Bud Mortenson

Email: bud.mortenson@ubc.ca


From left: Colin Basran, mayor of Kelowna; Gaelene Askeland, Journey Home Society; Paul Van Donkelaar, UBC Okanagan; Kerry Rempel, Okanagan College; John Graham, UBC Okanagan; Trevor Corneil, Interior Health Authority; Gordon Lovegrove, UBC Okanagan; Stephanie Lang, UBC Okanagan; Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College.

UBC and Okanagan College team with community groups to tackle issue

Researchers at UBC Okanagan, Interior Health, Okanagan College, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society and various human and health service sectors across the BC Interior, have received federal funding to explore ways to improve services for homeless people.

Funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) combined with funds from UBC and the Vancouver Foundation, brings the support total to $218,000, says John Graham, director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Social Work.

It’s a multidisciplinary approach, he says, with scholars and grad students in engineering, medicine, neuroscience, management, nursing, the social sciences and social work. The group is evaluating three priorities.

“The first: improvements in technology—including database management improvements, and phone apps,” says Graham. “These are important in helping to make homelessness strategies more responsive, efficient, and at the same time, increasing the number of people who are able to be off the street.”

Second, says Graham, the group is examining how the homeless experience stigma and how business owners, neighbours, and service users and providers might better understand each others’ viewpoints.

“And finally, we are developing and evaluating a number of health and human service improvements. We need better delivery of the specific service needs of those who have experienced traumatic brain injury, versus a major mental disorder, a substance misuse, generalized trauma, each of which often frequently co-occurs.”

In 2018, the City of Kelowna adopted the Journey Home Strategy—a five-year plan to address homelessness with a focus on ensuring everyone has a place to call home. Journey Home’s goal is to ensure a coordinated and easy-to-access system of care for those in the region who have lost, or are at risk of losing, their home.

“We now have a team in place that will significantly contribute to service improvements and reductions in homelessness,” says Graham.

The research team expects more funding opportunities to come from this initiative.

“We should be able to leverage current funds to quickly get over the $1-million mark within a year,” states Graham. “I really want to see the university’s skills leveraged to help improve the homelessness response roll out across the region.

“Throughout, we are engaging with service providers, service users, and broader community members in direct ways that bring all parties to the table to co-develop regionally-specific solutions,” Graham adds. “Together with myriad partners across the city and region, we will make a difference that will be informed by rigorous empirical evidence.”

Partners in the initiative include:

  • BrainTrust Canada
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Central Okanagan Journey Home Society
  • Central Okanagan School District
  • City of Kelowna
  • Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
  • Interior Health
  • John Howard Society
  • Kelowna Community Resources
  • Kelowna Friendship Society
  • Kelowna Gospel Mission
  • Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Okanagan Boys and Girls Club
  • Okanagan College
  • Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • A Way Home Kelowna
  • Westbank First Nation
  • The Bridge Youth & Family Services

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.

Anthropology professor Naomi McPherson

Naomi McPherson, associate professor of anthropology at UBC's Okanagan campus, has been named the next editor-in-chief of Anthropologica, the Journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society. McPherson will succeed current editor-in-chief Andrew Lyons, professor emeritus of anthropology at Wilfrid Laurier University.

In making the announcement, the executive board of the Canadian Anthropology Society described McPherson as "an established scholar with extensive fieldwork experience in New Britain and who has published widely on such topics as myth, ritual, sorcery, gender relations, kinship, the anthropology of human reproduction, and HIV/AIDS."

"We're very proud to see Naomi's outstanding contributions and leadership in the study of anthropology recognized this way," says Cynthia Mathieson, Dean of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences at UBC's Okanagan campus. "She will be setting the direction for a journal that is very prominent and highly regarded in anthropology both here in Canada and around the world."

McPherson was editor of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) monograph, "In Colonial New Guinea: Anthropological Perspectives," and is currently co-editing with Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies PhD student Michelle Walks an anthology called "Mothering: Anthropological Perspectives."

McPherson's three-year term will begin next May.

