So it’s round 2 and we’re back at the Wolf Performance Hall for the second City Symposium put on by James Shelley. Coverage of the first event can be found here.
Meredith Fraser was up first! She is a Program Coordinator, Anti hate & Anti bias program with the LUSO Community Services and was presenting her talk entitled: A Story of community empowerment and compassion. She found that there were 35-45 hate motivated incidents reported to police in London and that though these were legally different from Hate Crime, she still felt something must be done. In her initial consultations with the community she felt resistance to change and disempowerment. People told her “What can I do, really?” The answer is kindness. We are all resourced to be nice and it provides a tangible and immediate impact. No matter who is being oppressed, it is still Oppression. Meredith made a decision to act! and to Encourage kindness on a large scale. Out of this idea, the 1000 acts of kindness program was born. RTraction to the rescue with a new website for the project and after all said and done, over 54,000 acts of kindness were reported in 2010. Kindness is a positive investment. For more information visit: http://www.1000acts.ca/
Do we all have the capacity to be kind? What limits you from being kind? Mood, mental health, attention span?
I had the opportunity to see Adrian Owen’s talk about The Search for Consciousness at TEDxUWO but this was a great opportunity to be reminded of his work and for those who didn’t have the chance to see it. How can you tell if someone is conscious? Wakefulness is something we can assess with sight but someone who can not respond to, or follow,a command may not be said to be conscious unless they are truly unable to respond. This command following is central for signaling awareness which was formally expressed only physically. Think of a medical drama on television where the Doctor asks the patient to squeeze his hand if they can respond. What if you understood the command, but couldn’t respond? Well this problem was solved with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, FMRI. When a patient is scanned their brain patterns can be compared to healthy samples. If you imagine something, the same area of the brain lights up with activity as if you actually do the thing you’re imagining. When Dr. Owen asked his patients to think about Playing Tennis, that imagery evoked a response measured with FMRI in the Premotor cortex. Spatial imagery, such as what you’d think about as you imagined moving through your home, elicits a different response in another part of the brain. Piecing these two together, Dr Owen created a blind trial to use Tennis Imagery for Yes, and House Imagery for No, as he asked the patient different questions about their life. This proved that the patients who were originally thought to be comatose were in fact aware of their surroundings but unable to move. Kate Bainbridge, the first patient Dr Owen scanned when he made the discovery of mental alertness that could not be expressed physically, shared her feelings about his work in a note that touched the heart of the audience. Dr. Owen estimated that 20% of Ten of Thousands of patients in vegetative states might have this level of consciousness.
Dynamic Dozen took to the stage to close the show. Created as a response to the Flash mob craze on YouTube and in collaboration with Youth Opportunities Unlimited provided opportunities for students to have summer jobs in a dance troupe who performed over 100 shows of choreographed dance. 12 15-18 years olds stormed the stage and performed a 10 minute dance routine to classic and popular hits. It was hard not to be moved to the rhythm seeing the energy being expressed on stage. Lindsay, the choreographer, expressed how she researched the selection of the songs and Joey told us about the Dance Day Camp Workshops they ran and how rewarding it was seeing the faces of smiling kids as they performed the blend of hip hop and contemporary dance styles. For more information visit: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/YouthWeb/DynamicDozen.htm.
The next event will feature @GlenPearson Glen Pearson and Jeffrey Preston @jeffpreston.
When: Thursday, Nov 10, 2011,
Where: Wolf Performance Hall
More details: http://citysymposium.com/