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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Holmolka, quality of life, housing, George Watt, arts - issues, experts and ideas

Holmolka, quality of life, housing, George Watt, arts - issues, experts and ideas

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June 06, 2005
Issue: Boomerang-children-from-hell

Karla Holmolka's father has stated he will not be there to welcome her when she gets out of Joliette in July. SFU sociologist Barbara Mitchellcan comment on what kind of emotional wear-and-tear goes on in families who are related to notorious offenders such as Holmolka and Kelly Ellard, and what it is like for parents to be subjected to public scrutiny for evidence that they are somehow the cause of their child's evil behaviour. What effect do such cases have on the family dynamic?

Idea: Quality of life at the end of life

When it comes to making choices about the timing and circumstances of a person's death Canadians have widely differing perspectives. The annual Friesen conference organized by SFU's gerontology research centre, June 6 and 7, at SFU Vancouver's Harbour Centre campus, will explore end-of-life issues. Featured speakers include Paul Spiers, a forensic neuropsychologist at Boston University and past-president of End-of-Life Choices (formerly known as the Hemlock Society) and Evelyn Martens of Victoria, who was recently acquitted of suicide assistance. Other sessions will look at medical and ethical issues, what dying people want, physician-assisted suicide, and recommendations and action strategies. Full program details at www.sfu.ca/grc/

Issue: Affordable housing shrinks

Housing affordability in BC has reached its worst level since 1995, according to a recent report by the Royal Bank. With prices rising faster than wages, it now takes 53.7 per cent of the median or mid-range pre-tax family income to service the costs of owning a detached bungalow. Economist Krishna Pendakur challenges the relevance of that statistic to already marginalized families: "The median family in Vancouver does not own a bungalow. Using 'shelter-shares' as an indicator of deprivation is not very sensible. After all, shelter-shares are highest in the middle of the distribution, where people are just rich enough to buy into housing. This statistic is not an indicator of deprivation, but rather of wealth. A real indicator of deprivation is to ask: how many square feet is a family living in?"

Issue: Reflections on an inspirational aboriginal leader

Dara Culhane, an anthropologist at SFU who is an expert on First Nations culture, law and politics in BC, can provide some perspective on the life and passing of George Watts. The founding leader of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council was known for helping to close a residential school in Port Alberni and inspiring young aboriginal people. Watts died on May 31 of heart failure at the age of 59.

Idea: Performing arts and science meet

In the arts, performance has traditionally implied a staged activity using a form like dance, music and theatre. Science focuses on the efficiency of mechanical or technological systems and prototypes in specific goal-oriented tasks. Where contemporary arts meets contemporary science is the point that a group of university-based researchers involved in a project called TransNet are focused. Experts attending a conference called Transdisciplinary Approaches to Performance and Technology from June 16-18 at SFU's Burnaby Campus will examine these seemingly disparate disciplinary perspectives as technology increasingly dictates how they are presented. Participants will look at new media and performance interfaces, performance and technology research and innovation, art and conciousness, and visualization and micro-interactions.