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3D soundscapes and brain imaging: it’s the return of Beyond Disciplines

Beginning October 20, the Faculty of Arts and Science discussion series mixes things up for its second season
October 3, 2016
By Elisabeth Faure

André Roy: “We want to set the bar even higher.” André Roy: “We want to set the bar even higher.”

Following a successful inaugural season, Beyond Disciplines is back for another year of interdisciplinary discussion and exploration.

The public series, created by the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), examines issues of the day through a variety of perspectives. In 2015–16, topics included gene editing and CRISPR technology, storytelling in research and the future of diversity.

The series also spawned a podcast, which is ongoing.

“Last year really exceeded our expectations,” says André Roy, dean of FAS. “So, naturally, we want to set the bar even higher.”

On Thursday, October 20, the first Beyond Disciplines event of the season, “Come to your senses: Sensescapes in research and in life,invites the audience to experience a variety of sensory-themed presentations.

Held in collaboration with Concordia’s Centre for Sensory Studies, the evening will be hosted by centre co-director David Howes.

According to Roy, this year’s series won’t follow the traditional format of a panel discussion and Q&A. “We really wanted to mix things up and start with something completely different.”

Claudine Gauthier is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and one of the upcoming featured speakers. For her, the experience is a rare opportunity to exchange on a topic of research with people from very different fields, and share different perspectives with the public.

Gauthier’s presentation will discuss how the brain "sees" images and how this changes with age. “I will show Magnetic Resonance Imaging pictures of the brain in action during a task, and how we can learn about changes in brain function and aging from these images,” she explains.

‘Thinking outside the box’

Fellow presenter Owen Chapman, associate professor in Communication Studies, will offer an audiovisual experience based on work developed in the Mobile Media Lab that he co-directs.

“I will DJ/VJ a short set featuring remixing of both local and distant audio field recordings through an immersive 3D virtual soundscape platform,” says Chapman. “I hope to prompt users to think about the causes and effects of the sounds of one's everyday life.”

Another first for Beyond Disciplines this year? Inviting people from outside FAS. Featured panellists in the “Come to your senses” event include Cynthia Hammond, Shauna Janssen and Rhona Richman Kenneally, all from the Faculty of Fine Arts.

“I have been investigating the intersections between taste as a sense experience and taste as sanctioned design or style,” explains Richman Kenneally, a professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts and a fellow in the School of Irish Studies.

“I am really looking forward to participating in this event, since my academic training as well as my ongoing research are fundamentally grounded in transdisciplinarity across design and the humanities.”

Roy says the series plans to continue thinking outside the box, and promises more surprises as the season unfolds.

“We have always said we wanted to explore different forms and formats. As great as last year was, I am confident this one will be even better.”

The other speakers at this fall’s first Beyond Disciplines event are:


Beyond Disciplines: Come to your senses – Sensescapes in research and in life, takes place October 20, from 5 to 7 p.m., in room 2.260 of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV). A reception will follow in room 11.725.

The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Daycare and ASQ / LSQ are available upon request with 48 hours’ notice. Space is limited, RSVP required:


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