April 2014


Crossing over silos in genomics research

Karine Morin, Director, National GE3LS Program, Genome Canada

Silos, to many delegates who will attend Congress 2014, refer to insular thinking. To a few, they may evoke Canada’s agricultural tradition. It would seem unlikely that an exploration of the figurative term as well the literal one could happen at once during a session of Congress, but under the theme Borders without Boundaries, such an opportunity may not be so farfetched. In fact, considering how few life scientists will be traveling to Brock University to discuss advances in genomics, it may well seem more implausible that Genome Canada would participate in this year’s event. Yet those curious to learn how genomic research and innovation and the social sciences and humanities intersect should stop by our booth or attend one or both sessions sponsored by Genome Canada.


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The curious story of Research Matters

Patchen Barss, Creative Director and Managing Editor, Research Matters

The first question I really remember being curious about was, “How fast does gravity travel?”

I was a teenager. I stood on a bathroom scale and picked up a heavy book. The dial moved a half a pound. The book was several feet from the scale. Did the scale “know” instantaneously when I picked up the book, or did the information have to travel the length of my body?

Even then, I knew the effect couldn’t be instantaneous – that would mean information was traveling faster than the speed of light, and Albert Einstein had put the kibosh on that possibility way back in the early 20th century.  So did the information about the weight of the book travel at the speed of light? More slowly? How was the information actually transmitted? If I held the object out at arm’s length, did its weight to travel a longer distance through my body, or did it go in a straight line from...

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Focus on copyright issues in academia at Congress 2014

Blayne Haggart, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Brock University

Copyright laws affect almost every aspect of academics’ professional lives, from limiting how much of a book we can put in a course pack to allowing journals to put our (mostly publicly-funded) research behind paywalls. It affects how we teach, research and publish, to say nothing of tuition fees and university budgets.

Although copyright law is complex, the issues are straightforward.

Where should Canada draw the line between protection and limiting copying, and the need to have knowledge communicated as widely as possible? What should Canadian copyright look like, if we want to encourage Canadian scholars to create and communicate in a 21...

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SSH News: School is out for summer, One month to Congress, Direction and reach of SSH research

School’s out for summer!

Perhaps not Alice Cooper’s famous last words, but as another school year wraps up this month across Canadian campuses, the many challenges facing students today and ways in which these (and future) graduates will need to adapt to the evolving job market are hitting the airwaves. While educators and program directors hope to break down the walls between university and society, students too are being challenged to seize opportunities that give them an edge when moving from school to work. A brief collection of such tales from this week includes:

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Reinventing the language of storytelling at Congress

Kristine Collins, Director, Education and Institutional Markets, National Film Board of Canada

The National Film Board of Canada is proud to be part of CONGRESS 2014 as we celebrate our 75th anniversary. Our films, interactive productions and educational resources connect to the conference themes in so many ways it was challenging to choose just one focus, so we didn’t!

In an exclusive evening event, we will be showcasing Highrise, the Emmy-winning interactive documentary that explores the human condition of vertical living around the globe, created by the NFB’s filmmaker in residence Katerina Cizek. Katerina will be joined by Kristine Collins, Director of Education at the NFB, and Dr. Deborah Cowen, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of...

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Catch the Top 25

People-focused research matters. How you tell its story is just as important.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) launched its second-annual Storytellers challenge this past November, asking postsecondary students from across the country to demonstrate—in three minutes or 300 words—how a SSHRC-funded research project at their institution is making a difference in the lives of Canadians.


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Canadian archeology loses a champion

Nicola Katz, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Canada has lost a gem of an archeologist this month with the passing of Dr. Priscilla Renouf. A pioneer in her field for over thirty years, she conducted research in Labrador, Arctic Norway and Greenland, with a particular focus Port au Choix in northwestern Newfoundland. Holding a BA and MA from Memorial University, and a PhD from Cambridge University, she was Canada Research Chair in North Atlantic Archaeology at Memorial University, where she has taught since 1981.  Among her many achievements, she was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and 1992-1993 recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Research.

Dr. Renouf was exemplary in her interdisciplinary, holistic and innovative approach to her work. Her talent lay in the...

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'Tis the season for book prizes!

Each year, the Federation helps scholarly books on topics in the humanities and social sciences get published through the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP). To date, the ASPP has supported the publication of over 6,000 books that have helped to enrich the social, cultural and intellectual life of Canada and the world.

It is with great delight that the Federation congratulates two authors who were funded by the ASPP last year, Miranda Campbell and Gregory Taylor, for being shortlisted for the 2014 Donner Prize. “The Donner Prize encourages and celebrates excellence in public policy writing by Canadians, on topics of great importance to Canadians” (The Donner Canadian Foundation).

Both published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, Miranda Campbell’s...

