SSHRC council events at York draw rave reviews

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) is an arm’s-length federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the social sciences and humanities. Created by an act of Parliament in 1977, SSHRC is governed by a 22-member council that reports to Parliament through the minister of industry.

Right: Prof. Engin Isin (far right) chats with members of the SSHRC council during York’s SSHRC Knowledge Expo

Over three days, from June 16 to 18, members of the SSHRC council and staff held meetings at York University. This was only the third time in the council’s history that it had held a council meeting outside Ottawa, and the first at an Ontario university. The event brought the 22-member council face-to-face with York’s unique, leading-edge approach to research and innovation. And they clearly liked what they saw.

During the session, the council members had an opportunity to participate in knowledge panels that focused on such subjects as immigration and settlement research, aboriginal research, and fine arts research and creation. Members of the council also had a chance to tour York’s facilities. Prior to their official council meeting on June 18, they attended York’s SSHRC Knowledge Expo, which featured 10 poster exhibits that highlighted key research projects and clusters based at York. Each of the posters featured York’s signature brand and concisely identified the essential points of the project or cluster.

Left: SSHRC President Marc Renaud listens to a panel presentation

Marc Renaud, president of SSHRC, was impressed with the event, especially York’s Knowledge Expo. “It is formidable – we organized the equivalent thing in Ottawa and it was more disorganized,” said Renaud. “Here, the presentations are organized, they have the same look and there is the same amount of copy for each presentation board. I think that this format offers incredible marketing potential for York and the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada.  

Right: Schulich Prof. Wes Cragg (right) chats with Alexandre Brassard, research officer in the Faculty of Fine Arts, during York’s Knowledge Expo

“I wish that all the universities in Canada would do the same thing,” said Renaud. “I am very impressed. The diversity is fascinating. I had a discussion with Prof. Engin Isin about citizenship and it was very interesting.

“I hope that other universities take this as a model of how to host an event,” said Renaud. The cohesive presentation by York, he said, shows that the University “takes this seriously.”