Women Scholars’ Speakers Series: Virtual Edition

We are very excited to present the Women Scholars’ Speaker Series: Virtual Edition. Through a series of online panels and presentations, we invite you to engage with the latest research around pressing and multifaceted topics including discrimination, equity, death, and labour. We remain dedicated to the community that has been built through the WSSS and hope to expand our network through this year’s virtual series. We may be at home, but we can still stay connected through our shared interest in engaging with ideas.

Upcoming Events

[Image credit: Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, 4 July 2020.]

Reflections on migrant activism and community-based research in a global pandemic


Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | 11:00am MST

Zoom link (registration not required)

This webinar highlights three scholars whose research bridges academia, advocacy, and community-based work in the area of migrant justice. The panelists will reflect on questions such as:

  • What does it mean to do community-based work in the midst of a pandemic?
  • How do we give space in our pedagogy for our community work and what our communities are going through?
  • How has migrant activism adapted to our current political realities?
  • How have regional and international advocacy shifted with the many competing priorities we (and our various institutions) are facing?



Evelyn Encalada Grez is a transnational labour scholar, community-labour organizer, and Assistant Professor in Labour Studies at Simon Fraser University. She is also the co-founder of the award winning collective, Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW), that has advocated for the rights of migrant farmworkers in Canada for two decades. Her research bridges grass-roots activism with academic scholarship and through this approach she has extensively documented the lives of Mexican migrant farmworker women who work and forge transnational livelihoods between rural Canada and rural Mexico.

Petra Molnar is a lawyer and researcher specializing in migration, technology, and human rights. She is currently co-creating the Migration and Technology Monitor, a collective of civil society, journalists, academics, and filmmakers interrogating technological experiments on people crossing borders. Petra is the author of the recent report Technological Testing Grounds, foregrounding the perspectives of people on the move in Greece and Europe, and is the associate director of the Refugee Law Lab, Osgoode Hall Law School.

Ethel Tungohan is a Canada Research Chair in Canadian Migration Policy, Impacts and Activism (Tier 2) and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at York University. She has worked closely with Migrant Resource Centre Canada, Migrante-Alberta, and Gabriela-ON on socially-engaged research projects. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and she is the co-editor of Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility (University of Toronto Press, 2013). https://www.tungohan.com/



Julie Young
Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Critical Border Studies, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Lethbridge


[Image credit: Bodies of Light no. 360 (Fern), Photograph by Marie-Jeanne Musiol]

The Artist as Researcher

Monday, March 22, 2021 | 7:00pm MST

Zoom link (registration not required)

This webinar highlights the artist as researcher and contributor to the development of knowledge and innovation through artistic expression, scholarly investigation, and experimentation, and will be moderated by Mia van Leeuwen.



Monique Giroux holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Music, Culture, and Politics and is an Assistant Professor in the Music Department. Her research addresses Métis cultural revival and resurgence, critically exploring how music is used to negotiate relationships between Indigenous nations and settler populations. She has undertaken ethnographic research in the Canadian Prairies, Ontario, North Dakota, and Montana, as well as extensive archival research focused on public discourse around, and settler appropriation of, Metis culture.

Eve Chartrand’s research creation investigates the nature of negative body representations associated with ageing, including narratives of inclusiveness and visibility outside normative constructs. Specifically, what are the implications to self-identity and agency of current negative body constructs in middle-aged women’s lives? How can a Non/human-inspired approach suggest a more compassionate and vibrant humanism prone to generating re-interpretations and re-considerations of women’s ageing bodies otherwise defined by disability, ontological decay, and death? https://www.eveprovostchartrand.com/

Marie-Jeanne Musiol creates images and experimental videos with the luminous imprints of plants that she records in electromagnetic fields. These bodies of light expressed through hundreds of captures are assembled in an “energy herbarium” where electricity and photography converge. Her fascination with a yet-to-be "energy botany" is an invitation to see the world differently - a place where open-ended sensibilities can accommodate both hard science and metaphysical approaches within a worldview. https://www.musiol.ca/

Jaimee Jarvie is a local soprano, who completed her BMus in vocal performance at the University of Lethbridge in 2012. During her time at the University of Lethbridge, she developed a passion for early, contemporary and choral music. She appeared in numerous productions during her time at the University, including Die Fledermaus (Adele), A Hand of Bridge (Sally), La Canterina (Apollonia) and The Magic Flute (First Spirit). She has performed internationally with multiple choirs and currently belongs to two local ensembles, Sweet Breath and Ventus Women’s Choir (Assistant director). Jaimee has been teaching professionally since 2009 and is currently a Faculty I voice instructor for the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory. 

