Happy New Year (almost)!
2017 was the year we celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday, and in a typically Canadian way: thoughtfully, with a lot of self-examination and a determination to do better in the next 150 years. In the Faculty of Arts, we are cognizant of Canada’s complicated history, particularly with regard to Indigenous peoples, and this is reflected in both the stories we told this year and the stories that received the most attention from you, our audience.
As always, however, we continued to welcome new students (and new student bloggers!) to campus; celebrate our distinguished faculty, staff and alumni; cheer on our latest graduates; and revitalize the conversation around the value of an Arts education.
In short, we heard and learned from a diverse, eloquent and impassioned group of voices this year.
In celebration, here’s a look back at the top 10 stories of 2017!
1. Our story about Teresa Spinelli, a 2017 Alumni Honour Award recipient, was not only our most popular WOA blog post this year — it was also our most popular post ever. This should come as no surprise. The President of the Italian Centre Shops is so beloved and respected in the Edmonton, and increasingly, in national communities, any story about her is bound to have legs. We are so proud to call her one of ours! Read Teresa’s story here: I have 509 employees and none are related by blood, but I love every one of them.
2. In our most popular Arts News story of 2017, historian Olive Dickason was recognized for her contributions to Canadian history with a series of events in November/December, hosted by the Department of History and Classics. Read her story here: Trailblazing Métis historian put Indigenous people front and centre in Canada’s story.
3. On February 1, 2017, Alberta became the fourth province in Canada to officially recognize Black History Month. The history of black people in Alberta is largely unknown, obscured by what political scientist Malinda S. Smith calls the “tyranny of homogenization”. Read this Arts News here: Making Black history in Alberta visible.
4. In another popular Arts News story, classmates bid farewell to Cortona grad and friend Ernesto Rizzi. Because of a travel award endowed in his name, which will enable other students to embark on a life-changing journey, Ernesto’s legacy will live on. Read his story here: Classmates bid farewell to Cortona grad and friend Ernesto Rizzi.
5. As part of our year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th, we spoke to Tololwa Mollel — storyteller, dramatist, performer and children’s literature author. Born in Tanzania, Tololwa came to Canada to study (he received his MA in Drama in ’79), but then fell in love with the country and decided to stay. Read Tololwa’s story here: Feasting on Words
6. In another Canada 150 profile story, we chatted with English and Film Studies professor Pat Demers. The first female president of the Royal Society of Canada, and a recent (2016) appointee to the Order of Canada, her life has been one of accomplishment, commitment, and… serendipity. Read Pat’s story here: Unplanned but not Unprepared
7. Over the course of the year, WOA has been collecting comments from our Arts community about what Canada’s 150th birthday means. In this first (and most popular) blog post featuring these quotes, one thing becomes clear: Canadians are deeply self-reflective. Read this post here: A Canada 150 Celebration? Not so fast.
8. How children’s books, including those by Canadian authors, find their way into non-normative childhoods is a question that fascinates English and Film Studies professor Nat Hurley. We talked to Nat about this, as well as her own upbringing in Newfoundland. Read her story here: Reading from the Margins.
9. From Kandahar to Edmonton, Alumni Horizon Award recipient Adam Sweet believes public service comes before self-service. The chief of staff at the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) spends his time selling Edmonton to the world. Read Adam’s story here: A Passion for Helping Others Succeed.
10. Continuing along the Canada 150 theme, we canvassed our experts to imagine Canada 50 years from now. Sorry, no flying cars, but plenty of optimism. Read the story here: Happy Birthday Canada, Now What?
Top three Student Voices:
One of our most popular features of the WOA blog is the Student Voices series, where we turn the blog over to our awesome students. We decided to share not one, but three of the best!
~ Our Indigenous student blogger Tarene Thomas always writes thoughtful and challenging posts. This post, however – No More Fake Teeth – really resonated with its powerful message.
~ Hersharon Sandhu is pursuing an Honors after-degree in Women’s and Gender Studies, but her first experience with the discipline left her cold. Read her story here: I Walked Out of my First Women’s and Gender Studies Class
~ Matana Skoye describes the harm of oppressive stereotypes and norms in her post, What is Intersectional Feminism?
Top Stories of the last quarter:
Because we pulled stats for a full year, time-wise, our most recent blog posts are disadvantaged. Therefore, we have compiled our top posts from the last quarter (excluding four stories that are already part of our top 10 list).
~ Amir Khadem, a graduate of the Transnational and Comparative Literatures program in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, won the Governor General’s Gold Medal at the November convocation. His dissertation touches on catastrophic trauma, memory and literature. Read his story here: Amir Khadem wins top doctoral award.
~ The first graduates of The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies’ new MA in Gender and Social Justice come from diverse educational backgrounds but share a passion for advocating on behalf of positive social change. We talked to Lynsey Race, Megan Perram and Megan Stewart about why they were drawn to the program. Read their story here: Inaugural class of the new MA in Gender and Social Justice set to convocate.
~ From TV film editor to graphic arts shop and gallery owner, alumnus Sandy Muldrew’s curated shop, The Prints and the Paper, is the realization of a dream. Read this fascinating alumni profile story here: Arts alum sinks passion for graphic arts into entrepreneurial venture.
Last but not least, a post from 2014 that just keeps on giving: Ashton Mucha: My top study spots at UAlberta. This one keeps popping up in the top stories of the year, so just in case you haven’t seen it – there must be one or two of you – check it out!
That’s our top stories of the year, but please visit our archive for many more fascinating stories. Thank you to all those who contributed articles this year, and especially to our Faculty of Arts news-makers, art-makers, and change-makers who unfailingly bring their expertise, creativity and passion to the table every day.