Masterminds Lecture Series

Every year, the Masterminds Lecture Series features a new roster of entertaining speakers who delve into their academic and personal passions to bring you engaging and visual presentations on an eclectic range of subjects. After being cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, Masterminds returns for 2021—virtually!

Join us online every Wednesday evening in April to learn about the ecological knowledge of First Peoples, how to unpack the complexities of sex work, how physicists discovered the fundamental building blocks of nature, and considerations for aging in place.

The Masterminds Lecture Series is sponsored by the University of Victoria Retirees Association and the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health—with support from the university. 

Register to receive the Zoom link or contact UVic Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at 250-721-6369 or .

Our speakers

Nancy Turner

April 7
Plants, people and places: lessons in stewardship and reciprocity

An ethnobotanist’s look at ecological knowledge and wisdom of First Peoples

Indigenous Peoples worldwide have had close and reciprocal relationships with their environments and with the other species on which they depend. Their worldviews and lessons are embedded in stories, ceremonies and practical teachings. Nancy Turner highlights the traditional ecological knowledge and wisdom of First Peoples here in British Columbia, with teachings from elders and environmental specialists.

Nancy Turner


April 14
Commercial sex: a problem of gender or social inequality?

Unpacking the complexities of sex work

Prostitution or sex work is a controversial issue in most countries today and there is no consensus on the nature of the problem, nor how to address it. In this talk, Cecilia Benoit reviews the two main positions dividing scholars, the Criminal Code and other legal policies advocated by each position, as well as the consequences for adults who sell sexual services.

Cecilia Benoit

Richard Keeler

April 21
Elementary particles: the fundamental building blocks of nature

Searching for the indivisible

Particle physicist Richard Keeler explores the science of the continuing search for the “fundamental elements” of the universe. It was once thought that the atom was indivisible…until it was discovered that the atom could be divided into electrons and nuclei, then into neutrons and protons and other subatomic particles. Quarks and leptons are the newest fundamental particles and along with four fundamental forces, this theory is now known as the “Standard Model.”

Richard Keeler

Mary Ellen Purkis

April 28
Thinking about aging in place

Exploring the landscape of housing options for seniors

Many of us aspire to “age in place,” an idea promoted in mainstream media, and publications aimed specifically at seniors. But what does it mean? What are some practical considerations that you need to confront when planning for quality of life into our senior years? This interactive talk by Mary Ellen Purkis will explore the range of housing options available and invite members of the audience to share their own experiences, successes and challenges.

Mary Ellen Purkis


Register for one or all of the free online lectures or contact UVic Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at 250-721-6369 or .