Panel and Workshops

Plenary Panel

Beyond the Ivory Tower: Praxis in Practice

Featuring panelists from local service and care-oriented community organizations, including Black Women YEG, Free Lands, Free Peoples, Muslim Feminist Collective of Edmonton, and

CHEW Project, OutPost, this panel hopes to explore questions regarding the work of social justice and radical care.

Moderated By: Sandra Gosling

Sandra Gosling (she/her) is a current PHEc and MSW candidate at the University of Toronto in Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency and Public Health Policy. She has worked on BIPoC Voices in YEG, and is currently a community-based health and socioeconomic researcher. 


Yodit Tesfamicael from Black Women United YEG

Yodit Tesfamicael pronouns are she/her/hers. She is from the Tigrinya-speaking (pronounced tig-ring-ya) peoples of Eritrea located in the horn of Africa. Her parents arrived in Edmonton amiskwaciy-wâskahikan in the late 1980’s as refugees where she was born and raised. She is a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend to her family and loved ones. Currently, Yodit is a third-year M. Ed. student in the Department of Education Policy Studies in the Social Justice and International Studies specialization and her research topic explores anti-Black racism in licensed practical nursing education programs. In 2017, Yodit co-founded Black Women United YEG, a grassroots collective of Black women/women-identified folks centering their work on the protection and advancement of Black women and girls.

Nancy Van Styvendale from Free Lands, Free Peoples

Nancy Van Styvendale (B.A. Hon, Winnipeg; M.A, Simon Fraser; Ph.D., Alberta) is a white settler scholar who researches and teaches in the field of Indigenous literatures, with particular commitments to Indigenous prison writing; penal abolition; arts-based programs in prison; discourses of recovery and healing; and community-engaged/community-based education. Nancy is involved in a number of collaborative, community-driven teaching and research projects, including Inspired Minds, a creative writing program offered to incarcerated people in Alberta and Saskatchewan jails/prisons. She is a founding moderator, along with Vicki Chartrand, of the Abolition Network, an online community of activists and scholars dedicated to imagining a world beyond prisons and carceral culture more broadly. When not facilitating classes at the university or in prison, Nancy can be found reading at the beach (weather permitting) or lounging at home with her three cats: Lucy, Olive, and Eddard.

Salima Versi from the Muslim Feminist Collective of Edmonton

Salima Versi (she/her) is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology. She is also a PhD Candidate in Religious Studies, with a specialization in Islam, particularly contemporary Islam in Canada.

CHEW Project, OutPost Corey Wyness (Director)

Corey Wyness is the Director and founder of OUTpost, a drop-in centre for vulnerable LGBTQ2S+ youth created by the Community Health Empowerment & Wellness (C.H.E.W) Project, opened in late 2019 that has already made its mark on many young lives.

Workshop Sessions

Exploring Mentorship: Beyond the Neoliberal Approach

Moderated by: Eric Chan

This workshop aims to explode the concept of mentorship in both academic and professional contexts. Led by UAlberta Gender and Social Justice graduate student Eric Chan, this session includes discussion and activities concerning how we unpack mentorship.

Eric Chan (he/him/his) currently attends the University of Alberta, located on Treaty 6 Territory in ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᕀ ᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (amiskwaciy-wâskahikan), also known as Edmonton. He has a Bachelor of Science with a focus Microbiology and Genetics and is now currently completing a Master of Arts in Gender and Social Justice. Eric’s research interests have radically changed over time, initially exploring Oncology through studies at the University of Leeds as a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholar. Eventually, he began to explore other avenues of health research, working in maternal fetal medicine research at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Ontario. Currently, he is working on an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta, studying the experiences and stories of underrepresented and marginalized students as it pertains to their self-efficacy, feelings of belonging, and development of Engineering identity. Outside of his academic and professional interests he has a deep passion for working with youth and young adults in athletics/education. Working as a tutor, Career Peer Educator, and NCCP-certified endurance athletics coach, Eric finds a deep sense of satisfaction working with people to help them find their path.

Knowledge Mobilization

Moderated By: Andrea Alvarez and Charlotte Mitchell

When thinking about knowledge mobilization, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it "write an op-ed”? If so, this workshop is for you! We challenge you to think outside the box and discover new and more exciting ways to reach your audience. We will begin with a presentation outlining some key ideas when thinking about effective knowledge mobilization or dissemination, including why this is important, what is your purpose, who is your target audience, and how to select a medium based on a target audience/persona. We will discuss the importance of language, when to use academic jargon, and when to break it down. We will also have an opportunity for everyone to utilize what they have learned in the workshop with a knowledge mobilization activity.

Andrea "Andy" Alvarez (she/they) is a graduate student in the Gender and Social Justice Studies MA Program at the UofA. They hold a BA in Animation and Digital Art from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, campus Querétaro, México. They are Co-founder and Creative Director of FLAT! 2D Motion Studio, and are interested in the ways the media can shape our values and experiences. Andy is particularly focused on the use of digital narratives for social justice praxis and education. They have participated in the creation of documentaries and animated short films pertaining to gender and social issues. Their research includes, but is not limited to Queer, Trans, and Non-binary representations in the media as a way to challenge the status quo.

