Fall Lecture Series 2023

Lectures will be held on Tuesdays, September 26 to October 31, from 10 am to noon except for the October 31st lecture which will begin at 9:30.

The first 3 lectures will be In-person at the St. Catharines Museum and Canal Centre. The remaining 3 lectures will be via Zoom webinars.

Lectures are subject to change without notice.

Rachael Finnerty

September 26 (In-person)
Music Therapy to Enhance Cognitive and Physical Health
Presented by Rachael Finnerty, Registered Psychotherapist, Music Therapist Accredited, Music Therapy Academy Founder

Music activates more areas of the brain than any other activity. As a result, when used meaningfully, it can enhance emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing. This lecture will provide a general overview of the ‘science’ of music for wellness, and will provide some examples of music activities for wellness that everyone can engage.

Rachael has been recognized as a music therapist since 2001. She served as the president of the Music Therapy Association of Ontario from 2010-2014 and was the recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, for Healthcare in 2015. Rachael brought 2 music therapy courses to McMaster University in 2010 and currently educates over 2000 students each academic year about music therapy. To provide further education to the community and healthcare professionals Rachael founded the Music Therapy Academy.

Rachael started her graduate studies in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour in September 2019. Her research focus is the use of music therapy for proactive wellness.

David Hemmings

October 3 (In-person)
Was your Grandparent a Home Child?
Presented by David Hemmings, Local Historian and Author

This lecture is about thousands of poor and unfortunate children who escaped the miserable life of filth and poverty in British urban streets from 1868 to 1932 by being sponsored to immigrate to Canada. Details of who they were, the emigration process, the circumstances of these children once they arrived in Quebec or Halifax, and their lives in Eastern Canada will be discussed.

If your (great) grandparents were born in England and you know very little about them, then they might well have been one of the British Home Children in the Niagara region. Over 100,000 children came to Canada, and most never saw their British homeland again. Until 20 years ago, one in 6 Canadians was related to one of these children.

David is Past President of the Niagara Historical Society and has published a dozen local history books. He is a recipient of the Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow award and received several other volunteer appreciation awards.

David has led monthly family history and DNA testing workshops in the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library since 2015. He has also researched searchable databases for those 8500 British Home Children who came through Niagara-on-the-Lake and Hamilton from the late 1860s to the early 1930s.

Colleen Smith

October 10 (In-person)
Arts in Community: a Cross Country Perspective
Presented by Colleen Smith, CEO FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

Canada is a mosaic. We are a nation that welcomes peoples from around the world, celebrates and uplifts cultures and traditions, and continues to find ways to embrace pluralism in our day to day lives as well as in our arts preferences and practices.

With a total area just shy of 10 million square kilometers and at thirty-eight million people (2021), communities from coast to coast to coast are enriched with artists and arts organizations. I am fortunate that my life adventure has taken me from east to west and back again, and on this journey I have been amazed at how arts experiences are so unique from place to place yet they all have the ability to draw people together to inspire and entertain. From Nova Scotia to Alberta, Indigenous communities to islands in the Atlantic, we will look at unique arts practices that define ‘place’, from the quirky to the solemn and all the places in between.

Colleen Smith is a Canadian arts leader, former musician and educator with expertise that spans strategic planning, organizational development, financial management, brand development and producing large-scale events and live performances. She has had national and international executive leadership experience, and led teams at Theatre Calgary, one of Western Canada’s largest producing theatres, the Massey Hall Capital Revitalization Project and was co-lead on the Arts, Culture and Digital Transformation Summit at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

An MBA graduate from the Schulich School of Business, Smith worked with Newfoundland’s Gros Morne Summer Music in designing and implementing a national rollout strategy that resulted in the successful development of partnerships with the Aga Khan Museum, Humber College School for the Creative and Performing Arts and the Banff Centre.

