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McGill Reporter
April 25, 2002 - Volume 34 Number 15
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On campus

A record of rebuilding

PHOTOS: Maria Durana


The January 26, 2001, earthquake in the province of Gujarat in India devastated the region. Thousands of lives were lost, villages were razed, buildings crumbled.

Following this disaster, interns with the School of Architecture's Minimum Cost Housing Group (MCHG) worked with the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design (VSF) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to help the populace rebuild their homes, villages and lives.

From their time in India, the interns, Maria Durana, Jean-Lou Hamelin, Sonya Jensen, Martin Laferrière and Cathy Willis, put together an exhibit with MCHG director Vikram Bhatt, architect Terrance Galvin and the Canadian International Development Agency's Youth Internship Program, their sponsors.

"Reconstruction and Cultural Expression" is at the Macdonald-Harrington Building's exhibition room until May 31. The show includes the interns' photos, stories and explanations of how they approached the work, factoring in traditional lifestyles as well as future socio-economic needs. VSF provided drawings, architectural plans and maps.

The exhibit tells three tales: that of the historic city Bhuj, the rebuilding of villages in general, and a focus on the hamlet of Ludiya.

PHOTO: Jean-Lou Hamelin

Plans show the arrangement of private and public space, both of individual houses and towns. We learn of traditional construction methods and materials -- many older buildings fared better than hastily put-up highrises.

The photos are Indian-style rococo. There are colonnades and towers, lintels and archways. We see rubble and deeply fissured walls. Centuries-old palaces rub shoulders with modern highrises, sacred temples with vernacular buildings.

Circular mud houses with thatched conical roofs reveal interior walls bedizened with mirror inlay and ridged patterns.

There are stone sculptures of many-limbed gods, calm in countenance, surrounded by carved lotus petals, elephants and geometric decorations. Cows peer into doorways. Women embroider while children play and men build.

In short, we see the reconstruction of a province.

Thanks for all the memories

"Joe College" 1931, Gordon Burr, and "Miss McGill" 1912
PHOTO: Owen Egan

Gordon Burr, senior archivist of the McGill University Archives, will spread out some of his choice wares next week for all to view and reminisce over.

The items on display will all be McGill memorabilia and though it's unlikely anyone will remember wearing the1903 Royal Victoria College linen shirt, no doubt those who go for a glimpse will find something to evoke distant and recent memories.

The goods include photos, clothing, sports pennants and theatre posters. Although we all know who the big figures of McGill were and what they thought, Burr says, "we don't have a lot of material documenting student life. What were the dances like in the '20s? Or the demos of the '60s?" Burr's favourite item is a "McGill Français" picket sign from the spirited '69 demo.

Burr appeals for donations from students of all eras -- he contacted Michal Zilberman, the playwright of "Gotta Luv McGill" from this year's McGill Drama Festival, for a copy of the script.

Clothing is difficult to find, but Burr has some stylish items for viewing. A 1912 Scarlet Key sweater. A snappy white wool women's jacket with red trim from the '40s. Peggy-Jean Rose's 1923 sports tunic from McGill's school of physical education. A '20s white-striped green dress from Macdonald College's school of household sciences. And a hip '70s "Dewey or don't we" library school tee (as in Dewey decimal system).

There are sobering reminders of the Great War, probably the most important external event to McGill students ever, Burr says. One 1917 poster calls for recruits for Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry -- joiners must be at least 5'4" and can earn $1.50 a day if they make sergeant.

In "Old McGill" yearbooks you learn of the Glee and Banjo club, see saucy pics of '30s gals in towels, and read about the harvesting efforts of '43. Because the war caused a shortage of farm lads, harvesting trains would take students out west to pitch in.

Bring along stories and your fave McGill gewgaws. The most distinctive piece of memorabilia gets a prize.

Tuesday, April 30, from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm at Martlet House, $5.

Help for figuring out your kids

PHOTO: Philip Greenspan

Parents on the lookout for child-rearing tips won't want to miss "Parenting in the New Millennium."

Organized by the Faculty of Education, in association with various Montreal school boards, the 11th annual workshop series is being held from April 24 to June 26 to provide parents with some advice for helping them raise their kids.

This year, three major changes have been introduced to the event. First, workshops will no longer be offered at off-campus venues, but will be held at McGill. A second change is that lectures will be available in French or English.

The third and biggest change is that workshops will be given as weekly lectures, rather than as a one-day conference, as in past years. The new format was introduced to accommodate parents who wanted to attend multiple lectures -- the old conference format meant several lectures were always being delivered simultaneously.

But much of the winning formula from the popular workshop series will remain the same. Ten experts from Montreal universities, hospitals, school boards and the private sector will address issues such as education, hard-to-manage children, communication, power struggles, esteem building, and various behavioural concerns and disorders.

Three of the lectures will be given by McGill faculty. On April 24, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Luc Vinet opened the series by sharing his own experience on how to juggle family and professional commitments. His talk is entitled "L'équilibre entre la vie familiale, le travail et les loisirs."

On May 8, psychiatry and pediatrics professor Mounir Samy will address parental ambivalence during a talk entitled "How can I not love my child?"

Professor Helen Amoriggi, a specialist in early childhood/elementary education in the Department of Educational Studies, will lecture on June 12. Her talk, "Parents: The first teachers of our future leaders," will focus on the invaluable role parents play in the lives of their children and how they set the stage for life-long learning skills.

All "Parenting in the New Millennium" workshops will be held Wednesday evenings from 7 pm to 9:30 pm, in the Jack Cram Auditorium, Room 129, Faculty of Education (3700 McTavish St.). Registration and admission: $20 for one workshop; $115 for all seven. For more information, or to register, please contact Jennifer Coutlee at 398-2712 or jennifer.coutlee@mcgill.ca. More details can be found at www.education.mcgill.ca/events.htm.


Daniel Taylor

On May 1, some people celebrate Labor Day, others celebrate the pagan festival of Beltaine and dance around maypoles and leave flowers at doorways and windows to keep out troublesome fairies.

Soprano Suzie Le Blanc and countertenor Daniel Taylor, two of the country's most acclaimed vocalists, celebrate spring by singing lovely songs of the season. Both singers trained at McGill.

The CBC/McGill series brings us Now is the Month of Maying: Renaissance and baroque music to celebrate spring.

Le Blanc and Taylor will offer up their dulcet tones to the audience. There will be artful playing by Suzie Napper and Margaret Little, viola da gamba, Hélène Plouffe and Olivier Brault, violin, Matthias Maute and Francis Colpron, recorder, and Sylvain Berg-eron, lute.

Let them weave their aural magic as deftly as ribbons wrap around a maypole. Strath-cona Music Building, Pollack Hall, 7:30, May 1. $10/$15. For more information, call 398-4547.

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