"Canada’s Refugee Health Care Program and How It Compares Internationally"
Y.Y. Brandon Chen

Y.Y. is a lawyer and a social worker by training, who will be telling us about Canada’s refugee health care system - and the ways it is unusually draconian.  His research critically examines health and social inequities facing international migrants, racialised minorities and people living with HIV/AIDS.  In this presentation with two parts, he will first provide the audience with an overview of Canada’s refugee health care system and the recent changes that have been made thereto, using real-life stories to illustrate the adverse impact that these policy changes have had on refugees and asylum seekers. In the second half of the presentation, he will compare the health care entitlement of refugees and asylum seekers in Canada with that in other Western countries.

"Pizza Wheels"
Melissa Luk

Melissa is an artist who will be presenting her socially-engaged art piece, Pizza Wheels. Pizza Wheels is a stopgap food recovery program - an act of environmental activism and record of relationships and information exchanged through mediations with the artist.  Inspiration for carrying on the project came from my daily interactions with the people she'd come to know through the food donations - her bakery co-workers, the front-line women's shelter workers, etc. In the session, she will be examining the development of the art project and topics of social art practice and concrete interventions.

"Everyone Has a Story: The Democratization of the Novel"
Rebecca Diem

From pulp paperbacks to the ebook revolution. With the advances in self-publishing, there are no more gatekeepers. Authors and readers can now choose the stories they want to share. How will the author-publisher-reader relationship adapt?  Rebecca will tell us about her experience writing and self-publishing her steam punk series, the Tales of Captain Duke, touching on ways that aspiring authors might access their own audience through self-publishing, too. 

"Gaps: Journalism's shortcomings in the digital age"
John Chidley-Hill

The digital age has transformed journalism, making it faster and easier to consume news. But technological innovation has also created several gaps in modern journalism that undermine one of society's most important pillars.  John, a sports writer for the Canadian Press, will talk about these gaps, informed by his experience in the field and as a teacher of journalism at Centennial.  

"Party / Poetry: The Condensation of Experience into Writing"
Fan Wu

Fan will present poems from his collection, afterparty, and will talk about his style of poetry, which includes memoir and translation.  This talk will focus on one poetic mode: poetry as abstracted memoir, as a condensation of events which have proven too overwhelming to contain in thought. Through examples of his own work and the work of Lorine Niedecker, Fan will show how poetry can come to have a reflective, even therapeutic effect through its ability to transmute diffuse and acute experience into manageable--but not simple--objects of language and lodestones of memory. His examples will largely be of a libidinous breed; the poems from afterparty deal with lust in parties that develops into paranoia, love, self-loathing, elation--and often all at once.


"A Small Talk on Legs"
Denise Pinto

For the past three years Denise has been leading a global grassroots movement inspired by urban thinker Jane Jacobs that encourages neighbours to connect face to face and explore their neighbourhoods together. She's been especially interested in involving all kinds of people in sharing their perspectives and experiences on walks-- from refugees to welfare moms to victims of police carding-- in order to diversify and intentionally complicate the narrative around what makes a good, functioning, liveable city.

She sees walking as an easy, accessible platform for sharing. It reaches across age groups, geographies and classes. It creates an appetite for active citizenship. It has been a simple and powerful tool, but people are still intimidated to take up the call to action to lead walks. And who can blame them? The template of 'walking tour' is owned by experts and historians; it is framed by expertise, privilege, permanence.

For this talk, Denise will bring insights and techniques from improve classes, to the walking tour format.  Improv offers a bunch of tools to help people bring forward valuable and vulnerable accounts of themselves (and potentially, their cities). Empathy, dialogue, exchange, vulnerability, noticing and emphasizing unremarkable but critical details, and most of all, the art of being unprepared and being completely okay with it: all these are tools/approaches that can be used on community walks.

"Getting Paid To Think for Yourself,"
Lena Suksi

Lena will speak about the experience of working as a life model for drawing classes. Drawing on six years of doing this work in many contexts, her talk will cover some of the unexpected benefits of the work, such as the opportunity for private reflection while working and performing for an audience, and the opportunity for experimenting with gesture and identity while being reduced to a drawn object and naked body. It will also situate this job in contexts of art, labour and intimacy and give practical advice to the would-be life model.


Parkdale Organize!

Members of Parkdale Organize share how they successfully fought back against gentrification and Akelius - a predatory landlord - through a community campaign.   Among other accomplishments, they were successful in fighting a rent increase at 188 Jameson.  They'll share insights from their work, and some information on tenant legal rights.

Pamela Wong

Inuit elders have a wealth of historical experience in tracking polar bear populations. Including Inuit in polar bear conservation is necessary yet challenging due to disputes over polar bear responses to climate change.  

