Month: December 2014

Jennifer Baltzer

Boreal forests in permafrost landscapes: changing structure and function in response to climate warming

Friday, 6 February
3 to 5 pmScotty Creek2
in SS 2125

Boreal forests occupy latitudes that are experiencing the greatest rates of warming on earth, a pattern that is expected to continue over the coming decades. Much of the boreal is underlain by permafrost, which can be expected to have important consequences for forest structure, composition and functioning as the climate warms. The southern margin of permafrost is especially susceptible to warming, since in this region, the permafrost is discontinuous, relatively thin, warm and ice-rich. In the discontinuous permafrost zone, permafrost often forms the physical foundation on which trees develop, forming tree-covered peat plateaus where trees contribute to permafrost maintenance and aggradation processes through reductions in radiation load and changes in snow accumulation. Forests are restricted to peat plateaus while wetland communities occupy intervening permafrost-free areas. The extent and distribution of each land cover type is an important determinant of how boreal forest-wetland landscapes in the discontinuous permafrost zone function as part of the climate system. Climate warming is rapidly thawing permafrost leading to ground surface subsidence and transformation of the forests into wetlands, increasing both the areal extent and connectivity of the latter. In this presentation, I will use an integrative framework to demonstrate the changes in ecological, hydrological and biosphere-atmosphere interactions within this boreal forest-wetland landscape characterized by rapidly degrading permafrost.

Jennifer Baltzer is Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change at Wilfrid Laurier University. The Forest Ecology Research Group homepage is here.


lines and nodes_FB cover 01A one-day event gathering scholars and artists who study the politics and affects of human-made infrastructures. Sunday, 22 February, 2015 12-8pm, Daniels School of Architecture, University of Toronto, Room 103

230 College Street (Please use Huron Street entrance)

This symposium and screening event will bring together artists and scholars to examine the political, aesthetic and affective dimensions of extraction, infrastructure and logistics. We convene this event to interrogate the relationships between the representations of such dynamics and the larger forces that they condense: globalization, digitization, territorialization, labor migration, displacement, sustainability, security, accumulation and colonialism. The symposium’s keynote presenter will be Swiss filmmaker/researcher Ursula Biemann, who has for the past twenty years produced a respected body of essay films that interrogate global relations under the impact of the accelerated mobility of people, resources and information. She will screen three recent works alongside a program with works by CAMP, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc & others. The event will also feature presentations by Brenda Longfellow, Michelle Murphy and Deborah Cowen.

This program is adapted from the recent Lines and Nodes symposium in New York curated by Brooke Belisle, Leo Goldsmith, Ben Mendelsohn, Sukhdev Sandhu, Nicole Starosielski, and Chi-hui Yang (

This event is sponsored by: Intersections Speaker Series: Department of Geography and Planning at University of Toronto, Department of Film at York University, Cinema Studies Institute at University of Toronto,  Pleasure Dome, and John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

*This event is free of charge, fully accessible and open to the public. We will also be collecting donations for Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund



Brenda Longfellow presents Offshore interactive web documentary OFFSHORE is an interactive web documentary and installation that explores the dark waters of the global offshore oil industry in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. This presentation will take viewers through a short exploration of the key design elements of the project while reflecting on the project’s methodologies and creative evolution.


Michelle Murphy presents ‘Chemical Infrastructures’
This talk offers the concept of “chemical infrastructures” as a way to challenge the way state regulation and conventional toxicology works to narrow the politics of chemical exposure to the fetish of the harm a single chemical can predictably cause. Drawing on research about the ecological history of the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers (which run from Lake Huron to Lake Erie), the talk traces a “chemical infrastructure” entangled with the politics of colonialism, race, intergenerational survival, and temporal expressions of chemical violence.

Discussion moderated by Shiri Pasternak



Film & Video Screening:

Len Lye – TRADE TATTOO (1937, 5 min, 16mm) One of Lye’s many works commissioned by Britain’s General Post Office, TRADE TATTOO transforms “the rhythm of work-a-day Britain” into a psychedelic play of shapes and surface textures.

CAMP – CCTV SOCIAL: CAPITAL CIRCUS (2014, 27 min, video) In this inquiry into surveillance, the image and power, CAMP collaborated with Manchester Metropolitan University and Arndale Shopping Center to open working CCTV environments to a general audience. Surveillance feeds capture a man getting members of the public to sign an “image-release” form, a provision of the UK Data Protection Act, reshifting dynamics of image control.

Larilyn Sanchez – BALIKBAYAN (5 mins, video)

A migrant worker sends her mother back home bringing a taste of a ‘better life’ at all cost.  The unpacking of gifts unfolds the absurd but practical realities of mixing consumerism along with tradition in a developing nation.

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc – AN ITALIAN FILM (AFRICA ADDIO) (2012, 28 min, digital video)

With metallurgical process as historical excavation, Abonnenc’s video revisits the colonial extraction and plundering of copper from the Congo.

Discussion moderated by cheyanne turions


Deborah Cowen Talk: The Logistics of Life and Death

In this talk, Deborah Cowen draws on her recent book The Deadly Life of Logistics to track the material and calculative life of logistics, from the biopolitics of the battlefield to the corporate boardroom, and back again. She examines a series of key events – from the rise of petroleum warfare, to the birth of the modern supply chain, to the crisis of the ‘Somali pirate’- to highlight the ubiquity of logistics and the profound political, economic and martial transformations that remain hidden in plain sight. Not simply a technocratic field of management, logistics is a highly political technoscience that governs the geopolitics of circulation, recasting state borders and blurring the boundaries of war and trade.

Discussion moderated by Weiqiang Lin





Ursula Biemann Screening & Talk


Forest Law/Selva jurídica by Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares

Forest Law is a collaborative project with Brazilian architect Paulo Tavares drawing on research carried out in the oil-and-mining frontier in the Ecuadorian Amazon— one of the most biodiverse and mineral-rich regions on Earth, currently under pressure from the massive expansion of extraction activities. At the heart of Forest Law is a series of landmark legal cases that bring the forest to court and plead for the rights of nature. One of the paradigmatic trials has recently been won by the indigenous people of Sarayuku based on their cosmology of the living forest.

Forest Law/Selva jurídica, 2014. Video installation, 41’. Screening format: one-channel version digital file, 30’. Courtesy of the artists


On the Ecologies of Oil and Water

Based on comprehensive research, the artist elaborates in her video works the far-reaching territorial transformations due to the extraction and engineering of resources, drawing attention to the biological and social micro-dynamics at work in these massive physical encroachments. Engaging with the political ecology of oil and water, the artist interweaves vast cinematic landscapes with documentary footage and academic findings to narrate a changing planetary reality. Discussing her artistic practice in the projects Black Sea Files, Deep Weather and Forest Law, Biemann particularly raises questions regarding the entanglement of aesthetics, ecology and geopolitics.

Discussion moderated by Charles Stankievech


Black Sea Files

Black Sea Files is a territorial research on the Caspian oil geography: the world’s oldest oil extraction zone. A giant new subterranean pipeline traversing the Caucasus will soon pump Caspian Crude to the West. The line connecting the resource fringe with the terminal of the global oil circulation system runs through the video like a central thread. However, the trajectory followed by the narrative is by no means a linear one. Circumventing the main players in the region, the video sheds light on a multitude of secondary sceneries. Oil workers, farmers, refugees and prostitutes who live along the pipeline come into profile and contribute to a wider human geography that displaces the singular and powerful signifying practices of oil corporations and oil politicians. Drawing on investigatory fieldwork as practiced by anthropologists, journalists and secret intelligence agents, the Black Sea Files comment on artistic methods in the field and the ways in which information and visual intelligence is detected, circulated or withheld.

Black Sea Files, 2005, synchronized 2-channel video, screening format: one-channel version 43’. Courtesy of the artists

Q & A

Presenters Biographies

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc is an artist, curator and researcher interested in exploring the history of the colonial encounter and its effects on memory and identity. In his work as an artist he uses video, drawings, installations and photographs, as well as interviews and archives, to counter collective amnesia and erasure of experiences and traumas.

Ursula Biemann  is an artist, writer and video essayist. Her artistic practice is strongly research oriented and involves fieldwork in remote locations where she investigates global warming and the political ecologies of oil and water. The Broad Art Museum Michigan recently awarded her with a commission for a new video work Forest Law (2014), in collaboration with Paulo Tavares on the cosmopolitics of Amazonia. Biemann is part of World of Matter, a collaborative project exposing and interlinking global resource ecologies. Her video installations are exhibited at the International Art Biennials of Istanbul, Liverpool, Sevilla, Shanghai, Gwangiu, Montreal and in museumsworldwide. She published several books, is appointed Doctor honoris causa in Humanities by the Swedish University Umea and received the 2009 Swiss Prix Meret Oppenheim.

CAMP is a collaborative studio whose projects relate to media and its history, formats and distribution. The group’s process often follows the spirit of open-source communities. CAMP is also a co-initiator of, an online digital-media archive. Recent exhibitions in which CAMP has participated include the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2012); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, and Kabul, Afghanistan (2012); The Ungovernables, New Museum Triennial, New York, USA (2012); Edgware Road Project, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2011– ); Two Stages of Invention, Experimenter, Kolkata, India (2011); The Matter Within, Yerba Buena Center for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, California, USA (2011); Against All Odds, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, India (2011); Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2009, 2011); Folkestone Triennial, UK (2011); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2010); Home Works Forum, Beirut, Lebanon (2010); Asia Art Award Exhibition, Seoul, South Korea (2010), The Jerusalem Show, Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art (2009); If We Can’t Get It Together: Artists Rethinking Communities, Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2009); Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2008); The Impossible Prison, Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2008); and Indian Highway, Serpentine Gallery, London (2008).

Deborah Cowen is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the role of organized violence in shaping intimacy, space, and citizenship. She is the author of The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade (Minnesota 2014) and Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada (UTP 2008), and editor of the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation book series at UGA Press and of the journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

Weiqiang Lin graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2014 and was awarded a PhD in geography (funded by the UK Commonwealth Scholarship). His supervisors were Tim Cresswell and Peter Adey. His research interests converge around issues of mobilities and infrastructures, air transport, migration and transnationalism in the Asian context. Recently, he has embarked on a one year postdoctoral engagement with the University of Toronto, with sponsorship from the National University of Singapore.

Brenda Longfellow has published articles on documentary, feminist film theory and Canadian cinema in Public, CineTracts, Screen, and the Journal of Canadian Film Studies. She is a co-editor (with Scott MacKenzie and Tom Waugh) of the anthology The Perils of Pedagogy: the Works of John Greyson (2013) and Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women Filmmakers(1992). Her documentaries have been screened and broadcast internationally, winning prestigious awards including the Audience Award for Best Experimental Film for Dead Ducks at the Santa Cruz Film Festival (2011); A Bronze Remi Award for Weather Report at the Houston Film Festival (2008); Best Cultural Documentary for Tina in Mexico at the Havana International Film Festival (2002); a Canadian Genie for Shadowmaker/ Gwendolyn MacEwen, Poet (1998) and the Grand Prix at Oberhausen forOur Marilyn (1988). Other films include Gerda, (1992), A Balkan Journey(1996) and Carpe Diem (2010).

Michelle Murphy is Professor in the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, She is a historian of the recent past and feminist technoscience studies scholar who theorizes and researches about the politics of technoscience; sexed, raced, and queer life; environmental  and chemical politics; biopolitics and necropolitics; as well as economics, capitalism and finacialization particularly in contemporary, cold war, and postcolonial conjunctures associated with the United States is a. She is the author of Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience (Duke University Press, 2012)and Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers (Duke University Press, 2006).  Her current book project is  The Economization of Life.  She serves as a co-organizer of the Toronto Technoscience Salon and the director of the Technoscience Research Unit.

Shiri Pasternak is a writer and researcher currently based in Toronto and New York City where she holds a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. She holds a PhD from the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto, where she wrote a dissertation on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s resistance to the federal land claims process in Canada from the perspective of Indigenous law and jurisdiction. She is a founding member of Barriere Lake Solidarity, a member of the Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network in Toronto, and an ally in the Defenders of the Land network.

Pleasure Dome Since 1989 Pleasure Dome has been presenting year-round experimental media arts screening programs, and supports expanded forms of presentations, installations and other non-traditional formats

Charles Stankievech is an artist whose research has explored the notion of “fieldwork” in the embedded landscape, the military industrial complex, and the history of technology. His diverse body of work has been shown internationally at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; MASS MoCA, Massachussetts; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and the Venice Architecture and SITE Santa Fe Biennales. His lectures for dOCUMENTA (13) and the 8th Berlin Biennale were as much performance as pedagogy, while his writing has been published in academic journals by MIT and Princeton Architectural Press. His idiosyncratic and obsessively researched curatorial projects include Magnetic Norths and CounterIntelligence—both critically acclaimed as the top Canadian exhibitions of 2010 and 2014 respectively. From 2010 to 2011 (and again from 2014 to 2015) he was hired as a private contractor for the Department of National Defence where he conducted independent research in intelligence operations under the rubric of the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP). He was a founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Canada and is currently an Assistant Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. Since 2011, he has been co-director of the art and theory press K. in Berlin.

cheyanne turions is an independent, Toronto-based curator and writer who holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia. From the farmlands of Treaty 8, she is of settler and Aboriginal ancestry. Most recently she co-curated the series Canadian Ecstasy with poet and performance artist Ariana Reines at Gallery TPW and reviewed the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture for C Magazine. Her exhibition Other Electricities was presented the inaugural award for Innovation in a Collections-based Exhibition by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries in 2014. She is also the director of No Reading After the Internet(Toronto) and sits on the Board of Directors for Fillip Magazine. She was the Shop Manager/Curator at Art Metropole from 2012-2014 and is now a part of the organization’s Lifetime Membership. Currently she is a member of the co-creative team for the Art and Society theme within the Cities for People project and works as a Curatorial Assistant the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

Chase Joynt & Alexis Mitchell

A special Intersections talk and film screening:

This special Intersections event is preceded by JOYNT & MITCHELL: A Depth of Field Screening featuring 5 short films by Chase Joynt & Alexis Mitchell introduced by John Greyson and presented by the York University Film Program on *Thursday 26 February* at 8 pm at Cinecycle: see the Facebook event for details:


Chase Joynt & Alexis Mitchell

Friday, 27 February
3 to 5 pm
in SS 2125


This presentation will include a screening of our short video STEALTH, which engages objects as a way in which to talk about the experiences of gender-non-conforming bodies in medicalized spaces. By merging hidden camera footage from a patient’s hysterectomy, with interviews of the objects used in these procedures and spaces, STEALTH poignantly and humorously mobilizes ‘sousveillance’ to subvert the perspective of surveilling machinery. Through a triangulation of corporeal, medical and military technologies, STEALTH provocatively points to previously unexplored histories and relationships between inanimate objects and human bodies. By focusing on the objects in the spaces rather than the bodies themselves, the project consciously subverts various tropes of trans representation and ontological formation by asking what we might learn if we move our attention away from the obvious, and focus instead on the subtle, mundane, or straightforward aspects of the spaces we inhabit. Through a shift in focus, STEALTH unearths militarized and oppressive histories of the objects and machinery used in medical environments, and points to the often overlooked, but simultaneously obvious violence that occurs in between the patient and the operating table.




Tuesday, May 19, 2015 | 3:00 – 5:00pm | Jackman Humanities Building, #100 | 170 St. George St.


This presentation comes from my forthcoming book, Reparations and the Human, which investigates the problem of reparations and human rights in Cold War Asia. Following the devastating violence of World War II, an emerging discourse of reparations and human rights sought to articulate new precepts against state harm of individuals. Traditionally, reparations could be claimed by one state from another as compensation for the “costs of war.” For the first time, however, the idea of reparations was extended to encompass individual and group claims for redress for state-sponsored violence in the name of human rights and in the interests of protecting the sanctity of human life.

My approach to the topic is fundamentally interdisciplinary. Reparation is a key term in political theory, but it is also a central concept in psychoanalysis—specifically, object relations—yet the two are rarely discussed in relation to one another. Reparations and the Human focuses on unexamined links between political and psychic genealogies of reparation in order to explore the possibilities and limits of repairing the injuries of war, violence, and colonialism in the Transpacific region. Here, I investigate three interlocking events: the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ending that war; and contemporary legal claims of “Comfort Women,” girls and women conscripted by the Japanese Imperial Army into sexual slavery. From this larger perspective, I analyze the postwar ascension of reparations and human rights not only as a moral response to but also, and indeed, as a form of continued state violence.

In this talk, I focus specifically on the afterword to my book, “Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness,” which explores the history of uranium mining and “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb detonated by the U.S. military over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Much of the world’s uranium supply is mined from indigenous lands, and the uranium for Little Boy, too, came in part from the lands of the Sahtu Dene, an indigenous people in Great Bear Lake, Canada. Ignorant at the time of how their mining efforts would be applied and the destination of the ore, the Sahtu Dene nonetheless felt implicated once they learned of Hiroshima’s fate. In response to the disaster, they sent a delegation to Hiroshima to apologize. I will discuss the Sahtu Dene’s response to the atomic bombing in order to propose an alternate concept for reparations and the human. Here, I extend Jacques Derrida’s notion of “absolute forgiveness” to develop a corollary concept: “absolute apology.”

David L. Eng is Richard L. Fisher Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Eng is author of The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy (Duke, 2010) and Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America (Duke, 2001). He is co-editor with David Kazanjian of Loss: The Politics of Mourning (California, 2003) and with Alice Y. Hom of Q & A: Queer in Asian America (Temple, 1998). In addition, he is co-editor of two special issues of the journal Social Text: with Teemu Ruskola and Shuang Shen, “China and the Human” (2011/2012), and with Judith Halberstam and José Esteban Muñoz, “What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now?” (2005). Eng is currently completing two book projects: “Reparations and the Human,” an investigation of the relationship between political and psychic genealogies of reparation in Asia during the Cold War, and with Shinhee Han, “A Dialogue on Racial Melancholia,” a collection of clinical case histories and commentaries on race, psychoanalysis, and Asian immigration. Eng is the recipient of research fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Mellon Foundation, among others. In 2015-16, he will be a Research Director at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

Co-sponsors: Geography and Program in Planning (Intersections Speakers Series); Sexual Diversity Studies; Women & Gender Studies Institute; Department of English; and Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies, Asian Institute.

Mobilizing Grief, Seeking Justice


A Conversation with Sewol Families

Friday 20 March
3 to 5 pm

Location: Beit Zatoun
(612 Markham St., Toronto, ON M6G 2L8)

On April 16, 2014, the Sewol passenger ferry carrying 476 lives capsized off the southern shore of South Korea. For reasons still unknown and to the shock of many who watched the tragedy unfold in the news, no real rescue effort was made to save the passengers. In total, 9 are still missing and 294 were killed, including 245 high school students (Grade 11) who were on a school field trip. The bereaved families have emerged as important critical voices in demanding a full investigation and accountability, and powerful figures in broader movements for public safety and social justice. Nearly a year since the tragedy, allegations of gross negligence and government corruption remain unexamined, and the families face growing apathy and smear campaigns of misinformation.

The bereaved families have just begun a North American speaking tour in March 2015 to meet with supporters in more than 15 major cities. Coming to Toronto and Vancouver are two parents who lost their teenage daughters in the Sewol tragedy: Jisung Lee (Doun Kim’s mother) and Jongbeom Park (Yeseul Park’s father). They will meet with the Toronto-based group that has led an ongoing “relay hunger strike” in solidarity with Sewol families since August 2014 (Day 215 on March 20), and participate in discussions with activist and academic community to share their experiences of grief, outrage, and commitment to justice.

Facilitation and Interpretation: Judy Han, Assistant Professor in Geography, University of Toronto

Introduction: “Deregulation at Sea: the Sewol disaster and regulatory capture in Korea”, Yoonkyung Lee, Associate Professor in Sociology, Binghamton University.

Presentation by the Families and Local Activists

Jisung Lee (Doun Kim’s mother) and Jongbeom Park (Yeseul Park’s father)

Kelly Lee, the Toronto People in Solidarity with the Families of Sewol Ferry

Q&A and Discussion

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Korea, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, York Centre for Asian Research, and the Toronto People in Solidarity with the Families of Sewol Ferry.

CANCELLED – Michelle Buckley

Tall buildings, short contracts: mapping precarious construction work in the GTA

BuckleyIntersectionsCANCELLED due to CUPE 3902 Strike – to be rescheduled, Fall 2015

  The construction industry – and particularly the residential construction      trades- have long been crucial employment sectors for non-citizens working  and living in the Greater Toronto Area. As new housing starts and  condominium development have intensified over the last decade across the  GTA, construction has been a major source of both well-paying jobs for  foreign workers, and of poorly-paid, dangerous and exploitative  employment, especially (though not exclusively) among those who are  legally unauthorized to work in Canada. This talk will explore some of the  key forces shaping the GTA’s construction labour market over the last decade through a discussion of new temporary migration schemes catering to foreign tradespeople, the growth of insecure employment conditions in construction, and foreign workers’ own experiences of insecure and exploitative work in the trades. The talk concludes with some questions these findings raise with respect to theories of urbanization within critical urban studies. This case study is part of a larger SSHRC-funded project that compares precarious construction work in the GTA with two other metropolitan areas: London, UK and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Michelle Buckley is an Assistant Professor of Human Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is an urban geographer whose research is broadly concerned with the transnational labour geographies of construction work in cities, and the politics of gender, citizenship, and race that sustain contemporary urbanization.

Photo: Emily Reid-Musson

Peter Love

Thoughts on the Future of Energy Conservation in Ontario

Friday, 27 March
** 4 to 6 pm **
in SS 2125

This lecture will be based on Peter’s more than 30 years of experience in energy policy with a focus on energy efficiency.  This has included managing voluntary high performance programs, advocacy for legislation/regulations, leading the province’s Conservation Bureau and teaching energy efficiency policy at the university level.  Peter will share some of his lessons learned and provide his thoughts on the future of energy conservation in Ontario.  Peter did his undergraduate degree at U of T, was a Teaching Assistant in Environmental Studies, got his MBA and most recently the Institute of Corporate Directors Diploma, taught at Rotman School of Business.

Peter Love is Chief Energy Conservation Officer at Summerhill (A leader in energy efficiency programs he co-founded), President of the Energy Services Association of Canada (an advocacy organization he also co-founded), Adjunct Professor at York University where he teaches courses on energy efficiency and serves on several corporate and non-profit boards. In 2005, he was appointed Ontario’s first Chief Energy Conservation Officer. Earlier in his career, he worked with Pollution Probe to develop the 3Rs: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.

