On Saturday, January 28th from 9:30am to 4:00pm, a group of distinguished professors will gather in the First Peoples House of Learning to disseminate a parcel of their life works to attendees wishing to expand their minds at the Enweying 2017: An Event About Extraordinary Ideas.
Enweying, an Anishinaabek word that translates to “the way we speak together,” is an apt description of this lecture series. The format of the panel discussion, allowing discourse to occur between the panelists and their audience underscores the premise that the transference of knowledge is never a one way street.
This format challenges the traditional, western form of learning, in which those who attend lectures are mere receptacles of the knowledge bestowed on them at the behest of the hierarchical figure at the front of the classroom. A format that involves discussions acknowledges that those in attendance come from all different walks of life and would naturally have insight to offer on certain issues that professors may not have.
This is the event’s third installment, and it seems to only be gaining steam with professors from a multitude of Trent departments like Dr. Liam Mitchell from Cultural Studies, Dr. Raymond Dart from the School of Business, Dr. Nicole Bell from Indigenous studies, Dr. Stephen Hill from Environmental Studies, Dr. Paul Shaffer from International Development Studies, Dr. Momin Rahman from Sociology, Dr. Paula Anderson from Environmental and Resource Studies, and Dr. Jane Mackie from the School of Nursing.
For Dr. Mitchell, this is his second year doing Enweying, where he will be discussing the politics of video game design. In his first year, he discussed the politics entwined within a debate on whether to release the names of those who open fire on crowds and how it related to race and identity in Canada. It is a topic that he admits was “slightly political”.
This year Dr. Mitchell will be discussing something more near and dear to his heart: games. Dr. Mitchell loves video games and the way they intersect with society and politics. His talk aims to look at the political structure of video games down to the way their coding affects human behaviour both in and outside of the game.
He explains how certain games have a tendency to induce a “flow state”, in which players are able to manage many different tasks simultaneously in order to complete objectives. He describes it as “handling many different variables that need to be commanded as a system”, which Liam believes is unique from the human experience, as we generally are single task beings.
Furthermore, the fact that we are able to enter these trances show that “we are more adaptable to immersing ourselves in a cyberkinetic state of being”. He believes that this is neither a good nor a bad thing, but is simply “symptomatic” of the society that we inhabit.
His lecture will look to address this more in depth, and is only one of many extraordinary ideas being explored in the First Peoples House of Learning on January 28th, from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Most importantly, snacks will be provided.