Provostial fellowships support scholars from marginalized groups

open book with glasses and pen

York University has announced Doug Anderson and Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana as this year’s recipients of the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars.

The Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program seeks to attract outstanding scholars who will push the boundaries of knowledge in necessary ways. With a salary of $70,000 provided each year for a two-year term, award recipients will be able to dedicate their time to pursuing a proposed project, working alongside a supervisor and other mentors.

“This program allows York to promote and develop some of the most exciting, cutting-edge research that will shape the next generation of scholarship, by supporting the remarkable scholars who are producing it,” says Alice MacLachlan, vice-provost and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. “One theme that emerges from the innovative research being produced by this year’s scholars is connection – whether between learners and the land, or in artificial neural networks – and we are delighted by the connections they will be able to nurture among our dynamic community of researchers.”

While gaining a foothold to begin a career can be difficult in itself, Black and Indigenous scholars face the additional challenges of racism and systems structured to protect others’ privilege. This fellowship begins to address this issue by providing collegial resources, supervision, mentorship and funded time to successful applicants to help them become successful in their chosen careers.

Doug Anderson

Doug Anderson
Doug Anderson

Anderson is completing his PhD in education at York University. His project, “Inaakonigewin Akinomaagegamig,” addresses how Indigenous principles can begin to define and orient the resources in education systems in ways that benefit the work of sovereign Indigenous learning and resurgence in the land.

“I will bring my emerging academic focus under the direction of the Memtigwaake Kinomaage Mawnjiding Advisory Circle, now managing over 20 acres of land in Toronto as a learning space grounded in Indigenous ceremony, sovereignty and laws. This land hosts cyclical, perennial culture and language learning for Indigenous students in ways that are at the core of how learning and site management proceed,” shares Anderson. “I will work to support Indigenous students and partners to have this culture-based learning recognized by Toronto school boards and focus on how the learning can be supported through post-secondary institutions, all in ways defined by Indigenous people and principles. I am grateful for the support of doctors Deb Danard, Steve Alsop, Kate Tilleczek and Deborah McGregor in this work.”

Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana

Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana
Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana

Uwisengeyimana holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Science & Technology of China. His cutting-edge project will focus on developing video-based, biologically inspired, artificial neural networks for dynamic scene understanding. Uwisengeyimana will be affiliated with York’s Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program, which aims to advance vision and produce applications that generate positive health, societal, technological and economic impacts for Canada and the world.

“I express my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to pursue a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at York University, which will allow me to conduct cutting-edge research to develop computational models of visuocognitive tasks,” says Uwisengeyimana. “I will work on this project under the guidance of Dr. Kohitij Kar, a VISTA program core member and faculty member. I appreciate that Dr. Kar is actively interacting with industrial (e.g. Google Brain Toronto) and academic (e.g. the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard) partners to provide me with high-quality networking opportunities to help me advance my career.”

Learn more about the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars at York University by visiting the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

Join discussions on qualitative accounting at upcoming symposium

man using calculator finanace math

York University’s School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, will co-host the eighth annual Qualitative Accounting Research Symposium with the University of Guelph’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics from Nov. 23 to 24 at the Second Student Centre on York’s Keele Campus. The hybrid event will allow for both in-person and virtual participation.

The symposium will showcase a niche area of research in the accounting field. Qualitative accounting scholars comprise a dynamic and growing component of the scholarly community. This symposium serves as a platform to unite the community, enable collaboration amongst its members and add legitimacy to its research output.

Helen Tregidga
Helen Tregidga

The event’s keynote speech will be presented by Helen Tregidga (Royal Holloway, University of London), director of the Centre for Research into Sustainability, whose research is grounded in an interest in social and environmental issues, and critical aspects of organizations and work. Her primary research has focused on the constructions of sustainable development and sustainability within the corporate context, its consequences and, more recently, the role of academics and others countering or resisting the dominant discourse.

