Countdown to Congress: A Showcase of U of A Talent and Scholarship

Congress 2021 showcases the incredible talent and expertise of University of Alberta scholars and artists. 


For me, one of the most exciting elements of leading the Congress 2021 initiative has been the chance to appreciate, even more than ever, the incredible talent and expertise of University of Alberta scholars and artists. 

When Congress 2021 opens its virtual doors on Thursday, May 27, attendees will not only be able to take in hundreds of hours of live programming, they’ll also be able to access an exciting range of on-demand programming from the comfort of home.


Dozens of scholars and creative artists from the University of Alberta and our community networks have combined efforts to showcase cutting edge research and breathtaking talent that will enhance the Congress experience for everyone involved.

Consider taking in, for example, “Intersectional Inclinations,” a “disability justice dance on film” recorded right on our campus that is paired with a short conversation between filmmakers Danielle Peers, Lindsay Eales, and Alice Sheppard (who is also one of the Big Thinking presenters!).  

Other video viewings include “Lana Gets Her Talk,” a documentary short by Edmonton filmmaker Beth Wishart MacKenzie featuring artist and educator Lana Whiskeyjack, a two part series titled “All our Relations” that features traditional arts in the Faculty of Native Studies, or a set of shorts titled “Weekend with Dan Levy: Lessons From the Indigenous Canada MOOC and FNS.” 


If you’re looking for musical performances, take in a mini-concert by Métis songwriter and Juno award winner Celeigh Cardinal straight from her living room, enjoy PIQSIQ’s concert video “Taaqtuq Ubluriaq: Dark Star,” view the stunning ensemble work of Chorale Saint-Jean, or sit back and relax as you listen to the sounds of Wood Buffalo National Park recorded by Professor Scott Smallwood in “Where the Bull Dozes.”

University of Alberta graduate students also take centre stage. Two panels from the BGSA’s February conference on “The Black Student Experience in Academia” are amongst the offerings in the Ubuntu Lounge, a gathering space for Black scholars and their allies. Meanwhile, the Congress 2021 theme of “Northern Relations” is featured in an exhibition of Images of Research and Three-Minute Thesis video presentations showcased by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. 


Visit the “Cultural Explorations” wing of the University of Alberta’s virtual hall to take in some gorgeous exhibitions staged by the Department of Art and Design, Museums and Collections, and Bruce Peel Special Collections, amongst others. Or if you’re just looking to get out of your chair and move, you can follow along with the Workout Series or Natural Flow Movement Series developed and presented by instructors at our own Campus and Community Recreation. 

And the Department of Drama has been hard at work staging its next big show. “The Birds,” written by Yvette Nolan and directed by Reneltta Arluk, is a modern adaptation of Aristophanes' comedy that explores contemporary Indigenous questions about truth and reconciliation. As with all of these presentations, Congress 2021 registrants will be able to view “The Birds” as part of their virtual platform access. 

To get your community pass, visit the Congress 2021 website. Registration is $25, and is free to anyone who self-identifies as Black or Indigenous. Please join us for Congress 2021. 

I’m looking forward to seeing you in the virtual chat rooms!

Michael O’Driscoll