Raven Magazine, Issue No. 2, Fall 2020

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FALL 2020 / ISSUE NO. 2

The New Carleton U





Last February, Sean Landsman, an instructor in Carleton’s Interdisciplinary Science and Practice (ISAP) program, won a 2020 Underwater Photographer of the Year award for this picture of rainbow smelt swimming upstream at night toward their spawning grounds on Prince Edward Island. The image embodies the specifics and spirit of Landsman’s PhD research, and it was going to be featured in the spring 2020 issue of Raven that was being planned before the pandemic. Even though it’s not connected to any of the content in this magazine, we decided to publish the photo anyway because it shows the enduring power and beauty of nature, and because of the heightened importance these days not only of scientific research but also science communication, which are the focus of the ISAP program. www.seanlandsmanphotography.com

IN THIS ISSUE ETUAPTMUMK 22 Business professor Rick Colbourne addresses the economic impact of the pandemic on Indigenous communities and decolonizes the boardroom



Ten ways Carleton students, faculty and alumni have stepped up to the coronavirus challenge



Amid a devastating health crisis and rising racial tension, Carleton researchers are evaluating Ottawa’s new community policing project



Teaching trailblazer Melanie Adrian wants to make remote learning a social experience



Neuroscientist Kim Hellemans and cognitive scientist Jim Davies in conversation about what happens inside our heads during troubling times

Reprise 4 Updates on four people featured in the previous issue of Raven

Special Collection Looking at our lives through the objects and images we keep close


Message from the President

Surround Sound Getting the digital band back together


Practice Makes Perfect Carleton’s new women’s basketball coach prepares for the uncertain schedule ahead



Real News 7 Celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall, Carleton’s journalism program covers the COVID-19 crisis, confronts its past and forges bold partnerships for the future Rapid Responders Carleton faculty kickstart critical research


If These Walls Could Talk A curator and civic leader build community while confined at home


Book Excepts 68 Selections from Songs for the End of the World, Gringo Love, Miss World 1970 and The Ku Klux Klan in Canada My Path Who are Black athletes without their sports?






Charlotte Smith, “Eye of the Needle,” page 56 Sociology master’s student Charlotte Smith, who is doing research on and with homeless youth, has found it difficult to concentrate on writing her thesis when confronted with so many immediate needs in the community — things she can contribute to in practical ways. Since last spring, she has been delivering food, phones, tablets, art supplies and other helpful and necessary items to homeless and precariously housed youth she knows through her advocacy and activism networks, an inspiring volunteer effort that earned Smith a Community Builder Award from the United Way East Ontario and local arts and culture blog Apt613. “We can all be kind and listen to one another,” she said in an interview on CBC radio, “and really listen to the needs of our neighbours.” ■



Akintunde Akinleye, “Shifting Perspectives,” page 30 A former Reuters photographer turned anthropology PhD candidate at Carleton, Akintunde Akinleye was planning to spend much of this year in the Republic of Benin conducting research on the Vodun religion. Instead, remaining in his homeland, Nigeria, Akinleye is documenting how people are coping with restrictions on movement and questioning power relations between the state and religious groups in a pluralistic society where some people believe coronavirus is God’s punishment for the sins of humanity. “The lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in Nigeria,” he says, “opens a fresh perspective in my doctoral fieldwork and as an anthropologist-in-training.” ■

Photograph by Jeff Radbourne

Michael Runtz, “Paragon of the Air,” page 7 Winding up his sabbatical, Carleton biology professor and naturalist Michael Runtz and his partner Britta Herrmann have immersed themselves in “the reality of nature” just about every day since the pandemic began. “When out in the wilds, every sound, every motion and every aroma absorbs my attention,” says Runtz. “I feel exhilarated and stimulated by the never-ending stream of discoveries, many familiar and always new. Nature relieves me of all stress and keeps me sane and profoundly fulfilled.” But this wasn’t idle bliss for Runtz. He photographed rare birds and mammals (such as whitetailed jackrabbits and woodland caribou) in western Ontario and eastern Quebec, released his 14th book (Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park) and for the 27th time led the annual Bonnechere Wolf Howl, albeit this year as a virtual online event. See more of his pics at instagram.com/naturebyruntz. ■

Shelby Lisk, “Amplifying Untold Stories,” page 14 Shelby Lisk, the TVO Indigenous Hub at Carleton journalist-in-residence, has had a busy few months. She took a podcasting and Indigenous protocols course, produced and hosted a show about the Haudenosaunee sovereignty movement (which includes her own family and community) and did interviews with industry professionals for TVO about how Indigenous stories are told in journalism. Lisk also contributed to a major October story marking the first anniversary of TVO’s Indigenous languages translation project and, stepping away from her main beat, did a photo story about the resurgence of drive-in theatres over the summer. “You pull into a field surrounded by the golden rays of a summer sunset, park your car in front of the big screen, and tune your radio to the right station,” she writes, “anxiously waiting for the sun to go down.” ■




Planning for a Bright Future


Since we published the very first issue of Raven last winter, the trajectory of the world has changed dramatically. Twice. Confronting the biggest public health crisis in a century, people across Canada and around the world have faced unprecedented challenges. At Carleton, we have adapted to these circumstances with flexibility and compassion, and I could not be more proud of our community. And following the killing of George Floyd, our community has committed with a renewed sense of urgency to further enhance equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts at Carleton and in the wider world. We are part of a broader society, and the burden of change is on all of us. The stories in this issue of Raven revolve around COVID-19, but as we Carleton University adapt to these demanding times, we Strategic Integrated continue to plan for the future with Plan a bright outlook. Our new Strategic Integrated Plan, officially launched in early October, and last spring’s Kinàmàgawin (Learning Together) report lay out a path toward shaping a better future. As we come out of the pandemic, there will be significant opportunities to lead the way to a more equitable, more caring and more sustainable world. Carleton will be at the forefront of this transformation. ■

e. Serve. Strive...

Shape the future.

R AV E N RAVEN MAGAZINE The New Carleton U Issue No. 2, Fall 2020 www.ravenmagazine.ca Raven magazine is published by Carleton University’s Department of University Communications, with support from the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. Raven is a showcase for the important and impactful work of Carleton faculty, students, staff, alumni and the university’s community partners.

PRESIDENT: Benoit-Antoine Bacon DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Beth Gorham EDITOR: Dan Rubinstein ART DIRECTOR: Mario Scaffardi DIGITAL: Chris Cline, Jesse Plunkett COPY EDITOR: Ellen Tsaprailis EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS: Sissi De Flaviis, Brenna Mackay CONTRIBUTORS: Akintunde Akinleye, Nathaniel BeharWalker, Rick Boychuk, Tyrone Burke, Kit Chokly, Erica Endemann, Sissi De Flaviis, Lisa Gregoire, Wayne Hoecherl, Sean Landsman, Martin Lipman, Shelby Lisk, Brenna Mackay, Joseph Mathieu, Susan Nerberg, Devon Platana, Brett Popplewell, Chris Roussakis, Michael Runtz, Rémi Thériault, Ellen Tsaprailis, Fangliang Xu

ON THE COVER: Journalism master’s students Erica Endemann and Devon Platana, whose studies — like the rest of the world — took a dramatic change in direction last March. Photographed separately by Rémi Thériault in Ottawa on Oct. 13, 2020. Thériault also took the photos that appear on the back cover.

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Benoit-Antoine Bacon President and Vice-Chancellor

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Celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall, Carleton’s journalism program covers the COVID-19 crisis, confronts its past and forges bold partnerships for the future


Carleton journalism graduate Robyn Bresnahan, the host of CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning




Radio host Robyn Bresnahan helps hold the city together

Robyn Bresnahan was making supper when she heard small footsteps climbing up the wooden steps of her house in Old Ottawa South, just a few blocks from the Carleton campus. The host of CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning opened the door and saw a seven-year-old girl looking up at her. “This is for you,” the visitor said, dropping a small envelope on the doorstep and dashing away. “Dear Robyn,” the card read, “thank you for bringing us the news every morning.” The girl’s teacher had asked students to write letters to workers who were helping people cope with COVID-19, Bresnahan learned later — a memory she is sharing with watery eyes, sitting on a red Adirondack chair outside her house on a late-summer morning. Bresnahan may not be a doctor or a nurse, but she dutifully sets her alarm for 3 a.m. these days, rising before dawn to make a pot of coffee and spend two hours in her home office reading newspapers and tweaking radio scripts. At 5 a.m., she corrals her hair into a ponytail and bicycles 11-and-a-half minutes to CBC’s downtown studio, arriving just in time for the 5:30 a.m. news and current affairs program that’s billed as the city’s most listened to morning show. Bresnahan has followed a similar routine since 2011, when she moved back to Canada from London, England — where she had worked for the BBC World Service — to take the CBC job. And it’s a routine that didn’t really change when the pandemic dramatically upended the world. “We have been essential in so many people’s lives,” she says, “during all of this.” Since mid-March, Bresnahan — who graduated with a journalism degree from Carleton in 2001 and was steered into radio by professor Mary McGuire — has been part of the glue holding the city together by sharing important information and inspiring stories. Over the past few months, she has covered a wide swath of the pandemic: a local nurse who became homeless because her landlord was concerned about COVID-19; parents whose children went back to school in September; a heated exchange with Mayor Jim Watson in a segment about bylaw enforcement when it was still illegal to sit in parks. “In the early days, I think we were a crucial lifeline,” says Bresnahan, “but then I worried whether people would be oversaturated. So it became a balance. ‘Are people ready for a band interview? Are people ready for sunny, happy stories?’ Some days maybe we did too much pandemic news. Other days maybe we got the mix wrong. It’s been kind of a dance, but our team does the best we can.” Although Bresnahan loves her job, building a relationship with the audience and earning respect from Ottawa’s movers and shakers, doing journalism during the pandemic has been draining. She has two young children and had to stop trying to be the perfect parent (i.e., more screen time for the kids equals more rest for mom). And when the boundaries between home and work blurred and she began to have nightmares about COVID-19, Bresnahan traded reading newspapers before bed for novels and reduced her workweek to four days for a few months. These two changes, she hopes, will help her find the equilibrium and energy she needs. “There were times when the news was so heavy,” she says. “People would burst into tears on air. I felt like a therapist, soaking up all this stress. Then I’d come home and try to shake it off and be a mom. That was hard. The kids don’t care that I’ve been up since 3 a.m., and nobody does well when they’re tired. But I’m lucky, because in a way, when I go to work I’m still in the home — my kids can turn on the radio and listen to me. I’m still there even though I’m not.” ■





Who could have predicted that my Master of Journalism degree would end with my bedroom playing the role of both classroom and newsroom. COVID-19 shook up not only our education but also the job plans that a lot of journalism students had for the summer. As a response, the program hired around 20 of us to work for Capital Current, its online publication. While I was accustomed to covering stories face-to-face, I had to adapt to Zoom and telephone calls becoming the norm for interviews. This took some getting used to, but I pushed through because I felt a responsibility to help people understand how COVID was changing lives. I covered stories ranging from what Ontarians thought about social bubbles to a piece about a seniors’ community centre that sent food and crafts to its clients so they wouldn’t feel alone while social distancing. Doing this work has been demanding — a challenge magnified by a second virus that many other journalism students and I have had to deal with: systemic racism. Last May, several current and former Carleton journalism students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) spoke out about how racism within the program has impacted their experiences. I was one of them. While I felt a need to cover COVID-19, as a half-Black student I felt a bigger responsibility to share stories about people like me. I started to write about my experiences, such as how some people didn’t believe that I’m half-Black because I didn’t “look like it” and how learning about BIPOC issues in journalism was treated like a special attraction — we’d discuss them in one class and never talk about them again. I wanted to use my platform to speak for people who didn’t have the same opportunity as me. It felt weird at first because I was criticizing the journalism program in articles published on its website. That feeling soon transformed into a sense of duty: I needed to share my stories and those of others because they must be heard so things will change. Everyone wants to know what their purpose in life is — it took COVID-19 and BIPOC students voicing their frustration for me to find mine. As I continue my journey into the journalism industry, I don’t know what role either virus will play in my life, but I know that neither will stop me from covering the issues that people need to hear about. ■




One of the maps made by journalism student Erica Endemann — depicting COVID-19 outbreaks in Indigenous communities across Canada — while she worked for the Institute for Investigative Journalism’s Project Pandemic




In my adulthood, the topic of math has thankfully not come up often in conversation. On the rare occasion that it does, I feel the need to preface any discussion about numbers with a quick disclaimer to keep expectations low. Over the last few months my state of comfort, along with the rest of the world, has been significantly disrupted. But for me, it was also because I began every morning hunting for patterns on spreadsheets full of figures. The Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIJ) is a nonprofit newsroom based at Concordia University. It brings journalism schools and media organizations together to collaborate on investigations too large for individual organizations to pursue alone. I first encountered the IIJ in the second year of my Master of Journalism program at Carleton. At the time the IIJ was working on an investigation into water quality, which revealed that provincial regulations were not adequately addressing lead levels in municipal drinking water. The IIJ’s second investigation is focused on Indigenous drinking water. This was how I thought I’d spend my summer when I applied for a four-month fellowship with them in February. Instead, much of my time has been focused on a new project: mapping COVID-19 outbreaks across Ontario. All summer I was immersed in numbers from throughout the province — the number of outbreaks, the number of deaths, the number of recoveries and hospitalizations — so I could make interactive maps showing the geographic impacts of coronavirus. These numbers have frequently felt overwhelming. Initially, all I could see when looking at a spreadsheet was a snapshot of grief and confusion. But at some point, the disorienting columns and rows of figures morphed into stories, which have been written and broadcast to tens of millions this summer through the IIJ’s media partners. The data I’ve been sifting through has culminated into several different maps, viewed more than 600,000 times, highlighting the most vulnerable populations in Canada, from Indigenous communities to farm workers, which has cast a glaring light on the cracks in our society that force certain populations to face more risks and hardships than others. I pursued journalism because I want to tell stories, an ambition that doesn't seem synonymous with numbers. But as I complete my master’s degree, I’m grateful that the importance of data journalism has been made evident to me early on in my career. And I no longer have to offer disclaimers when talking about math. ■


‘People would burst into tears on air. I felt like a therapist, soaking up all this stress.’