The symposium will include presentations by 18 academics from Argentina, Canada, Ghana, South Africa and the U.K. The event’s theme, “Accounting at the Crossroads of Democracy,” will be explored by panellists including Tregidga, Carla Edgley (Cardiff University), Christine Gilbert (Université Laval), Julius Otusanya (University of Lagos) and Fernanda Sauerbronn (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro).

The hybrid event will close with a panel discussion titled “Building Ethical Leaders for the Future Accounting Profession,” geared towards professional accountants and funded by CPA Ontario.

For more information about the symposium and to register, visit the event web page.

York joins network of ‘open rangers’ to advance open educational resources

York University is among a cohort of educational institutions in the province that will champion the use of open educational resources (OER) through a program led by eCampusOntario.

Charlotte de Araujo, assistant professor, Faculty of Science, and Stephanie Quail, acting director of the Libraries’ Open Scholarship Department, were accepted into eCampusOntario’s Open Educational Resources Ranger (OER Ranger) program, an initiative designed to create and develop a network of OER advocates throughout Ontario’s post-secondary institutions.

Charlotte de Araujo
Charlotte de Araujo
Stephanie Quail
Stephanie Quail

A non-profit organization, eCampusOntario supports technology-enabled teaching, learning and innovation at Ontario’s publicly funded universities, colleges and Indigenous institutes. 

According to eCampusOntario, the OER Rangers will “form a network of educators and practitioners interested in supporting the advancement of open education within their institution and are individuals who are passionate about education as a public good, and who promote OER as a sustainable approach to education.” There will be a total of 84 rangers from 46 Ontario institutions participating in this program.

York University’s engagement with OER continues to expand and grow, helping faculty advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. OER are openly licensed, freely available educational materials that can be used, accessed, adapted and redistributed with no (or limited) restrictions.

“With each semester, students have shared that purchasing textbooks is sometimes beyond their budget,” says de Araujo. “Being able to provide OERs, whether it is a chapter from a textbook or a worksheet to review information, can be a potential solution to help alleviate cost challenges and also enable students to freely review and revisit course material.”

To help support York University’s engagement with OER, de Araujo and Quail will host a live Zoom event, Discovering Open Education at York University, on Thursday, Nov. 23 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. During this event, attendees will learn about the following topics:

  • what are open educational resources;
  • open licensing basics;
  • accessibility considerations and OER; and
  • learning more about H5P and Pressbooks – common OER creation tools.

Faculty who are interested in using, adapting or creating OER are encouraged to attend this webinar, and can register now.

Additionally, faculty who would like to learn about OER in more depth can sign up for the Libraries’ fully asynchronous four-week OER mini-course. This course was initially developed in 2020 for Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) project leads, to help support them in turning a component of their AIF into an OER. Last fall, this course was opened up to all interested faculty and staff at York University.

“I highly recommend taking the OER mini-course because it helps instructors develop the skills they need to find existing high-quality OER. Incorporating OER into your courses helps provide your students with access to course learning materials from the first day of classes,” says Quail.

The online OER mini-course will begin on Monday, Nov. 20 and will wrap up on Monday, Dec.18. The four-module mini-course covers valuable topics such as:

  • OER 101: What is OER? Including examples of OER and how they benefit students and faculty.
  • Copyright and Creative Commons licenses: An exploration of the range of open licenses available to creators and how to choose a licence that makes the most sense for their project.
  • Finding and evaluating OER: How to find OER for your subject area and evaluate them.
  • Create or adapt pre-existing OER: Learn about OER project management techniques, accessibility considerations, and OER tools and platforms.

Quail will teach the Libraries’ OER mini-course this year. Register for the course now.

Libraries presents symposium as part of International Open Access Week

Scott Library Learning Commons on the Keele Campus

A unique symposium organized by York University Libraries (YUL) as part of International Open Access Week will bring together leaders in the fields of open educational resources (OER), archives and special collections.