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SSH News: Donner Prize finalists, Big Thinking, Annual Conference videos

It was with great delight that the Federation congratulated this week two authors who were funded by the Federation’s Awards to Scholarly Publications Program last year, Miranda Campbell and Gregory Taylor, for being shortlisted for the 2014 Donner Prize. To read more about this, see today’s blog ‘Tis the season for book prizes!

This month’s Big Thinking lecture “The secret to our success: Immigration policy in Canada” was presented by Irene Bloemraad, Barnes Chair of Canadian Studies and CIFAR Senior Fellow from the University of California, Berkeley. This lecture explored the...

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Première screening from the Lost Stories project

Ronald Rudin, Trudeau Foundation Fellow, Professor of History, Co-Director, Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Concordia University

Screening of Thomas Widd's Lost Story
May 28, 2021 at 10:15 a.m.
International Centre 120
Brock University
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

The screening of Thomas Widd’s Lost Story marks the completion of the pilot for my Lost Stories/Histoires retrouvées project, funded since 2012 by a fellowship from the Trudeau Foundation. Multidisciplinary in conception and bilingual in production, the project is designed to collect little known stories about the Canadian past, transform them into inexpensive works of public art on appropriate sites, and document the process by way of a series of half-hour films...

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Digital humanities tools, tips, and techniques at Congress

Constance Crompton, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia

Ray Siemens, Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing and Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), directed by Ray Siemens (University of Victoria), is partnering with the Federation and the Canadian Society of Digital Humanities/ Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN) to bring a series of 2.5-hour workshops to the DH-curious at Congress.  The workshops, facilitated...

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An Indigenous presence at Congress 2014

Julian Kitchen, director, Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, Brock University

The organizers of Congress 2014 have made an effort to acknowledge that Brock University is located on Aboriginal territory and to include Indigenous voices and knowledge in the program.

The formal opening to Congress will include a traditional welcoming. President Jack Lightstone will formally acknowledge that Brock University is located on the shared lands of the Original Peoples and recognize the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples who are attending Congress.

On Sunday, May 25, the first day of Congress, the Big Thinking series will feature Dr. Cindy Blackstock, a distinguished scholar on the causes of...

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SSH News: “Ideas can…” video, Federation’s newest members, IRSPM 2014

Hands down, it’s been one of the warmest weeks we’ve had in months, but before springing forward too quickly, what are some of the Federation’s highlights from 2013? Be sure to read our 2013 Annual Report and watch our new “Ideas can… bring us together” video featuring President, Antonia Maioni, and our Executive Director, Jean-Marc Mangin. We encourage you to share our video with friends and colleagues who are curious about what the Federation does – it’s a great 5-minute synopsis!  

In other news, the Federation welcomed three of its newest members: the Canadian...

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Universities across Canada embrace community-university engagement

Maeve Lydon, Secretary, Office of Community Based Research Canada, University of Victoria

Community Based Research Canada (CBRC) is a national network of post-secondary institutions, community-based research organizations and individual members dedicated to the development and implementation of best practices in community based research in Canada.

Having worked in the NGO and community development sector for years, I was invited to help build this work as part of my role working at the University of Victoria’s Office of Community Based Research, now called the Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community-University Engagement (ISICUE).

Briefly, CBRC came into being by representatives at the Community-University Expo Conference (CUExpo), the largest gathering of community and university researchers in...

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Congress: 82 years and counting!

The humanities and social sciences represent some of the oldest and broadest academic disciplines that continue to provide us with insights about humanity. The study of economics, art, history, law, philosophy, religion, among many others, represents both of our innate curiosity about the past as well as our reflective look to the future, and how we progress and address challenges.

The first Canadian assembly of humanists and social scientists was organized by The Royal Society in May 1931 and took place in Ottawa with sessions at the Chateau Laurier Hotel and the Dominion Room of the National Archives. The meeting established itself annually, and by the early 1950s, it was known as the Conference of the Learned Societies (the Learneds). Today, in its 83rd year, it is as relevant as it...

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SSH News: Canada Prizes finalists, SSHRC Storytellers finalists, Big Thinking, Keeping the humanities alive

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences was pleased to announce the finalists for the 2014 Canada Prizes during its 2014 Annual Conference last Friday. An animated afternoon reception celebrated the authors of 14 books that were named finalists for the 2014 Canada Prizes. It was a great delight to see a handful of finalists and publishers in attendance for the announcement. The Canada Prizes are awarded annually to the best scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences that have received funding from the...

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Official opening of new Technozone: Data exhibition

Re-posted on behalf of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada


Gary Polonsky, Chair of the Board of Trustees,
Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation,

Fernand Proulx, Interim President and CEO,
Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
Janet Walden, Chief Operating Officer,
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

cordially invite you to the official opening of the new Technozone exhibition

New ways of seeing the world

This exhibition showcases the digital displays and interactive...

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