Poverty 2010: An Interdisciplinary & Community-based Graduate Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Queen's University

Poverty 2010:
An Interdisciplinary & Community-based Graduate Conference

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
October 14-16, 2010

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." (Article 25(1) of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Call For Abstracts:
In the wake of the recent economic crisis, questions about the causes of poverty and propositions regarding its eradication have intensified in Canadian political and cultural discourse—yet so too have the stigmatization and criminalization of the poor. This conference intends to seize this moment of inquiry and crisis by bringing together graduate students across all disciplines, anti-poverty activists, outreach and poverty advocates, front line workers, and those who experience poverty firsthand with three central objectives:

1) Inquiry & Awareness:
To address disconnections between academics, activists, and impoverished communities and to create dialogue across disciplines and social boundaries in order to challenge existing institutions that reproduce inequality and marginalization. To explore the intersections between poverty and racism, public health, criminalization, food security, education, housing, substance abuse, stigmatization, sexuality, etc.

2) Resistance:
Participants in panels, workshops, and artistic media will share information on anti-poverty initiatives, such as cooperatives, education, outreach, legal rights awareness, and direct action.

3) Ongoing Initiatives:
To identify, incorporate, and support other anti-poverty initiatives in Kingston, including the establishment of a networking hub at Queen's University for activists, advocates, social justice organizations, and academics to share information on poverty issues, research, and anti-poverty initiatives in Kingston Ontario.

Although this conference is particularly interested in addressing issues of poverty in Kingston, its overarching ambition is community-building around poverty issues that can be applied to the Kingston community and communities across Canada. Kingston is a small city of great disparity.It has the distinctive trait of having the highest concentration of academics and federal prisons in all of Canada. It is also the urban centre for a region characterized by rural and Aboriginal poverty. Furthermore, impoverished Kingstonians receive inadequate welfare rate and are forced to live a life of close surveillance by welfare administrators, neighbours, friends, and families. Rural and urban communities nationwide face similar circumstances. How can we envision and share strategies to combat the underlying issues that shape, create, and sustain such disparity and suffering?

Deadline for abstract submissions: March 31, 2010

This conference is committed to providing a safe space for people living in poverty and those committed to combating its root causes and alleviating its attendant social suffering to share ideas, experiences, resources, and strategies. Participants can present in any manner in which they feel most comfortable, whether that be a traditional panel or through workshops, roundtable discussions, artistic media, etc. We want to stress that the conference encourages alternative presentation styles and that participants will share panels with non-academics. We welcome proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

Health, Food Security, Gender & Sexuality, Criminalization, Racialization, History of Anti-Poverty Activism, First Nations & Poverty, Culture & Representation, Labour, Cooperatives, Unions, Housing, Welfare, Environment, Resistance, Education, Stigmatization & Poor-bashing, Surveillance.

Abstracts must be between 200-300 words in length, plus title, author affiliation, and specification of presentation format (with particular comment on accessibility of information to the general public). Please send submissions to povertyconference2010@gmail.com by March 31, 2010.

Conference Format:

October 14: Opening reception and keynote address by Dr. Margaret Little, Department of Women's Studies and Sociology, Queen's University; concurrent panels and social justice trade show throughout the day, anti-oppression workshop, and evening poetry slam.

October 15: Community-based workshops: skills sharing, information sessions, walking-tours, social justice radio programming workshop, feast, movie night.

October 16: Day of Reflection and Action: Roundtable discussion, Anti-poverty festival.

Cost and Accommodation:
There is no fee for participation in this conference. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer funding for participants' costs. We are also happy to provide information about affordable local accommodation and limited billeting options. Inquiries can be sent to povertyconference2010@gmail.com.