Hilary Barlow
Hilary Barlow

York’s W.P. Scott Chair for Research in E-Librarianship, Hilary Barlow, will lead the online event on Thursday, Oct. 26 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. via Zoom. The event features two guest presenters – Danielle Manning, outreach officer at the Archives of Ontario, and Carrie Schwier, outreach and public services archivist at Indiana University – with a concluding presentation by Barlow on her current research. 

“This event brings together Archives, Special Collections and open education (OE) in a way that is rarely explored and under-documented,” says Barlow. “While much has been studied and written about making archives and special collections available online, connections to OE and OER are scant. This symposium bridges that connection.”

This year’s Open Access Week theme, “Community vs. Commercialization,” looks at advocating for unrestricted access to knowledge while prioritizing community needs over profit. Archives can play a key role in empowering communities by providing free and open access to a number of resources, which promotes inclusivity and can help democratize information. 

Archives and special collections in academic libraries are a valuable resource for faculty and students and often contain hidden gems such as university records, private papers, rare books, maps and other primary source material that support an array of academic fields.

By enabling these resources to be properly described and in some cases digitized, YUL, like other academic libraries, has been able to engage a broader audience in their use,” says Sarah Coysh, YUL’s associate dean, digital engagement and strategy. “YUL has been looking into how these resources can be accessed globally and has taken inspiration from the open education movement.”

“I began my research by asking if archives and special collections materials could be shared as open educational resources and wondering if anyone in the field was actually doing this,” says Barlow.

The OE movement, and OER specifically, contribute to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Quality Education. By providing free, reusable and remixable digital resources, OE initiatives contribute to removing barriers to education, as they can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.

GLAM institutions (galleries, libraries, archives and museums), and archives and special collections organizations in particular, also contribute to advancing SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, notably the sub-goal 11.4, to “strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.”

Manning will present her work with the Archives of Ontario (AO) and share how her team is building community through GLAM-Wiki. Manning will share case studies on AO’s Wikimedia Commons uploads and how it has impacted community engagement. A second presentation, by Schwier, will examine concrete examples of implementation from an active primary source instruction program that serves over 30 academic departments, ranging from art to science. 

“These presentations by Danielle Manning and Carrie Schwier show that there are practitioners in the field using innovative OE methods to make their collections more accessible online,” says Barlow.

Barlow will conclude the event with a presentation from her research, “Open Archives: The Intersection Between Open Education, Archives, and Special Collections.” This includes the results of 22 case study interviews with archivists and librarians on the subject of open education, and details of an upcoming larger survey. Earlier in her term as W.P. Scott Chair in E-Librarianship, Barlow worked with other members of YUL’s Open Education Steering Committee to survey York faculty on their familiarity with and use of OER

Register for the symposium here:

New funds aid in AI methods to advance autism research


Professor Kohitij Kar, from York University’s Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science, is among 28 early-career researchers who received grants valued at $100,000 from Brain Canada’s Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research program. His project will combine neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI) studies of vision into autism research.

Kohitij Kar

Kar, a Canada Research Chair in Visual Neuroscience, combines machine learning and neuroscience to better understand visual intelligence. His new project funded by Brain Canada will explore these intersections in the context of autism.

“The ability to recognize other people’s moods, emotions and intent from their facial expressions differs in autistic children and adults,” says Kar. “Our project will introduce a new, vastly unexplored direction of combining AI models of vision into autism research – which could be used to inform cognitive therapies and other approaches to better nurture autistic individuals.”

Based on prior funding from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, Kar’s research team at York University has been developing a non-human primate model of facial emotion recognition in autism. The machine learning-based models the team will use are called artificial neural networks (ANNs), which mimic the way the brain operates and processes information. Kar will develop models that predict at an image-by-image level how primates represent facial emotions across different parts of their brain and how such representations are linked to their performance in facial emotion judgment tasks. They will then use state-of-the-art methods developed by their team to fine-tune the ANNs to align them more with the performance of neurotypical brains and those of an autistic adult.