They Were Loved

On Sunday, March 8, 2020, a B.C. man in his 80s died while receiving care in North Vancouver. His was the first confirmed death caused by COVID-19 in Canada. By the end of A cowboy at heart. A devoted caregiver. A grandpa who sent the best gifts. A nurse who chatted up Freddie Mercury. They are among the first people commemorated in They Were Loved, a partnership with Carleton University’s March, 126 Canadians had lost their lives to the Future of Journalism Initiative and journalism schools across the country. The project seeks to pay tribute to every Canadian lost to COVID-19. Maclean’s will publish a selection of obituaries in these pages every month; virus, and as the obituaries piled up the sheer all obituaries will appear on our website, macleans.ca/theywereloved. loss of human life proved impossible for any Edward Hrynkiw, 90 individual news outlet to keep up with. As of September, more than 9,000 Canadians had died from COVID-19 and public health Mubarak Popat, 77 officials estimated that more than twice as many will succumb before a vaccine is found. But the numbers fail to capture the fullness of what has been lost and what is at stake. That’s why Carleton’s Future of Journalism Initiative (FJI) has taken a lead role in an unprecedented national project that aims to share the stories of everybody who has died. The FJI is a new collaborative research hub that has been established to help mark the 75th anniversary of Carleton’s journalism program. The initiative links working journalists and visiting scholars with Carleton journalism students, fostering creative and academic partnerships around projects that serve a public interest. The FJI, in collaboration with Maclean’s magazine and J-Schools Canada, an umbrella organization for the country’s post-secondary journalism schools, has launched one of the most ambitious reporting efforts imaginable — a nationally focused obituaries project called They Were Loved. With support from the Giustra Foundation, the project has mobilized hundreds of journalism students from across the country who are currently writing obituaries and building a comprehensive tribute to the victims of COVID-19. The obituaries are being published by Maclean’s. The FJI has also appointed award-winning writer Katherine Laidlaw to serve as its inaugural journalist-in-residence. Laidlaw has helped spearhead They Were Loved, forging partnerships with students from a dozen journalism schools to work independently and collectively on this lasting endeavour. Founded in 1945, Carleton’s journalism school was the first of its kind in the country and has been the standard bearer in Canadian journalism education through decades of technological disruption and tremendous social and economic change. Key to the school’s success has been its capacity to evolve and shape its pedagogy to ensure that every generation of journalists to graduate is able to succeed in an ever-changing industry. The FJI is part of this tradition — and part of the program’s future. ■ LOVED WATCHING RODEO


Died in Calgary, April 2, 2020

“Still today, I have a closet of cowgirl boots,” says daughter Bonnie Krall, who has lived in Oakville, Ont., since 1997 but brings her family to the Stampede every other year. Edward missed the last several Stampedes after suffering a stroke eight years ago. But he would still get dressed in cowboy duds, watch rodeo on TV and take in the traditional pancake breakfast at his nursing home in Calgary. Though the stroke slurred Edward’s speech, he could pronounce one word perfectly: Grandstand. He’d smile ear to ear, wishing his family a blast with 17,000 others at the Stampede’s marquee stadium. —Jason Markusoff

Every July, the Hrynkiw household would fill up with house guests—one year, it would be Edward’s family from Manitoba, and the next, his wife Joyce’s family from Saskatchewan. The Calgary Stampede would be on, and to Edward there was no better time to showcase his city to relatives. He grew up on a farm north of Brandon, Man.—mostly a grain operation—but fell hard HIS CALLING WAS HIS CUSTOMERS for horses once he moved west in the 1950s to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Stampede City. He loved watching rodeo, and rev- Died in Toronto, March 21, 2020 If it was quiet at Kohinoor elled in his VIP access to the backstage barns, Foods in Toronto’s Little which a cousin who raced chuckwagons had arranged for him. He’d dress his three daughters India, Mubarak Popat in matching Stampede hats, shirts and denim would initiate long conevery year. He and Joyce enjoyed an annual versations with customdate night at the fairgrounds, and would bring ers, first asking them their girls cotton candy when they came home. where they were from MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE

Robyn Bresnahan

or where they worked, and then casually meandering from there: city life, politics, sports, religion, you name it. If a driver was delivering food to the shop, Mubarak would offer a bottle of water, or, if there was a freshbaked batch at the counter, a free samosa. Popat worked at Kohinoor for four decades, starting as a young man not long after his family arrived in Canada in 1972 as refugees from Uganda. He and his youngest brother, Azim, took over the store from their brotherin-law in 1990, and Mubarak kept working there three or four days a week even into his late 70s. “He couldn’t stay at home,” Azim says. “He wanted to be with customers, to talk to them.” When he stepped away from the corner store’s counter, he’d deliver groceries to seniors in the Ismaili Muslim community. He was easygoing and affable, and preferred that Azim deal with clients when it came to the awkward business of settling accounts. A favourite Mubarak quip: “I came all the way from Africa to serve you.” He had one daughter, who had aspirations in health care. She became a physician specializing in lung disease and works at the hospital where her dad was admitted when he got sick. —J.M. 39

‘I felt a responsibility to help people understand how COVID was changing lives.’ Devon Platana

‘Initially, all I could see when looking at a spreadsheet was a snapshot of grief and confusion. But at some point, the disorienting columns and rows of figures morphed into stories.’ Erica Endemann

Brett Popplewell is a Carleton journalism professor and director of the Future of Journalism Initiative.






Engineering professor Mojtaba Ahmadi with a prototype of the “intelligent telepresence” robot that he and three grad students are building to help health-care workers assess and treat COVID-19 patients remotely

At Carleton, the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International) sprang into action. In collaboration with the university’s five faculties, it launched the $800,000 CU COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grants program to solicit proposals and swiftly support projects that address the pandemic. Within weeks, 59 professors were awarded up to $25,000 to conduct timely research in areas such as e-health, autonomous systems, data science, machine learning, eldercare, epidemiology and more. “When a crisis touches every aspect of our lives, researchers from all academic backgrounds have a valuable contribution to make,” said Rafik Goubran, Carleton’s Vice-President (Research and International). “The COVID-19 pandemic is multifaceted, and our response to it must be equally so.” From engineering and architecture to food security, here’s a small sampling of stories about how Carleton faculty are gearing up to help.

Last spring, when work at universities around the world was put on pause, researchers from every field imaginable asked an important question: What can we do to help?



Dr. Robot Practising medicine wasn’t meant to be an occupational hazard, but hundreds of thousands of health-care workers have already been infected by COVID-19 globally, and the pandemic is far from over. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering professor Mojtaba Ahmadi wants to help these workers stay safe by developing a robot that lets doctors assess people remotely, so they can maintain distance while treating COVID-19 patients. “It’s an intelligent telepresence device that allows remote presence, but it’s also able to assist with certain tasks,” says Ahmadi. The device enables live video communication between a patient and a doctor in another room. It is equipped to take a patient’s vital signs, including heart rate and blood-oxygen saturation levels, which can be an indicator of declining health. The unit is remote controlled and omnidirectional, so it can navigate cluttered hospital environments. Initially, this work started as part of an undergraduate capstone project led by Ahmadi, rooted in his research on medical robotics, but the pandemic created additional urgency, so it has become the main focus for three grad students. “We should have a physical robot before the end of the year,” he says, “and we’re hoping to do some tests in the hallways at Carleton and see how it works. We want to get feedback on the user interface, because that’s how it’s controlled. After that, we hope to make a clinical version of the robotic system that can be used in a hospital and help keep health-care workers safe.” ■ Safe Shopping Sleek minimalist lines and well-ventilated airy spaces are a hallmark of modern architecture, but modern buildings don’t only look clean — they have provided sanitary living conditions on an unprecedented scale. “There is a way to read modern architecture as a reaction to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and multiple tuberculosis outbreaks around the same time,” says architecture professor Zach Colbert. “Open spaces, window walls, mechanical ventilation and building codes are all partly responses to public health concerns. Now that there is another major health crisis, I’m really curious about how architecture and urban design will respond.” Colbert received a grant to explore how architectural interventions can help businesses adapt

to COVID-19. Some changes are relatively easy to implement, such as touch-free doorknob alternatives and using antimicrobial materials. Others involve more substantive changes, including novel ventilation strategies and making greater use of outdoor spaces. Some industries are better suited to adaptation than others. Restaurants have struggled, but for cities themselves, there might be a silver lining. As streets incorporate more patios, they become more lively and walkable. “We needed pedestrian streets long before the pandemic,” says Colbert. “They promote a healthy urban lifestyle. For architects, there is a real opportunity to take a leadership role and consider how public life can still be excellent, even when a two-metre radius is maintained.” ■ Autistic Adaptation More and more autistic students are enrolling at universities worldwide, but many experience challenges with traditional classroom-based courses that were developed to meet the needs of the non-autistic majority. The pandemic has forced the rapid adoption of new learning platforms and online tools, and this provides an opportunity to assess whether some of these tools could work better for autistic students than traditional teaching methods. Professor Natasha Artemeva from Carleton’s School of Linguistics and Language Studies is studying how autistic students have adapted to the changes caused by COVID-19 and, with speech pathologist and PhD candidate Jacquie Ballantine, is conducting interviews with autistic students, non-autistic students and instructors. “Autistic students are usually asked to produce work and communicate according to a non-autistic way of being,” says Artemeva, who wants to use this unique moment to identify which adaptive course delivery strategies autistic students prefer, with the aim of understanding what steps can be taken to improve the retention of autistic students in the future. “There are some autistic students who find large lecture halls and crowded campus spaces exhausting,” says Ballantine, “and they’re telling us that the changes caused by COVID have removed some of the anxiety and stress of being surrounded by so many people.” ■



Healthy Hospitals

‘We hope to make a clinical version of the robotic system that can be used in a hospital and help keep health-care workers safe.’

Hospitals have put strict cleaning protocols in place to prevent coronavirus transmission, but they have not yet been able to evaluate how well these protocols work. “In a health-care setting, if you have sick patients coughing and sneezing, they can expel droplets that contain the coronavirus on the floor, railings, elevator buttons and door handles,” says biology professor Alex Wong, who received a grant to develop and validate protocols for detecting the virus in health-care settings. The most direct application for Wong’s research will be for hospital cleaning, and whether there are areas or pieces of equipment that should be cleaned more frequently. But the same techniques could also help determine if the virus lingers in outdoor public spaces, and even whether the airborne virus is circulating in ventilation systems. “We’ll be sampling in both low-density and high-density areas,” says Wong, who also received an NSERC grant for the development of an ultraviolet light-based decontamination system for N95 masks. “If we turn up a bunch of positive samples areas where there is not a lot of traffic from the coronavirus ward, it could suggest that there are other mechanisms of transmission.” ■ Farm to Table When the pandemic struck, Canada’s food systems were disrupted. Gallons of milk were dumped and thousands of chickens were slaughtered. Large industrial farms suffered major COVID outbreaks. Nearly 1,000 employees at one Alberta beef processing plant contracted the virus. Hundreds of temporary foreign workers in Ontario and Quebec tested positive. “Nobody’s saying we should get rid of industrial farms, but we also need to find ways to support smaller farms,” says communications professor and food systems specialist Irena Knezevic. “They provide resilience when there are shocks. It’s a conversation that’s been going on for years in food systems research, but it was often treated as a bit of a pipe dream. With the pandemic, these issues are starting to become part of the public discourse.” Knezevic was awarded a grant to study the pandemic’s impact on consumer purchasing habits. She’s working with researchers from Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems to collect data from B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. One survey was conducted over the summer and a follow-up will determine whether the changes consumers made continued. “We’re looking at how access to food has changed and trying to understand if people are able to discern between industrial food and smaller-scale alternatives,” says Knezevic. “We want to understand where people are purchasing food and whether they’re supporting smaller producers. We want to know how people are accessing food in practical terms, but also whether a certain set of values is represented in their purchasing habits.” ■



Professor Ahmadi and students (from left to right) Max Polzin, Sami Nassif-Lachapelle and Keyanna Coghlan hope to start testing their robot on campus before the end of the year

Viral Defence There has been plenty of buzz about a possible vaccine for COVID-19, but it is entirely possible that researchers will devise effective treatments before a vaccine is ready. Biology professor Ashkan Golshani is developing peptides — chains of amino acids — intended to interfere with the reproduction of SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Golshani is working with researchers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of California San Francisco to design peptides that bind to a protein tied to the reproduction of the virus. This would prevent the virus from replicating and causing the heavy viral loads that are often present in the most severe forms of COVID-19. Meanwhile, fellow biology researcher Kyle Biggar and Systems and Computer Engineering professor James Green are also working on peptide treatments. They’re seeking to prevent the virus from interacting with humans. Green’s lab is using algorithms to model how the virus interacts with its host, while Biggar’s lab will be testing potential treatments identified by the algorithms with the aim of developing peptides that prevent these interactions from occurring at all. ■





Linda Grussani is an Indigenous art curator with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from Carleton. After working at the Canadian Museum of History for three years, she went back to school in 2019 to continue her PhD in cultural studies at Queen’s University, looking at Indigenous representation in museums. Her husband, Rawlson King, became Ottawa’s first Black city councillor by winning a byelection in Rideau-Rockcliffe in April 2019. King has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in communication from Carleton. He got to know Grussani almost 25 years ago when they studied together for the final exam of a first-year film studies class, and they became closer over a summer of email correspondence in the early dialup era of the internet. In this new regular feature in Raven, we explore the intertwined professional and personal lives of a couple with strong connections to the university. — as told to Dan Rubinstein Like many people, you’re both working at home these days. What has that been like? King: It’s good that we don’t have kids because we’re both really busy all the time. We live in a neighbourhood in my ward in a reasonablysized townhome with two primary bedrooms. This gives us both de






‘I was sort of numb. Then I went into planning mode. I ordered a hydroponic garden and a seed sprouting system and revived a sourdough starter that had been languishing in the fridge. I found that I was drawing on the teachings I had received from my parents.’ — Linda Grussani facto offices. My busiest days go from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., talking to people in the community and to staff from my office and the city, and sometimes popping out for brief physically-distanced meetings. The frustrating thing for me, of course, is that as a politician you want to be out talking and listening to people directly. But these are abnormal times. I’m not going to City Hall in the morning and travelling around Ottawa for meetings, but instead am having meeting after meeting electronically. Grussani: Rawlson’s easier for me to find right now. In the morning, I’ll ask, “What’s your schedule like?” and “Do you have time for lunch?” Because we have the privilege and luxury of having two separate workspaces, we’re not together throughout the day, so when we are together, we actually want to see each other. I’ve taken on a lot of the cooking since we’re not eating out much and am getting the chance to experiment. I have this flexibility because of my studies. I’m basically reading, writing and participating in online lectures and workshops for seven or eight hours a day. King: Even if it lacks the intimacy of dialogue in the community, we’ve still been able to do amazing things, especially around support for vulnerable people. My office secured an emergency $40,000 investment from the city for the community resource centre in my ward that provides food bank services to vulnerable residents. I also successfully pushed for race-based and socio-economic data on COVID-19 and advocated for more testing in vulnerable neighbourhoods. And my office has supported innovative, grassroots-driven initiatives that include a project that purchases food from local businesses and gives it directly to the food bank. I get wrapped up in these kinds of things and try to ensure they get the support they need from the city.



Grussani: Last March, when lockdown began, I was sort of numb. Then I went into planning mode. I ordered a hydroponic garden and a seed sprouting system and revived a sourdough starter that had been languishing in the fridge. I began drawing on the teachings I had received from my parents. My mom is from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation; my father came to Canada from Italy in 1960. They have both passed on, but I found myself channelling the things they had taught me. My mother was an accomplished seamster and left me her sewing machine. Prior to COVID, I had not been able to bring myself to learn how to use it. COVID gave me the motivation to take it upstairs and I taught myself how to use it in one day and started sewing masks. I’m also channelling my father’s gardening prowess. Growing up we had a large garden and he put a lot of effort into growing the produce he missed from Italy that you couldn’t find in Ottawa 40 years ago. It seemed like my mind just went, “OK, we’re going to grow and make things now.” It must be surreal to be doing all of these things — some of which are stressful and demanding — from home. King: Ottawa is still in a state of emergency. The city had to transition the majority of its 17,000 employees to remote work and then continue on with the business of the city. I give credit to city staff because we didn’t see any disruption of essential services. The garbage was picked up, we had power, we had water services. We were continuing operations while dealing with the biggest public health emergency in a century. There are other challenges that we’re focused on, including social justice issues, transit and a range of health issues. I read a report every morning that tells me how many people are sick and how many people have died. I need to balance these concerns

with the ideas that I advocated for when I campaigned for this position to help improve my community. So, yes, it is more work and it’s way more stressful, but that’s the nature of this role. And we are making progress, even though there’s a pandemic. In June, I became city council’s liaison for anti-racism and ethnocultural relations. There have been demonstrations around criminal justice and racial issues in our city and across North America and there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done. Grussani: Even before the pandemic began, I had been seeking and building online communities so that I could work from home and not feel like I was missing everyday contact. I joined a writing group in January with women from all over the world. Even if it’s on Zoom, it’s important to have a space to talk about our experiences and share concerns. The women I write with are in South Africa, Europe, the U.K. and U.S., and despite our geographic differences, we’re all united with the same goal: completing our PhDs during these uncertain times. Within online Indigenous communities, there have also been a wealth of online workshops and conversations bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together. It was such a comfort at the beginning of the pandemic to participate in beading circles, cooking demonstrations and virtual pow wows and to feel connection, despite our shared isolation. What do you think the next few months will hold for you? Grussani: I’m working on two projects that I’m hoping will help Indigenous arts communities. One is with the Hnatyshyn Foundation to develop a national Indigenous

art market event, which we’re planning to bring to Ottawa. It will be an opportunity for artists to promote their work and receive recognition and support. It’s early and we’re still looking for funding partners, but we’re envisaging a twoday event late next year or in early 2022. The other project is organizing an Indigenous Archives Summit for fall 2021 with the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and other partners. I’m also working on my dissertation, learning more about bead sewing — and trying to keep that sourdough starter alive! King: There is no shortage of things to keep me busy. The anti-racism initiatives we’re working on as a city are timely and necessary. We’re pushing for equity of opportunity and equity of outcomes for all people, especially when they’re dealing with services around employment, economic development, youth and health. I think we’re really at an inflection point of meaningful change. We’ve seen a sliver of change but we’re heading in the right direction. Dealing with so many important and interesting issues, I don’t have time to get cabin fever. There’s less delineation between work and personal time. That might not be the healthiest thing, but I don’t feel like I’m constrained within these walls, though I am looking forward to when we’ve moved beyond the need for social distancing and have a greater semblance of normalcy. One of my targets is the opening of that Indigenous art market in 2021. Hopefully we can hold a celebratory event in my ward that I could attend and maybe, just maybe, speak at. If we get to that point, I’ll be very pleased. ■

‘I think we’re really at an inflection point of meaningful change. We’ve seen a sliver of change but we’re heading in the right direction. Dealing with so many important and interesting issues, I don’t have time to get cabin fever.’ — Rawlson King






SPECIAL COLLECTION LOOKING AT OUR LIVES THROUGH THE OBJECTS AND IMAGES WE KEEP CLOSE When coronavirus lockdown began, Kit Chokly, a Communications and Media Studies student at Carleton, was laid off from their restaurant job and started attending classes online. Abruptly, they stopped spending 15 hours a day at work and school. “Being forced to stay home not only changes our relationship to each other,” says Chokly, who graduated last spring and started a master’s in communication at Carleton this fall, “but also changes our relationships to our spaces.” A graphic designer and member of the university’s Transgender Media Lab, Chokly launched a digital project — the Isolation Museum — to document their thoughts on their space, starting with a handmade clock built by their sister, who now lives in Australia. Enjoying the experience, Chokly opened the museum to others, encouraging people to share artifacts and stories and, hopefully, transform our seclusion into a source of contact and connection. Here’s a curated crosssection from the 228 submissions.


