The event – featuring discussion, video and performance – will be held from 5 - 7 p.m. March 7 in room A180 of the University Centre. (Photo courtesy of UVic)

Ideafest session addresses living in the margins of higher education

Social class is key diversity area often left out of conversations and policies: organizers

A group of advocates working to remove barriers for students at UVic who are living in or from a background of poverty, will showcase the voices and stories of such individuals at Ideafest – the University of Victoria’s week-long festival of research, art and innovation.

The Shoestring Initiative is hosting the “interactive, educational and fun” session, that explores living in the margins of higher education, on March 7.

Different institutions, including universities, work towards inclusivity of minorities based on race, sexual orientation, disabilities and gender, said the session organizers.

“Yet a key diversity area is often left out of conversations and policies: social class. Students and professors from poverty and working-class backgrounds often remain an invisible minority, living in the margins of higher education,” said Shoestring Initiative co-founder Elaine Laberge.

RELATED: UVic advocacy group builds resources for students living in poverty

Victoria City Councillor Sarah Potts is host for the free event and will be joined by UVic presenters Colette Smart, Elaine Laberge, Catherine Léger, Lisa Ordell, Suzanne Urbanczyk and Jamie Dopp.

The event – featuring discussion, video and performance – will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. March 7 in room A180 of the University Centre.

The Shoestring Initiative was spearheaded by a UVic sociology doctoral student looking to remove barriers and provide support for students living in or from a background of poverty.

“As a student from generational poverty, I know how hard it can be to try to get to university, and ‘succeed’ on a very unfamiliar landscape, with a culture I don’t understand,” said Laberge, who launched the initiative with three associate professor co-founders.

The project’s aim is to advance socioeconomic diversity in Canadian universities by providing community, support and advocacy among UVic community members who identify as being from (or living in) poverty, foster care, working class backgrounds or as first-generation university students.

ALSO READ: Feds pump $3.5M into UVic climate research centre

At the University of Victoria’s eighth annual Ideafest, running March 4 to 9, UVic faculty, staff and students showcase research, innovation and creativity “through projects and initiatives designed to enlighten or alter individual perspectives.”

Subjects – ranging from how a rise in asylum seekers affects Canada, to how the rise in machine learning affects our everyday lives – are discussed in panels, hands-on workshops, exhibits, performances, screenings and tours on campus and in the community.

“Ideafest connects research to community. It allows UVic researchers and artists to share knowledge in different ways to appeal to a wide range of audiences,” says David Castle, UVic’s vice-president of research. “This year, Ideafest features the exchange of ideas on key issues such as climate change, Indigenous law and human rights, innovations in research and science communication, and the role of technology across sectors. We invite the public’s engagement so they can better understand how research impacts their own lives and that of society.”

All events are free and open to the public. View the full Ideafest schedule at www.uvic.ca/ideafest.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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