Proudly identifying Prince Edward Island as ‘home’, she is humbled and inspired by the artists and arts colleagues that she has met through her work and gives back to the arts community through volunteer service with other non-profit organizations and mentorship programs. Since March 2020 Colleen has survived the pandemic thanks to the support of the Niagara community where she proudly represents the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre as CEO.

Dr. Tim Sayle

October 17 (Zoom)
Why has NATO endured? Understanding NATO’s long history, from the Cold War to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Presented by Dr. Tim Sayle, Associate Professor of History, Director of International Relations Program, University of Toronto

In the aftermath of the Second World War, leaders from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States established a system of international security with NATO as its cornerstone. NATO’s fundamental goal was to prevent the world from falling back into general war. How and why did NATO’s leaders fear war might be unleashed? And why, in 2022 and 2023, have those fears been rekindled? This lecture will examine the historical connections between NATO’s Cold War and the crises of today, and offer an explanation why NATO endures

Tim Sayle is Associate Professor of History and the Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order. He has also edited books related to NATO, the war in Iraq, and Canadian nuclear history. He created the website Canada Declassified that makes once secret Canadian documents open to students and scholars around the world.

Dr. Gerry Wright

October 24 (Zoom)
Preparing for the Next Pandemic: What do we need to do?
Presented by Dr. Gerry Wright, Director of Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats, McMaster University; Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences; Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Infection and Anti-Infective Research

COVID-19 exposed our vulnerability to the emergence and global spread of new infectious disease agents. Pandemics, epidemics, and outbreaks of infectious diseases are predictable and will continue to occur in the future. Layered on this certainty is the rise of drug-resistant infectious pathogens.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided many lessons to learn. These include the importance of developing technologies to rapidly generate vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tools to address infectious agents and monitor their spread. We also realized the importance of evidence-based information and its communication across multiple sectors and communities. The development of new vaccines and therapies needed to end pandemics and outbreaks must be equitably available across the globe and can be thwarted by a lack of trust by individuals and communities.

Going forward, we must find ways to link clinical and biomedical advances with social and community networks to address infectious disease threats rapidly. As centers of innovation and learning, universities can play a leadership role in establishing these networks. McMaster’s Global Nexus initiative is one example of a research and education hub being established to address our current and future needs.

Gerard (Gerry) Wright is the Executive Director of the Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats at McMaster University. He is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and holds the Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Infection and Anti-Infective Research.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and is the recipient of a Killam Research Fellowship, Murray Award for Career Achievement of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists among other awards. He has trained over 75 graduate students and postdocs and is the author of over 300 manuscripts.

His research interests are in the origins and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in the clinic and the environment and the discovery of new anti-infective strategies, focusing on the application of microbial natural products and synthetic biology towards this goal.

Dr. Liette Vasseur

October 31 (Zoom) (Note: This lecture starts at 9:30 am)
Climate Change Near You: What happens when it’s out of control?
Presented by Dr. Liette Vasseur, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University

Climate or weather, are we confused around these terms? Can we blame everything on climate change? Is climate really changing in our region? In this talk, we will explore these issues and look at what is happening in the Niagara region and what is expected.

Can it get out of control? What can we all do about it? This is why the international community is now moving to Nature-based Solutions to better mitigate and adapt to our new changing climate. We will look at examples from different places.

Dr. Vasseur is a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock University. She is a member of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and a Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute fellow. Since 2014, she holds the UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability: From Local to Global.

Her interdisciplinary research program links issues such as sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation and resilience, community-based ecosystem management, and ecosystem governance. Her research is in Canada, China, Ecuador, and Africa.

In Canada, major projects focus on sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation in rural and coastal communities, and conservation in the Niagara Biosphere, a co-governed organization with Indigenous and non-indigenous people.

She is deputy chair of the Commission for Ecosystem Management at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (and co-lead of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Policy and Practice group), co-editor-in-chief of Botany at the Canadian Science Publishing, member of the executive board of Nature Canada, and former President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

Lecture Series Registration

10 AM to 12 PM
September 26 to October 31, 2023
(October 31st lecture starts at 9:30)

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