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Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture

The annual Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture honours the late Kitty Lundy, an admired educator of sociology who was associated with York University's former Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies from 1986-89. Lundy was known for her commitment to students, her deep connection to social justice issues and passion for teaching.

To honour her memory, the Lundy family established the Kitty Lundy Memorial Fund, which supports the annual lecture. Each year, the memorial lecture features an individual whose scholarship and creativity address principles to which Kitty Lundy exhibited commitment: engaged learning, equity, and the dissemination and exchange of ideas and knowledge with communities residing within and outside of York University.

2023 Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture

Leading in the Tension: Conundrums of (In)Visibility for Black Women Leaders

Date: March 16, 2023

Paulette Senior, York University alumna and President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, has devoted her life and career to breaking down systemic barriers and building gender justice for women, girls, and gender-diverse people. Her personal experiences as a child ignited her interest in social justice, setting her on the path to growing belonging for marginalized people.  

But even as she leads Canada’s national public Foundation for gender equity, Paulette navigates in a white centric world where Black women’s leadership is undervalued. Every day, she negotiates the tension of high visibility in her role while being underseen in the world. She has found herself grappling for space as a leader, wrestling with her own humbling learning and growth, while sustaining a prominent voice for intersectional feminist social change. It is a constant negotiation where power, strength, and displacement collide. 

This is the tension that pulls at many Black women leaders today. After years of leadership in the national movement for gender justice, Paulette revealed how she leads in that tension, facing the strain in the hopes of holding herself and others close, of never being wrenched apart. Her insights offered an inspiring vision for the future of truly inclusive feminist action as a site for equity-seeking people and communities to thrive.  

Past Events

Collaboration as a Path to Reinvention

March 28, 2022

Artist Vivek Shraya shared how the act of collaborating with others not only offers the possibility of creating more meaningful and nuanced works, but also the opportunity to reveal—and be—a new version of oneself.

An accomplished author and musician, Shraya is also an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and founder of “VS Books” which offers mentorship and publishing opportunities for Canadian Indigenous and/or Black writers over 50. 

Toronto bookstore Another Story Bookshop also offered support for the Kitty Lundy Lecture.

What we saw. What we made. When we emerge.

March 11, 2021

This year’s Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture was given by award-winning author Dionne Brand. Brand is a renowned poet, novelist, and essayist known for formal experimentation and the beauty and urgency of her work.

A poet engagé, Brand’s award-winning poetry books include Land to Light On (the Governor General’s Literary Award and Trillium Book Award); Thirsty (The Pat Lowther Award); Ossuaries (the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize). Her latest, The Blue Clerk, an essay poem, won the Trillium Book Award. Theory, her latest of five novels, won the Toronto Book Award. She is the author of the influential non-fiction work, A Map to the Door of No Return. Her most recent non-fiction work is An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading. Brand is a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.

From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

November 19, 2019

York professor and author Jesse Thistle delivered the Kitty Lundy Lecture based upon his best-selling memoir, From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way. Thistle’s talk explored themes of trauma, addiction, and homelessness and the power of story-telling. He was joined by Shane Belcourt, an award-winning Métis filmmaker, writer and musician; ShoShona Kish, an Anishinabekwe community organizer, producer, activist, songwriter and JUNO award-winning artist; and Jesse Wente, a long-time film and pop culture critic.

Read recap of the event in yFile.

Our Divide Is Inside Us

November 20, 2018

Artist and activist, Kinnie Starr uses words and performance in her lecture titled “Our Divide Is Inside Us,” to emphasize the need and value of kindness. Recovering from a brain injury, Starr reflects on the roots of communication and the rise of digital chatter.

Read more about Starr's performance.

SPIN: A Theatrical Song Cycle starring the Bicycle as Muse, Musical Instrument, and Instrument of Social Change

February 28, 2017

Award-winning theatre artist and songwriter Evalyn Parry brings a theatrical treatment to the annual Kitty Lundy Lecture with her musical “SPIN: A Theatrical Song Cycle.”

Parry began examining the social implications of bicycles, after coming across a quote from Susan B. Anthony who said, “The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

Read more about Parry's presentation.

Elizabeth & Hazel, Lee & Grace: An Author’s Journey Beyond an Iconic Photograph

November 5, 2015

The 2015 Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture was delivered by author and journalist David Margolick. Margolick’s talk draws from his book, Elizabeth & Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock, which takes as its starting point the iconic civil rights era news photograph depicting teenagers Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan.

Joining David were local spoken word poets Moose, Suviana, Destiny Henry, Deshawn Williams, and Kareem Bennett, performing original works inspired by the history of racial politics in 1950s America.

Read more about Margolick's book and lecture.

Watch the Video

Poles Apart? The 'Great Black North' in Canada & Sweden

February 3, 2014

Poet Laureate of Toronto George Elliott Clarke delivered the 2014 Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture. His talk, titled “Poles Apart? The ‘Great Black North’ in Canada and Sweden” explored the perception that “northern geography is so integrated popularly with peoples of “light” or “white” complexions that the presence of persons of hues exhibiting darker pigmentation is almost automatically perceived as aberrant or disruptive.”

The main program also included several readings of Clarke’s poems by History and Communications student Kendra Campbell, English PhD candidate Asha Jeffers and Humanities student Carmelita Marsden.

Read more about Clarke's talk.

Minds that Matter: Human Rights, Mental Health & Addictions

March 28, 2013

Former Ontario Human Rights Commission Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall commended York for leading in the discussions of an issue that she said is too often ignored. That ignorance, said Hall, has led to difficulty in such fundamental needs as finding housing for the mentally ill. Many people opposing housing for the mentally ill simply “don’t want those people living next to us,” she said in explaining the resistance to her agency’s attempts to establish housing for mentally ill people in Toronto communities.

Watch the Video

Creating Our Own Path, Sharing the Way

March 28, 2013

Pat Capponi, author of the ground-breaking book Upstairs in the Crazy House, as well as Dispatches from the Poverty Line, The War at Home, Bound by Duty, and Beyond the Crazy House, explored her own experiences with mental illness both as a survivor and as a researcher, and her address was an impassioned call for mental health advocacy.

Watch the Video