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Anthropology Professor Diana French

Anthropology Professor Diana French, acting head of the Community, Culture and Global Studies Unit at UBC's Okanagan campus, has won Public Anthropology’s Eleanor Roosevelt Global Citizenship Award.

Named to honour the 20th century's "First Lady of the World," the award recognizes French's exceptionally effective participation in Public Anthropology’s Community Action Online Project, as well as her wider activities in the public sphere. Only a select few – less than one per cent of the faculty teaching introductory anthropology courses across North America – receive this award.

"Prof. French is to be commended for how she takes classroom knowledge and applies it to real-world challenges, thereby encouraging students to be responsible global citizens," said Rob Borofsky, director of the Center for a Public Anthropology and Professor of Anthropology at Hawaii Pacific University. "In actively addressing important ethical concerns within anthropology, Prof. French is providing students with the thinking and writing skills needed for active citizenship."

Last week, the Center for a Public Anthropology -- which encourages scholars and their students to address public problems in public ways -- announced that 15 of French's introductory anthropology students had earned Public Anthropology Awards in a North America-wide essay competition.   The Community Action Project involved more than 4,000 students from 21 universities and colleges.

In April 2010, French's colleagues Anthropology Professors Robin Dods and Hugo De Burgos were also honoured with Public Anthropology's Eleanor Roosevelt Global Citizenship Awards, for inspiring university students to take part in the global community and think critically, respond intelligently, and act responsibly.

"Congratulations to Prof. French, the Community, Culture and Global Studies Unit, and the University of British Columbia Okanagan," said Borofsky.

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Robert Silverman

One of Canada's premiere pianists, Robert Silverman will be at UBC's Okanagan campus on October 27 to perform three of Beethoven's sonatas. This concert is free, open to the public, and will mark the in-concert debut of the campus' new grand piano.

In a career spanning more than five decades, Silverman has climbed every peak of serious pianism: lauded performances in prestigious halls across the globe; orchestral appearances with many of the world's greatest conductors; and award-winning recordings distributed internationally.

This is the third concert performance in this season's Minds and Music concert series, which presents a mixture of genres -- from jazz piano and voice to orchestra rehearsal and piano recitals -- showcasing the talent of well-established artists from the Okanagan, British Columbia, and beyond.

"The vision of the Minds and Music is to presents the world’s finest music by renowned performers, and put it all into a contemporary context through informal lectures by faculty and artists about the music, its past, and how it relates to the present," says Manuela Ungureanu, a philosophy professor at UBC's Okanagan campus and organizer of the series.

"The Silverman concert holds particular significance, as it will be the first time our new grand piano will be used, which was made possible through fundraising efforts over the last few years and the generous support of a donor this past summer."

Shortly before Silverman performs, concert attendees will be guided through a brief interactive discussion focusing on the history of the piano and how it changed the repertoire of music when it came onto the scene in the early 1800s.

The Robert Silverman performance will take place at 1 p.m. in the University Centre ballroom (UNC200). Following Silverman's concert, students will showcase their talents on the new grand piano.

For more information about Robert Silverman, visit www.robert-silverman.com.

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Auditions are now open for violin students from the Okanagan region who would like to participate in a master class led by internationally acclaimed violinist Angèle Dubeau.

Dubeau and the all-female string ensemble La Pietà will perform at Kelowna's First Lutheran Church, 4091 Lakeshore Road, in UBC Okanagan’s Minds and Music series on March 2. In a two-part program, Dubeau will conduct a master class with four violin students, then lead La Pietà in concert performing mainly 20th-century music, including music by Canadian composers.

“We are thrilled to welcome La Pietà back to the Okanagan,” says Manuela Ungureanu, organizer of theMinds and Music series. “They gave an exceptional performance in 2006 as part of our very first season. This time, a selection of the Okanagan’s promising violin students will have an opportunity to study with an outstanding teacher in Angèle Dubeau. We will then be treated to a wonderful retrospective of La Pietà’s repertoire.”