The Memory Clock Materials: steel and cedar Submitted by Kit Chokly “My sister Rebecca made this clock from memories. More specifically, she made it from the basketball hoop that hung outside my childhood home for over a decade.... The things around your home collect meaning. My time in isolation had me reflecting on my living space, which was full of evidence of the relationships I have with people who I could no longer see. Doing this project made me realize that my home was full of things that showed I may be isolated physically but I was not isolated socially. When one is forced to be alone, these social relationships become that much more significant.”


I Wove a Raft Out of Bones to Escape This Plague But Ended Up Sinking Anyway Materials: found bones, hemp twine Submitted by Allison Kotzig

“This piece brings together so many of my feelings and impressions about this pandemic. Firstly and most obviously are the bones themselves: death, mystery, lonely forests, plague carts, mass graves. That they are knitted together, each to the other: we are all



vulnerable to this virus, some more than others due to social and racial injustice. Also that as a society, the health of one of us is tied to the rest and if one gets sick we all get sick.”


How Much? Materials: smoke tanned deer hide, glass beads, cone jingles Submitted by Lisa Shepherd *

“After two weeks of nothing — no sewing, no creating — I crack open my chest and begin to weed through the juxtaposition of all that is happening. Heart fully exposed. Through all, the birds can be heard more clearly than before. The air is crisp and clean. No traffic sounds. There are sightings of animals where people no longer monopolize space. Bit by bit, the inspiration to create returns.” * This artifact is from a special section in the museum called “Breathe,” cocreated by Indigenous artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd, featuring a collection of traditionally crafted masks demonstrating resiliency by artists from Canada, the U.S. and abroad. The Isolation Museum did not inspire these artworks and is instead aiming to share artists’ work.



5 6


I Am Always Isolated Materials: hidden needs Submitted by Neighbour

“Being on Toronto outreach teams, we are very aware of what obvious isolation can look like. Maybe our communities will see hidden needs more clearly now.”


Reading to Chickens Materials: chickens, book Submitted by Kate W.

“My chickens have become my focus since the library I work at shut down. I took this funny picture to cheer up my story time kids until we can meet again in person. They really cheer me up.”


Stocking Up Materials: shopping cart, toilet paper Submitted by Kris Webster, Smallest Halifax Art Gallery


I Miss My Mommy Materials: clay sculpture, fresh cut bloom Submitted by Yang

“After 42 years in California, we sent mom back to Taiwan for safety. It’s a huge relief to know she’s in a country with zero new cases for two days now, but we miss her terribly. Couldn’t even hug her goodbye at the airport. Her zodiac sign is a monkey.”



Pandemic Playdate Materials: photo Submitted by JT

“Two children who live across the street from one another. The only way they can spend time together (without a screen) is to sit on their own sides of the street and talk across the divide. They do this every night of the social distancing mandate.”

“Shopping is stressful / TP essential / One jumbo roll / I’m good to go”











Before Rick Colbourne put a list of distinguished letters after his name from universities in Canada and abroad, and long before he joined Carleton’s Sprott School of Business as a professor last year, he taught himself guitar, formed a rock band called Hard Poetry and opened for acts like the Barenaked Ladies. “I was always writing and playing music — that’s how I made sense of the world,” says Colbourne, an Anishinaabe from the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation, who, around the time his band was touring, worked with low-income and homeless people for a non-profit charity on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “The songs I wrote,” he says, “reflected what I was experiencing and feeling out on the streets.” Yet after releasing albums and playing gigs across the country, Colbourne changed directions. “There’s a certain point when you hit the ceiling in the Canadian music industry,” he says, “and it’s very difficult to move beyond that.” Considering what followed, perhaps that ceiling was a blessing. Colbourne went from performing to producing concerts to earning his MBA from Simon Fraser University, then worked on media and entertainment projects for the professional services multinational Accenture. While developing and pitching digital music solutions to record labels around the world, he realized that music executives underestimated the impact that the internet and digital platforms would have on their industry. Colbourne transitioned to academia when he was hired by the University of Westminster’s School of Media, Art and Design in London to redesign its Music Business Management master’s program. These experiences informed his interest in the dynamics of power and learning in corporations, which led to a PhD in management at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. Curious and nimble, Colbourne discovered at a young age the value of being able to bridge different worlds. He learned how to cope with uncertainty, make new friends, take risks and manage change from his Anishinaabe father, who worked in the Canadian Armed Forces medical corps and was posted — and brought the family — to bases across Canada and Europe. Now, suitably armed with a string of life experiences, a network of multiskilled collaborators and notable academic credentials, *A Mi’kmaw concept that means two-eyed seeing



Colbourne is settling into Sprott and focusing on managing a different type of change: reconciliation and decolonization. What do these words mean? Well, it’s more than “just introducing a case study on selling bannock or crafts,” he says. “It involves recognizing that we are all colonized peoples, and that government, post-secondary institutions, businesses and corporations are complicit in colonizing Indigenous peoples in Canada. Decolonization demands that we develop partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations that legitimize and draw on Indigenous worldviews and ways of being to bring about institutional movement from simple inclusion initiatives to more meaningful reconciliation strategies. And today, this has to include how we consider the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” This past spring, in the midst of teaching courses, mentoring grad students and developing partnerships with Indigenous communities, Colbourne found himself, like so many others, struggling with the constraints of economic shutdowns and isolation. This led to intense discussions on the effects of the pandemic with colleagues at Indigenous Works, a national non-profit that plays an intermediary role to connect the private sector, Indigenous groups, government and post-secondary institutions. Those conversations revolved not only around the impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous workers,



entrepreneurs, communities and economic development corporations but also around resiliency, coping and mitigation. They came up with two projects. One is a series of video podcasts exploring how Indigenous people are coping with isolation and working from home. The second will paint a bigger picture, investigating what’s happening with Indigenous businesses. Community-owned development corporations are major employers in First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities and range from on-reserve gas stations, convenience stores, tourism guides and outfitters to large-scale natural resource operations. Colbourne’s study, with funding from Carleton, will compile cross-Canada baseline data on these businesses and chart what has happened to them since March 2020. This is valuable information because Indigenous economic development corporations contribute back to their communities by supporting initiatives that focus on enhancing health and resiliency among Elders, youth and other community members. “Canadians often don’t understand that these development corporations have a strong role to play in Canada’s economy,” says Colbourne, who in September became Sprott’s inaugural Assistant Dean, Equity and Inclusive Communities. “We need to demonstrate this and clearly articulate these contributions, so non-Indigenous Canadians can appreciate the value of collaborating with Indigenous economic development corporations.”

Before he became an academic, Rick Colbourne performed and toured with his band, Hard Poetry, and worked on the business side of the music industry

‘I WAS ALWAYS WRITING AND PLAYING MUSIC — THAT’S HOW I MADE SENSE OF THE WORLD. THE SONGS I WROTE REFLECTED WHAT I WAS EXPERIENCING AND FEELING OUT ON THE STREETS.’ In the initial phase of this project, D’Arcy O’Farrell, a Sprott PhD candidate and research assistant who specializes in finance, will source, compile, aggregate and analyze annual reports, financial data and other information from First Nation, Métis and Inuit sources. Then a team of researchers will determine which businesses are struggling and which are staying afloat — and why — to inform more effective Indigenous, federal and provincial policy making. This research is guided by the Indigenous principle of reciprocity and OCAP: ownership, control, access and possession. All of the findings will be shared with Indigenous communities and economic development corporations. The video podcast project is still preliminary and awaits provincial funding but those involved are already busy preparing. Kelly Lendsay, the President and CEO of Indigenous Works, says podcasts are perfect for Indigenous storytelling traditions and will be easily accessible on multiple online platforms. For those lacking a decent internet connection, he’s hoping libraries and other institutions will download them for public use. Short and sweet, they will offer tips and tools on how to survive and thrive in this stressful, unpredictable, work-from-home lifestyle. “It’s a way to help employees adapt but you can also look at it from a performance lens: now that you are working in

a blended or at-home environment, what can be done to ensure you maintain or even improve productivity?” says Lendsay. “Podcasts provide a storytelling platform and share peoples’ experiences. Listeners trust those voices because they’re authentic.” While it’s true that Indigenous peoples have embraced social media — “the talking stick on steroids,” Lendsay calls it — he’s hoping the podcasts will offer another layer of support, featuring stories from urban, rural and remote locations addressing challenges such as connectivity, technology fatigue, productivity, self-care and loneliness. Indigenous Canadians have faced devastating biological and social afflictions before and the coronavirus might be triggering bad memories, especially for Elders, which is another theme to explore. To assist this work, Colbourne has solicited the podcasting skills of one of his students, Joel Flynn, who is doing a PhD in management at Sprott and shares many of his supervisor’s interests, including social justice and the intersection of culture, technology and music. Along with running a podcasting and recording studio in Vancouver, Flynn is a singer who, prior to COVID-19, hosted community-driven live music events involving local musicians and singers. With their common interests, student and professor appear to be kindred spirits.




Colbourne and his collaborators believe that etuaptmumk, or “two-eyed seeing,” is one of the keys to addressing societal challenges such as sustainable development, social justice and urban inequity



As if these pandemic projects aren’t enough, Colbourne has another ambitious goal: tackling the world’s “wicked problems” with etuaptmumk, a Mi’kmaw concept meaning “two-eyed seeing.” With a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant submission in the queue, this unique Indigenous-led research initiative has assembled a team of more than a dozen leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous thinkers from around the world who are committed to using two-eyed seeing to frame understandings of and responses to the wicked problems of sustainable development, social justice and urban inequity. “Indigenous peoples are keepers of holistic knowledge generated over thousands of years of adaptation to global forces,” says Colbourne, “through which they have the capacity to foster the transformations necessary to respond to grand challenges.” In other words, Indigenous peoples have a lot to offer in the wake of failed capitalist and neoliberal policies regarding the climate, our environment and the economy. This project reflects Colbourne’s self-described role as an activist business prof. “I’m trying to reframe how we see things,” he says. “Instead of thinking about organizations and ventures created purely for profit — to exploit or extract from communities — how do we reframe this from an Indigenous perspective? How do we think about ventures from a values orientation? “I provide a critical voice and, in the past, sometimes I’ve been the only critical voice,” continues Colbourne. “But at Carleton and at Sprott I am excited to be working with faculty and staff who share the same values and perspectives and are wanting to change the world for the better. That’s why I’m here. I’m aligned with our dean, Dana Brown, and her vision for building a business school that values social impact and social innovation and is committed to engaging in reconciliation and Indigenization.” It comes down to sharing wisdom and moving forward together, as equals, says Colbourne. Lendsay agrees and praises Carleton’s commitment to flipping the research model to promote community-led, needs-based projects instead of the outdated academic tradition of indulging esoteric notions, disembodied from the people and communities being studied. Sprott is not just talking the talk. It was the first of dozens of post-secondary faculties to sign the Indigenous Works’ Luminary Charter, a proposed multi-year strategy to advance Indigenous innovation and research collaboration through partnerships with businesses, universities, research agencies, Indigenous businesses and communities. The charter is essentially a commitment from powerful mainstream players to support and amplify Indigenous-led

research and innovation projects with expertise and money driving economic transformation and jobs. “We’re looking for more long-term relationships and long-term benefits coming out of research that engages Indigenous communities and resonates with their needs, values and perspectives,” says Colbourne. “Indigenous-led research has to contribute to community socio-economic health and well-being by facilitating self-governance and self-determination. It cannot be extractive. It has to be collaborative.” Lendsay likens this to organizing a sports league: all you have to do is show up and play. “These partnerships are going to be powerful because everyone is so stressed and busy,” he says. “People want to do this, they just don’t have the time to be part of building networks. So that’s what we’re doing — building an infrastructure and ecosystem to support these collaborations.” One need only consider what’s happening in Igloolik, Nunavut, more than 2,500 kilometres north of Carleton, to see just how powerful this approach can be. Igloolik residents want to use excess construction materials currently languishing at the dump to build a meat and fish processing plant and possibly a hydroponic greenhouse to grow vegetables. But they have neither the money nor the research expertise to design such things, says the town’s mayor, Merlyn Recinos. So Colbourne is teaming up with Carleton colleagues in Industrial Design, Information Technology and Neuroscience to bring their knowledge to the North. Upcoming community consultations with Elders, youth and others in Igloolik will determine project priorities and design elements and then Carleton graduate and undergrad students will work on shaping community objectives into reality. And, in the process, they’ll have an opportunity to learn about Arctic environments and Inuit innovation. “It’s very refreshing for us, at the community level, to hear this,” says Recinos. “If you really want to create change, what you need to do is come to us as an empty vessel with the skills that you have and listen to the community to find out what we want. Communities truly want to create their own change and they want to be part of it. For this to happen, co-creation and collaboration needs to be at the forefront.” Recinos uses the word “refreshing” because this is not something he expected. “It’s surprising to think of a business school caring about culture, community and the environment,” he says. “But that’s what reconciliation is all about: not just trying to understand the other side but working with the other side to ensure that, at the end of the day, we’re all benefitting.” ■




During the pandemic members of the Carleton community have been (clockwise from top left) working at the Shepherds of Good Hope, helping Parks Canada with digital heritage conservation, tracking the resurgence of wildlife, teaching seniors how to use technology and transforming a historic church into a venue for livestreaming concerts




Clockwise from top left, photographs by Amber Bramer/Shepherds of Good Hope, Parks

Helping the capital’s most vulnerable residents.

Canada, Michael Runtz, Connected Canadians

Pushing for health equity and safe cycling

and Shawn Peters/Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

infrastructure. Funding critical scientific and medical research. Protecting wildlife from people. Breathing life into historic sites. Teaching seniors how to use technology. Getting new tools into hospitals now. Sharing culture and connecting audiences. Using data to drive policy change. Empowering Indigenous children and families. The myriad impacts of COVID-19 have demanded a wide range of responses. Thankfully, the Carleton community is not a homogenous group, and the ways in which students, faculty, staff and alumni have used their education and experience to address the devastating virus and its successive shock waves vary tremendously. In the following pages, you’ll read about a dynamic and diverse group of people — mostly in their own words — whose work and dedication show how much is possible when we put our collective energy toward alleviating the biggest public health crisis in a century.



