Festival of Ideas - #UAlbertaIdeas

UAlberta Festival of Ideas LogoThe University of Alberta's Festival of Ideas is built on a tradition of forging interconnections between science and the arts, the university and the broader communities. It is dedicated to building public dialogue and discussion about who we are in all our diversity and how we may best address the challenges we all face. 

To this end the festival invites performers, writers, visual artists, scientists and public intellectuals to share their views with the general public in forums, panel discussions, artistic productions and community events, to exchange ideas and create new knowledge communications.

Featured 2014 Events

Colm Tóibín

Colm Toibin Festival of Ideas UAlberta Featured Event

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegleman Festival of Ideas UAlberta Featured Event

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates Festival of Ideas UAlberta Featured Event

Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

2014 Events

Melissa Lacroix Festival of Ideas Ualberta web thumb

Public Lecture: "Discovering Oates"

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014

Stanley A. Milner Public Library - Edmonton Room 

Free Admission

Before you see Festival of Ideas headliner Joyce Carol Oates, be sure to attend this free public lecture. Edmonton-based writer, editor and teacher Melissa Morelli Lacroix offers a guided tour through some of the famed author’s most thought-provoking work, from essays on such wide-ranging topics as Sylvia Plath’s poetry and Mike Tyson's boxing, to novels that relate stories of hardy survivors and working-class characters.

Presented in partnership with the Edmonton Public Library.

Festival of Ideas Placeholder UAlberta

What’s Up at the U

Nov. 14–21, 2014

This popular event from the 2012 Festival of Ideas returns as U of A graduate students highlight their fascinating research for a new generation of learners. This time the grad students are taking their one-hour presentations to local schools including McKernan, Leduc High School, St. Joseph Catholic High School, Victoria School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and Eastglen High School.

Muriel and Ross Cheriton Lecture

Inaugural Ross and Muriel Cheriton Distinguished Visitor Lecture

In partnership with the Faculty of Engineering.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014
University of Alberta Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science 1-430 on Saskatchewan Drive

Free Admission

Jocelyn Bachman, Katherine Evans and Nir Katchinskiy, moderated by David R. Cheriton, inspire brilliant minds and help people gain insight into some of the most promising research happening today at the University of Alberta. From next-generation artificial limbs that allow wearers to feel touch, to nanotechnology that could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating once-incurable diseases, find out how science and engineering researchers are building a better future for us all.

Colm Tobin Festival of Ideas UAlberta

Opening Night: An Evening with Colm Tóibín

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014
Citadel Shoctor Theatre

Read now: Colm Toibin's Nora Webster

A traveller, journalist, novelist, literary critic and professor, Colm Tóibín has had many identities. And it is the search for identity—whether national, creative, or sexual—that is at the heart of the conflicted characters in Tóibín’s literary fiction, from the Argentinian-born son of a British widow in The Story of the Night (1997) to the Henry James of The Master (2004), to the namesake of his upcoming novel, Nora Webster, who struggles to reclaim herself in the wake of devastating sorrow.

Join the acclaimed winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for an engaging onstage interview with Edmonton Journal columnist Elizabeth Withey.

An audience Q & A session and book signing will follow.

Eldar Shafir

CIFAR LECTURE: The Psychology of Scarcity with Eldar Shafir

Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
City Room Edmonton City Hall 

Free Admission

Psychologist Eldar Shafir illuminates insights from his new book, Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, about how our ability to make healthy choices is limited by lack of money, time and resources—and what we can do to overcome those limits and shape our own lives.

Presented in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Speaker Panel Festival of Ideas UAlberta

Reconciliation Between Aboriginal Peoples of Canada and Other Canadians

Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
Citadel Shoctor Theatre

Free Admission

Canada was one of the first countries in the world to extend constitutional protection to indigenous First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Yet, as the Idle No More movement and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings have shown, a long legacy of mistreatment and mistrust remains to be healed.

Moderated by Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson, this panel dialogue and public conversation will explore how bridges can be built between indigenous communities and the rest of Canada to truly make reconciliation a reality.


Kids Festival of Ideas UAlberta

Kids' Festival of Ideas

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014
Enterprise Square

Free Admission

Give your kids a day of truth-seeking, myth-busting fun they’ll never forget! Guided by U of A students and professors, children aged six to 12 can learn what a dinosaur fossil looks like magnified 100 times, try experiments, enjoy demonstrations and play games that will spark their curiosity about science, engineering, mathematics, physical education, philosophy, museum studies and music. Children with adult chaperones are welcome to drop in and participate.

Cernak Festival of Ideas UAlberta

Henry Marshall Tory Lecture: Responsibility for Soldiers as a Measure of Societal Maturity

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014
Stanley A. Milner Public Library - Theatre 

Free Admission 

It was known as the Great War, the war to end all wars. But today, 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War, the dystopian nightmare of war rages on, and soldiers still fight for a “better world.” They are celebrated as heroes, expected to be brave and fearless in combat. But our heroes are all too human, and many suffer when they come home from the battlefield.

Dr. Ibolja Cernak’s research examines the nature of military injuries, physical and psychological, to find new treatments that can improve the quality of life, whether military or civilian, for returning soldiers.

Presented in partnership with the Friends of the University of Alberta.

Art Spiegelman

"What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?" with Art Spiegelman

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014
Metro Cinema

“People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs." —Art Spiegelman

“What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?” is a chronological tour of the evolution of comics by a master of the medium. Art Spiegelman, winner of a special Pulitzer Prize for his graphic novel Maus, explains why the comic is on the rise and emphasizes the value of an art form that both reflects and reshapes the way we see the world.

Joyce Carol Oates Festival of Ideas 2014 UAlberta

Closing Night with Joyce Carol Oates 

Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014
Winspear Centre 

Read now: Joyce Carol Oates interviews herself

One of the most versatile, accomplished and prolific American writers working today, Joyce Carol Oates is the author of bestselling novels, critically acclaimed collections of short fiction, essays, plays and poetry.

Among the most prominent products of her boundless imagination are the U.S. National Book Award winner them (1969); the unlikely bestseller, On Boxing (1987); the novel We Were the Mulvaneys (1996), which was an Oprah Winfrey Book Club selection; the New York Times bestselling novels The Falls (2004) and The Gravedigger's Daughter (2007); and her recent memoir, A Widow’s Story (2011).

Don’t miss this rare chance to see a literary icon in an onstage conversation with the CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel, host of CBC’s Writers & Company.

An audience Q & A session and book signing will follow.

Shumka Dancers Festival of Ideas UAlberta

Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, "Pathways to Hopak"

Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014
Camrose Performing Arts Centre - 4205 50th St., Camrose, Alberta

Experience the power and exuberance of this performance by Canada’s only professional Ukrainian dance company.

In “Pathways to Hopak,” the internationally acclaimed Shumka dancers take the audience on an emotional journey through life's universal cycle of birth, youthful playfulness and the search for love, the tragedy of conflict and the desire to wash clean our battlefields—and, ultimately, the opportunity to begin the cycle again.

"Pathways to Hopak" performance explores the twists and turns of life that lead us to this moment of celebration. This emotional journey guides the audiences through life's universal cycle of birth; youthful playfulness and the search for love; the tragedy of conflict and the desire to wash clean our battlefields and, ultimately, the opportunity to begin the cycle again.