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The MLC was buzzing with activity. The President of SSHRC, Dr. Chad Gaffield, had announced his visit to the MLC Research Centre for 1:45 PM. The team was still busy cleaning up and getting things ready, when the President arrived early at around 1:30 PM, but the spontaneity made it all the more interesting.
As a historian, Dr. Chad Gaffield was intrigued by the research that we do, especially as we trace the threads of Canadian heritage and endeavor to place Canada within a global context with some of our cultural studies projects. He generously shared some of his own insights and research connections and was clearly engaged in the research in action prepared by our team.
He was also impressed with our CFI funded facilities, including the new MLC Gallery, where Dr. Barbara Postema had prepared a dynamic display of original and vintage comics and cartoons by women. The Dean of Arts, Dr. Jean Paul Boudreau, who joined the visit, supplied a number of Heritage threads by referencing the MLC's Anne of Green Gables exhibition in 2008.
I want to thank the entire team for being engaged in this opportunity to showcase MLC research in action. Jason Wang and Liz Knox helped with the preparations for this event from compiling a dynamic powerpoint slide show to staging research products and publications.
Danielle Van Wagner talked eloquently and succinctly about Canadian painter Mary Riter Hamilton whose relevance for WWI commemorations was quickly established. Mary's paintings captured Dr. Gaffield's imagination and he suggested a link with the Canadian War Museum as a way of telling a complementary story of Canada at war.
Newly minted PhD Emma Doran was excited to introduce the President of SSHRC to her doctoral research on dance print media with a focus on Canadian dancer Maud Allan, as well as Isadora Duncan and Loie Fuller; she received warm congratulations from Chad Gaffield!
Amy Smith continued our Canadian Heritage thread by talking about her SSHRC-funded MA research, which focuses on vintage clothing in Toronto and Nova Scotia. Dr. Gaffield noted that the competition for SSHRC grants is intense; only 7% of graduate students receive funding. "You are breathing rarefied air," Gaffield told Amy.
Shannon Wakeham, an undergraduate student in English and an MLC intern, introduced MLC research mobilization strategies, while Julie Dring and Charles Hong showcased the MLC's archival treasures, with a focus on MLC's WWI digital archive. Chad was also curious about our future directions, and commended the Centre for its initiatives and the thoroughness of digitally cataloguing images using the RAD system and tracking provenance.
We were also joined by Dr. Art Blake, who is a close MLC affiliate and professor in the History Department, and who talked about the Canadian Cities project in the Faculty of Arts. Notably, Dr. Blake explained his recent initiative with the Toronto Public Library's two Digital Innovation Hubs, studying how these hubs might best serve their dynamic urban neighbourhoods.
All in all, it was an exciting visit, which will continue to resonate. Thank you to Dr. Gaffield for making the time and for being so warmly engaged. Thank you to the VPRI's Office, including Kathleen Powderly and Krysten Connely, for support. Thank you to Liz Knox and Jason Wang who helped organize the event and inspire the team. Thank you to all who attended and made this event a success!
The visit took place at the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre, 111 Gerrard, 3rd Floor and 1st floor, on Thursday May, 22, 1:30 — 2:30 PM. Photographs were taken by Kwame Newman-Bremang and Jason Wang.
Photos by Kwame Newman-Bremang (via VPRI's office)