Ancient underwater marvels and landscapes of the heart: Masterminds 2016 lectures

The Masterminds free public lecture series returns to UVic on Wednesday evenings in April. Always wide-ranging and inspiring, this year’s talks journey from the underwater marvels of the ancient Roman world, through the poetic landscape of the heart, to an exploration of what ecological responsibility really means, and a survey of a successful model of fall and injury prevention programs in First Nations’ communities.  

The series is presented by the UVic Retirees Association and the Centre on Aging with support from the university. The first and last lecture of the Masterminds series are held in the Harry Hickman Lecture Theatre; the second and third are held in the Bob Wright Lecture Theatre.

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

April 6—Building for eternity

One of the mysteries of the ancient world surrounds the massive breakwaters constructed under the reign of King Herod during the years 23 to 10 BC in the now-submerged harbour of Caesarea, the ancient port city on the Mediterranean coast of Palestine that was the capital of the Roman province of Judea for about 600 years. Archaeologist and classics scholar John Peter Oleson takes us to the sites of his many underwater excavations where he gathered samples of ancient concrete and talks about one of his most surprising discoveries: that the main ingredient in the Roman concrete that could set in either salt or fresh water was volcanic ash—transported almost 2,000 kilometres by ship from the Bay of Naples, an undertaking of extraordinary magnitude and complexity.

April 13—When the heart starts thinking
Poetry is an arcane and ancient art. So why do we need it now? Lorna Crozier, one of the country’s most beloved writers and professor emerita of UVic’s writing program, will show how the images and music of poetry can explain the changing of seasons, the loss of love, the meaning of renewal and of growing old without falling into sentimentality or political rhetoric. She bounces between talk and poetry, reminding us of the beauty of the everyday in the language of the heart.

April 20—Gaia citizenship
In response to the ecological crisis, many people around the world now think of themselves as ecological citizens—having civic responsibilities to sustain the ecosystems that sustain life on earth. Political philosopher James Tully discusses the central features of this global movement—often called Gaia citizenship—and the challenges and lessons it provides.

April 27—Working with First Nations Elders and caregivers to reduce falls, fires and injuries

The rate of fall injuries among older adults in BC First Nations communities is almost twice that of non-First Nations older adults. Little is known about the factors that contribute to this significant difference, or of appropriate prevention strategies. Elaine Gallagher, former director of UVic’s Centre on Aging and nursing professor emerita, describes her experience as part of a new three-year project conducted through the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority to adapt an existing fall and fire prevention program specifically for First Nations communities. Co-presenting is Vicky Scott, project lead and clinical associate professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.

More info:

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Media contacts

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, community

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