‘Visions, Collaborations & Transformations’, the inaugural York University Graduate Student Research Conference in the Social Sciences & Humanities, took place at York University on April 6 and 7 with more than 150 graduate students participating.
Students came from 25 programs across York University and neighbouring institutes (including: OISE, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Trent, Carlton, McMaster, and U Vic) to present on the environment, diversity and inclusion, Indigenous people, and youth in conjunction with the theme of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The event was supported by Canada 150 at York University, the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and York Graduate Students in Education.
The first day of the conference opened with guest speaker and York alumni Eddy Robinson, who spoke about his experiences on Indigeneity, identity, and representation. He is a noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, educator, facilitator, trainer and speaker.
Day one ended with a keynote address by First Nations artist Kent Monkman, who is well known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes with themes including colonization, sexuality, loss, resilience, and the complexities of historic and contemporary Native American experience. Monkman spoke about his process and evolution as an artist and of his paintings that challenge the colonial lens of the settlement of Canada. One attendee remarked of Monkman’s address, “The keynote was inspirational. I was rapt. Just incredible artwork and an excellent speaker.”
The second day of the conference began with a panel on “Putting Your Research to Work,” featuring Michael Johnny from the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University, Carolyn Steele from the Career Centre at York University and Alumni Jason Guriel from the Evidence Exchange Network, CAMH. The conference also included an innovative open space (IOS) session, which provided participants with a space to engage in dialogue regarding questions, research, and emerging themes within the outlined conference topics. GSRC also welcomed 50 international attendees from York’s Graduate Student Preparation Program (GSPP).
The York University Graduate Student Research Conference in the Social Sciences & Humanities is an initiative by York Graduate Students in Education, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, Science and Technology Studies Graduate Student Association, OISE Graduate Students’ Association, York Sociology Graduate Student Association and the Social Anthropology Graduate Association.
Co-organizers, Stacey Bliss and Josefina Rueter, commented, “We are thrilled with the turn out of graduate students, faculty members, and guests. The conference was a great success particularly due to the engagement and scholarship of students who attended and presented. We would like to thank our partners, supporters, and volunteers who help us realize this inaugural event. And, we hope next year a few intrepid graduate students will make the second year a welcoming and exciting event.”