Niagara Falls Writers’ Festival

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I’m looking forward to presenting a memoir writing workshop later this month at the Niagara Falls Writer’s Festival. I hope to see some familiar faces! This is open to the public. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about how to share your story, please join us!

Going to Kenya this August!

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Up until recently, it still didn’t seem real that I’d be going to Kenya, after being invited to attend a special training camp examining regional forced migration at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

Then I went to a special travel clinic for a bunch of vaccines, including one for Yellow Fever, applied for a Visa, booked the flights, and filled a prescription for an anti-malarial.

I expect it’s going to be one of the most interesting and unique opportunities I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have been offered while in grad school.

I’m on a Panel at The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal next Month!

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I’m feeling super honoured and excited to have been invited to be part of a panel at The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal next month. I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to talk about some of the most popular myths and false narratives about people in poverty, along with some of my research about poverty in Canada.

Here’s a blurb about the festival from a PR Release:

BLUE METROPOLIS 2019 HIGHLIGHTS SOCIAL INEQUALITY, INDIGENOUS VOICES AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET

Montreal – The 21st edition of Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival takes place May 2 to 5, 2019. The planet is suffering. Inequality is an all too common reality in our society. Indigenous peoples grapple with trauma, reconciliation and cultural appropriation. Literature tackles all these issues, issues that provided inspiration for our 2019 programming.

Blue Met 2019 presents a remarkable selection of writers and thinkers, from 20 countries, who are changing the world: novelists, poets, philosophers, economists and musicians coming together to discuss such powerfully evocative topics as the struggle against social inequality, Indigenous literatures worldwide, feminism and ecology.

The 2019 Festival will also highlight several important anniversaries, including Woodstock’s 50th; one year since the death of the brilliant Israeli writer Amos Oz; UNESCO’S International Year of Indigenous Languages and the UN’s International Year of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

https://bluemetropolis.org/our-brochure/

Upcoming Lecture at Carleton University

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I’ll be giving a guest lecture on Whistleblowers at Carleton University in October. Hope to see you there!

Lecture 14
Whistleblowers: Criminals or Heroes?
Lecturer: Kathy Dobson

Most whistleblowers are corporate or governmental insiders who anonymously report internal misconduct. Why and under what circumstances do people either act on the spot to stop illegal and otherwise unacceptable behaviour, or report it to the media? And why does the public often have such divisive and changing responses to these whistleblowers, who arguably are only looking out for the greater good? For example, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, faced terrible repercussions by the Nixon administration at the time, but is now widely acknowledged as courageous. Within this historical context, we will explore contemporary whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, and websites such as Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks.

Lecture and visual presentation

  • Day: Monday, October 22nd
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Location: Room 124, Leeds House Building
  • Fee: $30.00 (HST included)
  • Enrollment capacity: 55 participants

Lecturer biography: Kathy Dobson is an award-winning journalist and published creative non-fiction author with extensive teaching and guest speaking experience. She is a Vanier Scholar in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University currently completing a PhD, with numerous peer-reviewed academic publications. Her research interests include the datafication of social assistance programs, media framing of marginalized communities, and the political economy of news. Her dissertation (which was awarded a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, and Ontario Graduate Scholarship) is examining how welfare fraud detection programs are used to support misleading media narratives about ‘welfare cheats.’ Kathy is a researcher and member of the ALiGN Media Lab, created by Dr. Merlyna Lim, which includes working with marginalized communities and groups engaged with challenging dominant narratives. Prior to starting her PhD, Kathy worked as a journalist and news photographer for over 20 years. Her work has appeared in numerous national newspapers and magazines, including the Globe and Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, and Maclean’s, Canadian Living, and Chatelaine magazines. She also worked for the CBC for over seven years, producing documentaries and news stories on a variety of social issues. She also hosts The Poverty Report, a podcast featured on the Carleton University ALiGN Media Lab, and has been twice awarded the Robert McKeown Doctoral Scholarship in Communication. Kathy is also an award winning creative non-fiction author. Her first book, With A Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood (Vehicule Press, 2001) is a memoir and about to go into its third printing. Her second book, Kicking and Punching: Leaving Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood (Vehicule Press, 2018) will be released early next month. She is also currently writing a book, The History of Whistleblowing, to be published in 2019.

Big Data Conference at Carleton University

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I recently presented some of my research on the myths surrounding some of the most popular misconceptions about ‘welfare fraud’ at a conference hosted at Carleton University. Plot spoiler: welfare fraud isn’t actually a ‘thing.’ The statistics reveal that it’s in fact a rare event, though you couldn’t be faulted for thinking otherwise thanks to the media’s (mis)representation of welfare ‘cheats.’

But we really aren’t all born equal…

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I think the claim that we’re all born equal is a particularly stupid one since of course it’s not true. A kid born into poverty is already at a different starting point than the kid born into a middle class family. And that’s just one obvious example.

People of colour, Canada’s Aboriginal population, and other members of marginal communities are already at a huge disadvantage as well when it comes to this idea about being born ‘equal.’

The problem then becomes that if we accept this notion about all of us being born ‘equal’ as some kind of absolute truth – which so many seem to – then we absolutely judge those who end up on social assistance, especially those who appear, at least to us, as being able-bodied.

That’s why I love this meme. Of course, this isn’t just true of our educational system. It’s also true of social class when we suggest or believe that all of us have ‘equal’ access to ‘success.’

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