The second part of Kar’s project will focus on using the updated ANNs to reverse-engineer images that could potentially be used to help autistic adults match their facial emotion judgments to that of the neurotypically developed adults. This work builds on his previous research (published in the journal Science) that showed ANNs can be used to construct images that broadly activate large populations of neurons or selectively activate one population while keeping the others unchanged, to achieve a desired effect on the visual cortex. In this project, he will shift the target objective from neurons to a clinically relevant behaviour.

Brain Canada’s Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research program aims to accelerate novel and transformative research that will change the understanding of nervous system function and dysfunction and their impact on health. It has been made possible by the Canada Brain Research Fund, an arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) Brain Canada Foundation and the Azrieli Foundation, with support from the Erika Legacy Foundation, the Arrell Family Foundation, the Segal Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Greek Canadian Archives grows, goes digital

Greek Canadian Studies York U
Reg Towers, “Ethnic Groups : Greeks” (image: York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, ASC08803

The Hellenic Heritage Foundation Greek Canadian Archives at York University (HHF GCA) is celebrating a series of significant milestones as part of its ongoing mission to preserve and promote the rich history of Greek Canada.

Thanks to the commitment of donors, partners and the community, the HHF GCA physical collection has seen significant growth over the past year. Hundreds of donated Greek books have been catalogued into the Hellenic Heritage and Michael Vitopoulos Collections within Omni, York Libraries’ search tool. Louise Curtis and Katrina Cohen-Palacios have also worked together to complete the arrangement and description of the George Papadatos fonds, begun by Anna St.Onge, which offers critical insight into the history of Toronto’s Greek community from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s. In addition, The HHF GCA’s new archivist, Maria Paraschos, has begun processing a donation from John Sotos, which features materials describing the activities of several Greek Canadian and Canadian ethnocultural organizations active from the 1980s to the present. The accessioning of these materials by the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections ensures that the memories and artifacts remain safeguarded for future generations.

In response to the increasing need for accessibility, the HHF GCA has also amplified its digitization efforts, digitizing dozens of recordings by George Thaniel, the Chair of the University of Toronto’s Modern Greek Program from 1971 to 1991. These cassettes contain discussions, lectures and performances from prominent 20th-century Greek voices. They cover a range of topics, from poetry to prose and theatre. The archives team is also digitizing a significant photo collection created by Dimitrios Mantalas at his Danforth Avenue photo studio, and a loan of photographs and textual records from former member of Parliament John Cannis, documenting his early life and political career. In the coming year, the team will begin digitizing footage from over 1,000 U-matic video cassettes filmed by Basil Avramis, documenting decades of community events in Toronto, and a collection of mini DV tapes and DVDs of community events and interviews donated by Trifon Haitas. These initiatives will make more of the HHF GCA’s rich historical resources available to a global audience of students and researchers.

Another notable change is the new HHF GCA digital portal, which provides access to a treasure trove of oral history interviews from three research projects: “Greeks in Canada: A Digital Public History,” “Childhood Narratives of Greek Canadians from the 1940s” and “Film as Mediator: Cultivating a Cypriot Canadian Community Audiovisual Media Archive.” In the coming years, the archives team will add to the repository of interviews, complementing them with digitized records, photographs, newspapers and recordings, and making it easier than ever to research Greek Canadian history.

With the help of the Hellenic Heritage Foundation, York University and many donors, the HHF GCA is rewriting the narrative of Greek-Canadian history by telling more nuanced stories of the community’s past and highlighting the many triumphs, blemishes and contradictions within it.

To watch the HHF GCA’s Fall 2023 update video, visit

For more information about the Hellenic Heritage Foundation Greek Canadian Archives at York University, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or X. To donate materials or explore the archive first-hand, contact Vasilis (Bill) Molos, director and research lead at the HHF GCA, at

Make a difference – join York’s DEDI Council

DEDI three diverse adults in conversations

York University is seeking members of the University community with an interest in decolonizing, equity, diversity and inclusion (DEDI) work. The DEDI Council is looking for those with diverse perspectives, experiences and talents.

