Concordia open for the business of knowledge 

By Karen Herland

Congress has already connected to Montreal with signs like this one (on Pine Ave.) all around town. The City of Montreal has claimed the title Knowledge Destination this month. Magnifying glass

Congress has already connected to Montreal with signs like this one (on Pine Ave.) all around town. The City of Montreal has claimed the title Knowledge Destination this month.

As the countdown to Congress winds down, planning to navigate through 1 600 events over eight days becomes both daunting and extremely rewarding.

Those already in the social sciences or humanities may have an idea of what to expect from previous years of the annual event. Others on campus and around the city will likely be overwhelmed by everything going on.

Fortunately, there are going to be 200 students on campus, decked out in bright-coloured t-shirts, to ensure you don’t miss anything. Big Thinking events are co-productions of Concordia and the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences and open to all. In addition, Branché events are Concordia’s contribution to the Congress experience and are also free and accessible to the public. And beyond that, there are many other events, mostly looked after by the 70 scholarly societies, spread out over the campus and the length of Congress.

“It’s a jam-packed schedule,” said Congress Manager Marie-Josée Allard. “The idea is between panels you can visit an exhibit, or go by the book fair (featuring over 150 academic presses) or drop by Café Congress. It’s a way for people to connect with others outside of their own association.”

The key is to get the most out of the vast array of academics, artists and innovators who will be presenting, performing and producing what is shaping up to be the most ambitious Congress ever organized by a host institution.

“I’m not aware of anything comparable,” said Academic Convenor Ronald Rudin, thinking back over the years he attended Congress (and before, when it was known as the Learneds) as a delegate.

Over the past several months, many of those events have been profiled in the pages of the Journal (see information at the bottom of pp 6 and 7). Concordia’s contribution goes beyond the Branché series of events organized during Congress.

“We wanted to try to play on the theme of Connected Understanding by underlining Concordia’s connections to the larger community,” said Rudin, using examples like Liz Miller’s bus tour (see page 7) and University of the Streets events. “We wanted to build on that aspect of the university’s identity.”

Rudin said that link was made more concrete by the university’s success making all of the major Big Thinking events, featuring guests like Nancy Huston, Lawrence Hill and Céline Galipeau free and open to the public, beyond Congress attendees or university staff.

These events will also benefit from simultaneous translation, another first for Congress, which was a Concordia initiative.

Updated information and simulcasts of some of the main events will be available on both the Concordia website and the website the Federation of the Social Sciences and the Humanities has designed.

Allard has been coordinating the logistics of the eight-day event. There will be banners up around the Sir George Campus, along with information on the digital screens. The Hall, MB and EV Buildings will have information booths with promotional material and guides available. Registration will be centralized in the LB atrium. That is also where community passes ($15/day) will be available for people who might be interested in attending many of the events that are not open to the public.


Concordia University