Pamela's research integrates Inuit traditional knowledge with genetic techniques in monitoring polar bears. Since 2008 she has participated in Inuit-based polar bear surveys in Nunavut. Her MSc work showed reliability in Inuit diagnoses of polar bear tracks with scientific data. Her current PhD work documents how Inuit estimate polar bear population characteristics as well as Inuit hunting experience, views of science and management, and recommendations for work in arctic communities. Integrating Inuit knowledge with genetic analyses of tissues collected through harvests holds promise for more effective monitoring programs.

"Scientific Literacy for the Masses"
Dano Morrison

Science is the best to way to get to the truth, so why don't more people look to scientific literature for answers to everyday questions? I will present a quick guide to searching the literature and easily interpreting the cryptic format of scientific papers, skills that will be just as applicable to learning about things like diet, exercise, and sex as they are to understanding highly technical ideas.
Jason Webb

"Avast, me hearties: Fact, Fiction, and the Golden Age of Piracy"
Laura Thipphawong

Walking the plank, buried treasure, vicious battles and a parrot on your shoulder. From reality to fallacy, The Golden Age of Piracy has sparked imagination, inspired classic literature, and embedded itself in contemporary culture. But what do we talk about when we talk about pirates? Allow me to enlighten you.

"J. Edgar Hoover was a real bastard, or why it's no surprise that the NSA is spying on everyone"
Dan Epstein

The FBI bugged Martin Luther King Jr's hotel rooms, convinced Franklin Roosevelt to fear communism, and ended Richard Nixon's presidency. J. Edgar Hoover created the modern surveillance state by creating a culture of mistrust in Washington.

Mitchell Akiyama

In his sixteenth-century epic, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Rabelais presciently anticipated the advent of recorded sound. Passing close to the Frozen Sea, Pantagruel discovers an island strewn with objects resembling plums. It turns out that these objects are sounds, congealed and preserved by the freezing temperatures. As they thaw, the frozen objects “replay” the sounds of battle since past. Taking Rabelais’ story as its central metaphor, Mitchell Akiyama explores the cultural history of recording technology and examines the pervasive and longstanding desire to capture sound. This theoretical work serves as a precursor to introducing Frozen, an artwork in progress that reinterprets Rabelais’ story, transposing it into a contemporary, electronic context by presenting a series of small wooden vessels that freeze and replay sounds. Frozen asks visitors to consider their assumptions about what sound recordings contain and the ways in which they are used and consumed.

"The Body Politic: An Introduction to Social Epidemiology"
Jason Webb

Social epidemiology examines how people embody their social environment through particular illnesses; in other words, populations occupying specific social locations, such as low-income, racialized, or vulnerable social groups will experience different types and scales of morbidity compared to other social groups. Focusing on urban homelessness and social inequality, it is clear that chronic poverty influences human health and well-being, and that poverty does in fact go skin-deep, altering our bodies and hence our body politic. In his presentation, Webb will discuss the central tenets of social epidemiology from sociological, medical, and historical perspectives, and provide an example by tracing epidemiological studies on tuberculosis among vulnerable populations, with an emphasis on the historical, spatial, and political contexts in which these epidemics emerge.

"Poetry and Pornography"
Iona Polovska

What do video pornography and experimental film have in common? Through the mimicking powers of moving image technologies, they both radicalize the ways language works, augmenting its relationship to physical reality. This talk looks at how the organizational forces of poetry and reason express themselves in science, technology and art, and how these reflect on cinema. Advancing a view of technology as both threatening to colonize our mind and at the same time serving the human drive to knowledge, it arrives at a view of cinema as holding a reconciling potential between the human condition and the technological drive.

"The future is gonna be cool"
Nadim Hasabeard

With one hand in the past, one hand toward the future, an eye on the internet communities that form out of necessity, and the other on the crises that assemble them, this talk will be an overview of reasons to be optimistic about what comes next. Looking at developments across the maker revolution, decentralization of manufacturing power, the Green movement, the Brown movement and the share economy, Nadim's talk aims for nothing less than a restoration of faith in human solutions.

Nadim is a professional manchild at the Maker Kids workshop, a viking historical reenactor, amateur esoteric symbolist, and all-around art bum in his free time between odd jobs.

"Video Games as Cooperative Performance: Designing Meaningful Play in Laptop Orchestras"
Michael Palumbo

Laptop orchestras have much in common with video games, such as utilization of networked play, singular [solo] and cooperative [ensemble] modes of play, and hardware that is multipurpose and widely available. In this talk, the composer will introduce the audience to laptop orchestras, and outline the project goals and iterative design process that have lead to the creation of Stethoscope Hero, an audiovisual networked multiplayer game-composition for laptop orchestra. A work-in-progress, Stethoscope Hero is part of ongoing research on the social and design parameters that contribute to meaningful play and fun in the context of networked laptop orchestras, and is supported by a grant from the Concordia Undergraduate Summer Research Award, and supervised by Dr. Eldad Tsabary under his Interdisciplinary Networked, and Telematic Laptop Orchestra Project (INTLOP).

