Campus Life

New Take Two speaker series to focus on U of L research

As Associate Vice-President Research, Dr. Claudia Malacrida wants to demonstrate the diversity and depth of research done at a small, liberal arts institution like the University of Lethbridge. To that end, she created a new speaker series called Take Two. Once underway, the Take Two sessions will feature two researchers who approach a topic from different perspectives.

For the inaugural talk, Malacrida will provide the community a report on the federal review panel, of which she was a member, and its findings on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. (Markin Hall Atrium). Attendees will have the opportunity to sign a petition to increase support for research funding that will be submitted to the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan.

Dr. Claudia Malacrida

“Part of my rationale for wanting to give this talk is to galvanize our response to the recommendations of the review panel and to garner support for the idea that fundamental research in Canada should be a level playing field for universities, regardless of their size,” says Malacrida.

Following consultations across the country, evidence gathered by the panel points to a research system that is underfed and overworked. The Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities, to which the U of L belongs, has thrown its support behind the panel’s recommendations and is advocating for increases to annual federal spending on research and that it be distributed fairly to universities, both large and small.

The balance of the Take Two series will take a different direction, offering fresh insights on research being done at the U of L. The events will offer talks by two researchers who take different approaches to a related issue. Each researcher will have about 20 minutes to present, followed by a question-and-answer session.

“We wanted to create a novel format for the Take Two series,” says Malacrida. “We are asking these researchers to talk across disciplines in a way that will help people understand that exciting work happens here. We want to show that we have people working in all areas on campus who are contributing to our understanding of our social, cultural and physical worlds.”

The second session on Oct. 25 will focus on understanding childhood and difference. Dr. Jeffrey MacCormack (Education) conducts research on attentional issues in the classroom in children who experience difficulty socializing and regulating emotions. He’s interested in how play-based interventions can help regulate and modulate children’s behaviour in the classroom. The other speaker, Dr. Jan Newberry (Anthropology) will discuss the partnership between the U of L’s Institute for Child and Youth Studies and the Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society. Through the Raising Spirit project, they’ve been collecting stories and images for a digital storytelling library to highlight Indigenous ways of knowing and to build community capacity collaboratively.

“Despite differing approaches, both researchers’ work is not about fixing kids who don’t fit in; it’s about changing the way we think about what ‘in’ ought to look like,” says Malacrida.

The third session on Nov. 23 brings together Drs. Maura Hanrahan and Monique Giroux (Native American Studies) to talk about their research. Hanrahan examines policy, especially as it relates to the way current approaches to Indigenous health research can operate to exclude the health concerns of Métis peoples. Giroux is both a scholar and fiddler. She studies how Métis identity is produced and regulated through dramatic works, as well as through performances at fiddling contests and cultural festivals.

In the fourth talk scheduled for Feb. 1, Dr. Chris Hopkinson (Geography) will talk about his research using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors to create three-dimensional topographical maps used by governments and industries to assess flood hazards, manage wildlife habitat or create greenhouse gas strategies. Leanne Elias, a New Media professor, will talk about her experimental visualization of agricultural data, such as crop production.

“Elias visualizes those data through sound, light and visual images to produce art but also to convey information,” says Malacrida. “Both she and Hopkinson are working very different approaches to sustainability and environmental visualization.”

The fifth session of the series features Drs. Paul Vasey (Psychology) and Suzanne Lenon (Women and Gender Studies) talking about their research into gender, sex and sexuality. Vasey does fieldwork looking at both gender and sexuality in two cultures that recognize a third gender, the fa’fafine of Samoa and the muxes of the Istmo region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Lenon’s research focuses on the history and material aspects of marriage law, with respect to race, gender and sexuality, especially regarding same-sex marriage and polygamy.

Talks are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., with the Sept. 21 session taking place in the Markin Hall Atrium. Light refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend.