Sunday, September 15, 2019

How "Citizen Science Fiction" Can Boost Immunity

Life Sciences Building, York University (NXL Architects) 
I'll be presenting a talk on Shadowpox as part of the York Circle Lecture and Lunch on Saturday, September 28 in the Life Sciences Building on York University's Keele Campus. The event is free – you can RSVP on the York Circle website.

Here's the précis:
Shadowpox: How "Citizen Science Fiction" Can Boost Immunity
Alison Humphrey will discuss how her research-creation project, Shadowpox, a participatory storyworld exploring immunization through a superhero metaphor, can help young people build scientific, civic and media literacy. A full-body Shadowpox videogame debuted during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, where The Lancet called it “one of the most powerful and playful ways to illustrate both the individual and population-level implications of community immunity."
The other three presentations sound fascinating:
Your Brain in Action
Denise Henriques - Professor, School of Kinesiology & Health Science 
Humans surpass all other animals and robots when it comes to the diversity and malleability of movements produced — we are the world’s most versatile movers. Dr. Denise Henriques explains how the brain’s remarkable control systems make this possible. 
Transgender Studies: What You Should Know & Why It Matters
Sheila L. Cavanagh - Associate Professor of Sociology 
This presentation will introduce you to the burgeoning field of transgender studies. Transgender studies is based on the experiences of those who identify as transgender. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes everyone who is, in some way, gender diverse or gender non-conforming including, but not limited to, transsexuals, bi-genders, non-genders, Two-Spirits, etc. Transgender studies is not only concerned with the study of transphobia (discrimination against people who are differently gendered), but with questions relating to sex and gender embodiment. 
And this one is especially timely the morning after Toronto's #FridaysForFuture Climate Strike. I only wish I weren't speaking at the same time!
Is a 100% Renewable Energy Future Possible? Advances for Community Participation in a Low-Carbon Energy Transition
Dr. Christina Hoicka - Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies 
Over 80 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are energy related and Canadians are among the highest per capita energy users and GHG emitters. Under the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming by 2°C, Canada committed to a 30 percent reduction below 2005 levels of GHG emissions by 2030. However, scientists now caution there are clear benefits to keeping warming to 1.5°C, requiring an acceleration of carbon mitigation activities. This talk discusses the important factors to acceleration of a low-carbon energy transition, such as the innovation-diffusion of low-carbon energy innovations for communities, made up of individuals, households and organizations, to adopt, as well as diversity and inclusion in the energy and innovation sectors.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Biology of Story

I'm thrilled to be joining Amnon Buchbinder's rich and profound course The Biology of Story as a teaching assistant this autumn.

Check out the first lecture clip below, then head over to the course website and the innovative, interactive Biology of Story documentary for more:
"What if there was magic? A mysterious power, hidden in plain sight, all around us, touching us, touched by us – daily. Wouldn't we want to learn how this magic works? How to work with it, consciously and effectively. How to ensure that it works for the benefit of ourselves, our communities, our world. How to use this magic to cast good spells – and to break the bad ones. 
Well, that magic, that mysterious power, does exist. Its name is Story."

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Communications, Transformations, Futures

I'm heading to the University of British Columbia on Unceded Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm) Territory this week for the 2019 Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory conference.

HASTAC is "an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists changing the way we teach and learn." This year's conference theme is "Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education," and there are some inspiring plenary speakers lined up, including Leanne Betasamosake SimpsonKaryn Recollet, and Elizabeth LaPensée.

I'll be part of a panel titled Communications, Transformations, Futures, presenting a talk on "Building Co-Immunity in Wiikwemkoong and Masiphumelele: Participatory Science Fiction to Inoculate the Civic Imagination." If you're in Vancouver on Friday, come say hi!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Rappin' at the Research Meeting

Huge thanks to the inspiring team at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation for the opportunity to present at their research meeting yesterday at the University of Cape Town's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine.

Thanks too to talented photographer and communications consultant Jenn Warren for documenting the talk!

Friday, March 15, 2019

On location at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre

Photographer and communications consultant Jenn Warren joined our Shadowpox group recently at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, and took some beautiful shots. Pictured: Sibulele Bontshi, Abongile Maputhuma, Buhle Mavi, Zanele Melapi, Lazola Nkelenjane, Asiphe Ntshongontshi and Aphiwe Zabezolo.

Click on images to enlarge (and check out more behind-the-scenes photos here).

Bongo Mavi, with Alison pretending to be his cell phone
Zanele Melapi 
Lazola Nkelenjane
Abongile Maputhuma
Alison, Abongile, Zanele and Lazola in the "EduZone" computer lab
Discussing the next scene...

Monday, March 4, 2019

Superhero Cellphone Cinema

As a warm-up to our Shadowpox video workshop, participants including the Youth Interns of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, wrote, directed, shot and assembled their own superhero storyboards using Comic Life. Huge thanks to Plasq for generously donating the software to the Youth Centre's EduZone computer lab!

Created by and starring: Sibulele Bontshi, Abongile Maputhuma, Buhle (Bongo) Mavi, Zanele Melapi, Lazola Nkelenjane, Asiphe Ntshongontshi and Aphiwe Zabezolo.

Click on images to enlarge (and check out more behind-the-scenes here).

Aphiwe Zabezolo (in character) arriving at the DTHF Youth Centre

Asiphe Ntshongontshi casting a solar-powered shadowpox effect on Zanele

Lazola, Sibulele, Asiphe, Zanele and Bongo

Friday, February 22, 2019

Glimpse/Blink at the University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town's renowned Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies "teaches dance and theatre performance as modes of critical inquiry, creative expression, pedagogy and public engagement." 

Veronica Baxter is a leading scholar of social and applied theatre and drama and of practice-as-research in South Africa, so I was thrilled when she extended an invitation to share a Shadowpox "Glimpse/Blink" workshop with her students. 

Thanks to Prof. Baxter and everyone at UCT for their warm welcome and their shadow-fuelled flights of imagination! 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Building Black Panther

For last week's Cellphone Cinema workshop at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, I put together a collection of links and videos on the making of the film Black Panther.

Early storyboards for the ancestral plane sequence by artist Simeon Wilkins:

(click image above to enlarge)

An animatic is a video showing how the panels from a storyboard would look as a sequence of shots. Here are a few from Simeon Wilkins, starting with the ancestral plane sequence above:

(Click below for more...)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Brainstorm profiles Shadowpox

Brainstorm is a monthly newsletter published by the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation at York University. Megan Mueller, senior manager of research communications, wrote a wonderful profile on Shadowpox:

Interactive video game highlights the impact of vaccine decision-making

The piece also included a new video with Steven J. Hoffman, the scientific director of Shadowpox: The Antibody Politic (among his many other titles):