2018 | by )

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will be become Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1 when current Director David Vivian begins a year-long sabbatical.

    “I’m really looking forward to continuing to strengthen our community partnerships and perhaps develop new ones,” says Vlossak. “I’m thinking of ways to bridge the Humanities so that there is more interaction and collaboration between the MIWSFPA and other departments on the main campus.”

    Being a historian, Vlossak says she loves how “the city’s past has been preserved in a way that is relevant to the present, while also looking to the future,” in terms of the MIWSFPA building. But the school isn’t just the building. “It’s the people — students, faculty and staff — doing incredible work that enriches Brock as well as St. Catharines and the Niagara region.”

    Vlossak’s research area is 20th century European history, with particular interest in cultural history during the two world wars, women’s history, gender and nationalism, and memory and the politics of commemoration.

    She is a founding member and Associate Fellow of The History Lab, a collaboration with the Niagara Falls Military Museum, Seedling for Change in History, and Associate Professor Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas.

    Vlossak has also consulted with the Department of Dramatic Arts on two Mainstage productions, Ring Around the Moon (2006) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2016), sharing her research specialization with students and contributing to their successful performances.

    “The executive of the school is particularly excited by Associate Professor Vlossak’s record of community engagement through undertakings such as The History Lab,” says Vivian. “We look forward to her contribution to existing programming and relationship building with our community partners, as well as her unique new initiatives.”

    “I’m very pleased that Professor Vlossak is willing to take on the role of Interim Director of the MIWSFPA,” says Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam. “Professor Vlossak is an active, energetic, and imaginative teacher and scholar, and will bring those same qualities to the work of the School.”

    Vivian, Associate Professor with the Department of Dramatic Arts, has been Director of the MIWSFPA since 2016. Previously he was Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (3 years) and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts (4 years). He teaches theatrical design, production and stagecraft and has designed sets and costumes for Department mainstage productions.

    “The directorship is an unusual job involving work with faculty, staff, students and external partners, and Professor Vivian has balanced all of these demands very effectively,” says Merriam. “I wish him well of his rightly-deserved sabbatical.”

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Symposium to focus on depictions of animals in literature, art and society

    Visual Arts Professor Donna Szoke will be awarded with the Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity at the HRI Spring Symposium on Tuesday, April 17. Szoke’s work with animals includes her current piece, Midst, which uses video projectors and fog machines to create animations of large animals on a wall of fog.

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, April 09, 2018 by Alison Innes)

    The Elephant in the Room will be the topic of discussion next week at the annual Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Spring Symposium on Tuesday, April 17.

    This year’s theme, “The Elephant in the Room: Making Space for Animals in Our Research and Teaching” explores the use and depictions of animals in history, literature, art and society. Faculty members from the Faculties of Humanities and Social Science will share their work on critical animal studies and human-animal studies.

    Symposium organizer Associate Professor Keri Cronin hopes this year’s topic will bring together researchers from across the University to start important interdisciplinary conversations and make the work already being done more visible.

    “Brock is, in my opinion, the place to be for animal studies,” says Cronin. “But because those of us researching and teaching these topics are so spread out and scattered across campus, it’s hard to get a sense of just how deep this research runs.”

    These HRI events are essential to maintaining the Faculty of Humanities’ sense of community, says Michael Carter, Associate Dean of Humanities and Director of the Humanities Research Institute.

    “The symposia provide wonderful opportunities for interaction and mutual support of our diverse research and creative agenda,” he says.

    The HRI was created to encourage the development of research programs and initiatives within the Faculty, as well as to generate public awareness of the diversity of humanities research by faculty and graduate students.

    This year, Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke will be awarded the 2017 Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity at the symposium. Szoke’s artistic work includes media art, interactive animation, installation and printmaking.

    Szoke’s multidisciplinary work has included creating a free smartphone app, “Invisible Histories,” which maps nuclear waste at the Niagara Falls, N.Y. Storage Site, where more than 270,000 mice used in radioactive experiments have been buried.

    More recent work by Szoke has included “Bold as Love,” a site-specific response piece at Rodman Hall Art Centre, and “Knitting Cigarettes,” an ongoing performance art piece of public knitting.

    The 2017 HRI Spring Colloquium will be held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Tuesday, April 17. The full schedule is available online.

    What: HRI Spring Symposium, “The Elephant in the Room: Making Space for Animals in Our Research and Teaching”

    Where: Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    When: Tuesday, April 17, 1 to 4:30 p.m.

    Limited parking available on site. Members of the Brock University community and guests are welcome to park on a first-come first-served basis. City parking lots are available nearby.
    See www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages.asp

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • HRI Spring Term Symposium: The Elephant in the Room

    Image: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals.

    The Humanities Research Institute will be hosting its Spring Symposium on Tuesday, April 17, 12:30 to 4:30 pm at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts room 406. The public is welcome to attend! No registration required.

    This year’s theme, “The Elephant in the Room: Making Space for Animals in Our Research and Teaching,” explores the use and depictions of animals in history, literature, art, and society. Faculty members from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Science will share their work on various aspects of animal studies, including critical animal studies and human-animal studies.

    Opening remarks: Michael Carter, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities

    Session I: 1:00 p.m.

