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FASA to host 2019 Arts Undergraduate Research Symposium

By Derek Baker, March 15 2019 —

The Faculty of Arts Students’ Association (FASA) is set to host their revamped Arts Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 19. The symposium will bring together 22 student presenters to showcase their research in arts.

“The main goal is to provide a platform for students to showcase their academic research to professors and alumni — to give more exposure to the arts community, what research we have going on in the Faculty of Arts,” FASA vice-president academic Era Rana said.

Five participants — the top three poster presentations and top two PowerPoint presenters — will win a prize of $100.

Applications for the AURS opened in December 2018. Era said that while the majority of presenters come from “social science-y” departments like political science, international relations and sociology, there are also participants from fields like Arctic studies and fine arts.

Following the AURS presentations in the morning, FASA is also hosting the Mini Mentorship Conference. This portion of the event will bring 15–20 faculty alumni to participate in breakout sessions with the attendees.

“We also collaborated with Emily Aalbers, who is the Arts alumni specialist in the Faculty of Arts. She works closely with the Faculty of Arts alumni advisory council,” Rana said.

Bringing in alumni for the Mini Mentorship Conferences is intended to show participants and attendees where arts research can take them.

“You’re like, ‘Okay, so I’ve done a bunch of this, what is going to happen when I get my degree?’ When deciding to do the Mini Mentorship Conference with AURS, it’s kind of a ‘thank you’ for bringing this forward and being proud of your work,” FASA vice-president events Elaina Vaghri said. “Here’s a bunch of alumni who have done great things and here are your judges that are your professors who have done great things. You can talk to them to see where you can take the work that you’ve done.”

Planning the event has been a year-long project for FASA. Rana emphasized that it’s been a team effort, highlighting the work of the AURS committee under her portfolio, as well as faculty support.

“We do a lot of fun events that are all-inclusive and welcoming to not just the Faculty of Arts but everyone on campus,” Vaghri said, mentioning FASA’s Welcome Evening and Gala. “This [event] is bringing the academia side of campus life and the social aspect of campus life and kind of marrying the two.”

“We worked on logos and really legitimizing it so that it is taken seriously. Part of building FASA this year was we wanted to make ourselves a little more known on campus,” FASA vice-president communications Kat Kastner added.

The U of C Students’ Union also hosts an annual research symposium for students, the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Era said that while the AURS took aspects from the URS judging criteria when creating its own, the committee also looked to other arts-specific symposia across Canadian universities.

“We tried to be different in a way that it gives platforms to creative research more,” Rana said, speaking on how the judging criteria were formulated. “You can’t come to a philosophy person and be like, ‘What’s your innovation?’ ”

Though FASA has hosted previous arts research symposia before — the last one held in 2017 — Kastner hopes that having both the student research presentations and the mentorship opportunities will promote the cohesiveness of the faculty.   

“We’ve just really tried to put together something that’s never really been done before to give students access into kind of what research could do or what a mentorship could do,” she said.

The Arts Undergraduate Research Symposium takes place on March 19 from 10 a.m. – noon at the Rosza Centre in the Husky Oil Great Hall. Following the symposium, the Mini Mentorship Conference takes place from 12:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the same location.  

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