ZOOM, lockdown and asynchronous. These are some of many words that come to mind for this academic year. It’s also been a year of many firsts. Many more students have been attending classes remotely, campuses have transformed, and the Class of 2020 has celebrated their graduation virtually in their homes within their bubbles.
The uncertainty unearthed many concerns for the future both near and far. Whether its deciding where to study or spend time with friends, or travelling amongst a sea of students, losses have been felt all around. For others, the pandemic might have also felt like an unexpected gift to reflect on what’s important. Perhaps it’s been a mix of everything, too! We have seen these realities in our work, both through research projects and in our own teams. Reflection on what we have accomplished this last year not only helped us learn from our experiences, but it also reaffirmed why holding space for meaningful work is so important.
When it comes to social justice everyone has a role in ensuring our society is equitable and fair for all its members – no matter their race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or educational background.
For generations, Black lives continue to be undermined within our society as a result of long-standing institutional racism embedded in daily practices. To dismantle these systems in place, and to truly be anti-racist, we must understand the experiences of Black lives in various communities and examine our view of ourselves and one another.
What makes the international student experience different from those of domestic students?Since the pandemic, a new set of challenges hasemergedon top of the pre-pandemic realm of campus life that international students are valiantly navigating. In turning to our vibrant and diverse community at UofT, wehope to spark discussions by bringing student stories to light.
This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional in acknowledgement of Orange Shirt Day, a day to honour the lives of children impacted by the residential school system and its continued effect in Indigenous communities across the country. Our Design Researcher at the Innovation Hub, Heather Watts, has shared a thoughtful piece on the significance of this day – one that every individual should deeply reflect on. We also recognize that our learning about and with Indigenous folx and histories does not and should not be located only on specific days, and should be ongoing.
Last year around this time, I wrote the following post on my Facebook page:
A lot of feelings as I dropped Nico off this morning, sporting his orange shirt. Today is Orange Shirt Day, a day designed to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact this system had on Indigenous communities for more than a century in Canada, and still does today.
This system was assimilation and erasure packaged and tied as ‘education’. What do we mean when we use this word? What are we teaching? What are we intentionally leaving out? What narrative are we working to maintain?
It’s hard to believe that in a few months the Innovation Hub will be approaching it’s two year anniversary since our launch event in May, 2016. So much has happened in the past two years that I felt this would be a good time to reflect on this important work and what it’s meant to me and so many of the students, staff, faculty, alumni and other members of our community that have been involved.