Global Goals Talks - Friday and I-Week Closing Reception

Join us at Friday's Global Goals Talks, followed by the closing of I-Week 2023, the announcement of the SDG Art Competition winner, and a catered reception.

I-Week Global Goals Talks (GGTs) are an opportunity for U of A students, alumni, and community members to share their work with the community and discuss how their efforts help to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This event is being held in partnership with the UAI English Conversation Club.

Friday, February 10, 2023
3:00 PM, TELUS 134
Cost: Free 

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Topics & Speakers

Communities and Art | Art as a Social Practice

This talk will focus on SDG #5: Gender Equality. We will also touch base on SDG #8: Promote Sustained, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work For All, and SDG #11: Make Cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable. All of these are interrelated and are very important for people regardless of class, caste, race and gender.  My name is Poornima Sukumar. From the year 2014, I have been using public art to enable social participation, to engage in peacemaking and to create awareness around social issues. As a practising artist for almost 10 years now, I view artistic creation as a behavioural process of how a community comes together to slowly stand up for what they believe in. My medium of expression however turns out to be “Public art/ intervention through painting walls” since I believe that participative art can become a tool of interpretation for the socio- economic conditions of a society with not much voice and to also bring out a sense of awareness and imbibe a socio-cultural context to some beautiful history and mythological stories. Public art making has the power to bring people together and requires an individual to be themselves. It allows people to participate, even as a spectator and if not an artist as well. 

Aravani Art Project aims to create a collective space with the people from the Transgender community by engaging them into public art and other artistic interventions. We examine their spaces, places of history, innovation, and create room to learn by transforming their inputs into work of art. The streets are a particularly important space to do our work, as it is in these public spaces that the bodies of Transgender identifying people undergo discrimination, violence, harassment, social negligence and pressure. Our collective seeks to respond to these experiences by creating spaces that instead encourage exchanges, discussions, openness, gender identities and love. While the visibility of the Transgender community is increasing in popular culture, they still face severe discrimination, stigma and systemic inequality in their daily life. With a mission of attempting to reduce this in society, we want to bring about a change in the society views the community.

Speaker Bio
Poornima Travelling Sukumar is a wall muralist, community artist, amateur anthropologist, story keeper, traveller and designer. Her primary area of interest is visual storytelling through multiple interventions. She mostly works on painting walls, travelling around in rural areas with children, women and transgender people, working largely in the informal sector, her work largely is a process of creating opportunities for conversations and social participation through the arts. She has also been actively involved in setting up socially relevant community art projects, that get people to appreciate and create street art in their surroundings as well as use art and design to bring about a sense of expression and hope. Her recent projects include painting 2 entire villages in Uttarakhand, painting in rural schools in Tanzania, working along with the Maasai people in painting the community centre and founded her collective called  Aravani Art Project in 2016. Her work largely works in co- creation with various people from the informal sector, people from the Transgender community, sex workers and sometimes people from scheduled castes and tribes.
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Poornima Travelling Sukumar

Oceans and human health: An overlooked syndemic

Climate change is disturbing the relationships between humans and the ocean. Although a tremendous amount of research has been conducted on climate change impacts on oceans' biodiversity and ecology, little focus has been placed on how climate-related changes in seafood distribution and abundance impact fishing communities' health. Climate-related impacts on the ocean challenge the socio-ecological processes that support communities' well-being, resulting in health consequences, including interconnected undernutrition and increased susceptibility to infection. Consequently, climate change presents a double threat to health – or a syndemic – with undernutrition and infectious disease risk adversely interacting. Like other health outcomes, climate change impacts are not evenly distributed; developing countries and disadvantaged populations such as isolated communities and small-scale fisheries are at higher risk.

Working in partnership with fishing communities in Mexico, our research aims to understand and characterize the interconnected health impacts of climate change on human health and well-being. Given the nutritional dependence on the marine food system and the impact of climate change, there is a potential increased risk of malnutrition, immunosuppression, and infection. Also, if current climatic trends continue and no adaptation strategies are implemented, we hypothesize that these risks will increase too. The results of this research will generate critical data about community-level well-being status and the current and potential adaptation strategies. Healthier ocean ecosystems will increase the well-being of fishing communities, and healthy communities can enable ocean health. Therefore, climate action must consider the reciprocal relationship between human health and the environment.

Speaker Bio
Marina is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta. She completed a bachelor's in microbiology and a master's in Biological Sciences in Mexico. Her research has focused on the health effects of environmental variations. She is particularly interested in how climate change influences health-disease dynamics in populations that are inequitably impacted by climate change. As a partner with local organizations and fishing communities in the Mexican Northern Pacific, she is exploring the impact of climate change on nutrition and immunity. By integrating fishers' local knowledge with scientific knowledge, Marina’s research will generate critical insight into climate change risks in Mexican fishing communities, providing a more complete view of climate-health risks.
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Marina Banuet Martinez

Truth & reconciliation and occupational therapy in Alberta: A qualitative study

Indigenous Peoples in Canada experience marginalization, racism, and substantive inequality. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released Calls to Action, a list of items that all levels of government and Canadians must address to take responsibility for reconciliation; calls #18-24 address changes needed in healthcare. As healthcare providers, and given the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)’s Position Statement on Occupational Therapy and Indigenous Peoples, occupational therapists (OTs) have a responsibility to respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action in pursuit of culturally safe healthcare. While regulatory bodies and professional associations have instituted educational initiatives and policies, there has been limited exploration into how OTs engage in truth and reconciliation in practice.

This study endeavours to understand how and in what ways OTs engage with these principles. Using a qualitative descriptive methodology, semi-structured interviews were completed with eleven OTs in Alberta; conversations explored perspectives of OTs and how they engage in truth and reconciliation in everyday practice. Preliminary results found that participants had an interest in intentionally pursuing a practice that engages with truth and reconciliation. However, despite individual motivation, numerous social and institutional barriers create difficulties in bringing truth and reconciliation into practice. The knowledge we gain from this research contributes to the national conversation on the profession’s response to truth and reconciliation and supports occupational therapy’s engagement in these efforts. Most importantly, our study aims to improve the healthcare provided by OTs and culturally safe practices with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Speaker Bio

Kelsey Friesen (she/her) is a second-year Master of Science in Occupational Therapy student at the University of Alberta. She is conducting research exploring how occupational therapists in Canada engage in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, specifically #18-24. Kelsey also explores the influence of social  movements, such as Orange Shirt Day, on OT practice. This work is conducted under funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s (CGS-M).

In June 2022, Kelsey received the Government of Alberta’s Inspiration Award – Emerging Excellence in Sexual Violence for her commitment to anti-violence advocacy and research. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Sociology at MacEwan University in 2019. Her Honours thesis examined how post-secondary sexual violence policies add or contribute to the legislative and policy context through examining campus stakeholders’ knowledge and perceptions of these policies, for which she won MacEwan University’s Ending Sexual Violence Research Award in 2020. In 2021, Kelsey began serving Students for Consent Culture (SFCC) Canada as their Outreach Lead, in which they initiate, develop, and maintain relationships with external stakeholders through event collaborations and consultations. Most recently, she created and implemented a 12-month speaker series, Beyond Consent, in which SFCC hosts grassroots activists and allies in the anti-violence movement, aiming to train, educate, and inspire a new generation of leaders, communities, and organizations in the fight to end violence.

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Kelsey Friesen