Tuesday, December 9, 2008

  • British artist explores UW's river
  • Gifts to UW promote 'a just world'
  • Other notes as the year winds down
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Looks as though she's standing on her drawings]

Alice Angus in her London studio working on her commissioned Grand River artwork.

British artist explores UW's river

A new artwork commissioned by Render, the UW art gallery, opened a few days ago in the Architecture building in Cambridge and will be on display until mid-February.

Titled “At the Waters Edge: Grand River Sketches”, it was created by British artist Alice Angus. She is co-director of “proboscis”, a collective based in London that specializes in site-specific creations, and the project is part of Render’s “ongoing creative research partnership” with “proboscis”.

“Our projects,” the British group’s web site explains, “often begin life as a question; over time they develop into symposia, residencies, collaborations and artworks that can take the form of films, books, installations, ephemera, architectural constructions, published texts and art objects. We develop creative tools, processes and methodologies that bring new perspectives to a vision and understanding of the world.”

In the UW case, the starting point was the Architecture building’s location on the banks of the Grand River in the historic Galt section of Cambridge. A news release from Render explains that Angus was commissioned to develop a new work specifically for the atrium of the building.

“Combining new media and traditional methods,” it says, “Angus's project reflects the proboscis strategy of engaging the social, cultural and natural histories of specific sites and territories. Furthermore, Angus brings her own particular interest in rivers as life-lines, connectors and definers of place or (to paraphrase a few choice thoughts from Peter Ackroyd's definitive book on the Thames) the river as fact, as metaphor, as sacred line.

“For this project, Angus has explored the Grand River from its mouth at Port Maitland on Lake Erie to Elora. By bicycle, car, foot and kayak, she has wandered through and around the numerous cities, towns, villages, communities, farm fields and industrial sites the river penetrates, defines and skirts, making focussed stops along the way at Chiefswood National Historic Site, Paris, Galt and Kitchener. Her inquiries have also taken her to libraries, museums and archives and into conversations with numerous individuals whose lives have been touched by the river.

“The resulting work is a potent, deeply personal and poetic reflection on a significant body of water whose role as a critical thread through the region is often forgotten or obscured by more recent grids of development, pathways of transportation and community boundaries. As with her other explorations of water (such as the Rivers Nene and Ouse in East Anglia and her project Topographies and Tales set in Scotland and the Canadian north), At The Waters Edge: Grand River Sketches maps a dialogue between the artist and place, emphasizing a process of inquiry that promises to continue.”

The release goes on to explain that “at the heart of Render's ongoing collaboration with ‘proboscis’ is creative research grounded in local history and the built environment. Past collaborative projects have included AnArchaeology and The Accidental Menagerie. At the Water's Edge will be further developed into a publication, and ‘proboscis’ will play a central role in Render's upcoming Groundwork community garden project at ‘rare’.

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Gifts to UW promote 'a just world'

a feature article from UW’s 2007-08 “Report on Giving”

[Rebekah Stormes]When the Kenyan sun reaches its peak in the midday sky, the temperature outside can feel like 40 Celsius. But for Rebekah Stormes (right), a fourth-year economics student, it wasn't the sweltering heat that bothered her. Nor was it the smell of the burning garbage that lined the dirt roads. She didn't mind hearing the constant cacophony of bicycle bells, bleating goats, or shouting vendors. What troubled her was seeing women getting sick from doing one of life's most essential tasks: cooking.

In 2007, Stormes spent three months in the community of Ugunja, working with a locally established and operated microfinance organization. With the help of her Kenyan colleagues, she developed a proposal to sell efficient and safe stoves to local women through a manageable repayment plan. The initiative would help alleviate the respiratory illnesses caused by cooking with wood or kerosene stoves in unventilated areas. While she was in Kenya, 15 of her peers were doing similar work in Honduras, Ecuador, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, and Ghana through the unique international development program, Beyond Borders.

The program was established in 2005 at St. Jerome's University, one of the four university and college affiliates located on UW's campus. Promoting cross-cultural solidarity, the program provides students from all faculties with the opportunity to gain academic credits while immersed in a different culture. Through the fusion of classroom education and service learning, students have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of the local people, which often transforms their own lives and perspectives in return. "I learned a lot about community, family, and life from people who are just like me but grew up in different circumstances," says Stormes.

This holistic, global mandate is what led Steve and Eve Menich to contribute to the program. Having travelled to 79 countries, Steve and Eve know the value of experiencing new cultures and living as global citizens. The sights, sounds, and smells that the Menichs recall from their adventures sound remarkably similar to those that Stormes experienced. Perhaps the Menichs never worked with hundreds of Kenyan women under a blazing sun; yet through their support, they're partnering with students and innovative proposals to pursue the goal of a more just world.

Footnote added later: Stormes's work was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) Students for Development program.

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Other notes as the year winds down

A four-person delegation from UW, as well as half a dozen representatives from other Canadian institutions, left for India on Sunday. The group, led by Arthur Carty, executive director of UW’s Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, will take part in a Canada-India Nanotechnology Workshop tomorrow. Says Alain Francq, the institute’s managing director: “The objective of the workshop is to build on the two previous Nanotechnology Workshops at UW and seek to further those existing collaborations. For example, new faculty member Frank Gu is part of the delegation and will be presenting on stealth targeted drug delivery.” Then the group will be attending “Bangalore Nano 2008”, a major conference on the applications of nanotech to various fields. “Bangalore is recognized as the knowledge capital of India,” the conference web site boasts, and the conference “is intended to be a place for the global nano-technology community to meet, collaborate and do business.” Carty is scheduled to give one of the keynote speeches, introducing Canadian (and Waterloo) work in the nano field. Finally, says Francq, Canada’s department of foreign affairs and international trade, which is organizing the trip as a whole, “has asked that he chair a meeting to discuss the feasibility of a joint Canada-India Nanotechnology Institute.” That meeting is scheduled for Monday in Delhi, India’s capital. The delegation was also originally scheduled to have meetings in Mumbai, but that plan was changed after the terrorist attacks there two weeks ago.

