artUWindsor’s School of Creative Arts will mount an exhibition and symposium on the work of communication theorist Marshall McLuhan.

Exhibition and symposium to celebrate communication theorist

Marshall McLuhan is coming home again.

An exhibition inspired by the pop culture icon’s theories about media and communication is opening at UWindsor’s School of Creative Arts (SoCA). Feedback #4: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts, curated by professor Michael Darroch, is a joint exhibition with the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. It runs at the SoCA Armouries until March 8, and in Detroit until March 23.

In conjunction with the exhibition is a symposium March 1 at SoCA and March 2 in Detroit. Called the EDGY MEDIA Symposium, it brings together scholars, curators and artists to present studies on the ways borders and migration shape communication and media arts.

“The symposium starts with the premise that experiences of borders and the necessity to migrate have long shaped theories, methods and practices within media and communication studies and related media arts,” Dr. Darroch said.

McLuhan was a communication theorist whose studies on the mass media gained him international fame in the 1960s while living in the United States. Canadian by birth, he came back to Canada to teach at Assumption College, the precursor to the University of Windsor, from 1944 to 1946.

“The exhibition and symposium mark 75 years since Marshall McLuhan crossed back over the U.S.-Canada border,” Darroch said. That milestone is what helped Darroch land the exhibition and put on the symposium with a grant from the Social Sciences and humanities Research Council of Canada.

The exhibition is the fourth iteration of one initiated in the Netherlands. It’s the first time it has been outside of Europe.

It features two installations of McLuhan’s own works, as well as works by UWindsor faculty members Jennifer Willet and Iain Baxter&.

Darroch said each iteration is different. “It responds to itself. It’s a feedback loop.”

The symposium features a keynote lecture at 5:30 p.m. on March 1 by New York University’s Radha Hedge in SoCA’s Performance Hall, followed by a reception for the exhibition from 7 to 9 p.m.  The exhibit and symposium lecture are open to the public. Note: SoCA is open Monday to Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is closed on Feb. 18 and 22.

Sarah Sacheli

Shahida NurullahVocalist Shahida Nurullah will join the Windsor Symphony Orchestra for concerts this weekend celebrating the music of George Gershwin.

UWindsor music instructor to lend voice to jazz concert

If you want to hear Shahida Nurullah sing the Darktown Strutters’ Ball this weekend, you’ll have to be ready well before half-past 8:00. The vocalist and UWindsor voice instructor will join the Windsor Symphony Orchestra for a concert focused on the music of composer George Gershwin.

Nurullah will sing Gershwin’s Summertime as well as works by other composers, including Darktown Strutters’ Ball — the best-known piece by Amherstburg-born Shelton Brooks — in two performances at the Capitol Theatre:

  • Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 17, 2:30 p.m.

Entitled “Gershwin meets Steinway,” the program will also feature pianist Daniel Wnukowski playing the orchestra’s new Steinway piano.

Tickets are available for purchase online at, in person from the box office at 121 University Ave. W., or by phone at 519-973-1238, ext. 2.

Perween Rahman standing in front of city mapA biopic of architect and urban planner Perween Rahman will open the South Asian Documentary Film Festival, March 8 on the UWindsor campus.

Film festival to screen South Asian documentaries

An architect and urban planner, Perween Rahman dedicated her life to the poor of Pakistan. After her pioneering work in the slums of Karachi set her on a collision course with the city’s criminal gangs, Rahman was shot dead by armed assailants.

The biographical film Perween Rahman: The Rebel Optimist, by director Mahera Omar, will open the South Asian Documentary Film Festival on International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8.

The event, at 11:30 a.m. in room 203, Toldo Health Education Centre, will also feature a screening of Is it too much to ask, which chronicles the obstacles and social stigma encountered by transgender women seeking a rental apartment in Chennai.

Women’s and gender studies professor Urvashi Soni-Sinha will introduce the films and lead a discussion afterward.

The festival will continue with screenings in the SoCA Armouries' Performance Hall:

  • Shepherdess of the Glaciers, 4 p.m. Saturday, March 9
  • Overruled, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14
  • Fireflies in the Abyss, 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 15
  • Demons in Paradise, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16

Sponsored by the Department of Communication, Media and Film; the women’s and gender studies program; and the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; all events are free and open to the public.

Find details on the festival website.

redside daceThe redside dace turns bright red during its spawning season.