Staff at the Shepherds of Good Hope don personal protective equipment while supporting city’s homeless population Photograph by Amber Bramer/Shepherds of Good Hope


When COVID-19 upended life in Ottawa, the city’s most vulnerable residents faced heightened risks. Rather than dodge the challenge, Nicole McLean dove in. A rule change allowed the social work undergraduate — a casual employee at Ottawa’s Shepherds of Good Hope homeless support agency — to do her on-the-job practicum at her workplace. McLean talked to Raven in July after finishing an overnight shift at the Shepherds shelter in the ByWard Market and has now been hired on as a case manager. Our emergency shelter clients come from the streets or the hospital or they’re brought by the police or OC Transpo — people who just need a place to stay for the night. You show them to their beds and watch out over everybody. You’re always moving and basically help clients with whatever they need. Sometimes there are fights, which our security staff deal with, and sometimes there are overdoses and you’re the first person on the scene. We spray everybody’s hands with sanitizer when they come in and ask them to wear masks, and we try to keep everybody a safe distance from each other.



Among the population we work with, people often have coughs or feel sick — these aren’t new symptoms, it’s just their day-to-day lives. Everybody was told to stay at home when the pandemic started, but home wasn’t an option for them. Sure, there are risks, but because we’re following proper safety procedures I’m not concerned about my own health. For a while, I wasn’t seeing my family, which gave me a new perspective, because a lot of our clients aren’t in contact with their families. Working at the shelter, I’ve come to see that we’re all one big community and we need to support one another. The pandemic doesn’t change that. My initial contact with the homeless population was when I started at the Shepherds of Good Hope about a year and a half ago, and I fell in love with it. Every day is different and you never know what to expect or who you’re going to come in contact with, but you meet people and build rapport with them. One night when I was working, a woman who had been sexually assaulted came in. She’s hearing impaired and was worried that she wouldn’t be able to tell anybody what had happened. I’m learning American Sign Language and happened to be on shift, so I could translate for her. I sat in a room with her and a police officer and helped her make a report. She came back the following weekend and felt safe and comfortable, even though the assault had taken place nearby. She remembers me, and seeing her around every so often warms my heart. ■


Since first getting elected in 2014, Toronto city councillor Joe Cressy — a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management graduate from TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR FIGHTS Carleton — has represented the FOR HEALTH EQUALITY — AND downtown ward of SpadinaFort York, championing BIKE LANES affordable housing, expanded community services and safe cycling infrastructure. The latter has received a lot of press over the past few months as thousands of people took to two wheels for transportation and recreation. That work, and Cressy’s role as chair of Toronto’s Board of Health, has put him at the forefront of the city’s pandemic response. With COVID-19, whether you’re a decision-maker or a front-line worker, it’s been like running up a down-bound escalator for months — you can’t stop or you will fall, so you just have to keep sprinting. The pandemic has exposed many things, including the systemic underfunding of public health infrastructure. COVID-19 has been most fatal for people who are experiencing inequities such as inadequate housing or precarious employment. The social determinants of health — income, housing status, race and so forth — are more likely than anything else going to dictate who gets sick, who lives and who dies. In the world of public health, we have been rolling this rock up the hill for years. The difference now is that some people are listening. Could this be a transformational moment that we emerge from stronger and more resilient and finally address these vulnerabilities? It could, but I am not entirely sure. I think we might see some incremental improvements when more drastic change is required. I believe that coming out of this we will continue to roll that rock up the hill. Going back to March, it was always a conversation of when not if Toronto would increase space to facilitate safe transportation options. At the time, the predominant advice was to stay home, but we knew that as things opened up, we would need to support active transportation, at which point the when kicked in — the need for an interconnected cycling and pedestrian network. More broadly, we know that we need to redesign our streets to move people safely. That’s a 21st century objective for cities like Toronto separate and apart from COVID, whether it’s weekend closures of major streets or the establishment of 40 additional kilometres of cycling lanes to facilitate mobility for people who are travelling to and from work. Going into Carleton, I had mostly been involved in community issues and protests, so the education I received around how policy change can take shape inside legislatures and the public service was very helpful. It was an exceptionally rich environment in terms of learning how to build coalitions and approach change. In the context of Toronto city council, I’d be lying if I told you that suddenly there was a newfound consensus that cycling infrastructure is an overarching priority. Rather, I believe there was a consensus reached in the urgency of this moment. I describe the art of changing the City of Toronto as radical incrementalism. Sometimes it can be slower than you want to go, but you’re ultimately heading in the right direction. ■

'The art of changing Toronto is radical incrementalism. Sometimes it can be slower than you want to go, but you're ultimately heading in the right direction.'

Joe Cressy goes for a spin on a new bike lane installed on University Avenue in Toronto last summer, part of a record 40-kilometre expansion of the city’s cycling network Photograph by Joan Wilson




Thistledown Foundation founders Fiona McKean and Tobi Lütke set their sights on this era’s most pressing challenges

'It was a surreal moment that felt like we were suspended in time and nobody knew what was on the other side.'



When Fiona McKean and Tobi Lütke launched the Thistledown Foundation in January, the couple seeded their charity with a $150-million endowment and focused on carbon removal technologies. McKean, who runs The Opinicon Dining and Resort southwest of Ottawa and has a master’s degree from Carleton’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, and Lütke, the founder and CEO of Shopify, want to support climate change solutions through philanthropy. Then the pandemic hit and Thistledown set its sights on improving supply chains for personal protective equipment and accelerating COVID-19 research, the latter through a $5-million contribution to an organization called Fast Grants. In January, I was with three people in Thistledown’s temporary office — an abandoned Italian restaurant in Ottawa that smelled like sour beer — talking about carbon. Then, in March, a huge shift took place. It was a surreal moment that felt like we were suspended in time and nobody knew what was on the other side. We faced an existential threat. So we started talking to doctors and scientists we knew. We read research papers and data sets. It was terrifying and intense, and we didn’t have enough info to know what to do. Then Fast Grants came to our attention. It’s an American project with a panel of biomedical scientists who make funding recommendations, and we sort of shoved a wedge under the door so we could support Canadian research. Clearly, right now we need doctors, we need epidemiologists and we need biologists, and we need their research, but from a donor’s perspective, I can’t vet them. How do you gauge the veracity of all the claims you’re bombarded with? You turn to the experts. Even though everybody was busy and scrambling, Fast Grants funded more than 130 projects within 48 hours of the first call for applications in April and responded to the second round of applicants in July within two weeks. Canada has a long history of quietly putting our elbows up to make sure that we have a seat at the table. If we’re not included, then the solutions do not have our particular problems in mind. Every country is having a different experience during the pandemic, and even though we’re all dealing with the same virus, every country’s toolkit is different. One example of somebody we supported is Dr. John Bell, a cancer researcher at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He immediately switched gears to see if the work that his lab was doing could be applied to COVID. [Dr. Bell’s research is “trying to create multiple vaccines ... delivering coronavirus proteins directly to the critical cells required to generate an effective immune response.”] The connection between climate change and COVID is at the species level. Thistledown believes that technology can help address hard problems. The question was never if we could try to help during the pandemic, but how — how can we go beyond sprinkling money around with little impact? I think people shy away from philanthropy because of that, but we took a leap. We found the right people to support, and now we’re leaving them alone to do their work. ■


Last spring, with airplanes grounded, cars and trucks parked and people isolating at home, there were reports of wild turkeys, deer and even cougars exploring city cores. Lenore Fahrig knows how rare this is. For the past 30 years, the Carleton biology professor has been studying the fallout from people getting in the way of animals. So when the C19-Wild Research Group was formed to find out what happens when we get out of their way, Fahrig was asked to serve on the advisory panel, drawing from her decades of research into the effect of roads on wildlife, including birds. C19-Wild — spearheaded by University of Manitoba ecologist Nicola Koper — brings together conservation scientists from around the world, each gathering and sharing data on birds, mammals, reptiles and other animals in their regions. The project’s main study tracks birds in Canada and the continental United States. While the nexus of Fahrig’s research has been to map negative human-inflicted impacts such as roadkill and habitat loss, the focus of C19-Wild, she says, “is to see whether we can detect a positive effect on birds as a result of the reduction in traffic, especially early on during the lockdown.” To do so, the project used eBird observation app survey data from 2017 to 2019 in American and Canadian cities that have a population of 50,000 or more. It compared this

data with bird surveys done since mid-March to determine whether there were any variations in bird distribution and population dynamics. “By having hundreds of sites and by having variation in the sites and differences in the decrease of traffic, we got around the problem of the short timeframe,” says Fahrig. Luckily, birds are among the most documented of all organisms, she adds, so many of the study sites had a solid record of pre-pandemic data points. “To ensure what we looked at was the effect of a reduction in traffic,” Fahrig explains, “we correlated bird survey data with cellphone records.” These show how many phones — and people — stopped moving every day. “Some cities had a big drop in traffic, others had a small drop, depending on the lockdown rules in the different jurisdictions,” says Fahrig. “So what we could determine was, in places where you had a big decrease in traffic, did you get a higher number or occurrence of birds?” The C19 team submitted its draft paper in early October and found, from looking at more than 4.3 million “bird detections” from spring 2017 to spring 2020, that of the 82 species assessed, 79 showed distribution changes during the pandemic — and that “increases in [bird] use of human-altered areas with decreased traffic were much more common than decreases.” Although the cause of these changes — less road kill or less traffic noise? — remains unknown, one conclusion is clear: human activity impacts much of the continent’s bird community. “From an environmental perspective, the pandemic is like a reversal,” says Fahrig. “It reinforces that the scale of human activity is too much for nature. If we are serious about reducing our impact on birds, we need to reduce how much we travel.” ■

The ruby-throated hummingbird, one of the bird species monitored by the C19-Wild Research Group Photograph by Michael Runtz




Finishing up her first year as an Architectural Studies student last spring, Sarah Mojeski was looking forward to a paid summer internship at the Carleton Immersive Media Studio. She was going to travel to Saint John, New Brunswick, to help create an immersive digital tour of the Carleton Martello Tower — a two-century-old National Historic Site that’s undergoing renovations — as part of the lab’s SSHRC-funded New Paradigms/New Tools training program. The pandemic put a stop to those plans, but Mojeski spent the summer working on the tower project from her home in Grimsby, Ont. The Carleton Martello Tower was built in 1813 by the British military to help defend the city during the War of 1812. It has undergone five major renovations in its lifetime. In 1930, it became a National Historic Site — it has an amazing view over Saint John — but was put back into military use during World War II. A fire command

An early 19th-century view of the Carleton Martello Tower in Saint John, N.B., whose stories are shared online Photograph courtesy Parks Canada

'The technologies and software that we've been using can provide new perspectives on history.'



post was installed on top of the roof: a two-storey concrete structure for rangefinder equipment and harbour defence. That was so heavy it caused the walls to bulge, so Parks Canada is fixing that and doing other restoration work as part of a multi-year construction project. Parks Canada wants to have a digital representation of the tower that people can experience while it’s undergoing construction and also to better meet universal accessibility standards. The tower is accessed from the exterior by a staircase that goes to the second level, and then the ground floor and the roof level are both accessed by staircases that aren’t wheelchair accessible. So they’re trying to make it possible for people to see the tower from home, which has become especially timely during the pandemic. We’ve created a Building Information Model of the tower using point cloud data that they got before construction began. Point cloud data is generated by a laser scanner and creates an extremely accurate picture of the building. You can see the exact conditions and even what’s on the walls. We’re using that data and panoramic images of the tower to make a 360-degree video that will be posted to Parks Canada’s YouTube channel. It’ll provide an interactive way to “visit” the tower for anybody. Not only do these types of immersive digital experiences help meet accessibility standards and allow people to see places from remote, you might learn some extra things about a site from a video that you wouldn’t know if you went in person. The technologies and software that we’ve been using can provide new perspectives on history. Digital heritage conservation will become even more important in the years ahead. ■


Joan Cleary is a retired nurse who lives in a small town in Newfoundland. She has an active lifestyle: skiing, hiking and singing in the choir. When physical distancing measures were instituted, Cleary had to learn Zoom to stay in touch with friends. That’s when she discovered Connected Canadians, an Ottawa-based non-profit, started by two Carleton alumni, that provides older adults with the training and support they need to use technology safely. “It was broken down in a way that I was very comfortable with it,” says Cleary, who was paired with a Connected Canadians tech mentor last spring. “I wasn’t one bit intimidated.” A few weeks later, Cleary’s brother passed away and some relatives couldn’t attend his funeral. But Cleary was able to video call them and bring her family together to grieve. “You can talk, you can laugh and you can cry — all through Zoom,” she says. “In this day and age, technology should be accessible to everybody.” That goal is at the heart of Connected Canadians. Founded in 2018 by Emily Jones Joanisse (who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA from Carleton) and Tas Damen (who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and math), the idea stemmed from their experience working in the software industry. When the women realized that they were frequently acting as

tech support for the older adults in their lives, they saw an opportunity. “We wanted to serve the community and not charge seniors any money,” says Damen, “because we strongly believe that digital literacy is a human right.” Cleary’s story is just one example of how Connected Canadians is helping seniors at a time when people are relying on technology more than ever. To Jones Joanisse, the pandemic has emphasized how crucial it is to help seniors stay connected to their families and communities to curb their loneliness and isolation. “Prior to COVID-19, people thought of digital literacy for seniors as a luxury,” she says. “What we had been saying from the beginning has been validated and amplified.” As social gatherings became virtual, Connected Canadians has seen an increase in requests for support. From teaching an elderly Catholic nun how to join her online spiritual circle to helping Ottawa’s Capital Pride seniors host virtual bingo nights, the organization has met this growing need by collaborating with organizations outside Ottawa and by training clients and volunteers across the country through online workshops. The solutions they’ve come up with include a joint initiative with national charity HelpAge Canada that sees volunteers work with seniors to set up tablets that are sent to them for use in isolation, and a program that allows seniors to interact with one another online while playing language-based games. In May, Connected Canadians was awarded a grant from the City of Ottawa to retrain food and beverage industry workers who lost their jobs so they can become paid technology mentors. The organization now has 21 paid mentors on staff. “It’s humbling to go from a startup to having national partners and large organizations such as the National Gallery of Canada and Apple that are impressed by our delivery model,” says Jones Joanisse, who, while remaining the full-time CEO, has returned to Carleton this fall to begin a PhD in management at the Sprott School of Business. She plans to focus her thesis on how volunteering helps new immigrants integrate into the Canadian workforce. ■ Connected Canadians co-founder Tas Damen helps a senior at a pre-pandemic session organized with Ottawa Community Housing Photograph courtesy Connected Canadians




'Whether it's the next wave of COVID-19 or another crisis, we need to be prepared.' Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization President and CEO Gail Garland is focused on both short- and long-term health Photograph by Giordano Ciampini



Gail Garland, who has a biology degree from Carleton, is the President and CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), a not-for-profit that, through partnerships with industry, investors, academia and government, supports the commercialization of human health science companies. OBIO’s Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN) — which connects health-care institutions with companies developing technologies that are ready for adoption — was launched in fall 2019 but quickly shifted gears to address COVID-19. Its first eight projects were announced in July and range from a portable dual x-ray device to a clinical decision support tool that can help physicians determine when to safely transition patients off ventilators. When the pandemic hit, OBIO put out a call across Canada through the EAHN program for companies that were creating or adapting their technologies to help address COVID-19. We screened more than 75 applications and talked to the companies, assessing their technologies and the teams running these companies to determine their readiness. Then we selected eight initial companies and partnered them with hospitals. Those projects are in various stages of implementation, but we’re still working with the others that applied, and there are successive rounds of funding planned. Hospitals see the merit of working with new technologies through the EAHN program because in many ways we’ve de-risked it for them. Hospitals are interested in evaluating new technologies, but the technologies and the companies developing them have to be ready. For this to work, hospitals have to be innovation friendly, which is largely cultural, and not every hospital is of that mindset. So we partnered initially with a small group of hospitals, and that list has grown extensively. Most hospitals are innovation friendly if you go to them with technology that’s been vetted and can help their patients. Senior leadership at hospitals is also very interested in understanding the economic benefits of adopting innovative technologies. As we dialogued with industry, one of our key learnings was that industry didn’t know which door of the hospital to go through and were wasting valuable time trying to find the right people in a hospital, or the right hospital. Our model facilitates that for them, and the pandemic has put a fine point on the need to support innovation for the sake of innovation. Because you never know when you’re going to need it. The EAHN gives Canadian companies that are evaluated within the Ontario health system the opportunity to stay and grow here. They don’t have to go to Boston or Silicon Valley because there’s an ecosystem here that will support the company through the development and commercialization process. And then we can export it to the rest of the world. The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to understand why a robust health science sector here in Ontario and in Canada is critical. Whether it’s the next wave of COVID-19 or another crisis, we need to be prepared. ■


Last January, Yassen Atallah — a master’s student at Carleton’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs — landed a co-op position as a policy analyst at Health Canada’s Health Care Innovation Secretariat. He expected to work at the agency’s Ottawa office, applying his studies in international organizations and global public policy toward improving the country’s health care system. By the time he began his co-op from remote in May — a four-month post that has been extended to the end of December — the landscape was different.