Weiqiang Lin

Moving to a Different Beat? Imitations, Improvisations and Institutions

** Thursday, 2 April **
LinIntersectionsPhoto** 4.30 pm **
SS 2125 (Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street)

This talk approaches mobilities as a multi-faceted cultural and political field that is yet to be fully exhausted. Drawing examples from research on aviation outside the ‘West’, the talk moves through a series of framings by which (aero)mobilities studies can be potentially re-enunciated and complicated. By assuming this ‘other’ geographical position, my aim is neither to reprise regional thinking, nor to describe a different set of (im)mobile conditions encountered in these alternative spaces, Rather, it is to reflect on what ‘new’ analytical coalescences these other geographies are able to throw up, and to engage in a moment of knowledge reconfiguration. Three crystallizations from this ‘lens change’ will be highlighted in this talk – namely, imitations, improvisations and institutions. While most of these conceptual anchors will be applied to an aviation context, their remit arguably extends to other branches of mobility studies as well, from global logistics to sustainable transport. Each of these dimensions is intended not just to enrich theorizations in the field, but also to re-mobilize ‘mobility’ as something always in transition, on the move.

Weiqiang Lin is a postdoctoral researcher in cultural and transport geography at the University of Toronto, under National University of Singapore sponsorship. Weiqiang joined the University of Toronto after obtaining his PhD from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research is primarily focused on aviation, mobilities and infrastructures.

Planners Unplugged

Panel conversations with emerging planners and their research

Wednesday 8 AprilPlannersUnplugged
5.30 to 8.30 pm
Centre for Social Innovation Annex – 720 Bathurst Street  (between Bloor and Harbord)

Join us for an exciting conversation about current planning issues! As soon-to-be graduates of the University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Planning Program, we have each completed unique and innovative research projects. This public event is meant to share our findings, engage others in our work, and consider the significance of this research for the future of planning.

Each participant will have just a few minutes to explain their key findings. This will be followed by a moderated discussion amongst panelists, to uncover the overlapping themes, issues, and implications of these diverse projects. Everyone is encouraged to ask questions, although there will be several breaks between panels to grab a beer and keep the conversation going!

Have a drink (cash bar!), grab some food (free!), and join us as we cap off our two-year professional degrees with an evening of lively discussion.

Please check out the Facebook event listing ( find attached the event poster and detailed descriptions of the four panels.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Geography & Program in Planning, the Planning Alumni Committee, and Intersections


Brian Doucet

Why Detroit Matters: the story of Detroit in ten buildings


Friday, 10 April
3 to 5 pm
in Sid Smith 2125

Detroit has been regularly in the news for several years. It is the most intensely scrutinised city in America today. We all know about its bankruptcy, abandonment, arson and the small-scale creative revival of Downtown. But there is so much more to understanding what has happened to Detroit and what it means for the rest of the urban world. The aim of this talk is to go beyond the normal discourses on the city to challenge what we think we know about Detroit.

Three key themes will underpin this presentation. First, understanding the history of Detroit. Second, examining the geography of its so-called ‘renaissance.’ And third, placing Detroit, a city of 700,000 inhabitants into the wider context of Southeast Michigan, a region of over 4,3 million people.

We will experience the Motor City by way of a virtual driving tour, stopping at ten buildings in the city and its suburbs to further explore the lessons from Detroit, visions coming out of the city and why what happens in Detroit matters for other places as well.


Brian Doucet (1980) is an Assistant Professor of Urban Geography at Utrecht University. He is originally from Toronto, but has lived in the Netherlands since 2004. He obtained his PhD from Utrecht in 2010. His teaching and research covers a broad range of topics within urban geography. His writings on Detroit have featured in The Guardian, The NRC Handelsblad (NL), The Detroit News, the UK’s Town and Country Planning Magazine as well as other academic and professional journals. He is the editor of a forthcoming book Why Detroit Matters, which brings together some of Detroit’s leading scholars, planners, writers, artists and visionaries. Doucet also teaches a Master’s course on North American cities which culminates in a field trip to Toronto and Detroit.