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3-D printing, life without grades and the cougar behind the leopard print

University of the Streets Café celebrates 10 years of public conversations with an intriguing new series
September 18, 2013
By Tom Peacock

UniStreets University of the Streets Café brings citizens together in intimate, off-campus settings for talks on a wide range of subjects.

Ten years have passed since Concordia introduced its University of the Streets Café conversation series. The popular community outreach initiative brings citizens together in small public venues to discuss timely and engaging topics.

We sat down with Susan Edey, coordinator of programs and communications at the university’s Office of Community Engagement, to discuss this autumn’s weekly program.

Here is a selection from the upcoming lineup. For the full schedule, visit the University of the Streets Café website.

Technological Game Changer: What is the revolutionary potential of 3-D printing?
Wednesday, September 25

“The idea for this one came from a person who attended several conversations in a row last year, and was really excited about the program. She had tons of ideas, but her idea for a discussion about 3-D printing seemed particularly timely. I met with her in June, and that month the first 3-D printer went on sale at Bureau en Gros!”

Searching for Meaning: Are we looking for fulfillment in the right places?
Thursday, October 17

“The person who suggested this conversation is interested in the fact that so many people in our generation — people in their late twenties, early thirties — seem to feel dissatisfied, and are looking for more meaning in their lives; even though we’re so educated, we have access to all this information, and we’re privileged in a lot of ways.”

Older, Aggressive and On the Prowl: Who is the cougar behind the leopard print?
Wednesday, October 23

“Dana McLeod is a PhD student at Concordia and a performance artist. For her PhD project, she’s exploring how older feminist performance artists use their bodies, or other bodies, in their work. She did a performance piece where, for 365 days, from her 40th birthday to her 41st birthday, she wore head-to-toe animal print.

“She got a lot of media attention when she finished the project. I read an article about it, and contacted her to find out if she thought it would fit into a public conversation.”

My Culture is Not a Costume: What’s the difference between appreciation, appropriation and just plain inappropriate?
Monday, October 28

“We’ve partnered with MAI [Montréal, arts interculturels] before. Their inspiration for this conversation came from a project by a student group called STARS at Ohio State University that created these ad campaigns of people from different cultural groups holding up a picture of someone dressed in a Halloween costume representing their culture.

“They’re interested in exploring the line between what’s inappropriate and what could be viewed as honouring a particular ethnic group.”

Stressing for Straight A’s: Can we imagine education without grades?
Thursday, November 7

“Grades cause a lot of stress for both students and faculty. Obviously, it’s stressful for students to try and get good marks, but I don’t think everyone realizes that professors also have a lot of pressure put on them not to have grade inflation, and to have good grade distribution.

“As well, students can be almost threatening if they feel they deserve a certain mark, even if their work doesn’t reflect that. If grades cause that much stress on both sides, can we come together and talk about whether or not there are other ways we can do this?”

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