Jaimee is a current MMus candidate at the University of Lethbridge, developing a research-creation project focusing on the connection between wellness and singing in members of the Multiple Sclerosis community.  

Past Events

‘The Letters’:  EDI (Equity Diversity Inclusion) and Tracing Work in the Academe  

November 5, 2020  |  7-8:30 p.m. MST

Watch the recorded session

The Support Network for Academics of Colour Plus (SNAC+)


The Alberta Human Rights Commission Education and Multiculturalism Fund


In collaboration with the Women Scholars' Speaker Series



Dr. Nisha Nath
Assistant Professor of Equity Studies, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, Athabasca University



Dr. Caroline Hodes
Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies (SNAC+, co-applicant RED project) 


Followed by a roundtable discussion with SNAC+ members: 

Gülden Ozcan, Assistant Professor (GEDC, SNAC+, Department of Sociology)

Gideon Fujiwara, Associate Professor (SNAC+ President's Advisory Committee, Department of History)

Glenda Bonifacio, Professor (SNAC+, Principal Investigator RED Project, Department of Women & Gender Studies)

Saurya Das, Professor (SNAC+, Co-applicant RED Project, Department of Physics)


Abstract from the Dr. Nath:
"In this talk, I explore the genre of ‘The Letter’ to trace the impact of another familiar set of letters: EDI (Equity Diversity & Inclusion). Organized around a typology of three institutionalized and epistolary relationships, I explore how letter writing within universities is a social practice that is revealing of both the form and content of the EDI academy. ‘The Letters’ are also an archive, revealing a body of analytically rich, intentional, strategic, undocumented, unpublished work written by those who experience the academy in the most precarious ways. Painful to recuperate and almost impossible to track because of volume and frequency, these letters, frequently seminal texts unto themselves, are also often invisible to their authors. Animated by Rita Dhamoon's (2020) assertion that racism within the academy is a workload issue, I suggest that ‘The Letters’ offer an opening to explore the circulation of work within the academe. For those committed to equity, but called into EDI in harmful ways, this talk invites us to consider, what shall we do with ‘The Letters’?

Many thanks to my collaborators, Davina Bhandar (Athabasca University), Rita Dhamoon (University of Victoria) and Anita Girvan (Athabasca University). This talk emerges out of our larger project on ‘The Letters’."


About the speaker:
Nisha Nath (she/her) is a settler woman of colour living in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) and an Assistant Professor of Equity Studies in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University. She is working on two major projects implicating race, security, gender and citizenship – one on relational securitization in Canada and a second interdisciplinary project with Dr. Willow Allen on the settler-colonial socialization of public sector workers.





The four presenters of this event

Gendered Experiences of Discrimination and Microaggression in the Recording Studio

October 7, 2020  | 1-2 p.m. MST

Our team presents findings from an international online survey (n=387) of recording engineers, producers, and studio assistants' experiences of discrimination and microaggressions within the recording studio. In this session we discuss how both our quantitative and qualitative findings highlight significant and systemic gender inequalities within the recording field.  In partnership with the Audio Engineering Society and through the support of The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities (CREDO).

Video of our WSSS talk is now on YouTube (with French subtitles available): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufeyqZaZDsw

Article in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society: https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=21032

Research Team

Amandine Pras' research aims to enhance diversity and inclusion in audio. In addition to this project about Gender in the Studio, she is leading The West African Audio Network funded by SSHRC, in partnership with AFRINUM directed by Emmanuelle Olivier and founded by ANR. She completed her PhD thesis in Information Sciences at McGill about best practices for musical recording in the digital era. Since her graduation from the Paris Conservatoire and her participation in the Audio Recording Engineer Practicum at the Banff Centre, she has pursued a career as a freelance music producer and audio engineer in experimental musics.

