Research

Celebrating African Heritage Month 2019

Join Saint Mary’s University in celebrating African Heritage Month by exploring the multitude of events taking place across campus, including a one-of-a-kind exhibit and panel discussion in the Patrick Power Library.

African Heritage Month events at Saint Mary’s.  Click here to go to the Saint Mary’s events calendar.

African Heritage Month events at Saint Mary’s. Click here to go to the Saint Mary’s events calendar.

The theme of the panel discussion is “Racial Apartheid & Black Freedom Struggles in Nova Scotia & South Africa”. The exhibit features Nova Scotian and South African materials from the Lynn Jones African-Canadian Heritage and Diaspora Heritage Collection, housed in the Saint Mary’s University Archives. The exhibit will be on display on the first floor of the Patrick Power Library, Saint Mary’s University from February 4-28, 2019.

The panel discussion will feature South African writer and SMU scholar Gugu Hlongwane, Dr. Lynn Jones (Global African Congress, NS Chapter), researcher and filmmaker Francesca Ekwuyasi, and social justice strategist, songwriter and educator Delvina Bernard. The panel will speak to similarities and differences between Black history and freedom struggles in Nova Scotia and South Africa. This event takes place on Tuesday February 12th, 6:30-8pm, Patrick Power Library Classroom (LI135).

The Saint Mary’s University Archives is the proud home of the Lynn Jones African-Canadian Heritage & Diaspora Heritage Collection, which “documents the lives of Lynn, her family, and over 50 years of African, African Diasporic, and African-Nova Scotian heritage and history”.

Dr. Lynn Jones

Dr. Lynn Jones

Learn more about the Collection and how to access it at https://smu.ca/academics/archives/lynn-jones-african-canadian-collection.html

For more information about African Heritage Month and the events taking place throughout the province, visit https://ansa.novascotia.ca/, Facebook, @AfricanNSAffairs or Twitter, @OfficeofANSA.

CLARI creates powerful partnerships between universities and communities

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On the surface, implicit bias training for police, tidal energy development and bringing the family pet to the nursing home seem to have little in common.

At Saint Mary’s, they represent successful community-based collaborations for CLARI, the pan-university Change Lab Action Research Initiative, based at the university.

This work was celebrated on Tuesday, January 22 when team members from participating universities and community organizations gathered at the CLARI space on campus.

‘“CLARI connects university professors, experts in their fields, with community groups in need of that expertise for community-based projects,” said Adam Sarty, AVP Research and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

“These projects are proof of concept and would not have been possible without the partnerships and funding available through CLARI. The demand is there, and we look forward to the new opportunities for collaborations that 2019 will bring,” he adds.

In addition to the projects mentioned above, CLARI has also supported partnerships to:

See the CLARI progress report for more:  https://smu.ca/webfiles/CLARIReport2018.pdf

See the CLARI progress report for more: https://smu.ca/webfiles/CLARIReport2018.pdf

  • promote cultural food security for newcomers,

  • evaluate an arts-based entrepreneurship program for youth,

  • research barriers faced by people living with disabilities through evidence-based solutions,

  • explore what justice means to those who have experienced gender-based violence, and

  • research ways to improve outcomes for incarcerated people returning to the community.

"CLARI has enabled community needs to be addressed by faculty expertise, a truly novel approach to research in Nova Scotia," said Gayle MacDonald, the associate vice-president, research at Mount Saint Vincent University. "‎Faculty learn the complexity of working with community, community groups learn the precision and patience applied research requires, and in the mix, students are direct participants in the process. As a Change Action Laboratory, CLARI has lived up to its claims. The Mount is proud to be part of this initiative."

The CLARI network spans the province, combining the talents and resources of its six founding partner universities: Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St. Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary’s University, Université Sainte-Anne and the Nova Scotia Community College’s 13 campuses. CLARI partners assist communities in all parts of the province to develop social and economic change projects while providing enhanced learning opportunities for students.



Bridges to Thailand: Saint Mary’s signs MOU with Srinakharinwirot University

The start of a partnership: Dr, Malcolm Butler, VPAR with Associate Professor Prit Supasetsiri, Vice President for International Relations and Communications, SWU and the visiting delagates in the McNally Boardroom.

The start of a partnership: Dr, Malcolm Butler, VPAR with Associate Professor Prit Supasetsiri, Vice President for International Relations and Communications, SWU and the visiting delagates in the McNally Boardroom.

The signing of a MoU between Saint Mary’s University and Srinakharinwirot University (SWU) in Thailand marks the beginning of a new partnership and opens the door to increased international mobility for both institutions.

A ten-person delegation from SWU came to campus on November 28 to visit Saint Mary’s, sign the MoU and discuss further opportunities for potential collaboration including joint degree programs, student exchanges and ESL summer/short-term courses.

In addition to Dr. Butler, delegates spoke with Dr. Adam Sarty, AVP Research, and Dean, FGSR; Dr. Harjeet Bhabra Dean, SSB; and Nicola MacNevin from the The Language Centre.