    Chair: Keri Cronin (Visual Arts)

    • John Bonnett (History), “Turns, Convergences and De-Stabilization: Is the Animal turn the next Big Thing in History?”
    • Barbara Seeber (English Language & Literature), “Animals and the Country House Tradition Revisited in Mary Leapor and Jane Austen”
    • Elizabeth Neswald (History), “Feeding the Dog”
    • Adam Dickinson (English Language & Literature), “Anatomic: Microbes, Chemicals, and Metabolic Poetics in the Anthropocene”

    Coffee/tea break: 2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

    Session II: 2:45 p.m.

    Chair: Keri Cronin (Visual Arts)

    • Kendra Coulter (Labour Studies), “The Elephants are Working: Animals, Labour, and Care”
    • Keri Cronin (Visual Arts), “Surveillance or Sanctuary?: The Power and Potential of Live Cams for Humane Education”
    • Lauren Corman (Sociology), “Vile Creatures: Abject Animals at the Limits of Society and Culture”

    Presentation of Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity to Professor Donna Szoke

    Donna Szoke (Visual Arts), “Invisible Animals”

    Closing remarks: Carol Merriam, Dean, Faculty of Humanities

    Limited parking available on site. Members of the Brock University community and guests are welcome to park on a first-come first-served basis. City parking lots are available nearby.
    See www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages.asp

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors

  • Brock thanks Rotary Club of St. Catharines with new Reflecting Pool at downtown Walker School

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, October 20, 2016 | by )

    The bond between Brock University and the Rotary Club of St. Catharines became a bit tighter today when Brock formally dedicated the Rotary Reflecting Pool at its Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    Under a drizzly fall sky, representatives from Rotary, the University and the City joined students and local residents for the first look at the new artistic water feature as it was unveiled during a midday ceremony.

    The University dedicated the pool to recognize St. Catharines Rotary’s support in helping Brock locate its arts school into a restored industrial heritage site. In doing so, the Walker School became a key factor in the city centre’s economic and cultural revival, alongside other major downtown projects the Meridian Centre and FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, which also received support from the Rotary Club of St. Catharines.

    In 2011, as Brock was seeking government and community help to relocate the MIWSFPA from its main campus into the city’s core, the Rotary Club of St. Catharines announced it would donate $100,000 to the cause, the club’s largest single gift in its nearly-100-year history.

    Over the next four years the school took shape in an award-winning project that integrated new construction with a carefully refurbished textile mill dating to the 19th century. The project — made possible by a $26-million investment from the Province of Ontario, and provision of the former industrial site from the City of St. Catharines — was opened in the fall of 2015.

    Set amidst modernist sculptures in a greenspace beside the Walker School, the Rotary Reflecting Pool’s gently flowing current echoes the tranquility of a semi-private space that can be used by students and by members of the public.

    Brock’s Interim President Tom Traves said the University is very pleased to partner with an organization like Rotary on an investment that will benefit not just students but citizens all across Niagara.

    “Just as the Welland Canal contributed to the life of the City many years ago, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and the Performing Arts Centre are contributing to its revitalization,” said Traves. “As we stand in this space, we further transform this area and we thank Rotary for its support of Brock.”

    Rotary Club of St. Catharines President George Darte said the club agreed to contribute such a large sum because the Brock project represented a historic opportunity that the community could not afford to miss out on.

    “Our members are dedicated to the vitality and the prosperity of the community,” said Darte. “Through our support to the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, we are delighted to be nurturing the next generation of artists and performers here in St. Catharines, while at the same time contributing to the revitalization of our downtown core.”

    Liz Palmieri, the Rotary Club of St. Catharines past president, who was chair of the club’s Major Grants Committee at the time of the gift, said club members knew what they had to do.

    “We felt strongly about our commitment to the arts in our community,” said Palmieri, “and we are proud to be major supporters of an institution that embodies the vision of Marilyn I Walker, one of our community’s finest citizens, artists and philanthropists.  It is a fitting tribute to her memory.”

    Like the Walker School project itself, the pool’s actual creation is the result of many parties working together.

    It was designed in a collaboration between Scott Roper, of Brock Campus Planning, Design and Construction; David Vivian, Director of the MIWSFPA; Arie Shipper of Merit Contractors; and Wally Healey and Brian McLeod of Stevensville Lawn Service, with artist Elizabeth Chitty who consulted on details of local history and geography.

    The project’s strong focal point occurs where the water flows through a metal grate fashioned by Fenwick blacksmith Ken Robertson. The grate consists of a series of panels set at different angles, representing the hillsides of the Walker School’s valley setting, as well as iron cutouts to portray Twelve Mile Creek, the Niagara River, the Welland Canal and the Raceway which used to course through the property on which the Walker School now stands.

    The following message is on a plaque beside the new water feature:

    The Rotary Reflecting Pool is dedicated to the Rotary Club of St. Catharines and to the historical significance of the original Welland Canal which was located nearby. Rotary’s support for this place of tranquility and creative reflection for students and the community is an investment in arts and culture that celebrates the revitalization of the St. Catharines downtown core.

    There are over 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide whose motto is “Service Above Self.” Rotarians are dedicated to important global causes including the quest to eradicate polio, education, clean drinking water, assistance for mothers and children, and numerous other initiatives. 

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts occupies the historic 1880’s Canada Haircloth Building and 1940’s storage shed near what was once the third lock of the first Welland Canal. Water was diverted from the canal along the north side of the building to provide electrical power to the mill. The Welland Canal transformed the local economy and navigation of the entire region.

     

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    Categories: In the Media, News