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The Laurier Milton Lecture Series provides a wonderful opportunity to engage in a public dialogue with citizens of Milton on a broad array of important topics. Presentations represent the current research and analysis of members of different faculties, departments and programs at Laurier. New for this year Laurier researchers are engaging with community members to discuss their research findings and the implications of their work.

The 2022/23 season is now complete! Information for 2023/24 will be posted when it becomes available.

Past Lectures

Film Viewing and Discussion: Safe Haven

  • Alison Mountz, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Global Migration
  • May 10, 2023

Join Alison Mountz, Canada Research Chair in Global Migration, to view the film Safe Haven. Safe Haven weaves together the powerful stories of two generations of American war resisters who sought safe haven in Canada during both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. The film is directed by Lisa Molomot and is based on Mountz’s research into the topic. In 2020, Mountz and Molomot began showing Safe Haven at film festivals across North America, but their promotional plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Safe Haven has been picked up by New Day Films, a distribution collective founded by women filmmaker. Mountz will hold a Q-and-A with the audience after the film screening.

Alison Mountz Biography: Mountz is a Canada Research Chair in Global Migration and is a leading researcher on the topic of refuge and asylum in Canada. Her current SSHRC-funded research takes a unique perspective on asylum, exploring the stories of American refugees in Canada. Her research documents the oral histories of American civilians and soldiers from the Vietnam War and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq who were both successful and unsuccessful at gaining status in Canada. Read more about Mountz’s research.

Understanding Race-Based Data in Ontario

  • April 12, 2023

Lakhdeep Singh Dhaliwal (he/him), Chief Diversity Officer of the Milton Public Library will facilitate a conversation about race-based data in Ontario with Adjunct Professor Patrick Watson and the Seeing Justice Research Team. The audience is invited to bring their questions about the opportunities and challenges of understanding race-based data in Ontario.

Re-imagining Teacher Education for the Future

  • Panel members:
    • Maria Cantalini-Williams, Dean, Faculty of Education
    • Brian Capovilla, Superintendent of Wellington Catholic District School Board
    • Em Del Sordo, Superintendent of Halton Catholic District School Board
    • Jacqueline Newton, Superintendent of Halton District School Board
    • Peter Sovran, Director of Upper Grand District School Board
  • March 8, 2023

Join Maria Cantalini-Williams to discuss how school boards and faculties of education can collaborate to make positive impacts on teaching, learning and research communities. This conversation will additionally provide an overview of the current teacher education program offered by Wilfrid Laurier University. Panel members from local school boards will share their insights and inspirations of innovative strategies to prepare teachers for educational systems of the future. Dare to dream big!

Maria Cantalini-Williams Biography: Cantalini-Williams is the Dean of the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University. She received her Doctor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in the Department of Applied Psychology. Her research is focused on innovation in education, collaborative inquiry, early childhood and work-integrated learning models. She has authored and co-authored numerous books, chapters in books and academic journal articles on these topics. She taught in the Bachelor of Education and Graduate Studies programs and was Director and Associate Dean of the Laurier-Nipissing Concurrent Education program in Brantford for six years. Maria also founded and was the faculty lead for Nipissing’s international practicum program in Italy for 12 years. Since 2016, she was Chair of a Rideau Hall Foundation committee working on the Education for Innovation project, designed to develop innovation skills and mindsets in Canadian students.

Watch her TEDx Talk on Innovation and Education.

Engaging with Homeless Encampments through a Human Rights Lens

  • Laura Pin, Assistant Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Hannah McGurk, Masters of Applied Politics Graduate, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Geeta Pathak, Supervisor, Halton Housing Help Centre
  • January 11
  • Watch the Recording

Homeless encampments in communities across Ontario are becoming more and more visible and municipalities across Ontario are trying to address the issues and needs of the encampments and the residents that live there. Join Assistant Professor Laura Pin and recent graduate Hannah McGurk to discuss the recommendations from their co-edited report “Homeless Encampments through a Human Rights Lens”. Geeta Pathak from the Halton Housing Help Centre will engage with the report and share her experiences with these issues. The report emerged from a community-engaged research project with the Region of Waterloo and provides a comparison of encampment protocols among six municipalities.

Panel Member Biographies

Laura Pin is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University. Pin’s research examines how social inequality intersects with policy-governance regimes and how political scientists can use community engaged research to understand participation in public policy beyond formal political institutions. She engages with race, class, gender, disability and other categories of difference to understand the lived experiences of policy. Pin was awarded a PhD in Political Science from York University, with a focus on Canadian and comparative politics. Prior to joining Laurier, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Guelph, with a joint appointment to the Political Science Department and Community-Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI). She grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and was the first person in her family to attend university

Hannah McGurk is a recent graduate of the Master of Applied Politics program at Wilfrid Laurier University. During her graduate degree, Hannah specialized in Canadian Housing Policy and co-authored an article on the regulation of unsheltered homelessness in Canada. Hannah’s research has been sought after by the Region of Waterloo, and other non-profit organizations such as the Canadian Observatory for Homelessness, the Right to National Housing Network and Peterborough Drug Strategy. Hannah previously completed a double major in honours political science and honors sociology from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Geeta Pathak is a supervisor at Housing Help Centre. Halton Housing Help Centre offers offer one-to-one support to individuals and families with complex housing needs. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Trent University.