"Canadian 'Tax-Shelter' Movies"
Jonathan Culp

In the 1970s and 80s Canadian film culture experienced a gold rush of tax shelter movies, a writeoff scheme that pumped millions of dollars into the film industry. Ridiculed for decades, most of these films are rarely seen, let alone discussed. But a closer look reveals a bizarre and fascinating body of work, with outlandish, glitzy coproductions, inspired genre sleaze, talented artists battling their material to a draw, and outsider productions from masterpiece to catastrophe.

"Ecstatic Ritual"
Jesse James Laderoute

What is the nature of transcendental, ecstatic experiences? Why do we seek them, and is God necessary to understand them? Jesse James will explain how he believes we can continue to experience such rituals as sacred without any kind of devotional theism.

"Tactile Tech: The History of Gaming Interfaces"
Kyle Duffield

Remember the thrill of first time your game controller vibrated as you dodged incoming gunshots? Or remember the jump of 2-D gaming to 3-D and the first time you were floored you could control a 3-D realm in your living room? Remember the first time where you could control what was on the screen by moving your body in space? The objective of this talk is to provide an overview of the technological lineages between computing, home theatre, and videogame hardware and express economic and cultural implications trends towards the mass consumption of digital content, with more emphasis on the videogame industry.

"The Art of the Terrible"
Alex Nursall

What separates the GOOD bad from the BAD bad? What separates camp from crap? How does nostalgia play into this? Building on a talk previously delivered at Ignite Liverpool, Alex Nursall explores the art in bad movies and their wonderful ineptitude.

"Soup and the System"
Kat Rendek

The making of even the simplest soup is the result of a very complicated socio-cultural, environmental and political relationship. Conflicting and incompatible systemic interests of stakeholders, conceptual framing of food, and executed strategies act collectively as the foremost barrier to developing a meaningful national food strategy for Canada. By briefly discussing the apparent disconnect between these three components, this talk will add to the discussion around developing a comprehensive, inclusive, and sustainable food strategy for Canada. Plus, there will be (vegetable) soup!

Jane Frances Dunlop

How does the increasing ubiquity of digital platforms in artistic collaborations (and the resulting publicly visible processes) change how we perform in spaces? Conversely, how do we perform the places we are in? Positioned somewhere between a performance and a critical paper, Jane Frances Dunlop riffs on the charisma of space, the radical potential of generosity and how virtual collaboration is reconstituting actual geographies and our sense of what it means to be exchanging ideas in the same place.


"Industrial Music is Fascism"
David Jones

Industrial music has made no secret about its fascination or obsession with the ideas, icons and images of fascism, so much so that it is one of the most useful ways in which to link the various artists within the subculture. Why is this so? The broader construct of fascism, including its intellectual and social precursors, occultist and satanic variants, contains within it an engagement with industrialism, modernism and mass culture that presents itself as indispensable to artists interested in the provocative, spiritual or terrorizing aspects of these themes. Looking at the roots of industrial music through texts by Throbbing Gristle, Laibach and NON/Boyd Rice among others, “Industrial Music is Fascism” will explore the roots of a resurgent subculture and its connection to politics and aesthetics.

"When did the Survivor Survive (an intervention to the victim/survivor dichotomy)"
Cáitlín Currie

With an investment in experiential knowledge, this talk will think about the impacts of the language of "survivor" as a reference/identity marker for many living with the impacts of sexual violence. While "survivor" is likely most often intended as empowering and a movement away from victimization, the concept undermines the complexity of traumas and negatively impacts concepts of social change. How is "survivor" shaped by the context in which it is produced and what does it mean to survive?

Discussion will include sexual violence, traumas, suicide, colonialism, capitalism among other topics. The approach to a survivor-centric discussion this talk will take is one that doesn't force those impacted to leave the room but rather accepts that not everything needs to be discussed on this particular evening.

"Tupac 2.0: Who owns you when you’re dead?"
Jim Nielson

In recent years, dead celebrities from Michael Jackson to Tupac Shakur and Audrey Hepburn have performed for audiences via digitally importing old footage into new contexts. Would Tupac have wanted to perform a duet with Snoop Dogg if he were still alive in 2013? Should Tupac have any identity rights after he is dead? This is an area of law for which there are virtually no precedents, but it is also a moral and political challenge that we have never faced until now. This talk will cover the politics and ethics of ‘performance appropriation’ and how it may lead to a redefinition of identity in the future.