Master’s student Yassen Atallah works at the intersection of the social and natural sciences, using his policy skills to help vulnerable Canadians

'Everybody was running around trying to put out the fire and I was trying to find the buckets and the water.'

Like every other organization, the public service wasn’t totally prepared for this pandemic. We’ve adapted very well, but when I started it was like being put in the middle of a forest fire: everybody was running around trying to put it out and I was trying to find the buckets and the water. My training wasn’t traditional. It was, “Here’s a bunch of tasks, you’re going to learn as you go.” So from day one I just started helping wherever I could. The secretariat is juggling a number of COVID-19-related files on data policy, digital tools, health innovation and bilateral agreements between the federal government and our provincial and territorial partners. We’re also negotiating funding agreements with provinces and territories so that they can improve their virtual care capacity. Generally speaking, any policy or research or funding is primarily focused on COVID-19, but we also understand that the implications of this work can reach beyond the pandemic. I’m especially passionate about assisting with the Canadian Health Information Forum. Our team supports biweekly meetings with federal, provincial and territorial associate deputy ministers and other senior government officials to discuss Canada’s COVID-19 response and how governments and other pan-Canadian organizations can work together to address health data gaps and priorities. This is important as the availability of and timely access to data is needed to understand, monitor and respond to the pandemic. My responsibilities include analyzing federal, provincial and territorial objectives and needs, as well as preparing the logistics for each of the meetings. The forum is a really dynamic, fast moving group — we tackle a number of topics every meeting — and lessons learned in various provinces and territories can lead to a more effective response to COVID-19. It’s pretty cool to see how provinces and territories aren’t just focused on their own jurisdictions. They’re communicating with one another and sharing knowledge. That’s really inspiring, because to make a significant change we need to work collectively. Working at Health Canada has allowed me to gain invaluable insight into the inner workings of health ministries and how they navigate complex crises to deliver a wide range of services. Ever since my undergrad, I’ve wanted to be at the intersection of the social and natural sciences. Being at Health Canada during these trying times has provided me with a great opportunity to apply my policy skills to improve the lives of some of most marginalized people in Canada. ■




Photograph by Fangliang Xu

On a cold April day, Mara Brown walks into her workplace in downtown Ottawa, closes the door and confronts a strange reality. She is absolutely alone in a 37,000-square-foot building. As the director of the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre (CDCC) — the historic church that the university has transformed into an arts, performance and learning space — Brown is responsible for managing everything from renovations to events that bring audiences into the building. Which is a major challenge when COVID-19 has put an abrupt halt to mass gatherings. “When there isn’t any activity in a building, it starts to lose physical integrity and energy can drain out,” says Brown. “The empty space was daunting at first but became inspirational pretty quickly, walking the halls and dreaming about the great future to come.” The word “pivot” is overused when talking about how organizations have responded to the pandemic, but it certainly applies to the CDCC. After welcoming more than 85,000 people in the 10 months leading up to lockdown, the centre will now be fulfilling its cultural and academic role in an entirely unexpected way. With organizations such as the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Music and Beyond and Ottawa Chamberfest unable to hold performances, the CDCC turned its multi-year master plan upside down and quickly became a venue for livestreaming and recording concerts. “We always knew we wanted to have high-tech audio-visual equipment and infrastructure throughout the building, but we imagined doing this much later,” says Brown. “Suddenly, we have recognized an opportunity to provide options for people to perform and reach those who are experiencing sustained isolation. It’s been



Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre director Mara Brown is inspired by the problem-solving abilities of people in creative industries

strange and amazing to flip our planning on its head.” Overcoming the logistical challenge of setting up new technology in an old building, as well as shipping delays due to the pandemic, the CDCC has installed an array of equipment: cameras, tripods, lenses for capturing close-ups and wide shots, switchers for changing angles, software to process video content and more than 3,300 feet of cable. Ottawa Chamberfest helped test the new equipment and hosted a six-part livestreamed concert series at the centre this fall. A team from the local Rogers TV station recorded three days of performances in June with the Music and Beyond virtual summer festival, which was previously an in-person experience and is now online. The Rogers recordings not only brought life to the centre but also helped the broadcaster create cultural content — such as a collaboration with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra at the CDCC in September — and fill the gap from the loss of live events in its schedule. While the resumption of in-person activities still needs to be mapped out, the CDCC hopes to support small recitals by music students who must do live performances to graduate. Meanwhile, the doors opened in September to the United Church congregation to resume on-site worship, albeit with physical distancing and strategic seating. “It is fair to say that large group gatherings will be one of the last things to return,” says Brown, “but it is fascinating to witness the rapid evolution of how we’re sharing art through online technologies. In-person gatherings can never be replaced, but one of the best things about creative industries are the people who have the ability to problem solve and evolve.” ■


'You need to step back, take a breath, ask questions and allow people to be heard.'

Social Work graduate Andrew Simpson has reconnected with his Indigenous heritage and helps clients on similar journeys

Andrew Simpson earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work at Carleton. Born and raised in Bancroft, Ont., and of Métis ancestry, he works for Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services, an Indigenous well-being agency based at Hiawatha First Nation with more than 20 offices spread out over eight First Nations and off-territory towns in south-central Ontario. Simpson started at the agency — which provides culturally-based wraparound services to children, youth and families — for his grad school practicum last spring and was hired on as a full-time family service worker. In this field, people allow you into their world. You play an active role in the lives of individuals and families, helping to connect them to community support. One of the most difficult aspects of this job is fighting the urge to jump in and try to fix problems yourself. Each person or family has their own blueprint, and you work with them to identify and connect to the resources they need. There’s no cookiecutter approach. They are the guides, and you need to take the time to listen to their stories and find the right way forward. You need to step back, take a breath, ask questions and allow people to be heard, and then work as a team to alleviate some of the challenges they’re facing. We integrate culture into the healing process and help reintroduce people to their cultures. That’s been the most beautiful thing that I’ve seen. Indigenous cultural practices have the ability to connect people to each other and to their communities and, at the same time, they challenge colonization. Trying to navigate Indigenous services and supports in Canada can be difficult, but these are things that our communities need and I’m proud to be part of this journey. As a social worker and as a social justice warrior, I want to help fix the system we live in for the betterment of the people who we support. My mom is also an Indigenous social worker. Through her and through my aunties, I started to connect with my culture while growing up. As I got older, I started to dig into things more deeply on my own and was exposed to ceremonies and teachings from Elders. It’s definitely been a reconnection for me. When the pandemic began, I was grateful for the technology that we had, because it allowed us to still connect with families while distancing. We transitioned some of our cultural programming online without skipping a beat. But it was difficult, because a lot of the sense of community we have was built through face-to-face interaction, so I was really happy when we were able to resume seeing people in person in some situations, including visits outside in parks. It meant a lot to see people’s faces — not on a screen — again. I hope COVID-19 reinforces the importance of community. I hope that people slow down and take the time to be kind and loving and take small steps to help others. Even if it’s a little thing, it could mean something big to someone else. ■





WATCH Amid a devastating health crisis and rising racial tension, Carleton researchers are evaluating Ottawa’s new community policing project — with an eye towards a better relationship between officers and the citizens they serve




Ottawa Police Service Constable Vianney Calixte is a community officer in Vanier/Overbrook in the city's east end. Part of a neighbourhood policing pilot project, Calixte has time to talk — and listen — to local residents



Ottawa Police Service Constable Vianney Calixte — a community officer who patrols his old stomping grounds, Vanier/Overbrook, in the city’s east end — used to sell insurance for a living. He’s a good talker and people like him, which is why he was a good salesman. It’s also why he’s a good cop. This past summer, the bilingual, Haitian-born, 15-year veteran of the force received several complaints about a homeless guy living in a tent at a busy Vanier intersection. Nearby residents wanted him gone. Calixte went to visit the man and found out that he was a recovering addict and alcoholic trying to avoid inner-city shelters and the people who might suck him back into that life. Calixte called a woman he knows who works in housing and homelessness for the city and she talked to the man about relocating to an overflow shelter in the south end. It was too far from downtown and the man politely declined, but he agreed to move away from the problematic intersection. He’s still homeless, according to Calixte, but now he knows where to find help if he changes his mind. “People don’t take the time to just listen,” says Calixte. “Nobody chooses to be homeless. Nobody chooses to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. There’s always a story behind it. Listening to that story, sometimes you can move someone in a different direction. I’m not here to solve everyone’s problems, but I can help and support them.”



This is probably not what you expect to hear today when someone mentions policing. The recent killings of Black citizens by American police, plus Canadian examples of mistreatment and harassment of mentally ill and racialized citizens, have prompted calls to defund police. Accusations of misconduct and racism by the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) have sparked public anger. “I have unequivocally and repeatedly stated that conscious and unconscious bias is a challenge for all police members,” Chief Peter Sloly wrote in the Ottawa Citizen in response to complaints about racial profiling by an OPS officer this fall, “and that systemic racism exists in policing.” Given recent controversies, not to mention the global pandemic, one could argue that it’s not a great time for academics to partner with police departments. Or you could say the opposite: in an era of simmering distrust and heightened scrutiny, let’s ask a few important questions — what’s working, what’s not, and why? — in order to grow a new relationship between police officers and the public they serve. Linda Duxbury, a management professor at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business, believes the latter. Last year, she and frequent collaborator Craig Bennell from the university’s psychology department launched a three-year project with the OPS to evaluate three neighbourhood policing pilot

‘If you knew how much money is being spent on policing in Canada, why shouldn’t business schools do research that looks at how officers spend their time?’

Sprott School of Business professor Linda Duxbury, a management expert, sees her research on the Ottawa Police Service as part of an important dialogue about the roles officers play

projects in Vanier/Overbrook, Lowertown/ByWard Market downtown and Bayshore in the west end. “We have to have a dialogue about what we want from police,” says Duxbury, “and we have to have a debate about roles. I think data helps change the conversation. We need the data, otherwise you’re basing opinions on the loudest voices.” In fall 2019, long before the COVID-19 lockdown and the May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the OPS, under acting Chief Steve Bell, quietly heeded calls from residents in high-crime areas such as Vanier/ Overbrook and assembled neighbourhood response teams (NRTs). These teams consist of community-specific officers in schools, on the street, in frontline enforcement and in traffic control. The OPS had eliminated community officers in 2017 because, although neighbourhoods liked them, concrete impacts had never been established. This time around, the OPS is gathering facts to help it assess the

value of such programs, with help from Duxbury, Bennell and a team of graduate students. “If you knew how much money is being spent on policing in Canada, why shouldn’t business schools do research that looks at how officers spend their time?” says Duxbury. “At Sprott, we want to make a difference in the community.” Duxbury, who has conducted studies on change management, work-life balance and the impact of technology in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, recently completed an evaluation of the Peel Regional Police’s school resource officer program with Bennell. Impressed with those results, the OPS asked them to conduct an audit of its three NRT pilots. With $350,000 in funding from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and MITACS, the multi-year study was launched in fall 2019, starting in Vanier/Overbrook. The researchers managed to complete a baseline round of stakeholder interviews, neighbourhood



‘Everything that comes out in the media about policing — those issues are real and need to come out — but in the day-to-day, it feels really good to hear all the ideas people have, and how much people care. They’re all in.’

PhD student Sean Campeau believes that movements such as Black Lives Matter are healthy in a democracy because they can destabilize the status quo and accelerate social change



focus groups and an online survey before the pandemic ground our lives to a halt. But while COVID-19 has forced the team to shift consultations to an online format, it also offers a unique opportunity to examine how the pandemic is impacting police officers, crime and community wellness. Last April, Duxbury launched a separate research project, in collaboration with the Canadian Police Association and also supported by MITACS, to examine the impact of working during the coronavirus crisis on officers and their families. In simple terms, Duxbury’s community policing group is hoping to define what an ideal relationship would look like between NRT officers and the neighbourhoods they patrol and then offer recommendations on how to achieve that. But there’s nothing simple about the work. Synthesizing elements such as public expectations, crime prevention, feelings of safety and trust, police interactions, community anecdotes and experiences, court diversion and the quality of communication is tricky. To do that, researchers are measuring the Social Return on Investment, or SROI, a progressive tool for evaluating not just a policy’s cost and statistical outcomes but also its social value: the impacts a policy might have on a community’s health and well-being. For instance, familiar neighbourhood cops might make people feel safer, but how does that translate into actual benefits for the community? You map out the impacts using SROI indicators over time and then attach dollar figures to the outcomes. “You also talk to people and listen to their stories,” says Duxbury. “An SROI analysis goes beyond numbers to the stories that help illustrate or explain them.” What is challenging for police, and what people have to understand, is that there’s no one view of what a positive relationship looks like between members of the community and police. “This process doesn’t work,” says Duxbury, “if the community doesn’t work cohesively and with the police to get a common view of what it wants.” So, what do the people of Vanier/Overbrook want? Depends on who you ask. Sources say they welcome the reinstatement of community policing, but they’re still unclear about what the officers should be doing and whether they’ll be effective in meeting their diverse needs. Rob Ireland, operations manager for the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health on Montreal Road, has a long history of distrusting police and knows that

many Indigenous people, like him, share that unease. Higher rates of homelessness, poverty, food insecurity and addiction mean Indigenous citizens tend to have more encounters with law enforcement. First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada are like AfricanAmericans in the U.S., he says — historically, they have been singled out by racist cops for harassment, surveillance and discrimination. Or their needs have been ignored. During our conversation, he forwarded an OPS notice about a missing Indigenous woman. He gets several every month. “It’s happening all the time,” says Ireland. “Do police take it seriously? It’s hard to know. I think they’re starting to. It’s better than it was years ago, but do we need more resources looking for these girls or more resources to find out why those girls are missing?” Ireland does see hope in the community policing model, though. Building face-to-face relationships based on mutual respect is a promising way to bridge the divide between police and Indigenous people. That, and hiring more people of colour. “You’ve got to really put a dent into that mindset of white superiority on the force,” he says. “If you put in 60 per cent coloured people — Indigenous, Black, whatever — you get rid of the white majority, then they would have a better sense of what’s going on.” Lauren Touchant would probably agree. She is president of the Vanier Community Association (VCA) and helped petition the OPS to bring back community policing. But considering the high numbers of Inuit and First Nations residents living in Vanier/Overbrook, she was surprised not to see an Indigenous member when the local NRT was created. (According to Statistics Canada, four per cent of police officers across the country in 2018 self-identified as Indigenous, a group that comprised five per cent of the national population.) “This is an issue because we already know the complicated relationship that the Indigenous community has with police, particularly the RCMP,” says Touchant. “Not having an Indigenous officer in a significantly Indigenous area is a problem.” She also questions the team’s vague roles and priorities and a lack of communication thus far. The VCA would like to see more crime prevention, more data sharing and more co-ordination of efforts toward safety. She acknowledges the pandemic is impacting progress and that the NRT is still new, but she’s anxious for results and is looking forward to working with Sprott scholars to improve the quality of life in Vanier.



Researchers are measuring the community policing project’s Social Return on Investment, a progressive tool for evaluating not just a policy’s cost and statistical outcomes but also its social value: the impacts a policy might have on a community’s health and well-being.