The Thai delegation included faculty from their College of Social Communication Innovation and Faculty of Economics who want to build ties with relevant Saint Mary’s programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

The Language Centre is also considering building a customized short-term program that focuses on English training, intercultural communication, or other specific subjects. SWU students could potentially start taking part in language training programs as early as next summer (2019).

Saint Mary’s was first introduced to SWU in June 2018 with the support of Nitchawan (Pan) Sriviboone, Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, who identified the institutions as a good match for Saint Mary’s University in terms of partnerships.

Saint Mary’s collaboration with Innu Nation seen in documentary film screening

The rain could not keep a full house away from Halifax Central Library’s Paul O'Regan Hall on Nov. 3, 2018. Saint Mary’s faculty, Innu Nation, and members of the local community came to hear the story of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Innu Nation. The documentary screening of “Nakatuenita: Respect,” was co-produced by Richard Nuna, Innu Nation, and Dr. Trudy Sable, Community Conservation Research Network - Saint Mary's University and directed by filmmaker Kent Martin. 

The evening began with a traditional Mi’kmaw prayer by Mi’kmaw elder Thomas Christmas and Mi’Kmaw song to welcome participants onto traditional Mi’kmaq territory. Innu Nation’s Grand Chief, Gregory Rich, Dr. Trudy Sable, Saint Mary’s Community Engaged Research Facilitator and Saint Mary’s Vice-President, Dr. Malcolm Butler also welcomed the crowd.

Throughout the screening you could hear engaged asides between front-row members of the crowd.. The film – which ended in a standing ovation – tells the story of Ntesinan, a once peaceful territory where Innu families lived in tents, hunted for survival, and learned “Nutshimit” (country) skills and the fragile relationship between humans and animals from their elders. Their culture is one of respect – respect for the land, plants, animals and each other.

Although the memories of the past remain strong, the Innu now adapt to cultural and spiritual disruption. In the mid 20th century, they were forced to settle into communities by the governments and the church.  A significant part of their territory (later flooded by The Churchill Falls Hydro Project) changed the great falls known to the Innu as “Mista Shipu” forever.

“This film is a very powerful and moving testament to the impact that resettlement, development and climate change has had on Indigenous culture and communities,” said Dr. Butler.

Successful in taking control of their schools in 2009 and income support two years ago, the Innu look to the future of their land, social services, schools and government.

“Their resilience has amazed me in the face of so many forces that have tried to undermine who they are as a people, deeply and spiritually connected to their lands and to the animals. We have much to learn about how to truly work together in collaboration and mutual benefit,” said Dr. Sable.

In the meantime, the answer for Grand Chief Gregory Rich is clear.

“The film is a message of the struggle today for the Innu people. Our connection is to the lands, to the animals, and it has been our culture for many, many years. I know we can not go back to how it was before, but to be part of the land and the animals is the answer to our struggles, Ntesinan,” said Grand Chief Rich.

We’re all in this together: Collaborating on social studies education

More than 300 social studies teachers took part in “Calling All Citizens”, their annual provincial conference hosted October 26 for a fourth year at Saint Mary’s University. 

“I think we would all agree that social studies education is more important now than ever,” said Maureen McNamara, a Cape Breton teacher and president of the Nova Scotia Social Studies Teachers Association (SSTA). “We must continue to help our students not just to understand our rapidly changing world but their role as citizens. In doing so, we must create safe spaces for discussion and debate, not argument and polarization.”

The event included a trade exhibition, 30 workshops – including 10 led by Saint Mary’s professors and staff – an AGM and several off-site sessions at locations such as the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre. The day began with a spirited keynote on fostering ‘civic competence’ and community service in Canadian schools, by Dr. Alan Sears, Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of New Brunswick.

Dr. Margaret MacDonald, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, welcomed the teachers to campus and highlighted the sessions led by Saint Mary’s professors and staff: “We're talking about Mi'kmaq music and art, human resilience in the face of mental health challenges, competencies related to intercultural learning, strategies for accommodating racial and religious differences, field schools in The Gambia, and even sessions off-campus such as the hands-on archaeology at Grand Pré National Historic Site,” she said.

Nova Scotia teachers, museums and educational organizations lead the other workshops.  

“Together, this roster offers teachers of all grades a rich professional learning day that can only benefit our students in the end,” said Wendy Driscoll, conference co-chair. “The SSTA is proud of our partnership with Saint Mary's University because it brings together teachers and professors for the common purpose of student achievement.”

These connections are a highlight of the annual event for Joe Bellefontaine. The Grade 9 teacher at Riverview High in Sydney has also taught with the Chignecto and Annapolis Valley school boards, and has a SMU Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and geology.

“People in universities are leaders in their field, so it's great to see their ideas and what they’re working on,” he said. “They have access to different resources, and they're really willing to talk to teachers and to make those connections with public school systems.”


For more highlights, see
@NSSSTA on Twitter and the conference agenda