This council provides advice for advancing York University’s DEDI initiatives, projects and practices, as well as oversight of the required actions from approved recommendations. The council enables and supports York students, faculty, instructors and staff to participate meaningfully in the planning and implementation of York’s DEDI Strategy, initiatives, projects and practices, with the goal of cultivating a diverse campus culture that is equitable and inclusive. The council will be guided by the principles set out in the DEDI Strategy

The application period for at-large representative positions is now open. The application period will close at noon on Friday, Oct. 20. Find the application here.

Key objectives of the council 

The council will:  

  • Receive annual updates on the progress of implementation of the DEDI Strategy and provide input and advice on the implementation.  
  • Monitor the external environment for emerging issues and promising practices on DEDI to provide advice to the University. 
  • Provide a forum in which members discuss DEDI challenges and identify opportunities to foster an integrated and collaborative approach to DEDI initiatives across the University. 
  • Receive advice and direction from the sub-committees of the council, which include RISE, Sex-Gen and Enable York.  
  • From time to time, connect with emerging communities of practice, such as gatherings of DEDI practitioners, affinity groups etc. 
Council membership composition 

The membership shall consist of no more than 25 members at any given time and will include no fewer than six faculty or instructors, six non-academic staff and four students, and will aim for representation from all campuses in the combined categories below.

Appointed members: members appointed by the vice-president equity, people and culture and/or the president, consisting of no more than 10 individuals, which may include, but is not limited to, appointments from any of the following: SexGen, RISE, Enable York, Indigenous Council, Black Inclusion Advisory Council, President’s Sustainability Council, appointments from the community at-large.

At-large representatives: through an open call for expressions of interest, at-large representatives will be selected by the vice-president equity, people and culture and a group of advisors, ensuring the selected representatives will be broad-based, and include members of the student body (both graduate and undergraduate), staff, instructors and faculty. A minimum of 12 and maximum of 14 members will be selected.  

Chair: ex-officio (vice-president equity, people and culture). 

Technical support: administrative and technical support for the council will be provided by the Office of the Vice-President Equity, People and Culture. 

Committee member competencies: 

The council is seeking members who can demonstrate some or all of the following competencies: 

Knowledge of decolonizing, equity, diversity and inclusion in the post-secondary sector, which includes the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to create learning environments that foster equitable participation of all groups and that seek to address issues of accessibility, equity and inclusion, oppression, privilege and power. Individuals with this competency have a sense of their own agency and social responsibility that includes others, their community and the larger global context.  

Lived/living experience, including personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events as an individual who identifies as a member of at least one equity-deserving group as a part of their identity. 

Ability to cultivate a common vision, including the ability to engage with students, faculty, staff and administrators to understand their unique and complex needs and commit to working collaboratively with all levels of leadership to build policies and programs that advance DEDI and equity-mindedness. 

Institutional and political acumen, including an understanding of the University’s unique organizational and governance structures as well as its intersections with government, community and industry at all levels, which include law, policy and history; and an ability to respond effectively to sensitive situations, reconcile competing interests and build consensus around a policy and plan of action. 

Results-orientation, including the ability to demonstrate strong commitment to the development of practical and effective strategies, actions etc., and an ability to develop and articulate goals that unite people in the pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.

Time commitment and tenure: 

Meetings are expected to be two hours in duration a minimum of two times per year, with an understanding that in the early years of the establishment of the council, the meeting frequency will likely be more. 

Ex-officio members shall hold their position for the duration of their appointment in that role. 

Students appointed to the council will serve either a one-year or two-year term, depending on their ability to make such a commitment. 

Employees appointed to the council will require acknowledgement and permission to serve on the council by their supervisor and will serve a two-year term. Two-year terms will be scheduled on a staggered basis to ensure overlap of council membership. The first year of the council’s existence will require some appointments to be either a one- or two-year term to support this staggered approach to membership. 

