Inaugural Graduate Student Research Conference features high-profile speakers

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The inaugural York University Graduate Student Research Conference in the Social Sciences and Humanities (GSRC), titled “Visions, Collaborations, & Transformations”, will feature two high-profile speakers during a two-day event, April 6 and 7. The conference, which is a special multidisciplinary event that aims to connect participants within the social science communities at York University and beyond, will present Kent Monkman as the keynote speaker, and Eddy Robinson as a guest speaker.

Kent Monkman

Monkman, who is well known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes, will present the talk “Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience” on April 6 from 3 to 4:30pm.

Themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience – the complexities of historic and contemporary Native American experience – are explored in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation.

Kent Monkman, The Subjugation of Truth

His glamorous diva alter-ego Miss Chief appears in much of his work as an agent provocateur, trickster, and supernatural being, who reverses the colonial gaze, upending received notions of history and indigenous people. With Miss Chief at centre stage, Monkman has created memorable site specific performances at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Royal Ontario Museum, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Compton Verney, and most recently at the Denver Art Museum.

His award-winning short film and video works have been screened at various national and international festivals, including the 2007 and 2008 Berlinale, and the 2007 and 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Monkman has been awarded the Egale Leadership Award, the Indspire Award and the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award.

His work has been exhibited internationally and is widely represented in the collections of major Museums in Canada and the U.S.

He is represented by Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain in Montreal and Toronto, Trepanier Baer in Calgary and Peters Projects in Santa Fe.

Robinson is a York University alumni, noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, educator, facilitator, trainer and speaker. Born and raised in Toronto, Eddy Anishinaabe/Muskegowuk Cree did not enjoy a childhood of privilege. This narrative is not unique and is shared in similar ways by many other Indigenous people throughout Canada. Robinson will be the guest speaker on April 6 during the Welcome and Acknowledgement of the Land, from 9 to 10am.

Eddy Robinson

Over the past 25 years, Robinson has worked on the front line of social services advocating for Indigenous communities locally, provincially, and nationally. He’s involved with numerous school boards, colleges, universities, corporate institutions, and several Indigenous organizations.

With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada putting forth the 94 Calls to Action Eddy engages Truth and Reconciliation through a personal narrative of his journey not only growing up as an urban Indigenous person, but also reflecting on his professional experience with Indigenous organizations on local, provincial and national levels. He discusses the utter importance of engaging Indigenous people in a respectful and reciprocal way when it comes to educational institutions and child protection agencies. Reconciliation for Robinson is not only a personal journey of forgiveness of self and others in support of past generations but is very much about being mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually part of this legacy of resurgence.

The power of the Dewegun (drum) brought Robinson to the doorway of ceremony and other aspects of his Indigenous Way of Knowing. It was during the early years of his adolescence that he was first exposed to the sound of the Dewegun (drum) calling him to a heritage that he now credits with saving his life and setting him on a good path in life.

In addition to the featured speakers, the event will host an exciting Panel on April 7 from 9:15 to 10am titled “Putting Your Research To Work”. It includes Michael Johnny and Krista Jensen (Knowledge Mobilization Unit, York University), Carolyn Steele (Career Centre, York University) and a number of graduate students (to be announced).

Registration for the Graduate Student Research Conference is now open. For more background on the event, visit this story.

For the full event program and the conference details, visit

The event is a pay-what-you-can admission (a suggested donation of $15 to $20), and registration includes two light breakfasts, two lunches, as well as a reception at The Underground on April 6. Registration also includes entry to panel sessions, Kent Monkman’s keynote address, Eddy Robinson’s speech and performance, as well as, the innovative and open space sessions.

Register online at

Questions about the Graduate Student Research Conference can be sent to Follow news about the GRSC on Twitter @gsrc_yu.