Laurier Milton Lecture Series

Wilfrid Laurier University is pleased to partner with the Town of Milton and the Milton Public Library to present the seventh
Laurier Milton Lecture Series. Admission is free for all lectures.

2015-16 Schedule

For more information, contact the Milton Public Library at 905-875-2665.

Date/Time/LocationSpeakerTitle and Summary

October 14, 2015

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (MinMaxx Hall) 

Dr. Anthony Cristiano
Digital Media and Journalism, Faculty of Liberal Arts

Will Artificial Intelligence Replace or Make Humans Expendable?
The Media is increasingly, and often enthusiastically, embracing optimistic views about artificial intelligence and its future promise. Headlines such as: "Artificial intelligence 'will take the place of humans within five years' (The Telegraph, 29 Aug 2013), braze the frontlines of mainstream newspapers around the world. Futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted that computers will be as smart as humans by 2029. How are we to take such claims? Can computers and machines really be made to think and act like humans do? And if so, are we to be excited or concerned about such a prospect? This talk will examine the current debate on artificial intelligence, what is meant by artificial intelligence, as well as its potential and limitations in view of current work and research on the subject, and thus offer an understanding of its and humans' prospected future. 

November 11, 2015

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (MinMaxx Hall) 

Join us for a small reception with the Laurier Alumni Association beginning at 6:15 p.m. at the Milton Centre for the Arts. Lecture attendees are welcome. (Free admission) 

Dr. Mark Humphries, Department of History, Faculty of Arts

The Trail of Infected Armies: The Search for the Origins of the 1918 'Spanish' Flu
The deadliest epidemic in history was the so-called "Spanish Flu" of 1918, which killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide. But even after nearly 100 years of research, the virus' origin site remains hotly debated.  In this talk, historian Mark Humphries will embark on a detective's search for the origins of the virus, a journey that will take us from China, to Canada, to the battlefields of France and Flanders. Based on new research in British and Canadian archives that was recently published in the journal War in History and profiled in National Geographic Magazine, Humphries reveals that the 1918 flu most likely emerged first in China in the winter of 1917-18, diffusing across the world as previously isolated populations came into contact with one another on the battlefields of Europe. Ethnocentric fears--both official and popular--facilitated its spread along military pathways that had been carved out across the globe to sustain the war effort on the Western Front.

December 9, 2015

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (MinMaxx Hall) 

Dr. Bree Akesson, Faculty of Social Work

Addressing the Challenges and Mobilizing the Strengths of War-Affected Children and Families
This lecture will describe the multiple challenges facing children and families in the context of war and how they cope with and persevere with these challenges. Drawing from field research in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, she suggests that ecological approaches, psychosocial interventions, and place-focused methods can help to ameliorate the negative effects of war and inform international practice and policy.

January 13, 2016

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (MinMaxx Hall) 

Dr. Simon Dalby,
CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change, Balsillie School of International Affairs

Climate Geopolitics: The World after Paris 2015
Although the United Nations convention on climate change is two decades old, only recently has climate change become among the most important issues in global politics. A series of major conferences and high-level negotiations between China and the US in recent years has focused attention on climate and the need to rein in carbon dioxide emissions. How and why climate has become so important, and what this new focus in international politics means for the future, are now key matters that will shape geopolitics in coming decades.

February 10, 2016

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (MinMaxx Hall) 


Dr. Michael Cinelli, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Faculty of Science

Balance and Cognitive Deficits Post Concussion
Sport-related concussion is a common injury across age groups, and is a growing concern for youth participating in sport. Although previous research suggests that in most cases symptoms of concussion resolve within 7 days, new evidence has found altered neuropsychological and motor indices more than three decades post-concussion. These recent findings highlight the persistence of balance and cognitive function issues well beyond the absence of symptoms. This talk will focus on the need to develop sensitive balance and cognitive assessment tools to ensure that individuals are not returned to activity with motor or cognitive impairments.

March 9, 2016

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (MinMaxx Hall) 

Dr. Andriy Shkilko,
School of Business and Economics, Canada Research Chair in Financial Markets

Are Today's Financial Markets Fair?
Many of us invest in financial assets for various purposes: from retirement savings to children's college funds. The value of these assets is determined by financial markets, where the assets are traded. Modern financial markets are dominated by powerful computers that trade at speeds incomprehensible to humans. We often don't know what these computers do. Many believe that computerized trading makes markets unfair and unstable. Is there really a cause for concern?

April 13, 2016

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main Street East, Milton (Mattamy Theatre) 

Chamber Music at Laurier, Directed by Beth Ann De Sousa,
Faculty of Music

Enjoy a presentation/concert by students in the Chamber Music Program at Laurier's Faculty of Music.  