The website Terms of Reference for the Council can be found here. For more on York’s work in DEDI, visit and

Professor receives patent to improve AI machine learning


Steven Xiaogang Wang, a professor in York University’s Department of Mathematics & Statistics at the Faculty of Science, and a member of the Laboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems, has had a U.S. patent approved for an algorithm that will reduce the training time of artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML).

The patent, titled “Parallel Residual Neural Network Architecture and System and Method for Training a Residual Neural Network,” was inspired by a 2018 paper titled “Decoupling the Layers in Residual Network.” Both were based on collaborations with Ricky Fok, a former postdoctoral Fellow student; Aijun An, a professor in the Department of Engineering & Computer Science; and Zana Rashidi, a former graduate research assistant who carried out some of the computing experiments.

Steven Wang

The now-patented algorithm, approved this year, was a result of six months of research at York. It was submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2019. The algorithm’s framework is based on mathematical arguments that helps significantly reduce the training time of machine learning, as it absorbs, processes and analyzes new information. It does so by using a mathematical formula to allow residual networks – responsible for the training of AI – to compute in parallel to each other, thereby enabling faster simultaneous learning.

Wang’s desire to accelerate machine learning’s abilities is driven, in part, by a specific area of AI applications. “I want to apply all the algorithms I develop to health care,” Wang says. “This is my dream and mission.”

Wang has especially focused on using AI to improve care for seniors and that work has previously earned him the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award from the House of Commons for initiatives during COVID-19 to mitigate the spread of the virus in long-term care facilities.

Wang plans to use the patented algorithm in ongoing projects that aim to provide smart monitoring of biological signals for seniors. For example, it could be used in long-term care to continuously monitor electrocardiogram signals at night to register heartbeats that have stopped. To move towards that goal, Wang is also working on building an AI platform that will complement those ambitions, and expects it to be ready in several years.

He is deeply invested in the social impact of AI as a member of the York organized research unit Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Society, where researchers at York who are collectively advancing the state of the art in the theory and practice of AI systems, governance and public policy. 

“I can use the machine learning to help the long-term care facilities improve the quality of care, but also help out with the struggles of the Canadian health-care system,” says Wang.

Upskill digital storytelling through new course at Glendon


By Elaine Smith

Raiman Dilag, director of information technology services (ITS) at York University’s Glendon College, and his team are working to ensure their students have access to the most current technology to enhance their storytelling capabilities.

They will make this possible through an Academic Innovation Fund grant that allowed them to create a new eight-week extracurricular course – XR Storytelling in Extended Reality / XR Accroche Narrative en Réalité Étendue – that will provide interested Glendon students and faculty, with an introduction to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 360-degree cameras, podcasting and 3D printing. The course is not for credit, but those who complete it will earn a microcredential and a digital badge that can be affixed to their resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

Glendon 360 video screenshot
Glendon College offers a new course for all students that allows them to upskill digital storytelling. This photo is a screenshot from a video showing 360-degree photoraphy. For another example, go here.

“While it’s expected for STEM students to be exposed to technological tools, at Glendon, we are deeply rooted in the liberal arts tradition,” Dilag said. “I saw the opportunity to complement resources currently in place, and enhance our students’ access to these and other new tools. Our students have stories to tell, and they benefit from sharing them using new media.”

For those on the outside looking in, the idea of using these tools can be confusing and/or daunting. VR and its sleek headsets can immerse users in another space, such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris before and after the fire. Fans of Pokémon Go know that AR allows users to employ a device to interact digitally with the real world, bringing images to life. 360-degree photography brings the viewer into the space, letting them experience that moment from all of the photographer’s points of view. Podcasts stream on digital devices and are excellent audio/video tools for storytelling, while 3D printing enables the creation, and customization, of 3D objects crafted in one’s imagination or modified from previous designs.

Each of these technologies, independently or in combination, are valuable for storytelling in a digital era.

The eight-week course created by the ITS team will familiarize students with these key tools and require them to work on a group project to show their facility with one or more of them. The project will also reinforce teamwork skills, and in true Glendon nature, is conducted in English or French by the bilingual XR technology co-ordinator.

“I’d like students to think about the stories they want to tell,” said Dilag. “These are just tools; however, a course like this can open doors, because opportunities following graduation may be influenced by things beyond academics, such as exposure to any or all of these XR technologies.

“We’re all about the student experience, recruitment and retention. If this course helps them graduate more career-ready, it’s a great way for us to add value to their university, and post-graduation, experience.”

The in-person course is open to all Glendon students and will be offered during both the Fall and Winter terms. Dilag hopes the success of the course will lead to expansion for all York students.

The team has been planning the course since February: designing the curriculum, writing the proposal, purchasing necessary equipment and making the space attractive. The course will be conducted by the XR technology co-ordinator with oversight from Dilag.

“Let’s get technology in the hands of this dynamic generation and see what they can do,” Dilag said. “I think they’ll impress us.”

He is proud of his team’s work and reminds the larger community that the ITS department “is about more than resetting passwords,” he said. “We aim to humanize technology, and to use it to enable the telling of great stories.”

XR Storytelling in Extended Reality / XR Accroche Narrative en Réalité Étendue begins the week of Oct. 16. Glendon students can register online.

Faculty who may be interested in the course can contact to discuss their needs and learning objectives.

Watching mushrooms grow: a new lesson in communications

oyster mushrooms

By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, editor, YFile

A cohort of Glendon College students will explore digital innovations in the context of interpersonal and mobile communications through an unexpected pedagogy – a living art installation containing a variety of mushrooms.

Students enrolled this fall in Dreaming of Electric Sheep: Emerging Practices in Communication, a course led by Glendon faculty member Roberta Buiani, will document and care for the installation as part of their curriculum.

The art project, titled Mycosymbiosis and designed by Chinese-Canadian artist Xiaojing Yan, is a time-based and site-specific installation located on the balcony adjacent to Glendon Manor’s ballroom. It will launch on Oct. 2 at 5 p.m., with a viewing event and reception to follow.

Oyster mushrooms in the mobile gallery
Oyster mushrooms growing in the mobile gallery.

“The installation consists of a mobile gallery (Emergent) containing a variety of mushrooms which grow, decay and renew, weaving their intricate forms through its interstitial space and responding to the surrounding natural environment,” explains Buiani.

Emergent – a Living Mobile Gallery is a mobile gallery featuring artworks at the intersection of science and the arts. The goal is to understand and address how life evolves and adapts due to climate change, global mobility, experiments and the shaping of the world. The mobile gallery itself is a porous object, and is designed to explore the role of exhibition spaces.

Yan’s installation combines the complex concept of identity with a perspective on nature that transcends conventional boundaries. Including three types of oyster mushrooms planted along the exterior walls of the mobile gallery, the living art project will showcase how these mushrooms grow through a time-lapse projection inside. This evolving living sculpture will change with varying temperature and humidity, inviting a range of symbiotic organisms that interact with the mushrooms.

Mycosymbiosis art installation
Mycosymbiosis art installation in full.

This installation of Mycosymbiosis represents the second phase of a long-term collaboration between Yan and the team behind Emergent: Buiani (Glendon/University of Toronto), Lorella di Cintio (Toronto Metropolitan University) and Ilze Briede [kavi] (York University, PhD student), with scientific advising from James Scott (University of Toronto).

Buiani’s course, which is a recipient of an Academic Innovation Fund grant, presents an examination of emerging trends in communication and media technologies, delving into web-based advancements and exploring novel modes of interpersonal and mobile communication.

Specifically, interacting with and documenting this installation is an important opportunity for students to not only achieve a better and more nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in interspecies communication in relation to our technological networks, but also to develop a better appreciation for responsible consumption and production, collaborative and collective work, communication with different forms of knowledge and ultimately, care, says Buiani.

The installation will be on view throughout the fall semester, and the Oct. 2 launch will kick off a series of public engagements on networks, care and land-based community building and artistic practice. More information will be available at