UBC President Santa Ono is welcoming the public to attend the 88th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 1 to 7, at UBC.
Ben Nelms / THE CANADIAN PRESS
UBC’s Vancouver campus is usually quiet in the first week of June. Graduation ceremonies are over and there are fewer students on campus than usual.But this year, the campus will be bustling as more than 10,000 scholars from across Canada come to the University of B.C. for the 88th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 1 to 7.Canada’s largest annual gathering of scholars is organized by the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences, which represents 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations, and 91,000 researchers. It brings together groups across a broad spectrum of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to connect and share world-changing ideas that have direct importance for Canada and the lives of Canadians.You are invited.This year’s theme, Circles of Conversation, will emphasize the deep, two-way relationships between the university and the communities it serves: local, provincial, national and global. Circles of Conversation will open up much-needed dialogue and debate about key contemporary issues, with emphasis on the arts and the role that artists play in effecting social change. The Circles of Conversation programming series will showcase UBC’s strengths in the areas of artistic production, research, community engagement, Indigenous scholarship and more. It will also highlight the work of UBC faculty, staff and students, often in collaboration with colleagues from across Canada and around the world.Particular emphasis will be focused on productive scholarly relations with Indigenous communities. UBC has developed several events in collaboration with Indigenous faculty members that will engage in issues of relevance to Indigenous communities and beyond, such as education, language retention, storytelling and art.Each event in the series will be accompanied by an academic panel discussion that draws out the creative work’s significance to education, social sciences and the humanities.But congress isn’t just for academics. It’s for everyone. The public is welcome at more than 270 free events, including exhibitions in the soundscapes and visual arts, literary readings and musical performances, featured talks, symposia, Indigenous programs and more. These events present an opportunity for academics and the public to exchange ideas, share research findings, and participate in dialogue about today’s important issues.Here are some highlights:The Big Thinking series will feature several incredible scholars, including UBC alumni David Suzuki and Ian Mauro for a screening of their film Beyond Climate on Climate Day. Simon Brault, CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, will lead a discussion on cultural citizenship, inclusivity and the price of change. Bestselling novelist Esi Edugyan, author of The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Half-Blood Blues, will speak and sign copies of her books. Visual artist Stan Douglas asks the question, “What does it mean to reconstruct moments of historical rupture through a modern lens?”Storytelling and Strength: Voices from Indigenous theatre in Canada is a panel discussion featuring award-winning performers, writers and directors, such as Sylvia Cloutier, the producer of TULUGAK: Inuit Raven Stories, Cree-Saulteaux performing artist Margo Kane, Indigenous Studies scholar Lindsay Lachance, and Oji-Cree artistic director Corey Payette.The need to engage critically within and across disciplines is higher than ever. The challenges of tomorrow — whether related to environmental sustainability and climate change, reconciliation, education, population development, or geopolitics and globalization — require the humanities and social sciences community to be creative and work together to raise awareness, draw connections, ask questions, cultivate analytical thinking, and be part of collective solutions. Congress 2019 will be a great example of this collaboration. I invite you all to come to UBC Vancouver and join the Circles of Conversation at Congress 2019.Santa Ono is president and vice-chancellor of the University of B.C.Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at email@example.com.CLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.