Subjects that Matter

Faculty of Arts, Mount Royal University

The Phoenix, mythological and immortal creature of surviving and thriving, is emblematic of the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Creative Arts at Mount Royal University.
Phoenix offers an ongoing programme of engagement and support in celebration and advocacy for the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Creative Arts.

Current Events

Upcoming Events

Past Events





Phoenix Springs into Summer: Scholarship and Social

Thursday, October 3rd, 2024, 3 - 5pm in the Ideas Lounge 

Sign up to receive updates.

Phoenix Engagement Series

Thursday, November 14th, 2024, 5 - 7pm (Location TBD)

Sign up to receive updates.

Phoenix: Plays the Thing

Thursday, February 13th, 2025, 4 - 8pm (Location TBD)

Sign up to receive updates.

Phoenix Springs into Summer

Thursday, May 1st, 2025, 2 - 4pm (Location TBD)

Sign up to receive updates.



Play's the Thing: Phoenix Invites You to Come and Play!

The Phoenix Rising working group is thrilled to extend an invitation to you for an exciting and engaging event on March 21, 2024 at Wild Rose Brewery from 2:30 - 8:30 pm. Save the date!

Our upcoming event centers on the theme of “Fun & Play.” We are inviting you to delve into these concepts within the context of your specific field. Perhaps you are exploring playful language in literature, unearthing the historical significance of leisure activities, investigating the role of play in human cognition - however you wish to approach this topic through your discipline, your insights are invaluable and will contribute to a vibrant and fun event! 

There will be food and a cash bar (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available)

Event Schedule:

2:30 - 3:30 - Refreshments and snacks - grab some pizza!

3:30 - 4:45 - Lightning Talks, Panel I, Play: It’s Serious.
Michele Wellsby, Psychology - "From children at the library to undergraduates at Mount Royal: Using play to enhance learning"
Lisa Gasson-Gardner, Religious Studies (Humanities) - “Taylor Swift’s New Religious Movement”
Stasha Huntingford , General Education (Child Studies and Social Work) - “Who can help us make fun of ourselves?”
Sarah Banting, English, Languages, and Cultures - "Close Reading as Play”
Tony Chaston, Psychology - “Learning in Immersive Online Spaces: The Academic Use of Video Game Technology…Seriously”
Sabrina Datoo, History (Humanities) - “Quackery: Playing at Being a Doctor in Urdu Satire"
Lin Young, English Languages, and Cultures - “Victorians and Videogames”
Guy Olbrecht, General Education - “Wriggle Room to Play In”
Kirk Niergarth, History (Humanities) “Singing, Sociability and Solidarity: The Entertainment Committee of the Calgary Division of
the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 1943-1960”
David Hyttenrauch, Vice Dean, Arts - “Shoulders of Giants: Fantasy World-Building”

4:45 - Break - Grab another refreshment and more pizza

5:00 Keynote - Aritha van Herk, “Passion, Play, and Procrastination”

6:00 - Break - Snacks! Refreshments!

6:15-6:40 - David Clemis, “The History of the World in Cocktail(s) - a variety of gin cocktails will be available to purchase all evening

6:45 - 7:30, Panel II, All Work and No Play...
Carolyn Willekes, General Education, “Horsing Around: It’s Serious Business”
Samanti Kulatilake and Tom Buchanan, Sociology and Anthropology - “Monsoons: Experiencing the Field Through Literature”
Brian Nichols, Religious Studies, Humanities, “The As If World: Ritual as Play”
Nancy Ogden, Psychology - “Physical Literacy, Outside Play, and Environmental Stewardship in Early Childhood”
Nathaniel Wagenaar, Interior Design, “Exploring Play” Designing Interactive Environments”
Duane Bratt, Economics, Justice and Policy Studies, “The Politics of Lacrosse: Integrating work and play”
Rob Boschman, English, Languages, and Cultures, “Playing Dylan in the Classroom: How Hendrix Expanded the Audience for ‘All Along the Watch Tower’”

7:30 - 9:00, Panel III, Let’s Just Play
Natalie Meisner, English, Languages, and Cultures, “Love of the Game”
Jim Brenan, General Education, “Transcription and analysis of the complete works of Canadian Jazz icon Ralph Bowen”
M.R. Funk Association, Faculty of Arts members with friends

We look forward to your enthusiastic participation!

Sign up to receive updates.

Phoenix Celebrates New and Rising Faculty

Please join us to celebrate our new and rising Faculty of Arts colleagues at the first Phoenix Rising event of the year. A panel of new and newly-promoted faculty will present on their research and scholarship achievements.

October 5, 2023
4:00-6:00 p.m.
Where: Ideas Lounge (EL 1270)
Riddell Library and Learning Centre
Pizza and Refreshments

All warmly welcome

Sign up to receive updates.

Pandemics: Self and Community

Speakers: Dr. Dan Devoe, Dr. Janet Miller, Dr. Duane Bratt, Dr. Nathaniel Wagenaar, Dr. Corinne Mason, Dr. Kenna L. Olsen

This panel of six MRU Faculty of Arts experts will explore the conceptions of, and intersections between, the self and community in response to expectations, policies, and experiences related to pandemics and the societies that experience them.

Details: 16 February 2023
4:00-5:30 pm, Ideas Lounge, Riddell Library and Learning Centre, (EL1270
In person
Card bar
All warmly welcome

Sign up to receive updates.

Environmental (De)Evolutions and Recoveries

Speakers: Dr. Rob Boschman, Dr. Ranjan Datta, Dr. Tim Haney, Dr. Emily Hutchison; Dr. Caroline McDonald-Harker

This panel of five MRU Faculty of Arts experts will explore the human-environment impact in the twenty-first century. As we face the uncertainty and chaos of our destabilised environment, and the traumas that ensue, how do we respond and strive for resilience and stability?

Details: 25 January 2023
4:00-5:30 pm, Ideas Lounge, Riddell Library and Learning Centre, (EL1270)
In person
Card bar
All warmly welcome

Sign up to receive updates.

Phoenix Rising Launch Event

Phoenix Rising — Subjects that Matter Launch Schedule of Day
Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts

 10:00 - 10:15

Welcome and Opening Remarks, TransAlta Pavilion
 10:15 - 11:45 Rising Arts Faculty: Subjects that Matter, Panel I, TransAlta Pavilion.
Registration not required
 1:45 - 3:15 

Rising Arts Faculty: Subjects that Matter, Panel II, TransAlta Pavilion.
Registration not required

  3:30 - 5:30

Phoenix Rising – Subjects that Matter Reception, TransAlta Pavilion.
Registration encouraged. See reception programme and registration below.

Reception Programme:

- Phoenix Launch Opening remarks, Elder Miiksika’am

- Liberal Arts at MRU Video Public Launch

- “RUN TO THE STACKS” - a poem for Phoenix by Calgary poet-laureate and MRU Professor Dr. Natalie Meisner

- periodic performances by students of the MRU Conservatory

- scholarship highlights of MRU Arts Faculty

Complimentary parking is available from 3:30 - 6 p.m. in lots 7 and 8. 

 Sign up to receive updates.

Event updates

Sign up to receive updates about Phoenix events and other initiatives.



Your ideas for Phoenix events and initiatives are eagerly sought.


Phoenix Co-Convenors

Prof. Kenna Olsen

Dr. David Clemis

Support the Arts at Mount Royal through supporting Phoenix.