Tom Scholberg, who manages the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa’s youth diversion program, works with youth referred by police officers who want to help them avoid going further into the justice system



“Our hope is to see systemic change,” says Touchant. “This evaluation is great. We’re looking forward to the results and learning from the work that Dr. Duxbury is doing. Now what I want to see are assurances that the police are going to take into consideration the recommendations and apply the proper changes. It will take a lot of courage.” OPS Inspector Ken Bryden is looking for this kind of input. A one-time ByWard Market beat cop and now the officer in charge of the OPS community policing unit, he is a staunch proponent of the neighbourhood policing model and wants to see it succeed this time. “Our organization has the drive, the motivation, the humility and the authenticity to find a way to be better,” says Bryden. One need only look at how community policing was handled for proof, he says: it was cut, neighbourhoods wanted it back, it was reinstated and now, with help from Carleton, they are conducting a comprehensive review. “It’s a large organization and there are a lot of moving parts — the skills of officers, the expectations, the agendas of certain officers,” he says. “The organization’s culture is very diverse and can be competing at times. Any large organization continually needs to work on its culture, its unified vision.” Trust in police ebbs and flows depending on what’s going on in the world, according to Bryden, and right now, public trust is understandably low. Egregious examples of police misconduct, both in the U.S. and Canada, must be addressed, he says, and offending officers must face consequences. But he also feels that the juggernaut of social media has amplified these examples to such a degree that it’s nearly impossible to have a respectful conversation about facts. Which is why he too welcomes this study from Duxbury and her team — because he wants to find value in what his officers do and he wants them to have an impact on crime and safety. Beat cops, as the front-line public faces of the OPS, have a unique opportunity, he says, to show the human side of policing. Tom Scholberg doesn’t live in Vanier but as manager of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa’s youth diversion program, he’s had clients from the neighbourhood thanks to the police. If an officer arrests a youth for a criminal act, they have the discretion to divert that young offender to Scholberg’s program. From there, caseworkers refer them to agencies that offer

educational, mental health, employment and other services. Most of those diversions come from school resource officers and community police — trusted officers who know the kids and the neighbourhood. “There are definitely situations where police relationships are sour and it has an impact on individuals, families and community,” says Scholberg. “But I’ve also seen some great successes where an officer has a real impact on a youth and on their family. So we’re always trying to move that needle, where the negative impact of policing is reduced and mitigated and the potential for positive is increased.” Duxbury and Bennell’s study is basically focusing on that needle and what’s pushing it one way or the other. When she hears people say “defund the police,” what she believes they’re trying to say is, “we want a new model of policing.” And greater investment in community policing might be a key component. Few would disagree that law enforcement is a necessary part of policing. If you’ve been assaulted, robbed, harassed or defrauded, you call police and you expect them to find the perpetrators. But nearly 40 per cent of calls to police now are considered “mental health calls” involving someone in distress. These calls are unpredictable and can take hours — sometimes entire days — to resolve. So how do you justify beat cops walking the neighbourhood with other more acute demands? You start, says Duxbury, by proving that proactive policing, youth diversion, crime prevention and the unique, intimate knowledge that neighbourhood officers gain on the job can actually make areas safer and potentially save enforcement costs down the road. But you need facts to make reasoned arguments, and you need engaged research participants. “You have to prove value and they’ve never done it,” says Duxbury. “Why? It’s really hard. You have to have a partner like the OPS and you have to have partners like the neighbourhood groups who know if they can’t demonstrate that the officers are making a difference, they’ll be yanked again.” Sean Campeau, a Sprott PhD student working with Duxbury on this project, is interested in policing because crime is a tug of war between perpetrator and victim and police officers are stuck in the middle, trying to balance fairness and equality for both sides using the tools they’re given: laws, weapons, experience



and training. And, as Scholberg says, policing is constantly being shaped by social, cultural and technological forces and police agencies must remain malleable in order to maintain legitimacy. Movements such as Defund the Police and Black Lives Matter, for example, are healthy in a democracy, Campeau says, because they destabilize the status quo and, when necessary, move that needle of social change quickly. But any meaningful discussion around the role of police should acknowledge a few things: officers are not all experts in mental health; they are dutybound to enforce laws; and they cannot be all things to all people. “It’s about expectations,” says Campeau. “People understand that in society police have a responsibility for dealing with crime and ensuring public safety. And then there’s the reality of it. There’s the OPS with officers assigned to their roles, whether patrolling or community policing or criminal investigations, and they have to deal with actual situations every day. There’s that disconnect. “A big part of our research,” he continues, “is to understand what activities the neighbourhood police officers are engaging in. We want to understand how they relate to the community's expectations of what police should be doing and how those activities will relate to the outcomes that both the community and the police want to achieve. Getting a better understanding of the process of neighbourhood policing from the community’s perspective is important to the research.” So far, Campeau has been inspired by the passion and commitment shown by both OPS members and residents in Vanier/Overbrook. The police want to reduce crime and make people feel safer, and they want to build positive relationships with residents. This is particularly impressive in the midst of a pandemic when crime trends are changing — increasing rates of domestic violence, mental health calls, breakand-enters — and people are feeling stressed, fearful and isolated. “Everything that comes out in the media about policing — those issues are real and need to come out — but in the day-to-day, it feels really good to hear all the ideas people have, and how much people care,” says Campeau. “Members of the community and police are working really hard to find answers. They’re all in.” This fall, Duxbury’s team is doing a second round of surveys and consultations with various Vanier/Overbrook racialized, municipal, business and faith groups, and is continuing preliminary work in the ByWard Market and Bayshore areas. This will all include new questions about how communities are being impacted by COVID-19. In the end, Duxbury is hoping to have a large data set that offers a roadmap on how urban policing can effectively evolve. “A lot of the things people are asking for are not huge or complicated,” she says. “It’s an issue of mutual respect. And the hope has to be that if the police start responding to this, treating people with respect, the community will meet them halfway.” ■



‘It’s a large organization and there are a lot of moving parts. Any large organization continually needs to work on its culture, its unified vision.’

A former ByWard Market beat cop who now runs the Ottawa Police Service community policing unit, Inspector Ken Bryden welcomes the Carleton research project and believes that neighbourhood officers have an opportunity to show the human side of policing






How much knowledge can students absorb in an online class with all the distractions of home life bubbling in the background? It’s difficult enough in a university setting to compete for their attention with texts, games and news streaming into their devices. Studying from home presents an even greater variety of interruptions (pets, phone calls, pesky siblings) and temptations (pie in the fridge, poker websites, pals next door). University students are expected to take responsibility for their schedules and class work, but the pandemic is not life as normal. So the challenge for Carleton’s professors, who had to swiftly develop online versions of their classes over the past few months, is figuring out how to engage students in course material while we are all coping with isolation, economic uncertainty and the fear of contracting a highly transmissible disease.





Religion and human rights scholar Melanie Adrian decided to focus her efforts not on what interactive software to use but on how to create ah-ha moments online. “How do we expand horizons on Zoom?” asks Adrian, who was appointed one of Carleton’s inaugural Chairs in Teaching Innovation in late 2019. “I believe that new ideas are absorbed through reading, watching and learning, but those ideas need conversation to further open horizons. That’s the challenge with being online.” Adrian, who has never been confined by conventions in the classroom, decided to address this issue through an experiment. In September, she relaunched two versions of her fourth-year Law and Legal Studies class online. She is surveying students in each of the classes — which she has provocatively titled “Is Religious Freedom a Human Right?”— three times during the semester to assess which method works better. Adrian spent the spring and summer rebuilding the course, mapping out her research protocol and, with her partner, caring for their two children (“I am a counsellor and cheerleader and chef and cleaner.”) She was, she admitted, “barely keeping my head above water.” She survived by being organized and disciplined about her time, parsimoniously parcelling it out among the many tasks at hand. Like many other professors, Adrian had to put research projects on hold to focus on redesigning her courses. A process that would normally take one or two years had to be condensed into three months. The backdrop to this rapid transformation is the bumpy merger between our new digital reality and the day-today tangible world. With widespread access to broadband internet and a variety of interactive platforms available, content is easier than ever to deliver. These technologies — which have had a disruptive impact on post-secondary institutions because they now face global competition — can help but aren’t a cure for our pandemic-induced psychological ailments. Fear of infection, the absence of social contact with family and friends, and children out of school and daycare are taking a toll on our individual and collective mental health. Women, in particular, are feeling the impact. Recent studies show that women’s research output has decreased by about a quarter over the last eight months as women struggle to balance research with child and family care. While Adrian recognizes her own privilege as faculty member, she’s attuned to the fact that specific populations are experiencing the pandemic in different ways. “We know that marginalized people and poor communities are bearing the brunt and burden of this,” she says. “What are the values we want to guide us through



this? My average class will have a fair number of students who have official accommodations. Another 5 to 10 per cent will have different kinds of needs: learning, social, psychological. And students are going to have all sorts of emotions about being online. Not being social enough. Not going out. There’s going to be another layer of care added on to what we are doing.” These disparities and needs, coupled with distancing and isolation, may sap some of the joy and intellectual growth from the university experience. They may also exacerbate the high rate at which students quit online courses. Online dropout rates vary across countries and schools but are generally acknowledged to be significantly higher overall than for in-class courses. How, then, can one encourage students who are separated from each other to come together in a community of learning? Adrian’s interest in innovative approaches to teaching was cultivated in childhood. She was in Grade 2 when her family immigrated to Canada. Her father was a professor of optometry at the University of Waterloo and her mother was a teacher who became known in the community for her social activism. The Adrian household was always bustling with international students. Nearly three dozen lived with her family for at least half a year, she recalls, and many more stayed for a couple of weeks. In high school, she was selected for a Rotary exchange scholarship and spent a year living in Mexico. Then, after completing an undergraduate degree in religion and peace and conflict studies at Waterloo, she took a job teaching English in a fishing village in Japan. “Teaching is dramatically different in the Japanese classroom,” says Adrian. “Students are expected to memorize, especially in language learning. I would ask questions and there would only ever be one answer. Because that’s what they memorized. ‘Hello, how are you? I am fine, teacher.’ So I changed things around dramatically. I really wanted to give all students an opportunity to use English inside and outside of the classroom.” After Japan, Adrian completed a master’s degree on the Theory and Practice of Human Rights at the University of Essex, then a PhD in Social Anthropology and the Study of Religion at Harvard University. During her doctoral and post-doctoral work, also at Harvard, she began teaching undergraduates and trying different approaches. One of her classes was physiology and sexuality. The students called it Sex 101. While teaching this course, Adrian learned to always have a plan, how to deal with awkward moments and how to bring students back to class if they felt put off or overwhelmed.

HOW, THEN, CAN ONE ENCOURAGE STUDENTS WHO ARE SEPARATED FROM EACH OTHER TO COME TOGETHER IN A COMMUNITY OF LEARNING? At a time of tremendous stress and uncertainty, Law and Legal Studies professor Melanie Adrian is working on creative ways to give her students a positive learning experience

That experience set Adrian up to teach in Harvard’s freshman seminar program, in which professors teach a small group of first-year students on a vast array of topics, everything from Bob Dylan to black holes. “It’s meant to give students an intensive, immersive experience and to get them to know a professor well,” she says, “so you can try something totally new.” Adrian taught two of these tutorials and considers it her first opportunity to really learn how to teach. She developed a reputation for engaging students in “weird and surprising ways,” as one wrote on an evaluation form, using poetry, music and art to illustrate her points and stimulate discussion. “Does this resonate with what we are doing?” she would ask. Generally speaking, at least a few of the students would start talking and others would join in. But there were flops.

One course she taught at Harvard had 80 students in class and 100 online. “We just recorded the lecture and made it available,” says Adrian. “There were some group interactions, but we didn’t have the platforms or technology that we have today. It was fascinating to see what kind of students took the course and how they interacted with us. Some were taking it out of interest — it was a world poverty and human rights course — and had very busy lives. They didn’t want to interact; they just wanted the information they needed to be able to complete the assignments. There was a small group that learned really well online. But the majority needed to digest the material in other ways and didn’t feel they were part of a learning community.”






Adrian arrived at Carleton 10 years ago having been awarded three distinctions in teaching at Harvard. At Carleton, she has earned a clutch of teaching awards from the Faculty of Public Affairs and the university. Her students, colleagues and university administrators have all praised her skillful planning and creative initiatives. Professor Ummni Khan calls her a “pedagogical pioneer” who employs groundbreaking techniques to make the course material relevant and meaningful to the lives of her students. Patrick Lyons, the director of Teaching and Learning Services, says Adrian strives to ensure that her students “not only learn the theoretical aspects of the material on a cognitive level, but experience personal growth from the process.” And former students rave about her passion, warmth and encouragement. In 2012, Adrian attended a talk by Harvard physics professor Eric Mazur at Carleton’s annual teaching conference. Mazur, who believes that professors need to shift their “focus from teaching to helping students learn,” has written widely about the shortcomings of the traditional lecture format. He is the author of Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, a pedagogical approach that encourages students to discuss and debate their course material with each other. Doing so helps them to not just passively fill their notebooks but to absorb the material on a deeper level. Mazur’s talk helped Adrian think about how better to engage her students and, at the same time, deal with larger classes. “The number of students we have is increasing,” she says. “We have to ask ourselves how we are going to be able to continue to provide quality and meaningful educational experiences within that reality. I was facing courses where I had 65 students at the third-year level. There is no way I can ask them to write 15- or 20-page papers to help me understand what they know and how they know it.” Inspired by Mazur, Adrian tried a new approach to testing students in a third-year required course. “I had the students write three multiple choice questions and the rationale for the questions. Then they took the 90-question multiple choice exam individually. The exam was held in the same innovative teaching space where we had held the class. There are studies that show if you take an exam in the place where you learned the material, it increases your success. There is more memory, more recognition of the context.”

From teaching English in Japan to leading seminars for first-year students at Harvard, Adrian has taken advantage of diverse experiences to shape her approach to pedagogy. Now she's bringing some of that creativity — and willingness to experiment — to her online classes.

After they took the exam on their own, Adrian split the class into randomized groups of four to five students. They took the exam again as a team and had to agree on which answer was the correct one. “They were discussing and persuading each other and deliberating,” she says. “It was quite lively. They finished the exam knowing what all the answers were and they had reviewed all of the course material at least three times. They left having had an engaging, fluid and interesting conversation about the material that they had been exposed to throughout the semester. Our studies show that this is quite successful.” For her online course this year, Adrian is attempting something different. In one version of the class, students are divided in half; she meets with each section in a virtual tutorial once a week. In addition, students are asked to blog in response to question prompts. “Each student will have to make three interventions weekly,” she says. “They will write a blog post and respond to the writing of two classmates. My hope is that this will be a conversation.” In the other version of the course, she has divided the class into learning pods of three students. These groups each create their own blog rather than participate in a class blog. Final marks will be based on blog posts, participation in the tutorials and a final paper or podcast. Adrian plans to survey the students in both classes to assess whether those in the learning pods feel they are learning more or less because they are interacting in a small group with people they are getting to know. “Learning is about risk,” she says. “Others won’t see the learning pods’ blogs. I’ve done that because I’d like trust to build up. I’d like them to become familiar with each other. Will students in small groups take more risks? Will they feel that they are part of a learning community? That’s the study.” What excites Adrian as a teacher is seeing what she calls that “moment of understanding and change when a student comes into an understanding of a new framework. All of a sudden, their eyes and body shift. That widening of the horizon.” Mazur argues that learning is, first and foremost, a social experience. It may be more difficult for Adrian to see that eye widening online, but her experiments and research are attempts to ensure that her classes remain a social experience, that her students feel less isolated from one another, that they are absorbing and thinking about the material, and that they are at least slightly less distracted by that pie in the fridge. ■




Kim Hellemans is a neuroscience professor at Carleton, chair of the department and the winner of multiple awards for teaching and student support. Her research focuses on mental health, stress and addiction. Jim Davies is a cognitive science professor, director of the university’s Science of Imagination Laboratory and the author of two books, most recently Imagination: The Science of Your Mind’s Greatest Power.




Together, Hellemans and Davies host an award-winning podcast, “Minding the Brain,” which explores cognitive and brain science, covering subjects such as sleep, climate change psychology and emotional expression. They’ve been recording it from separate locations for a few months, so we interviewed them individually and stitched together their conversation. — as told to Dan Rubinstein


 Jim: I first heard about COVID-19 in


late 2019 and figured it was nothing. That was fairly rational at the time. Different diseases pop up now and again and they’re usually nothing to worry about. I started thinking it was a real problem in early 2020 when it was spreading around the world and was particularly virulent and people were dying.