Tickets for the Mar. 2 master class and performance at First Lutheran Church will be $23, and will be available through Ticketmaster (250-860-1470) starting Feb. 4, Ungureanu advises. The master class is from 3 to 4:30 p.m., followed by a concert from 5 to 6 p.m.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward the purchase of a baby grand piano for the UBC Okanagan campus. Donations are invited for either the Minds and Music program or the piano fund. Contact the UBC Okanagan Development office at 807-9251.

Call for Auditions

Four students from the Okanagan region will be selected through a blind audition process in which judges do not know the identity of the candidates. Violin students interested in participating in the master class must be studying at Royal Conservatory Grade 9 or higher level, be 32 years of age or younger, and reside in the Okanagan region.

To audition, candidates are asked to submit five copies of an audio CD or tape featuring their performances of two pieces as follows: (a) one classical selection (unaccompanied Bach piece counts as classical) and (b) one Romantic or contemporary. Audition material should be no more than 30 minutes in duration.

Along with five copies of the audio CD, candidates are asked to include a separate page with their name, contact information, a brief note about their record of relevant performance and study, and their interest in pursuing a career in music performance.

The closing date for receiving applications is Monday, February 11, 2008. Applications should be mailed to:

Minds and Music Series
c/o Manuela Ungureanu
Arts Building ART236, UBC Okanagan
3333 University Way
Kelowna, B.C. V1V 1V7

To ensure blind judging, the CDs should not bear any identifying information about the violin student. The final selection for the master class will be announced by February 25.

Other Upcoming Concerts

Daniel Bolshoy in Concert with South American Music Tomorrow, Jan. 23
This Wednesday, Jan. 23, guitarist Daniel Bolshoy will perform a free concert of South American music at UBC Okanagan. The performance begins in the Student Service Centre’s Theatre (SSC026) at 2 p.m. Bolshoy teaches guitar at Concordia University in Montreal and regularly offers master classes to guitar societies and educational institutions internationally. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Valentine’s Day with Soprano Dawn Mussellam at UBC Okanagan
Dawn Mussellam, an acclaimed soprano whose recital concerts include opera, oratorio, musical, and song repertoire, will perform Music to Stir the Heart on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. Accompanied by pianist Arnold Draper, this free concert will feature works by Handel, Mahler, Puccini, Menotti and Herbert. The performance begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Student Service Centre foyer at UBC Okanagan.

Okanagan Symphony at UBC Okanagan April 4
The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra will perform a selection from Awakenings at UBC Okanagan on April 4. The performance begins at 12:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Student Services Centre, and will include pieces by Williams, Elgar, Mahler and Smetena. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Check the UBC Okanagan website for more about the Minds and Music series: www.ubc.ca/okanagan.

About Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà

Angèle Dubeau is a graduate and First Prize Winner of the Montreal Conservatory of Music. She pursued her studies at the Juilliard School of Music and, from 1981 to 1984, left for Romania to work with Stefan Gheorghiu. Since then, Dubeau has become one of Canada's most prominent artists.

Winner of several important international competitions, she has performed in prestigious concert halls in more than 25 countries. Her numerous recordings have been acclaimed by both the public and the press, and she is one of the few Canadian soloists in classical music to have two certified gold records for 50,000 albums sold in one year.

In 1997, Dubeau created La Pietà, a string ensemble, bringing together some of the finest women musicians in Canada. Under her direction, the group has acquired a solid reputation. From the start, the ensemble performed in some of Canada's most prestigious venues, as well as on both the Radio-Canada and CBC television networks. Dubeau and La Pietà play numerous concerts in Canada, including several for women's charities.

From 1994 to 2005, Dubeau was also a Radio-Canada television personality, hosting concert broadcasts and weekly music programs. Dubeau became a Knight of the Ordre National du Québec in 2004, a Member of the Order of Canada in July 1996, and in the same year, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste awarded her the Calixa-Lavallée prize for her exceptional contribution to classical music.

Angèle Dubeau plays on the "Des Rosiers" Stradivarius violin (1733).

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