Posts Tagged "Meet"


Thousands of academics in social sciences and humanities meet at UBC

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Salamander is a workshop/participatory performance for disabled people and their allies led by Petra Kuppers. Kuppers is giving a Salamander workshop in the water at the Aquatic Centre at Congress 2019 of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of B.C.


Academics from across the country aren’t going to jump in a lake at the University of B.C. but they’re going to do the next best thing: they’re going to jump into the pool.

They’ll be doing that as part of what’s called a Salamander workshop at Congress 2019.

Petra Kuppers, a disability performance scholar, has led the water-based events since 2013 in public pools and other bodies of water around the world to challenge ableism and celebrate the full diversity of human experience and embodiment.

“In the water, interesting intimacies happen,” Kuppers said. “People get to see one another in very open and vulnerable way.”

Public pools can be fraught with anxiety for many people, she said. If they’re a transgender person, it can be over what change room to use. If someone is disabled or has a body that’s different or is missing a limb, it can be about the difficulty of negotiating stairs.

One of the exercises Kuppers uses to build community is what dancers call ‘fish swish.’ It involves one person gently pulling another person’s feet from side to side.

“It’s a beautiful release for the lower back and lovely care we can give each other,” she said by phone.

Kuppers said she first started doing Salamander in Berkeley, California with the performance artist Neil Marcus.

Salamander is being organized as part of the meeting of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research at Congress 2019, the 88th annual meeting of Canadian academics in humanities and social sciences.

The event is one of several open to the public at the congress. Salamander is from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, June 3 at the Aquatic Centre which is a fully accessible pool. To take part, members of the public have to register with the Congress and for the event at Eventbrite. There is no charge for Salamander.

About 450 members of the public have registered for a free pass for the Congress.

Kuppers said she loves doing Salamander in public because of the reaction it provokes. She said people often notice what’s going on in a workshop and wonder: Why are they having such a good time?

“It doesn’t look like straight exercising or therapy. It look like people doing magical stuff together,” she said.

“I love when people get drawn in and it often happens. They get incorporated into it.”

On Sunday, 9,910 academics and researchers were registered to attend the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. About 5,000 academics from 73 scholarly associations are presenting papers at the congress which is the largest gathering of its kind in the country. The congress ends Friday.

Events open to the public include those in the Big Thinking Speaker Series which are in the Frederic Wood Theatre:

• David Suzuki and Ian Mauro, the co-director of the Prairie Climate Centre, will screen their latest film Beyond Climate which links climate change with the human activities that are creating heat waves, melting glaciers and burning forest. Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• Indigenous storytelling in theatre features a panel discussion with Sylvia Cloutier, Margo Kane, Lindsay Lachance and Corey Payette. They’ll talk about a variety of issues, including using personal experiences in their work, identity and cultural practices. Wednesday, June 5, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Stan Douglas, visual artist, will talk about what it means to recreate moments from history and recording them with a camera. Douglas, one of the country’s leading artists, explores the boundaries of narrative and photography in his work. Thursday, June 5, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Meet the woman who designed one of Surrey’s most recognizable buildings

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Surrey — Why We Live Here is a week-long series looking at the people and neighbourhoods that make up B.C.’s second largest city.

On the last Friday of every month, dozens of people visit the heart of Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood for a perogy supper.

The food is prepared by members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary, which is one of the oldest and most spectacular buildings in the neighbourhood.

Bessie Bonar, 95, is a fixture at the event and she also attends church every Sunday.

“It’s part of my heart,” Bonar said.

“I’ve been going for 70 years, so I know all the beginnings and how hard we worked.”

Surrey’s Ukrainian population feels a close connection to the church, which has stood at the corner of 135A Street and 108 Avenue since 1955, but Bonar’s attachment to it is stronger than most.

Bonar, after all, was the one who designed it and her father was in charge of construction.

The church was designed in 1950 and construction was completed in 1955. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Untrained eye

In 1950, Whalley’s Ukrainian community rallied together to raise enough money to buy some land and build a church on it.

Bonar left school in Grade 8 and had no formal architectural training, but she had an eye for detail.

She found a picture of a church and used it as a guide to design the building that would become a Surrey landmark.

“They wanted to build a church and they asked for a blueprint, so I drew it on a piece of paper,” she said.

“I said, we had no blueprints, we just built it.”

Bonar and her husband lived in three different houses in Surrey after the church was built.

She designed all three of them.

“If I had been born later, I would have gone maybe to school for architecture but I was born too early,” she said.

“There was no chance for college then.”

Becky Takyi prepares a plate for a customer at Taste of Africa restaurant in Surrey (Martin Diotte/CBC)

Taste of Africa

As Bonar and her friends roll perogy dough at the church, another delicacy is prepared just down the street.

Becky Takyi is dishing up a generous helping of her specialty — honey jerk chicken with jollof rice and plantains — as her husband Isaac takes a phone order behind the counter.

The couple, originally from Ghana, opened the restaurant more than a decade ago.

“Working together makes the marriage work better because we fight and, at the same time, we get along,” Becky laughed.

“At the end of the day, who are you going to fight with? You’re going home together, so you have to be happy together, right?”

Isaac Kofi Takyi takes an order at his restaurant in the heart of Whalley (Martin Diotte/CBC)

Diverse clientele

The Takyis chose their location because they wanted their restaurant to be accessible to traffic coming into Surrey from the Pattullo or Port Mann Bridge.

Accessibility drew them to the neighbourhood but it’s Whalley’s diversity that keeps them there.

“It’s concentrated with different types of ethnic people and it makes it more broad based for us,” Isaac said.

“People from all different cultures come here now.”

The church is located at the corner of 135A Street and 108 Avenue in Surrey (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

‘The Strip’

St. Mary’s Church is on the corner of 135A Street and 108 Avenue, which is part of the city’s so-called strip, and Taste of Africa is just around the corner.

Until last year, about 170 people lived on the street in tents and hundreds more would often hang out in the area during the day.

The tents are now gone and the majority of the people who lived in them have either moved into modular housing or nearby shelters.

Isaac Takyi says customers used to tell him they were scared to come to the restaurant but he hasn’t heard any concerns lately.

“Five years ago, people were scared,” he said.

“Of late, they realize that there’s nothing to be scared of. The last four years, it’s been very good.”

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