Music, glaciers, zombies and linguistics: Masterminds lectures return

This year’s Masterminds free public lecture series at the University of Victoria eschews the lectern and traverses an eclectic terrain of ideas: a singer, trombone player and a tuba player meet on stage to play music and tell stories about their life-changing musical experiences; a computer scientist compares historical and contemporary photographs of mountain glaciers to illustrate the effects of climate change; a medical anthropologist combines research, storytelling and zombie metaphors in his cautionary tale about stress in our culture; and a linguist uses sound and video as a way of showing how we produce language.

The series is presented by the UVic Retirees Association and UVic’s Centre on Aging, with support from the university. The series runs Wednesdays, April 8 through 29, at 7 p.m. in UVic’s David Turpin Building (Room A120). More info:

April 8—Peak experiences in music
A musician's peak experiences are by nature transitory, but whether they take place in a recording studio or a concert hall, even a fleeting moment of musical magic can be transformative. In this first lecture of the series three emeritus professors from the University of Victoria's School of Music—Mary Kennedy, Eugene Dowling and Ian McDougall—sing, play tuba and trombone, and tell stories about some of their peak experiences. The evening will include a musical interlude involving all three presenters and the audience.

April 15—Woman in the wild
What has a computer scientist learned from hiking with large-format cameras to shoot remote wilderness vistas and retreating glaciers? In an evening of stories and photography, Mary Sanseverino leads a visual tour of UVic's Mountain Legacy Project, which investigates environmental change in Western Canada by recreating classic historical mountain photographs.

April 22—Zombie Factory: Culture, stress and sudden death
Failing to recognize our patterns of stress can turn us into virtual zombies—or lead to unexpected death. Using narratives of a spy, an executive and a refugee camp worker, author and medical anthropologist Peter Stephenson draws on his research to talk about how to shake the grip of stress.

April 29—Seeing speech from the inside
From the mouths of babes to the laryngeal cavities of fluent language speakers around the world, these are the frontiers of exploration that linguist John Esling has probed. UVic's master articulator leads a multi-language video and audio tour of phonetics and his new phonetics app that documents speech production from the inside.

Please register for the free lectures by contacting or call 250-721-6369.

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Media contacts

>Dr. Geri Gyn (Professor Emerita, UVic Retirees/Masterminds co-organizer) at

Lois Holizki (Manager, Centre on Aging/Masterminds co-organizer) at 250-721-6524 or

Suzanne Ahearne (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6139 or

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Keywords: masterminds, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health

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