By Katherine Gombay
Doing science education through dance doesn’t sound like the easiest fit in the world. But for doctoral student Geneviève Metson, it was a natural. “I was the only person in my high school year doing physics, chemistry and dance,” says Metson, who is currently working on her PhD in Natural Resource Sciences with supervisor Elena Bennett. “I studied dance throughout high school, and I was very serious about it. But in the end I decided to pursue science.”
The people at Télé-Québec feel like Metson’s story will make for great T.V. “We’re very proud to have been invited to contribute to this new Quebec cultural venue,” said Olivier Marcil, VP (Communications and External Relations). “There’s a lot going on here culturally at McGill and now we are going to have the chance to share it.”
During her time at McGill, Metson turned to dance to help her work through some of the bugs during the process of writing her dissertation, and came up with a science education project in the process. “At times I found my writing too linear, so I would start to dance and things would become clearer,” she says. “And I realized that it’s one thing to write an article that gets published in a scientific journal, but if you want to reach non-scientists about issues that concern us all, a scientific journal is probably not the best way to go.”
So Metson recently took her dance piece about the flow of phosphorus and how to better manage it (the subject of her doctoral dissertation), to the Nuit Blanche festival in Montreal and performed it for passersby all through the night. “It was pretty well-received, and people came up to ask questions afterward. Lots of them had never thought about phosphorus,” says Metson. The production is also due to be staged at the CEGEP Marie-Victorin in Montreal very soon. (Phosphorus is a mineral that is essential for plant growth. It is used as a fertilizer in farm fields, but any surplus runs off into nearby rivers and streams with disastrous results for aquatic life).
For Sean Ferguson, the Dean of the Schulich School of Music, the Télé-Québec platform represents an opportunity to highlight the range and talent of the School’s students and faculty. “McGill is home to Canada’s leading school of music, with an enviable reputation throughout the world.” says Ferguson. “We train our students to become outstanding scholars and artists, and this new web platform will give us the chance to share our research, creativity and musical talent with an even wider audience.”
Check out McGill’s page at La Fabrique Culturelle.