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SFU’s President’s Dream Colloquium explores Making Knowledge Public

by ahnationtalk on September 6, 20181397 Views

September 06, 2018

This fall, Simon Fraser University’s President’s Dream Colloquium will focus on Making Knowledge Public. The six-part public lecture series, beginning on Thursday, September 13, will explore how scholarly research serves and engages the public through topics such as government policy, and the role of research in the public sphere.

Juan Pablo Alperin, coordinator of the colloquium, assistant professor, and associate director of SFU’s Public Knowledge Project, says it’s more important than ever for universities and researchers to assert themselves in the public sphere.

“The academic community needs to reaffirm its commitment to engage with the world through its intellectual pursuits,” says Alperin. “By working with and for the public—and by making the knowledge produced publicly available—it is still possible to insert research, knowledge, and truth back into the public sphere.”

The series features notable guest speakers including Jevin West, co-creator of a ‘calling bullshit’ course at the University of Washington, John Borrows, a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous law, and Robin DeRosa, an open education advocate and director of interdisciplinary studies at Plymouth State University.

Lectures will take place at SFU’s Burnaby and Vancouver campuses. The events are free and open to the public but require registration. Each lecture will be followed by a networking event and reception.


Public opinion on the value of science and research has polarized over the past few years with some governments and politicians discrediting scientists in favour of ideological policies—dubbed the ‘war on science’ by researchers and academics. Even the Canadian government under former prime minister Stephen Harper was found to be muzzling scientists involved in climate change research or other politically sensitive matters.


Thursday, September 13, 5:30–8:30 pm, SFU Vancouver.

Jevin West, Co-creator of Calling Bullshit Course, University of Washington. Speaking on Calling Bullshit on Fake News.

Tuesday, September 25, 5:30–8:30 pm, SFU Burnaby.

Speaker TBA, Value of Research in Public Policy.
Wednesday, October 10, 5:30–8:30 pm, SFU Burnaby.

John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, Collaborating with Indigenous Communities in Research.
Thursday, October 25, 5:30–8:30 pm, SFU Burnaby.

Shannon Dosemagen, Citizen Science.
Thursday, November 8, 5:30–8:30 pm, SFU Burnaby.

Hebe Vessuri, Social anthropologist. Global participation in Knowledge Production.
Thursday, November 22, 5:30–8:30 pm, SFU Burnaby.

Robin DeRosa, Professor and Director, Interdisciplinary Studies, The Future of Public Mission of Universities.



As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

Ian Bryce, University Communications, 604-773-8134,


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