Bernhard is Associate Professor and directs the iSpace Lab at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). He likes to go beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, combining natural sciences approaches (being a physicist by training) with human-centered and creative approaches (drawing from Psychology, Cognitive Science, Meditation, HCI, Design, and Art) using immersive Virtual Reality.
Starting off researching how we orient and move through real and virtual space, he is increasingly interested in exploring how we could utilize the potential of multi-sensory media like Virtual Reality to foster meaningful or even pivotal experiences and profound emotional shifts that we might otherwise never be able to experience.
After researching for a decade in the Virtual Reality Group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany and working as a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University and UC Santa Barbara, Bernhard joined SFU in 2008.
Daphne Roubini is a vocalist, ukulele player, educator, writer, songwriter, healer, ukulele school owner, and producer of the Vancouver ukulele festival. Music and healing has always been the backbone of her life.
She has worked in the healing field for over 20 years, supporting patients suffering from professional burnout. And as a professional musician, she has trained with London’s finest jazz musicians, and presently leads two bands: Ruby & Smith and Black Gardenia. She is recording two albums to be released this fall. She is also the founder of Ruby Ukes, Vancouver”s Ukulele school that now supports the strumming of over 1000 students a year.
Dr. Saber Miresmailli
Dr. Saber Miresmailli is an award-winning biologist, entrepreneur, startup CEO and foodist. Saber’s mission in life is to change the way we produce and protect our food. He received his Ph.D in Plant Science from the University of British Columbia and conducted his post-doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied plant signalling and behaviour for well over a decade and published several articles and book chapters. Saber received the Award of Excellence in Innovation in Agriculture from the BC Investment Agriculture Foundation and the Award of Innovation Excellence from the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Council; the United Nations’ Climate Technology Centre & Network and served at the Vancouver Food Policy Council. He also collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Foundation to help farmers in West Africa.
Jodie Ortega has taken childhood trauma and intergenerational cultural shame and turned it into a powerful tool for disrupting the damaging social narrative and belief systems that contribute to rape culture and the culture of shame. She uses a distinctive brand of storytelling characterized by rap and spoken word and she has taken that performance to Victor Walk, TEDxRenfrewCollingwood, and Pecha Kucha as well as to various educational and community settings.
She believes that in sharing our stories, we create community and in empowering our children, we raise children that will tell. Jodie is committed to encouraging parents to engage in continuing dialogue around body autonomy with their children to help remove the stigma of cultural silence around sexual violence. She has been a contributor to two anthologies: “The Hero’s Journey”, Restoring Hope, Australia and “Trigger Points Anthology”, Canada/USA. She was also a nominee in the 2016 Courage to Come Back Awards (Social Adversity category).
Jodie is a champion for survivors of sexual trauma and is committed to shining a light, not only on sexual and social injustice, but also the stories of triumph, like her own.
Laura Cuthbert is an Anthropologist and has spent the past eight years looking deeply at British Columbia’s History. She’s made it her mission to provide a more intersectional story of our past and open access to the tools and research methods she uses. This broad focus has turned into her project Populous Map, which is a still in development website and storytelling series in Vancouver. Her research has brought her to over 130 abandoned towns across BC and into rural areas to document history with the people who have lived it.
Laura has also used her anthropology and community mobilization skills through her work at Kudoz,. A startup where she curates a catalogue of learning experiences that enables adults with cognitive disabilities to get out and meet people in their community.
She's found that Populous Map has given her a local perspective on the global issue of historical erasure, while Kudoz has encouraged her to celebrate learning, rigour, intentionality, and reflection in everything she does. Both projects rely on the power of people and their stories, Laura is looking forward to sharing a few of her own.
Mark Haden has worked in the field of addiction services for 28 years and is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Public and Population Health. He is an instructor at the University of British Columbia and has published studies on drug control policy in several Canadian and International academic journals. He works closely with the Health Officers of British Columbia on position papers related to market regulation of illegal drugs and in 2013 was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work on drug policy reform.
Max is a Senior Architect and Associate in the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will. Since joining the firm in 2010, he has worked on a number of the firm’s most innovative projects, including the Van Dusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre, which is the first building in Vancouver to earn Petal certification for the Living Building Challenge, and the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, which was designed to be ‘net positive’ in seven different ways. Max regularly speaks and writes about sustainable design and healthy materials, and he recently co-authored an article on integrating academic research into the architectural design process.
Meharoona Ghani holds a Master of Arts degree in Gender and International Development with a specialty in gender analysis and race theory from the University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies. After a 20-year B.C. provincial government career, she launched M. Ghani Consulting. Today, she wears many hats: a Community Engagement and Diversity Specialist, Spoken Word Artist, and Educator with M. Ghani Consulting; a Manager with the North Shore Multicultural Society; and a published writer working on her forthcoming book: “Letters to Rumi” – an autobiographical account about identity and belonging.
Mohammed Alsaleh is a Syrian Canadian activist and advocate.
During his final years of Med school, he was forced to flee Syria after surviving imprisonment and torture by the Assad regime for his involvement in the peaceful Syrian uprising.
Fleeing to neighbouring Lebanon, he had lost all hope facing hardships of forced displacement until hope was restored by Canada. In 2014, he was offered a new opportunity in life as one of the first 28 Syrian refugee arrivals ever resettled in BC.
Since then, Mohammed has been building a new life in Metro Vancouver while resuming his activism as a public speaker and volunteer at various public engagements, raising awareness and helping other newcomers settle in Canada.
He currently serves as a Refugee Resettlement worker with Immigrant Services Society of BC. His journey from Syria to Canada and his work with refugees was featured in the documentary "Welcome to Canada".
Nadine Wildheart is a storyteller, who has been trained by world renowned storytellers Laura Simms and Nancy Mellon. She also sits with Haida History Keeper and Storyteller, Woody Morrison, Ph.D., who was trained by The Old Ones as a little boy. Nadine holds a Bachelor of Education with a teaching philosophy in whole brain thinking and emotional intelligence. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Great Books/English with a focus in Spiritual Psychology, the theories of the Western Cannon, Consciousness Studies and Jungian and Freudian Dream Theory. Nadine is a professional trained clown in the Pochinko technique, she studied with the Halifax circus, has hitchhiked across Canada five times and helped edit a textbook on Indigenous Injustices “The Colonial Problem” by Dr. Lisa Monchalin.
Sam George is a Squamish Nation elder, former Squamish Nation councillor and retired longshoreman.
Tru Wilson is an articulate fourteen-year old transgender advocate from Ladner, BC. Tru first made headlines in 2014 when her family filed a human rights complaint against her local Catholic School for not supporting her transition. In response, the CISVA became one of the first Catholic school boards in in North America to develop a policy to support gender expression. Tru and her family went on to participate in a 2015 Vancouver Parks Board transgender awareness campaign. The same year Tru was recognized by Vancouver Magazine as one of the city's 50 most powerful and influential people. In 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau personally acknowledged Tru for her advocacy in his welcome speech to the visiting Royals. And in 2017 Tru was named “Sexual Health Champion” by Vancouver's Options for Sexual Health Tru is currently an ambassador for Big Love Ball and Out in Schools, and continues to share her story to both educate and inspire others.