 Kim: I follow a lot of medical and

science people on Twitter and started seeing a lot coming out of China in January. It was inevitable that information would trickle out. Right before Reading Week in February, I remember telling a student, “We’ll see how long we’re going to be back for after the break.” It happened so quickly. We went from “It’s far away in China” to “Look at what’s happening in Italy” to the first cases in the U.S. There’s no way it could be in the U.S. and not in Canada.

 Jim: I was in Toronto just as everything

was shutting down. Hour by hour things were changing. The streets were emptying and we were figuring out how to react. My wife and I were going to see the musical Come From Away and it was cancelled two hours beforehand. Then I was on TVO’s “The Agenda with Steve Paikin,” the last studio interview they filmed. We flew back to Ottawa on a nearly empty plane and shut ourselves in.

 Kim: Two or three days before

the university shut down I was in a departmental chairs and directors meeting devoted to COVID-19.



There was a big event coming up on campus and we weren’t sure if it was going to go ahead. My heart was pounding. I was flooded with adrenaline and I was scared. “All I want to do is go home,” I was thinking. “I want to pack up my stuff, get my kids from school and go home.” There was so much we still didn’t know. It felt like the virus was everywhere and nowhere at the same time, so that was my emotional fear-driven response.  Jim: I have an intellectual interest in many facets of

our world, and I think about things scientifically to try to understand them. That informs the practical decisions I make with respect to, you know, how much I stay in the house or how often I shop. Science informs my opinions and behaviours, and I try to keep my selfish urges at bay and have everything be determined by my moral compass.

 Kim: Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my

second child, my husband and I made the mistake of watching the movie Contagion. Since then I have had an acute fear of pandemics. I’m very conscious of illness and am anxious when my kids get sick. As Carleton shut down, I was combing mainstream media and social media for any information related to COVID-19. I was looking at the preprints of journal articles coming out of China, trying to learn as much as I could. That soothed me. When I’m panicking and fearful, I always turn to science. It’s a powerful coping mechanism. I turn to rational information to try to understand what I can control. I can’t control the spread of this virus. I can’t control other people’s behaviour. But I can try to control mine.

 Jim: I’m immunocompromised, so I wash my hands

a lot and try to wear a mask any time I go outside. I believe in modelling good behaviour. The more people wear masks outside, the more social proof it establishes and encourages — the same way that fashion works. I also don’t want to have to think about it. I know how habit works. When something becomes a habit, it becomes the default position. You just do it. Like having a cup of coffee in the morning. It’s not like people decide to have coffee every morning. Even if they’re thinking about something else, the coffee will get made and consumed.

 Kim: The neural basis of routine is deep-brain basal

ganglia. If something is compelling enough to override your routine, it’s going to signal to your prefrontal



cortex, which is then going to signal down to your basal ganglia to put a stop to that routine and correct course. Let’s say you’re driving along a highway that you’re on regularly and you kind of tune out. But all of sudden you see ambulance lights in the distance. You’ll put your foot on the brakes. That’s kind of what happens on a daily basis. Routines and habits are good and they’re soothing. I have an exercise routine, a work routine, a home routine. But you need to have the flexibility to get out of those and adapt to the current scenario.  Jim: The function of habit in the brain is to make

space for your conscious thought, your cognitive processing, your goal-directed behaviour. You can really only think about one thing at a time. But because you need to do more than one thing at a time — like walk and breathe and talk — there’s this habit system that runs those processes and controls your body when your cognitive system is occupied with other things. The problem is if you’ve got a bad habit, you can’t rely on your cognitive system to always prevent you from engaging in it, because at some point you’re going to be distracted and the habits will take over. So curating your habits and trying to replace the bad ones and encourage the good ones is necessary for good behaviour. Even without the pandemic, our lives are constantly changing and you have to end old habits. Your body tries to respond to the environment the best way it can. The reason we develop bad habits is because we have some natural instincts that aren’t great in our modern-day environment. That’s why eating M&Ms every day is an easy habit to have because sugar has been, for the vast majority of human existence, extremely rare. Developing a habit of eating sugar if you could was a great idea. Modern Canada is not suffering from caloric restriction, yet we’re still energy saving creatures.

 Kim: The society we live in today is very different

from what it was in 1920 and 1820. It’s often massive events — industrialization, World War I, World War II, economic collapses — that shake us up. Society is being disrupted now on a massive scale and we’re altering our behaviours. I’m fascinated by the sociology of it. What are we changing that is never going to go back? Also, what is going to be disrupted for the better? When we think about teaching going online, for example, we’re also thinking about equity and how to support students from marginalized communities and

'When I'’m panicking and fearful, I always turn to science. It'’s a powerful coping mechanism. I turn to rational information to try to understand what I can control.'



In their "Minding the Brain" podcast — which won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada People's Choice Award for Favourite Canadian Science Site in late 2019 — Carleton professors Jim Davies and Kim Hellemans interview each other about the brain and mine their complementary research backgrounds

students who struggle with certain modalities of learning. What we’re doing could actually benefit certain populations if we keep them front and centre. That might sound a little Pollyanna, but if we don’t consider positive outcomes we run the risk of becoming incredible cynics and succumbing to despair.  Jim: When you’re dealing with bad uncertainty — when you

don’t know how bad something is going to be — that can cause anxiety. Sometimes, in psychology experiments, people prefer to get a more intense electric shock then an unknown amount of electric shock, even if the intensity would likely be lower. That indicates there’s a value to certainty. Also, uncertainty keeps our minds thinking about things and increases our emotional



'"If you’'ve got a bad habit, you can't rely on your cognitive system to always prevent you from engaging in it, because at some point you'’re going to be distracted and the habits will take over.'

response. In artistic works and in religion, where there are mysterious things that are hard to understand, your mind tends to obsess over them, in either a good or a bad way. An ambiguous ending can be a beautiful thing and your mind won’t let it go. If the ending is a little too wrapped up, it’s satisfying in the moment but your mind tends to forget it because there’s nothing really there to figure out. So uncertainty generally causes your cognitive system to think about things over and over again. If it’s a fearful uncertainty, you’re going to be re-experiencing negative emotions, because your mind is constantly returning to those ideas, and that can border depression.  Kim: One of the best mechanisms to stave off fear

and anxious worry is to focus on today, on what’s happening today. We have this wonderful prefrontal cortex that allows us to time travel: it allows us to think about the past in order to plan for the future. Some say this is the root of our intelligence because our cognitive capabilities of planning for the future ensures our survival. But it may also be what is at the seat of a lot of mental health disorders, because when you think about rumination and worrying, it’s about lamenting the past and worrying about the future. So the best way to keep the prefrontal cortex in check is mindfulness — focusing on the present day, the real, the here and now. There’s also the concept of “grounding,” of thinking about what you can control. You can control how often you wash your hands and you can try to maintain physical distance. Your reaction to things that you hear about? You can’t control that. Another tip I’ve heard from psychologist friends is that if you’re susceptible to worry and rumination on the uncertainty of tomorrow, then spend 15 minutes every day thinking about or writing down all your fears and concerns. Then that’s it: 15 minutes and you’re done. You’re kind of relieved of your worries.

 Jim: There’s a belief out there that in hard times

people get really selfish and start turning on each other. But under conditions where people feel that we’re all in this together, the opposite happens. You get a remarkable kind of community building. Sometimes people look back at a food shortage or a power outage or a natural disaster, such as a flood, and see that they were hard times but they also reminisce fondly about the incredible feeling of mutual brotherhood that arose. This pandemic has inspired that. You see people

getting to know their neighbours a little bit more and helping each other.  Kim: We’re seeing the uptick in cases of COVID-19

because I think people are getting physical-distancing fatigue. As a species, we are social. Obviously, this exists on a continuum, but most people need some socializing. Are Zoom and other digital proxies enough to keep us going? I don’t think so. We need human interactions and we’re fighting against that inherent drive. I’ve got two lovely kids, an amazing husband, and my parents and my sister and her family are also in my bubble. I have a very busy work life. All of this can maintain me, to a certain extent, whereas 20-year-olds who are unpartnered, who may be out of a job, who are not currently in school, they’re driven to hang out and be social. They’re going to bars. If I were 20 that’s where I would want to be too. I think we need to recognize that there is an inherent human desire to be social. This is the challenge. It’s not my problem to solve, and holy crap am I glad it’s not. But we need to figure out a way to live with this virus in the next few months, maybe years, that allows us to be in social environments.

 Jim: It’s comforting to know that when things go

bad, it’s not just every man for himself, but a lot of the changes we make as a species are situational. People want to get back to normal and will start giving one another the finger on the road again. I don’t think the feeling of community that’s engendered by this pandemic will last. The bubonic plague had enormous repercussions far beyond what we’re talking about now. It ended serfdom because so many people died and there weren’t enough serfs around and suddenly everyone’s work was valuable and everyone started getting paid. But that has nothing to do with the building of community. Disasters of the past changed society in a zillion ways, but their contribution to progress is very complex. This pandemic is bad, but it could be way worse. There’s an argument to be made that we would never have prepared for the one that’s going to be way worse if we hadn’t had one that was just a little bit scary first. Maybe we’re actually inoculating our psyches and our research priorities. We might actually start preparing for it.

 Kim: We need to gather information. This is what

me and my colleagues are doing. I do research on university populations and their mental health. We need to find out how they’re doing. Right now, we’re



seeing if people who had pre-existing conditions are suffering the most, or is it everybody? We’re tracking them through time. We’re looking into whether we’re seeing increased rates of problematic substance use and, if so, how can we respond? How can we best provide that circle of care? If it’s virtual, what are the best virtual means to support students and people in general? We need to listen and put money towards this. Because mental health has not, historically, been a space that has been sufficiently funded. But maybe we’re going to hit a crisis point. And people like me need to keep advocating for mental health awareness and keep ensuring that the voices of people with lived experience are heard.  Jim: At a government level, this is a good time to

push through legislation to increase support for mental health. My American friends are shocked because they think that Canadian medicine is socialized, but

‘'It'’s comforting to know that when things go bad, it'’s not just every man for himself, but a lot of the changes we make as a species are situational. People want to get back to normal and will start giving one another the finger on the road again.’'



it doesn’t cover therapy or drugs. The two things that help with mental health are therapy and drugs. So, basically mental health is not covered by our so-called socialized medicine. I think that’s a real oversight.  Kim: The cure cannot be worse than the disease.

The factors that are contributing to ill mental health right now are social distancing and the fears and concerns of people without jobs, without support, without access to services. We know when your mental health is suffering, you’re getting lots of proinflammatory factors coursing through your body, which makes you more susceptible to disease. There’s a reason why mental health and physical health are so interrelated. When somebody is not doing well mentally, they’re more at risk. We’re already recognizing that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting people from marginalized populations. Mental health is a big piece of that. I feel the burden of

responsibility for advocating for mental health among students, and also the burden of continuing to provide excellent educational opportunities for my students and buoying their journey, because they are more vulnerable and at-risk and they’re facing the worst economic prospects in generations. I also feel a certain amount of responsibility to be an advocate for science, period. There’s a vast amount of misinformation and politicized information out there, and I need to chime into the conversation about what’s fact and what’s evidence and what’s not.

'We have this wonderful prefrontal cortex that allows us to time travel: it allows us to think about the past in order to plan for the future. Some say this is the root of our intelligence, but it may also be what is at the seat of a lot of mental health disorders.'  Jim: During the pandemic people might be paying

maybe more attention to science than they normally would, but I’m not convinced that faith in science has been declining. I haven’t seen good evidence for that. In Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now he makes the case that in every single way that you can think of the world is getting better and has been over the last hundred years. Even fake news. People forget that fake news was way more rampant than it is now. The very fact that people even know what fact checking is, the fact that we even have the reflection to be able to even have a concept of fake news, suggests that society is smarter than it used to be. The only things that seem to be getting worse are social capital in the industrialized world and environmental destruction.

 Kim: I had a moment in the summer when I realized

that I probably wasn’t going to be on campus for a while. It made me sad. I value being around students and my colleagues and have grown to appreciate them more. I’m sure there are some people who are out living their best lives and couldn’t be happier to be away from others, but I am genuinely sad. Because of my role at Carleton and who I am, I’m usually all over campus, meeting with lots of different people, creating deep friendships and strong collegial relationships

that I just can’t replace. Video calls are no substitute for coffee chats and bumping into one another in the tunnels. I’m hopeful, though. I know my emotions are going to be waxing and waning. The way I cope with that is I acknowledge it, I label it — here’s what I’m feeling — and I move through it.  Jim: The summer for me was not that much different

because I usually just sit at home working all summer anyway. I wrote a book, my third, which is coming out in early 2021 and is going to be called Being the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are. It’s about the science of productivity, happiness and morality. If you want to be the best person you can be, how do you be maximally productive, maximally happy and a maximally good person? I didn’t change the book much after the pandemic started. In the part about productivity, I talk about research into differences between working at home and in an office. Studies show that at the office you’re more creative and at home you’re more productive. Being with people and having casual encounters helps you hash out ideas. But if what you’re doing is relatively cut and dried, then working from home is better. You know what you need to do and just need to do it. ■






Jesse Stewart is an amateur. He’s a multi-talented performer and composer, sure, as well as a Juno Award-winning percussionist and a music professor at Carleton. And he has built more instruments than he can count, including a xylophone made of ice and another from books. But Stewart is an amateur, nonetheless, in the truest sense of the word: a devotee, an admirer. He is in a steady state of awe at the melodies and rhythms hidden inside everything, just waiting to be tapped out. Under the banner of his interdisciplinary We Are All Musicians (WAAM) project, Stewart has long sought collaborators among people who have limited opportunities to make music. His latest creation, WAAM WEB — 48 aluminum discs built into a modular wooden frame, and an app to play them — is a natural progression in an increasingly

Jesse Stewart plays a prototype of his WAAM (We Are All Musicians) WEB instrument, a set of aluminum gongs and electromagnetic strikers that people will be able to control from remote so they can interact musically with one another



‘MUSIC HAS THE CAPACITY TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER, EVEN WHEN IT IS MEDIATED BY COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET.’ digital world, allowing Stewart to orchestrate inclusive online jam sessions. The largest disc is as wide as a yoga ball; the smallest has the diameter of a grapefruit. Mallets triggered by electromagnetic strikers are poised over the grey metal gongs, waiting for a command from … anyone, really. Which is the point. “Music has the capacity to bring people together,” he says, “even when it is mediated by computers and the internet.” In the Before Times, Stewart was doing just that across the Carleton campus and beyond. He regularly staged pop-up interactive music installations and worked, for example, with patients at Ottawa’s Saint-Vincent Hospital who had limited motor control. Because it’s likely that hospitals and care facilities will be the last places to reopen to non-essential activities, Stewart applied to the university’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grants program to get the band back together in a unique way. Stewart’s first few weeks of coronavirus quarantine consisted of recovery and rediscovery. After a successful operation to remove a benign brain tumour in February, he uploaded a musical video to Facebook every day for 40 days. The idea was to offset bad news and boredom and to practice doing what he loves: making music out of anything, from mixing bowls and saw blades to bicycles, floor tiles, canoe paddles and even rock core samples. (Stewart once performed a concert using a cardboard box.) Next, with the COVID grant, he built the WAAM WEB prototype and tuned the four dozen gongs. Not only does Stewart believe that anything can be a musical instrument, he’s also convinced that anyone

can be a musician, no matter their skill level or abilities. WAAM WEB’s online interface allows people to interact and control the percussion system 24 hours a day. Shriya Satish, a Carleton computer science master’s student, designed the instrument’s interface with a video game engine, and local graphic designer firm Stripe Studios helped with coding. Players can tap or click on their computers and hear the notes made by the gongs through a live multi-camera video feed. People who can’t move a mouse or touch a screen can participate via Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) software, which allows users to play sounds and musical phrases through movement and gestures. AUMI was developed in 2006 by American composer and improvisor Pauline Oliveros, a good friend of Stewart’s who passed away in 2016. The tool is used by musicians and educators throughout North America to let children and adults with disabilities improvise music. One of the big questions about online musicmaking is whether it can build bridges between disparate populations. “To what extent,” wonders Stewart, “can it actually foster a sense of community that’s not based on sameness but rather on difference?” When it’s ready later this year, WAAM WEB will allow people young and old, with diverse bodies and minds, from different backgrounds, to interact musically with one another. Non-musicians who have never played an instrument might think, “Oh, I’m making this sound.” But Stewart will likely smile and say, “No, you’re making music.” Anyone can be a musician, after all. Even an amateur. ■






