KPU to host “Redesigning Our World” as part of speaker series

The event will draw attention to current issues affecting the world and how people can deal with issues facing the future

Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square, KPU Faculty of Arts. (submitted)

In the wake of complex world crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, students and faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University are coming together to co-create interdisciplinary solutions.

Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square and student collaborators are hosting KPU’s first installment of the Arts Speaker Series of 2021 with “Redesigning Our World” on Jan. 13.

“I think there is a real need to get rid of that individualistic, competitive sort of structure we have right now and move into something that is collaborative and founded on compassion and care,” says Jones Square, who is an interdisciplinary instructor in the arts department.

This event is a smaller version of the upcoming conference Jones Square and her collaborators are working towards in the fall, also called “Redesigning Our World”. It will run from Sept 21 to 22. The conference will be hosted virtually and free to attend.

Organizers are aiming to draw attention to the future of our shared planet through both events. They want to bring people across different academic disciplines together to “collectively think about how to deal with the many issues we face.”

KPU student collaborators include Emmanuel Juma, Ravneet Sahota, Jasmeen Deol, Kennedy Holick, Kristyn Ing, Kristen Frier, Emily Beattie, Jaqueline Walker, Manveer Singh, Genna Trinidad, William Westerberg, Naaz Sidhu, McKenzie McInnes, Jasleen Johal, Neil Sharma, and Malisha Kumar.

Student collaborators will answer questions on social justice and its role in higher education. They will also discuss the panel they will be running for the conference in September. Most of the panels will be connected to a social justice issue.

For example, a student is running a panel on tiny homes, while another is presenting on fish farming. Mental illness and poetry are some other topics expected to be addressed at the series.

Jones Square wants to “celebrate the amazing work done” by student organizers while also encouraging participation and collaboration with faculty members.

Faculty collaborators include Michael Ma, Seema Ahluwalia and David Sadoway. Music professor Gordon Cobb is creating a music video with student organizers to present.

The conference has secured Annamie Paul, lawyer, activist and leader of the Green Party of Canada, as a keynote speaker. Other speakers will include actors, comedians, and scholars.

Artist, activist, and KPU alumni, Calvin “Kalvonix” Tiu, will also perform his song, “One Day I’ll Be Fine” which went viral on Tik Tok.

Having taught at KPU since September 2019, Jones Square was inspired by her students’ dedication to “important social changes.”

She started an interdisciplinary group with them on Facebook as a way to share their work and ideas. “We started thinking and it just kept growing bigger,” says Jones Square. They then decided to organize and run a conference.

Jones Square also sees these events as a way to help train and develop future leaders. “They are going to have to network themselves and get in touch with people.”

Organizers have created Twitter and Instagram accounts for the conference, posting information about organizers, speakers and presenters.

The free event will run from 1:00 pm. to 2:00 pm on Jan. 13. Those who wish to attend can register by emailing artsevents@email.kpu.ca to receive a link to the event through Microsoft Teams.

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