Charlotte Mitchell (she/her) is originally from Treaty 7 Territory and is a current Master of Arts Student in the Gender and Social Justice Program at the University of Alberta. She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Calgary in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies. Before her academic career, Charlotte was a ski jumper on the Canadian National and National Development Teams and was a plaintiff in a human rights court case to get a women’s ski jumping event into the Winter Olympic Games. Charlotte’s current research interests include, but are not limited to, gender and social justice, policy work around gender-based violence, police brutality, and sexual violence.

Elliptical Imagining: Journaling as Weapon for Spiritual Combat and Feminist Self-Care in a Pandemic

Moderated By: Jumoke Verissimo

“In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create           myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it.” – Susan Sontag in Reborn

Many people see journaling as a valuable tool with a range of benefits, one of which is assisting with our mental health. Women writers such as Susan Sontag and Virginia Woolf extol the virtues of journaling in their life and writing. Alice Randall applies it as a technique in her novel The Wind Done Gone to record the American Civil War experiences. Also, Valerie Janesick (1999), a professor of educational leadership and policy, has argued that journals can also be included in the research process. While this workshop will acknowledge many of these benefits of journaling, the emphasis will be on implementing the practice itself in our lives as a weapon for “spiritual combat” to borrow Foucault’s words, and self-care in this time of uncertainties and precarious transitions that have impacted our personal and professional lives.

Together, we will approach our journaling practice in this class through the lens of elliptical imagining. Elliptical imagining is a writing practice that I conceptualized for my creative writing and research, to explore the things that are left unsaid, not always by us, but which develop into a lingering feeling that unsettles us. We will use this strategy to invigorate, reimagine, and establish a deeper connection with our writing and our ever-changing milieu. We’ll discuss how to call attention to things that escape our observation but can emerge into imagination. Our focus would be to use journaling to reflect on these imaginings to re-energize our creativity and writing. At the end of this workshop, we hope to have laid the groundwork for how we may frame our imaginings around BiPoC, Queer Gender, Disability, and Class issues, as well as intersectional social justice issues.

The participants will examine writing techniques, as well as how to use journals to reconnect with our environment, memories, and imagination.

Our discussions for this workshop will focus on:

  • Understanding Elliptical Imaginings
  • Journaling as meditation: observation, dreams, and the imagination.
  • Journaling as a life practice (journaling as a way of life)
  • Freeing, Understanding and Boundaries: bravery, fears,
  • Journaling for self-care: protecting the self (storying and meaning for activist engaged in BiPoC, Queer Gender, Disability, Class, intersectional social justice, issue)
  • The disposable journal (Wilful forgetting)
  • Relearning Journaling principles

Some of the workshop activities/prompts we will engage will focus on:

  • Journaling as a practice (journaling as a way of life)
  • Journaling activities for self-care
  • Affirming selfhood: bravery, fears and ‘futuring’.
  • A collaborative guide to journaling during a manifesto

Jumoke Verissimo was born and grew up in Nigeria. She currently lives in Canada, where is an emerging scholar at the University of Alberta in the Department of English and Film Studies. Before moving to Canada from Nigeria, Jumoke spent 12 years working as a freelance literary journalist, magazine/book editor, copywriter, and public relations executive. She is the author of five books; her latest works include a novel, A Small Silence (Cassava Republic Press, 2019) and a co-edited anthology on police brutality in Nigeria, Sorosoke: an #EndSars Anthology</em

mamatowisowin: Indigenous Knowledge and Practices of Research Creation in Graduate Research

Moderated By: Tara Kappo

Note: Hybrid presentation – online and limited in-person

In her 2021 Master of Arts thesis entitled mîkistahikâcimo (to tell a story through beadwork), nîhiyaw’skwiw beadwork artist Tara Kappo detailed her exploration of the multidimensionality of beadwork. Emphasizing beadwork’s contribution to contemporary Indigenous governance and decolonial praxis, her work drew from her 30-year personal practice as a beadwork artist and research grounded in nîhiyaw ontology, Indigenous research methodology, research creation and autoethnography.

This workshop will share a discussion of nîhiyaw pimâtisowin (Cree life, or Cree culture) – developed as a conceptual framework guiding her work – and present highlights of Tara’s research, focusing on how it took up Indigenous research methodologies, research-creation, storytelling and autoethnography. The presentation seeks to inspire graduate students to consider how their work can be enriched by practices of research creation. Participants will then be invited to engage in a creative exercise that draws from beadwork practice and concepts of Indigenous knowledge production and research creation.

Participants are asked to come prepared with, at minimum, a willingness to engage in creative expression and a pen/pencil and plain paper.

Tara Kappo is a nîhiyaw’skwew of the sakâwiyiniwak from the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 8 Territory. Tara holds a BA-Native Studies (2015), a certificate in Aboriginal Governance (2015) and a Master of Arts in Native Studies (2021). She currently lives in her home community where she continues her beadwork-based art practice, provides services to the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in policy development, and serves in a new appointment with the Prairie Relationality Network as a Research Director.