The melodic rhythm of basketballs bouncing and running shoes squeaking on the hardwood floor reverberates through the Ravens’ Nest gym in Alumni Hall on an early September afternoon. But when the masked 41-year-old speaks, the sounds go silent mid-pivot. Even though Dani Sinclair, the new head coach of the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team, has yet to lead her squad into a game — and may not do so for some time, amid one of the most unconventional starts ever to a coaching job — the players’ respect is already apparent. Sinclair, who had been behind the University of Victoria Vikes’ bench for eight years, started at Carleton on May 1. She was introduced by video from the west coast and oversaw online team meetings and individual fitness workouts from remote until August, when players were permitted to begin practicing. They can remove their masks when they’re on the court — Sinclair keeps hers on — but must maintain distance from their teammates. Fortunately, the gym has eight hoops, so there’s plenty of room to spread out, and the balls are sanitized after each session. The backdrop to these safety protocols, of course, is Ontario University Athletics’ decision to cancel all varsity sports



until at least April 2021, in line with provincial public health guidelines. Because practices are an hour shorter than they used to be and players cannot scrimmage, Sinclair is instead focused on basketball fundamentals: shooting, passing and ball handling. She also has more time to analyze video with the team and discuss strategy. “We haven’t got bogged down by what we can’t do,” says Sinclair. “Timelines are different, but I can still plan a season, and we’ll continue to challenge our athletes in whatever ways possible. We usually have to balance skill work with putting in team systems. Now there’s a real opportunity for these women to get better both offensively and defensively.” The ability to build competitive spirit — even in this stifled environment — has defined Sinclair throughout her basketball career. Growing up across the street from the University of Guelph, her family would rent out their basement to students. One of those students, Caroline Kealy, played varsity basketball and helped coach

Sinclair’s Grade 8 team. Kealy taught Sinclair how to shoot and instilled a love of basketball while she practiced every day on her driveway. “I played every sport I could until I was out of high school, but I was always pulled just a little more to basketball,” says Sinclair, who was a national rookie of the year and a provincial all-star at McMaster University for three seasons before transferring to Victoria, where she captained the Vikes to a national championship in 20022003 and was named a first-team All-Canadian in 2003-04. “I love how many different skills are involved and love the pace of the game. There are so many nuances; if you want to be the best, you can never stop working on your game. I loved that idea as a player and still do as a coach. The opportunity for growth is infinite.” Sinclair, who had wanted to be a teacher as a kid, began coaching with Basketball BC in 2004. A string of assistant roles, including stints at Dalhousie University and with the national women’s team at the 2011 Pan American Games, paved the way to her head coaching position in Victoria. The Vikes women’s basketball program is incredibly successful — winning a record nine national titles —

but Sinclair was drawn to Carleton by the opportunity to help develop a team that captured its first Canadian championship in March 2018 and to work with director of basketball operations Dave Smart. “There are very few opportunities for professional development in this job, and I don’t see much better than working with Dave,” says Sinclair, who moved her three young sons across the country to come to Ottawa and has relatives within driving distance. “It’s a good fit for me because I’m also pretty intense as a coach. I have experience working in a program where there were extremely high expectations not just of success, but of working hard to earn success. I wholeheartedly believe that sports can develop resiliency and character in a way that not many other experiences can. I’ve benefited so much from basketball and still do today, and I love seeing how that gets passed on.” No wonder the players stop dribbling and shooting to listen closely when their newfound masked mentor speaks. ■


Carleton women's basketball coach Dani Sinclair and forward Emma Kiesekamp at a physically distanced practice in the Ravens' Nest. Opposite page: Sinclair in competitive mode behind the bench with the Victoria Vikes (photograph courtesy UVic Vikes Athletics)




Reality Fiction CARLETON ALUMNUS SALEEMA NAWAZ’S NEW NOVEL EERILY PREDICTS THE PANDEMIC It was ten minutes before the start of his shift and Elliot was hungry. Half of the businesses in Washington Heights had shut down in early October, but the restaurant closures were the biggest pain in the ass. Elliot had been forced to revive cooking skills he’d repressed since college: scrambled eggs, pasta, sloppy joes. There was a booming commerce in food delivery for intrepid couriers, but sitting and waiting at home reminded him too much of his quarantine. Now even the grocery aisle at the drugstore was picked over. He leaned down to inspect a lone instant ramen bowl on the bottom shelf while a woman in a purple raincoat edged over to move away from him. He noticed she had peanut butter and pickles in her basket, and his stomach spasmed.

The centre display of Halloween candy at the front of the store was the one thing left untouched. Usually there’d be slim pickings the day after Halloween, but this year the mayor had called off trick-or-treating — just in case there was anyone living under a rock somewhere who still wanted their kids to go door to door in the midst of a pandemic.



Elliot grabbed a fifty-piece variety box with Kit Kats and Milk Duds. Better to get fat than to starve. Bryce loved Kit Kats. Elliot’s partner had come down with ARAMIS [Acute Respiratory and Muscular Inflammatory Syndrome] after they’d worked a quarantine relief shift at a big apartment building with sixty confirmed cases. Quarantine relief was a constantly evolving role that entailed food delivery, warning off visitors, and, increasingly, issuing tickets to people registered under a Q-notice who refused to stay home. Though quarantining was technically still voluntary, the city’s top medical advisors had recommended enforcement given the long incubation period of the virus. For police officers like Elliot, this meant trying to strike a delicate balance between respecting the personal liberty of thousands, and guarding against the potential damage that could be wrought by a single infected individual on an ordinary day. What happened to Bryce was a reminder of how badly — and easily — things could go wrong. A feverish, stir-crazy woman adamant on leaving the building had pulled off his mask and coughed in his face to prove she wasn’t infected. Forty-eight hours later, Elliot had watched as her body was carried out in a biohazard bag, while Bryce stayed home under his own Q-notice. A week later, he was symptomatic. Public visiting hours at all hospitals had been suspended, although according to the latest daily update from Bryce’s wife, he was still conscious but breathing with a ventilator. The self-checkout kiosk was slow; in the store’s far corner, an idle cashier blinked up at a wall-mounted television blaring ongoing coverage of the deadly aftermath of the big fundraising concert in Vancouver. Even when people were trying to do the right thing, Elliot thought, things could still go spectacularly wrong. He stood well back from the person ahead of him in line. It was no longer considered polite to get closer than three feet of someone, though it made for some unruly queues that nettled his sense of public order. Behind him, there was a scraggly row of gloved and masked customers extending all the way into the shampoo aisle. Everyone in line, Elliot realized, looked like they were steeling themselves for the worst. ■ Excerpted from a chapter set in November 2020 in Songs for the End of the World by Saleema Nawaz. Copyright © 2020 by Saleema Nawaz. Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.


From Gringo Love: Stories of Sex Tourism in Brazil (University of Toronto Press, 2020), a graphic non-fiction book by Carleton anthropology professor Marie-Eve CarrierMoisan, adapted by William Flynn and illustrated by Débora Santos.





Marie-Eve Carrier-Moisan William Flynn Débora Santos

BBC and was a broadcaster and airline hostess before winning the 1970 Miss World competition. She

was a high commissioner for Grenada in the midst of

a Canadian diplomat and trade specialist. She also

two, she lives in Oakville, Ontario.

Visit us on the web at


£18.00 / $22.95 USD / $26.95 CAD ISBN 9781989555279


Printed in the U.S.

Copyright © 2020 The Sutherland House Inc.

From the preface of The Ku Klux Klan in Canada: A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom (Formac Publishing, 2020), by Allan Bartley, an adjunct political science professor at Carleton.

9 781989 555279

corde—a time of new possibilities and

social upheaval, and Jennifer Hosten, a

young airline hostess from the Caribbean island of Grenada, was as surprised as anyone to find herself in the midst of it.

After winning a Miss Grenada contest, she travelled

to London for the 1970 Miss World pageant and arrived

at Royal Albert Hall determined to make her mark. So,

too, did members of the fledgling Women’s Liberation

movement. They chose that globally-televised moment to protest the exploitation of women. They planted

–Jennifer Hosten

@ sutherlandhousebooks

1970 was the last year of the Beatles and the first year of the supersonic Con-

My master’s thesis, on the effect of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), between Canada, the United States and Mexico, on Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean, was published in book form, which is how my friends in Grenada found it. My goal in all this effort was a worthwhile and stable career with the government of Canada, and particularly its international development agency (CIDA). Before I could apply for work in international development, I was persuaded by another branch of the Canadian government to manage an anti-racism campaign, which I did for three years in the early 1990s. I then turned my attention to the field in which I was trained, joining CIDA and working on environmental projects in several developing countries, including Eritrea, Ethiopia, India and Thailand. While there, I was approached by Caricom (short for Caribbean Community) consultants who were formulating options for dealing with NAFTA’s impact on the islands. There was anxiety among English-speaking Caribbean nations that they would be left out in the cold as North America consolidated its trade. My thesis had argued that the appropriate response for the Caribbean region was to integrate its own trade. Otherwise, it would always be waiting for handouts from so-called developed countries. The issue was right up my alley. ■

90000 >


its revolution, and subsequently enjoyed a career as

founded and ran a successful inn in Grenada, and now

$24.95 ISBN-10: 1-4595-0613-8 ISBN-13: 978-1-4595-0613-8

“You have to take advantage of what opportunities come your way. They’ll come in forms you would never imagine, and they’ll take you places you would never expect to be.”

Hate has a name. Hate has a face. Hate has an address. It lives in Canada. The Ku Klux Klan’s more than one-hundredyear presence in Canada demonstrates how hate lived and flourished and still endures in the nation sometimes known as the Peaceable Kingdom. Our neighbours were partly to blame, but Canadians can also blame themselves. “Because we believe that it can’t happen here, we are too hesitant to talk about the way in which some people — and politicians — are already admiring the reflection they see when they look south,” novelist Alexi Zentner wrote in the Globe and Mail in the summer of 2019. “We think of virulent hatred as a thing that comes from the history books. And yet, the history books are coming to life again.” The challenges of writing a book on the history of the Ku Klux Klan in Canada go beyond creating a narrative. There is the concern that to write about hate is to condone it. To write about the leaders and their followers runs the risk of glorifying them or ridiculing them or magnifying or minimizing their ideas and impact. The odious reality of the Ku Klux Klan and its imitators over the decades speaks for itself. We need to confront that reality. ■ A native of Grenada, Jennifer Hosten trained with the

Breaking Barriers £18.00 $22.95 USD $26.95 CAD


researched the history of the KKK in Canada is also the author of Alexander McNeill, A roes in Waiting: The 160th Bruce Battalion in the intelligence analyst in the Canadian security ches at Carleton University.

Looking in the Mirror practices as a registered psychotherapist. A mother of


as active in most Canadian provinces in the 30s, using violence, intimidation and lobbying a white supremacist, Protestant order. Klan rgeted and terrorized Black Canadians, Asian Jews, Catholics and, increasingly when the Klan the 1970s and ’80s, Indigenous peoples. Klan originated in the American South, leaders racist aims and tactics to the context north of d pledged loyalty to Canada and Britain. ux Klan in Canada is the first book to tell the Canada from its origins to the present. The festivals and cross burnings, street beatings, lection campaigns, media manipulation, ompounds and a scheme to invade a Caribbean Canadian history that need to be understood


e untold story of the etive, white supremacist r organization in Canada


Behind the Headlines

bombs, stormed the hall, and chased comedian Bob Hope from the stage.

By the end of the night, the world had been in-

troduced to both radical feminism and a new ideal of feminine beauty. Ms. Hosten was the first woman of color crowned Miss World.

Miss World 1970 is the story of the craziest and most

meaningful pageant ever, an inspiring account of Ms. Hosten’s barrier-breaking win, as well as her subsequent

adventures amid a revolutionary coup in Grenada, her globe-trotting career as a Grenadian and Canadian diplomat, and her launch of a Caribbean resort in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.

“You have to take advantage of whatever opportu-

nities come your way,” says Ms. Hosten. “They’ll come in forms you could never imagine, and they’ll take you places you would never expect to be.”

From Miss World 1970: How I Entered a Pageant and Wound Up Making History (Southerland House, 2020), by Jennifer Hosten — the first Black woman to win the Miss World Title, who later served as Grenada’s High Commissioner to Canada and earned a master’s degree in political science at Carleton.




I was born for the second time on September 20, 2014. In a faux grass colosseum, with five seconds remaining in what would go on to define much of what I am, or was, quarterback Jesse Mills heaved an oblong piece of leather into the sky and Lady Luck stretched my arms low to catch it. As one-twelfth of the offensive unit on the Carleton Ravens football team, we did the improbable — winning the annual Panda Game against our rivals at the University of Ottawa in a dramatic dying seconds comeback — and my new identity took shape. Nate Behar was a football star now. A boisterous and arrogant one. It was not a complex role to assume, nor a mask I ever struggled to don.





If that game was my birth, then the 2017 CFL draft was my high-school graduation. Selected fifth overall by Edmonton, I spent two years playing wide receiver out west. Then came free agency and I returned to Ottawa, proud and excited, to join the RedBlacks. Yet 2020 has chosen a new path for us all. Like so many on this planet, my livelihood has been put on pause while we recoil and recover as a society from the ongoing earthquake that is COVID-19. A football player with no season on the horizon. So who am I? The first time I was born, it was to an Israeli mother and a Jamaican father in London, Ontario. I was darker than the vast majority of my city. Vast majority. My father had the mind and soul of an artist; my mother had the heart and capacity for love of a goddess. But as we all know, that’s not always enough. So she raised me in London, and he coached me on from Toronto. I started football at age six, enthused and motivated. Then it happened. I was taught as a nine-year-old how Black athletes are seen. I learned from four opponents my age

one brisk evening, on the field that until then had been my safe place, that the answer is a nigger. They taught me with loud voices and wry smiles, surrounding me and thrusting the word deep into my heart, to ensure that time wouldn’t soften the jagged edge of their dagger. So how then are the Black men and women of sport to see themselves in a society absent of their sport? A society that puts its knee to the throat of those who look like you, a society that lets you die disproportionately in the hands of health-care workers, a society that locks you away quicker, for less, over and over again. Who can we be when, even while thousands cheer us on, we strain to feel valued past the price of admission? There’s no single blanketing answer, because we are not a hegemonic people. But the one clear answer is that we cannot be silent. The third time I was born was a long and laborious delivery. The birth certificate reads June 2020, but conception occurred over years of experienced microaggressions, macroaggressions and the online murder-porn stream of Black bodies. Without the physical and emotional outlet of football to bury my head into — a coping mechanism I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve used too often — I saw that silence was no longer an option. As the child of an artist and a goddess, I began to respond the only way I knew how. With words. Sometimes in this form, written in editor-unfriendly run-on sentences, and sometimes in poetry. No person of a subjugated race wants to grow into an expert on race due to their own subjugation. But as we’ve all been taught in 2020, the universe does not care one iota for what you do or do not want. This is who I am now. Outspoken and unapologetically me, which is to say unapologetically Black. But not a day goes by that I don’t miss the boy who lived for nine peaceful years unaware that he was seen as less to some for his pigment. And every day, I look forward to the time where all three of me can exist together — looking on at a world that accepts and values me, screaming in joy in my safe space on the field, and writing about a society that invests its energy into love and creativity. But until then, I write in the face of the storm we collectively stare into, as 2020 tests us again and again. Reborn. ■



‘At some point, the disorienting columns and rows of figures morphed into stories.’ Erica Endemann

‘I wanted to use my platform to speak for people who didn’t have the same opportunity as me.’ Devon Platana



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