Launching with its first online event on January 20, MacEwan University's fourth Interdisciplinary Dialogue Project (IDP) wants to help us find ways to connect and grow relationships in good ways. With the topic of COVID-19's Calls to Reimagine Relations, the project invites students, staff and faculty to consider historical and present day ways of connecting through crisis, and how that manifests around important topics such as misinformation, racism, decolonization, arts creation and more.
"Having previously focused on the global refugee crisis and Indigenous-settler relations, we have turned now to COVID-19 and not only the immense challenges it presents, but also the opportunities it brings for reimagining new ways of being together," says Interdisciplinary Dialogue co-chair Larisa Hayduk, director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre.
Co-chair, Lindsey Whitson, MacEwan's community engagement librarian, adds, "COVID-19 was not originally part of the 2021 topic, but could not be ignored. We saw an opportunity to create for our university a community of learning that valued everyone’s contributions, growth and commitment to better ways forward."
(Mis)Relating in Times of Pandemics features guest speakers Timothy Caulfield, professor and Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy from the University of Alberta, and Dr. Jonathan Roberts, associate professor and chair of history at Mount Saint Vincent University, moderated by public intellectual Chelsea Vowel. This is the first of four events offered by the Interdisciplinary Dialogue, with all of the events open to the public.
The Interdisciplinary Dialogue is organized by a university-wide team of 20 faculty and staff members representing all faculties at MacEwan. While some students have been formally invited to participate through the involvement of their instructors, all students may join in this extracurricular learning opportunity through the project’s co-curricular record program. Co-chairs Hayduk and Whitson promise there will be unique opportunities for students to engage and talk about their own experiences.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.