Thoughtfully creating community bonds
President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism releases its final report
The President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism released its final report and recommendations — a landmark document in Concordia’s history, and a roadmap for the university’s future. Drafting the document involved two years of research, well over 100 meetings, six subcommittees and unprecedented institution-wide discussions. Using a critical race lens, the task force anchored its report in the four overarching principles of the 2021 Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education: Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality and accountability.
The university also shared a historic apology for its inadequate handling of race-based student complaints and subsequent outcomes of the 1969 Sir George Williams student protest.
“The courage, emotional labour, time and research invested by Black Concordians in this work is a debt that is forever owed to these individuals, as their contributions have been invaluable to Concordia in charting a new way forward and a turning point in its history and relations with Black communities,” says Angélique Willkie, task force chair and special advisor to the provost on Black integration and knowledges.
Concordia launches Accessibility Hub
Concordia launched its Accessibility Hub, a one-stop online resource on accessibility and disability at the university, in December. “Accessibility is a collective responsibility, and the successful launch of the hub is the culmination of months of work of the Accessibility Advisory Committee chaired by Anna Barrafato, the accessibility change lead at the Equity Office,” says Lisa White, executive director of Concordia’s Equity Office. “I commend their efforts and the support of senior leaders toward this incredibly meaningful initiative.”
The hub provides information on accessible event planning, facilities management, instructor resources and more, and highlights the Policy on Accessibility and Accommodation for Students and Employees.
Initiative empowers Indigenous and racialized communities
A Concordia-led project is tackling systemic forms of discrimination by documenting how diverse communities of Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) and people of colour sustainably build resilience in an increasingly polarized society. Based in Montreal, Chicoutimi, Quebec, and Edmonton, Alberta, the Innovative Social Pedagogy to Empower Indigenous Communities, Reduce Gender and Racial Biases project is the latest initiative under the Project SOMEONE umbrella.
Directed by Vivek Venkatesh, professor of inclusive practices in visual arts, Project SOMEONE is the pedagogical arm of the UNESCO Chair in Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism and aims to “build awareness, create spaces for pluralistic dialogues and combat discrimination and online hate.”
Shining a light on EDI in STEM
Imge Ozugergin, MSc 19, is on a mission to find out how to get more young people from diverse backgrounds interested in a science career. She is pursuing her PhD in biology studying cytokinesis regulation, a process crucial for growth and development. At the same time, Ozugergin is exploring ways to encourage those from a broad background to follow her path. “The more diversity we have, the better,” she says.
Ozugergin recently participated in an American Society for Cell Biology annual conference panel discussion. “The more I do outside of the lab for science, the more it makes me want to do science. It’s a positive feedback loop.”
Canada’s first grad artwork sales and rental service
Concordia introduced the Art Volt Collection, a sales and rental service that displays artworks by recent Faculty of Fine Arts graduates. The goal of the not-for-profit initiative is to help artists launch their careers and support them as they enter a competitive professional environment.
Annie Gérin, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, points out that the Art Volt Collection is unique in Canada. “No other university offers a launch pad like this to its fine arts graduates,” she says.
Gina Cody School celebrates EDI with new award and research grant
Three Gina Cody School community members’ work was recognized for advancing equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) environments through outreach, research and teaching activities. Riya Dutta, a graduate student in software engineering, Horizon postdoctoral fellow Mirjam Fines-Neuschild and Carole El Ayoubi, senior lecturer of mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering, received the inaugural Gina Cody School EDI Award.
Concordians and Indigenous partners’ film screens at COP 15 in Montreal
Journalism students Kaaria Quash, GrDip 18, and Luca Caruso-Moro, under the direction of Aphrodite Salas, assistant professor of journalism, and their Indigenous partners presented their work at the United Nations’ climate change conference, COP 27, in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, in November, and at the UN’s Biodiversity Conference, COP 15, in Montreal in December.
The team’s documentary, Innavik: Leading the way to a clean energy future, shares the story of the construction of the first hydroelectric facility in Arctic Quebec. It examines the shift away from the hazardous use of diesel fuel that the Inuit village of Inukjuak has relied on for decades.
Office of Community Engagement joins Indigenous schools initiative
Concordia’s Office of Community Engagement teamed up with Montreal’s McCord Museum and the Indigenous-led digital initiative UHU labos nomades for a new education project with Indigenous youth. The UMITEMIEU initiative focuses on introducing digital photogrammetry — the extraction of 3D information from photographs — and creating virtual educational collections by and for five Indigenous communities in Quebec.
The workshops allowed the youth in various regions to interact with both physical and virtual objects as they discovered photogrammetry.