Concordia University

Campus and community connect over social justice

Study in Action features social and environmental justice research by students, activists and artists, March 2 to 4 at Concordia University
February 29, 2012
By Liz Crompton

During the first weekend of March, local activist groups and students will gather at Concordia for Study in Action, an annual undergraduate and community research conference on social and environmental justice.

“That’s the beauty of the conference: it’s not only that university undergraduate students get to present their research but they also get a chance to learn from and exchange information with community groups that are actively working on a grassroots level on these issues,” says Ashley Fortier, one of the organizers and the administrative coordinator at the Concordia branch of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG), which initiated the project six years ago. 

Study in Action takes place from March 2 to 4 on the seventh floor of the Henry F. Hall Building. The conference unites students researching social justice with representatives from community groups actively involved in these issues. Students from as far as Toronto will be participating, alongside members of South Asian Youth (SAY), Right to the City and Cirque Social.

The conference kicks off with a panel entitled Recreating the Commons. Fortier says this year’s keynote theme was inspired by recent demonstrations of resistance to inequality and injustice that took place in public spaces around the world, from Occupy Wall Street to Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

Speakers include Silvia Federici, a scholar and activist who writes about the concept of the commons, and Suresh Naidu, a Columbia University assistant professor of economics and active participant of Occupy Wall Street.

Seven panels and six workshops are scheduled throughout the weekend on topics including alternative pedagogy, media, popular culture and health.

Volunteer organizer Lael Kim, a second-year Concordia geography student, says the event is an opportunity for her peers to understand how their studies apply in the real world.

“Study in Action is about bridging university and community,” she says. “It’s a great way for students to get to know organizations outside university, and to start building connections.”

To complement the academic discussions, from February 27 to March 4, Art in Action highlights the creative expression of these themes and includes close to 30 exhibits, installations and performances.

Study in Action/Art in Action is free of charge and everyone is welcome. Study in Action is made possible with support from the student-run Sustainability Action Fund, the Concordia Student Union, the Dean of Students Office, the Concordia Council on Student Life and QPIRG McGill.

What: Study in Action Conference
When: Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4, 2012
Where: Seventh floor of the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd.), Sir George Williams Campus
Registration: Free of charge, but required: Register online. 

What: Art in Action
When: Monday, February 27 to Sunday, March 4, 2012. Viewing hours are available on the Art in Action website.
Where: Seventh floor of the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd.), Sir George Williams Campus

Related links:

•    Study in Action/Art in Action
•    QPIRG 
•    Suresh Naidu profile
•    Silvia Federici interview



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