Concordia University: Creating innovation through International Graduate Summer Schools

Offered by the Faculty of Arts and Science at Concordia University in Montreal, the International Graduate Summer Schools (IGSS) are welcoming students from all over the world.

By promoting the use of experiential learning, Concordia’s IGSS environments influence student thinking in relevant and enduring ways. Through an international and interdisciplinary course setting, the schools bring together a diverse mix of backgrounds.

During last year’s IGSS, students from over 20 different countries brought their expertise and interests to explore topics like critical museology, media archaeology, Quebec performing arts, planetary futures, policies and politics of refugee resettlement in Canada and projected futures of science journalism.

By highlighting these subject areas in a vibrant and contemporary classroom setting, the 2018 IGSS syllabus continues to inspire students and helps them to tackle real-world issues.

With regards to one of the upcoming summer schools, Counter Radicalization Education, Dr. Naseem aims to teach students how to effectively perform research and interpret information, to consider the interplay of local and global frameworks, and to reframe the relevance of their scholarly work to the rest of the world. As he states, “We offer a local class that applies to a relevant global issue”.

At the Concordia international graduate summer schools, students and professors share their knowledge and combine their expertise to address specific areas of research.

IGSS aims for the creation of lifelong connections. Both learners and mentors establish a shared network of knowledge and contacts, which should last and be leveraged throughout their careers. The interdisciplinary approach also brings diverse perspectives to ensure research remains both relevant and avant-garde.

Following the edition of the 2017 summer school, Projected Futures 1, and excited to welcome new students into its 2018 iteration, Dr. Secko explains, “In addition to an intensive and excellent education in evidence-based science journalism, students will become part of the Projected Futures network – a growing group of students dedicated to finding innovative ways of communicating science.”

IGSS courses, such as the Project Futures series are designed by their professors with care and dedication. Typically, they offer more than their descriptions may convey and go far beyond traditional academic boundaries.

For instance, historian Dr. Zilberstein explains how her course Edible Environments challenges the notion of food, “Montreal is known for its markets, fine restaurants, and joie de vivre, and students will have a chance to explore those aspects of the city. But I’d like to move away from the notion of food as an issue mainly of individual consumer choices and to understand the broader politics that inform, limit, and structure such choices.”

That’s why Dr. Zilberstein will consider topics such as the history of hunger and poverty, feeding the city’s horses, the criminalization of chicken coops and urban foraging, the influence of multinational sugar companies and the ecological and economic conditions that encourage large or small-scale farming.

IGSS are also rich with collaborative experimentation. For example, the Research-Creation Methods and Embedded Observational Research in Contemporary Physical Theatre course includes the guidance of top teachers from the National Circus School, professional directors and artists.

As Dr. Patrick Leroux states, “The school will be embedded in both an existing research program looking into embodied knowledge and dramaturgy as well as the international Montréal Complètement Cirque festival. By focusing on research creation as a method, students will critically analyze the creative process that is at stake in Contemporary Circus.”

Dr. Leroux also adds that, “Confirmed registered graduate students will be converging to Concordia University from all over South America, North America, Europe and Australia.”

Like last year’s summer schools, the 2018 edition will welcome academic and industry professionals into valuable conversations with students. This will help them grapple with experimental and innovative cross-disciplinary applications of research in the public sphere and exposes them to the working world.

Dr. Naccache explains how this will unfold in his Nanobiomaterials course, “During the summer school, we will have a world-renowned lineup of speakers who will lead us on a journey firmly rooted in the natural sciences. With a focus on the fundamental principles and practice of nanoparticle design, synthesis, characterization and behaviour, we will combine the use of lectures, tutorials and workshops to stimulate discussion and tackle challenging concepts in the field.”

During their chosen course, students of IGSS dive into interdisciplinary activities amid the triad of academics, industry, and the public (community). By merging this with the diverse backdrop of Montreal, it’s the perfect place to encounter a deeply diversified population and to enjoy a city that’s rich with history.

As your chosen Concordia summer school will host a blend of cultures, you’ll also share an experiential adventure with like-minded learners and that will teach you to embrace the strength of different perspectives.

Although the schools are full for this summer, keep an eye for the 2019 IGSS’s registration. All themes are to be presented by December 2018!

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