Funding to support fish restoration research

A UWindsor researcher studying how to bring a small but significant fish back from the brink of extinction is receiving some additional support from the federal government.

Trevor Pitcher, director of UWindsor’s Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre on the Detroit River in LaSalle, has received a $50,000 grant from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk for his work with the redside dace.

The minnow — remarkable for its ability to jump half a metre out of the water to pluck insects out of the air and for the bright red colour it turns during spawning season — is poised to become the model for how to reintroduce endangered freshwater species to the wild, Dr. Pitcher said.

The grant is one of six projects being funded in the first year of a five-year initiative. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the funding of six projects totalling more than $790,000 as part of a five-year, $55 million strategy.

“DFO recognizes the importance of taking prompt action in helping these aquatic species at risk recover,” the federal government announced. “These initial one-year projects will help address immediate needs and threats in areas across the country and provide a real benefit to species at risk.”

Pitcher said his research promotes the recovery of a species that could otherwise become extinct within a decade.

“It’s important for understanding what habitats to protect in the context of turbidity and thermal stressors,” Pitcher said of the research.

The redside dace is a piscine version of a canary in a coal mine, a bioindicator of an ecosystem’s health. Only a few small populations remain in Canada.

Pitcher’s research on the redside dace began last year and includes guidelines and protocols for creating a captive breeding population to one day perform reintroductions into streams in and around the Greater Toronto Area. The species is disappearing from its natural habitat, in part, because of rising water temperatures attributed to urbanization.

The $50,000 grant will allow Pitcher to study the genetic mechanisms of thermal tolerance of the redside dace to provide conservation managers better information about thresholds related to habitat quality. He will bring more students on board in his lab to work with the cutting-edge genomics equipment at UWindsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research.

Pitcher said the funding will allow his team of researchers to provide managers critically needed thermal thresholds and their related genetic mechanisms for species at risk.

“We are going to be able to tell them exactly what this species can tolerate in the context of thermal stress.”

Pitcher said the redside dace populations are suffering in the short term from sudden fluctuations in water temperature due to storm water and other effects of urbanization, and in the long term because of climate change.

“This funding is important,” Pitcher said. “Without this funding, we wouldn’t understand thermal tolerance and the mechanisms for habitat protection for this very important endangered species.”

K.W. Michael Siu, UWindsor’s vice-president, research and innovation, said the grant is important to the university.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I am delighted the DFO is supporting University of Windsor research,” Dr. Siu said. “This is important research that will preserve a species in the natural environment.”

—Sarah Sacheli

EPIC Blue Sky competitionA social Feb. 26 will connect potential participants in the EPIC Blue Sky competition.

Social to help connect students with ideas

The EPIC Blue Sky competition empowers students to explore their entrepreneurial mindsets.

In multi-disciplinary teams of two to four, they propose a solution to a problem and create a two-minute video explaining the problem and their solution.

The competition offers a total of $2,750 in cash prizes. Find more details, including eligibility rules and deadlines, on the competition website.

No team? No sweat! Organizers are hosting a reception to bring together interested students for a chance to meet other potential contestants. It is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m. in the EPICentre on the second floor of the Joyce Entrepreneurship Centre. Register here for the EPIC Blue Sky Social.

Office of Open Learning extends deadline for OER ACE grants

The Office of Open Learning has extended the deadline for the OER ACE Grants to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in response to a number of requests for extensions.

“There are a lot of people with really good and interesting ideas about how to create and use open educational resources in their teaching, and we want to ensure that there is enough time to put together the best possible application at such a busy time of the year,” said Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning.

The grants are intended to support faculty and staff in adopting, creating, and extending openly licenced learning materials in both credit and non-credit learning opportunities.

Projects that support indigenization of the curriculum, address issues of reconciliation, diversity, equity, internationalization, or which are targeted to support and improve outcomes for underserved or diverse groups are particularly encouraged to apply, as are interdisciplinary or collaborative proposals, and proposals involving students.

There are two categories in the current call, which has a total of up to $50,000 to support projects in 2018-19:

The Office of Open Learning encourages anyone thinking of applying to contact the office to discuss their ideas before submitting a proposal. Proposals may be emailed to with the subject line “OER ACE proposal.”

For more information about the Office of Open Learning’s support for creating, adopting or adapting, OERs, or questions about the grants, contact Baker at 519-253-3000, ext. 4925, by email:, or drop in to the offices in G102, Lambton Tower basement.