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University unveils plans for Congress 2017

By Will Sloan

Congress 2017

Ryerson will host over 8,000 academics, researchers, and practitioners from May 27 to June 2, 2017.

Ryerson University and the Faculty of Arts will host Congress 2017, Canada’s largest academic gathering, from May 27 to June 2, 2017. The 86th annual event brings together over 8,000 academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners in the humanities and social sciences to exchange ideas for the future of Canada.

Ryerson will organize the weeklong event with the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The congress theme is “From Far and Wide: The Next 150,” selected to reflect the 150th anniversary of Canada’s federation. At a town hall event on October 27 at the Student Learning Centre, the Ryerson community heard how the university will put its mark on the high-profile event.

“We want to highlight things we think define Ryerson University,” said Pamela Sugiman, dean of the Faculty of Arts and executive lead of Congress 2017. “We want to highlight equity, diversity and inclusion; we want to highlight interdisciplinary learning; and we want to highlight the indigeneity of the entire program. Aside from the academic sessions on indigenous issues and a call for truth and reconciliation, we are going to bring in local and national indigenous entertainers.”

More than 70 associations are expected to be part of the event (with delegations ranging from 15 to 1,000 members) on topics ranging from theatre research and literary studies to education, sociology, communications, and history. Programming will be a mix of events for registered attendees only and for the public community.

“How and where else would students have the ability to attend an important national conference, build networks, interact with leaders in the field, and present a paper to begin developing a strong professional presence?” said Patrizia Albanese, congress interdisciplinary program chair. “This is an incredible opportunity for students here at Ryerson to both tactically engage in presenting papers, and to become involved in the organization and running of the event.”

Some of the programming will include Big Thinking lectures, Career Corner workshops, and the Congress Expo—Canada’s largest academic trade show. Some classes may be cancelled during Congress, with almost all Congress events taking place on campus, and with the Congress Hub at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

The Ryerson community is also invited to take part in the organization of the event: 600 volunteer positions, 120 paid positions, and several internships will be open in categories including event management, sustainability, accessibility, hospitality, and communications. “It’s a great opportunity to participate in Congress, gain incredible work experience, network and gain new friends and peers, and surround yourself with big ideas,” said Megan MacLean, volunteer coorindator.

To learn more about Congress 2017, including how to volunteer, go to

Town Hall
The Ryerson community heard how the university will put its mark on Congress 2017 during a town hall event on October 27. From left: Sharmaine McKenzie, congress operations committee co-chair; Patrizia Albanese, congress interdisciplinary programming chair; Julia Macan, congress logistics coordinator; Meg MacLean, congress planning and volunteer coordinator; Pamela Sugiman, dean of arts and congress executive lead; Zehra Shah, congress event assistant.