May 11, 2016

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Milton Education Village Innovation Centre, 555 Industrial Drive, Milton

Dr. Julie Mueller,
Faculty of Education

I'm Not a Mechanic but I Can Drive My Car - Do I Need to Code to Use a Computer?  Computational Thinking Across Disciplines
Computational thinking (CT) is an emerging component of computer science defined as "the thought processes involved in formulating problems and expressing its solution as transformations to information that an agent can effectively carry out"(Wing, 2010). Activities that promote computational thinking promise to develop problem-solving skills and strategies that can be utilized in a variety of contexts. Computer coding is one way to develop those skills and strategies, however, while you do not need to know how to code to use your computer, an understanding of coding may provide a foundation for the critical and creative thinking required to actively participate in a digital economy. This talk will address the basic skills and concepts in computational thinking and provide authentic examples.

Admission: Free

Note: Some or all of the lectures may be filmed and televised on TVCOGECO.


The lecture series is a partnership between the Town of Milton, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Milton Public Library.

The Town and Laurier have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in place with the intent of establishing a university campus on a 150-acre site within the Milton Education Village.


Wilfrid Laurier has long supported the public role of academics to bring their knowledge and thinking outside of the classroom. The Laurier Milton Lecture Series provides a wonderful opportunity to engage in a public dialogue with residents of Milton on a broad array of important topics.

The presentations showcase a range of the current research being conducted at Laurier, and include members of seven different Faculties, representing eight different University Departments/Programs.

Biographies of Presenters

Dr. Anthony Cristiano

Dr. Anthony Cristiano teaches media studies courses at the Laurier Brantford Campus, in the Digital Media and Journalism Program. His recent writings include "Digital Realities: Pragmatic Propositions from the Arts, Philosophy, and Criticism" URAM Journal (2014) at the University of Toronto Press, and "The Image of Religion in the Digital Age" (forthcoming), and he is the director of a number of experimental films. Works include A Matter of Style (2005) screened at the VertexList Gallery Brooklyn, New York, and at the USF Verftet Bergen in Norway, A Self-Conscious Mise-en-scene (2008) screened at the New Zealand Film Archives, Wellington New Zealand, and A Minute Life 1-20 (2015) screened at the Collegium Maius, in ToruĊ„ Poland. He recently completed work on a feature documentary titled Media Technology: what makes it "addictive"?

Dr. Mark Humphries

Mark Humphries is the Director of the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS) and the Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has published five books and more than a dozen articles on the medical, social, and operational history of the Great War. His most recent book is The Last Plague: Spanish Influenza and the Politics of Public Health in Canada (UTP, 2013).

Dr. Bree Akesson

Bree Akesson is an Assistant Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University's Faculty of Social Work and the Social Justice and Community Engagement Graduate Program, as well as a Research Associate for the International Migration Research Centre. She is also affiliated with research centres at McGill University and Columbia University. She has won several national awards for her work with Palestinian families living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. She is currently conducting research with Syrian children and families living in refugee camps. She is an editor for the forthcoming book, Children Affected by Armed Conflict: Theory, Method & Practice to be published by Columbia University Press.

Dr. Simon Dalby

Professor Simon Dalby is CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. Simon Dalby was educated at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Victoria and holds a Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University. He is the author of Environmental Security (University of Minnesota Press, 2002) and Security and Environmental Change (Polity, 2009) and recently coedited (with Shannon O'Lear at the University of Kansas) Reframing Climate Change: Constructing Ecological Geopolitics (Routledge 2015).

Dr. Michael Cinelli

Dr. Michael Cinelli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education. He has a Ph.D., M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University. His main research interests include perceptual and cognitive factors that affect the control of locomotion and balance across the life span and post concussion. He is also the co-creator of "Concussion Toolbox", an app that helps trainers, parents and coaches recognize when athletes should be removed from play and seek a trained professional's assessment.

Dr. Andriy Shkilko

Andriy Shkilko, Canada Research Chair in Financial Markets at Wilfrid Laurier University, studies the structure of modern markets using massive amounts of data on trading activity. His research has received many awards including those from Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, American Association of Individual Investors, Toronto CFA Society, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and NASDAQ Educational Foundation. Andriy consults the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Ontario on issues related to financial markets.

Dr. Julie Mueller

Dr. Mueller is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, teaching in both the pre-service and graduate programs in the fields of Learning and Child Development, and Health and Physical Education. Dr. Mueller has been in the Education Faculty since 2007 and served as the Acting Associate Dean for 2013-2014. Julie is currently on sabbatical working on her most recent grant exploring computational thinking across disciplines--assessing problem-solving ability through computer coding instruction. Other recent work has focused on the integration of digital technology from elementary to higher education. Her research on iPads specifically, has culminated in an iPad Implementation Guide for teachers. Dr. Mueller has also been an invited guest on the subject of digital technology in education in radio, TV and news media and is an active participant in professional learning circles in a variety of social media outlets.