Athena Elafros is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge. She is a qualitative cultural sociologist who studies culture and inequality. Her current projects include collaborations with Dr. Christopher Churchill on the role of different forms of labour within musical and literary cultural fields; Dr. Amandine Pras, Grace Brooks, and Monica Lockett on sound engineers’ and producers’ experiences of microaggressions in the recording studio; Dr. Amandine Pras on women in audio; and Tif Semach and Wednesday Culley on collecting and preserving the oral histories of GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) members and facilitators in Alberta, Canada.

Grace Brooks is a live sound engineer, experimental musician and PhD student at McGill University. They are studying the relationship between tacit knowledge and gender within audio engineering.

Monica Lockett is an undergraduate student in Sociology at the University of Lethbridge. A journalist by trade, she received a diploma in Communication Arts from Lethbridge College and has worked in northern Alberta as a radio news reporter and anchor. Her most recent publication focuses on the relationship between political obligation and journalistic duty when reporters cover protests.


Intentions of the Women Scholars’ Speaker Series

The Women Scholars’ Speaker Series was launched in Fall 2002 by Professor Shelly Wismath. The initiative emerged out of a University Town Hall where once again questions were raised about how to balance diversity with excellence, implying that members of under-represented groups were not as well qualified or as excellent.

Nearly twenty years later, here we are, continuing to highlight local, national, and international cutting-edge scholarship by researchers who identify as women and providing a venue for under-represented voices in academic research.

In addition, co-chairs Mia van Leeuwen (Fine Arts) and Julie Young (Geography & Environment) will be organizing panels related to their respective research areas.

Meet the Organizers
Mia Van Leeuwen
Mia van Leeuwen is an artist, director, producer, researcher and teacher. She practices the body of performance to explore and critique wide-ranging themes (ex. nature/culture, identity, fandom, whiteness, death, the spectre of capitalism); while playfully blurring the lines between theatre and visual art. Mia’s adaptation of Sapientia – a martyr play written in the 10th century by history’s first (known) female playwright Hrotsvitha of Gandershiem, won two 2018 METAs (Montreal English Theatre Awards) for Outstanding Independent Production and Outstanding Contribution to Theatre (miavanleeuwen.com). 


Julie Young

Julie Young is Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Critical Border Studies and Assistant Professor in Geography and Environment. She holds a doctorate in Geography and a Graduate Diploma in Refugee and Migration Studies from York University. Her research program aims to better understand North America’s borders in the context of broader global processes as well as what local practices around the Canada-US and Mexico-Guatemala borders tell us about where, how, and for whom borders work. She is co-editor, with Dr. Susan McGrath, of the open-access book, Mobilizing Global Knowledge: Refugee Research in an Age of Displacement (University of Calgary Press, 2019).

History of the Women Scholars’ Speaker Series

"In May 2002, a University Town Hall with the President and Provost included some discussion on diversity and inclusion. In the ensuing Q&A, there were once again questions about how to balance diversity with excellence, implying that members of under-represented groups were not as well qualified or as excellent. A few years before this, there had been a round of hiring of women faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Science, but by 2002 most of them had left the U of L. One issue for many of them was being the lone woman in a sometimes not very welcoming department.

Right after the Town Hall, I had a long discussion with Provost Seamus O'Shea about these issues, and suggested some ways to improve life for women on campus. One suggestion was a speaker series that would feature the work of women scholars, especially recent hires, to allow them to get their research out into the campus community and to make connections with women in other departments and faculties than their own. Dr. O'Shea followed up on this with significant funding, and thus was born the Women Scholars' Speaker Series.

Nearly 20 years later it is still flourishing as a showcase for talented women researchers on campus."

Professor Shelly Wismath,
Dean of the School of Liberal Education and Professor of Mathematics