The Graduate Student Association won't, after all, be holding a semi-formal dinner and dance this Saturday night. The event has been cancelled because not enough tickets were being sold, and the result would have been an "inappropriately high cost of subsidy per student", says GSA vice-president Dave Pritchard. Those who did make reservations, and are thus presumably casting around for somewhere else to enjoy Saturday night's big date, can get refunds at the Graduate House.

Finally, a few words about food. Today through Friday, the catering arm of UW's food services is offering its Christmas buffet lunch in the Festival Room, South Campus Hall, not to be confused with the buffet that's available all month at the University Club. (Call ext. 84700 for Festival Room reservations, ext. 33801 for the Club.) The Club will also have a Christmas dinner this Thursday and next, 5:00 to 8:00. Brubakers cafeteria in Village I will serve a Christmas dinner tonight; tomorrow, REVelation in Ron Eydt Village has the same thing. The "Dons' Do" festive dinner in Mudie's is scheduled for Thursday. And a couple more food services cash outlets have closed for the season: the PAS Lounge in the Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology building and Tim Hortons in Modern Languages are shuttered until January 5. (The ML Café itself remains open through December 19.)


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Link of the day

John Milton at 400

When and where

Fall term exams December 5 through 19. Details.

Soft water shut off until 4 p.m. today in all main campus buildings inside the ring road, as well as Village I. Water supply continues but will not be softened.

Blood donor clinic 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre, book appointments at turnkey desk or call 1-888-236-6283.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Live & Learn library lecture: Bruce Muirhead, history, “The Jewel in the Crown: The International Development Research Centre and Canadian Development Assistance”, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Public Library main branch.

‘National town hall’ on Canadian engagement in Afghanistan, 7 p.m., Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West. Details.

Senate finance committee Wednesday 4 p.m., Needles Hall room 3004, agenda online.

Accelerator Centre “graduation” for Miovision Technologies, Thursday 9:30 a.m., 295 Hagey Boulevard, information info@ acceleratorcentre.com.

Applied Complexity and Innovation seminar: Brenda Zimmerman, York University, “Applications of Complexity Science to Healthcare”, Thursday 12:00, University Club, RSVP cmombour@ uwaterloo.ca.

UW International Spouses potluck Christmas dessert and afternoon tea, Thursday 12:45 p.m., 5th floor, St. Paul’s Graduate Apartments. Details.

UW-ACE Instructor User Group Thursday 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Social work program application deadline for 2009 is December 15, 2008.

UW Senate December 15, cancelled.

Ontario Ballet Theatre presents “The Nutcracker”, December 15, 7:00 p.m., and school performances Tuesday, 10:00 and 12:30, Humanities Theatre.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Finding Nemo: Advanced Techniques for Finding Web Resources” December 16, 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Fee payment deadline for the winter term: December 17 (cheque, money order or fee arrangements), December 30 (bank transfer).

Unofficial fall term grades begin appearing on Quest December 22; grades become official January 26.

Christmas and New Year’s holidays: Tuesday, December 23, last working day at UW for 2008. First working day of 2009 is Monday, January 5.

Optometry continuing education “CE on the SEA” Caribbean cruise and professional upgrading, January 3-10. Details.

Winter term classes begin January 5.

Social Innovation Generation project presents “Studio Earth”, with remarks by environmentalist Severn Suzuki, sessions on social finance, social technology, political advocacy, January 11, 12:30 to 5:00, Kitchener City Hall, registration $10, call ext. 38680.

Application deadline for September 2009 undergraduate admission is January 14 for Ontario secondary school students. General deadline, March 31. Exceptions include pharmacy (for January 2010) January 30; accounting and architecture, February 13; engineering and software March 2. Details.

Engineering alumni ski day at Osler Bluff Ski Club, Collingwood, January 16. Details.

St. Jerome’s University presents “Confronting Evil Today”, free three-part mini-course by faculty member David Seljak, begins January 16, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

PhD oral defences

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Amin Kamalzadeh, “Precision Control of High Speed Ball Screw Drives.” Supervisor, Kaan Erkorkmaz. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, December 19, 2:00 p.m., Engineering II room 2354F.

Accounting and finance. James Moore, “An Examination of the Impact of Disclosure Regulations on the Market Reaction to TSX Open Market Repurchase Program Announcements.” Supervisor, Alan Douglas. On display in the faculty of arts, PAS 2419. Oral defence Friday, December 19, 2:30 p.m., Humanities room 178.

Systems design engineering. Masoud Mahootchi, “Storage System Management Using Soft Computing and Non-Linear Models.” Supervisors, Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam and Hamid R. Tizhoosh. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, January 5, 2:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Earth and environmental sciences. Natalie St. Amour, “A Multi-Proxy Study of Holocene Atmospheric Circulation Dynamics Recorded in Lake Sediments in Fennoscandia.” Supervisors, Thomas W. D. Edwards and Brent B. Wolfe. On display in the faculty of sciences, ESC 254A. Oral defence Wednesday, January 7, 9:30 a.m., Biology I room 266.

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