An Evening of Holiday Memories

  • Jerzy Kaplanek, Professor and Penderecki String Quartet member
  • Kevin Day, Assistant Professor of Composition
  • December 14, 2022

Join Jerzy Kaplanek, violin and Kevin Day, piano, as they present improvised selections for violin and piano that inspire them during the holiday season.

Listen to their improvisation to launch the 2022-23 school year.

Jerzy Kaplanek Biography: Jerzy is a Professor of Violin, Strings and Chamber Music, and the String Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is a member of the Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ), quartet-in-residence at Laurier. Jerzy was born in Poland and began his musical training at the age of six on piano and transitioned to the violin at age ten. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory in Bytom and a Master’s Degree in Arts from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice.

Since joining the Penderecki Quartet in 1987, He has been actively performing throughout Canada, Europe, Asia and North and South America. His solo recording, “Music of Karol Szymanowski” was described by The Strad magazine as “an outstanding release”. He has also released over two dozen CDs (Marquis, Eclectra, CBC, CMC, EMI labels), including an acclaimed recording of the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók with the PSQ and Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble.

Kevin Day Biography: Internationally acclaimed composer, conductor, and pianist Kevin Day is an Assistant Professor of Composition in Laurier’s Faculty of Music. Day’s musical intersections which fall between the worlds of jazz, minimalism, Latin, Blues, Hip-Hop, fusion, and contemporary classical idioms. His recent highlights include consideration for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for his Concerto for Wind Ensemble, a Broadcast Music Inc. Foundation award, and his Carnegie Hall conducting debut at the 2022 New York International Music Festival.

Day has composed over 200 works, and has had numerous performances throughout the United States, Russia, Austria, Australia, Taiwan, South Africa, and Japan His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Rachmaninov Hall (Russia), The Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the largest band and orchestra conference in the world, and other major venues.

To hear and learn more about Kevin Day visit

Planetary Health: Conservation and Sustainability of Canada’s Natural Resources

  • Ernest Yanful, Senior Advisor, Laurier Milton
  • Heidi Swanson, Inaugural Jarislowsky Chair in Sustainable Water Futures, Department of Biology
  • Nov. 16, 2022

Join Ernest Yanful, senior advisor, Laurier Milton and Heidi Swanson, the inaugural Jarislowsky Chair in Sustainable Water Futures to discuss how Laurier is engaged in sustainability and planetary health research and education. Researchers working in this space will share their research and ideas for the future of planetary health. This work informs effective conservation and management strategies across Canada.

Yanful will share his thoughts on the design of sustainability engineering program on the new Laurier Milton campus to educate conservation professionals.

Swanson will discuss issues of contaminants (especially mercury) in subsistence food fish in the Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories. She will also discuss how this work supports the sustainability of Canada’s water and natural resources.

Heidi Swanson Biography: Heidi Swanson is the inaugural Jarislowsky Chair in Sustainable Water Futures. Swanson leads an interdisciplinary research program focused on the impacts of climate change and associated disturbances on aquatic ecosystem health that will support the sustainability of Canada’s water and natural resources.

Ernest Yanful Biography: Ernest Yanful, a professor emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Western University and the founding provost at the Africa Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management, part of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, has been appointed the senior advisor in the establishment of Laurier’s engineering programs and initiatives on the new Milton campus. At Laurier’s Milton campus, he is developing programs that address current and emerging areas of national and global concerns, such as energy, water, climate change and sustainability, while emphasizing development and production that are circular rather than linear.

Film Screening and Discussion: Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children

Join Associate Professor Kate Rossiter, a Laurier researcher who worked alongside survivors of the Huronia Regional Centre and film maker Barri Cohen to discuss the documentary Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children. The documentary details Barri’s quest to discover the fate of her disabled brothers, and uncovers an institution's shocking history of neglect and abuse. Viewers of the film will come away with an understanding and a new appreciation about the perils of incarceration within care organizations.

Through Rossiter’s careful work, Laurier is in possession of most of Huronia's remaining artifacts, that are featured in the film. Cohen and Rossiter will share their experiences of working with the artifacts and Rossiter will share the Recounting Huronia digital archive she has created to share these artifacts with the public. Together they will detail how a growing awareness about the dehumanization that can occur in institutional care settings, created through the documentary and the archive, can prevent institutional violence.

African Canadian girls and Activism in Ontario

  • Esther Hayford, PhD Candidate, Social Work
  • Feb. 9, 2022

There are extensive studies on Black student resistance in Ontario’s high schools, however research that focuses on how oppositional behaviour can provide opportunities for change is understudied. To expand the scholarship on Black student resistance, Esther Hayford explores the advocacy and organization related experiences of 20 African high school girls in Ontario through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. This Narrative Inquiry will also explore issues of race with a specific focus on anti-Black racism.

Looking for more of the Milton Lecture Series?

Check out the Milton Public Library's series playlist on YouTube, including recordings from current and past years.