Our university is a kind of universe. It has such breadth of interests and activities.

Students sitting in BOSA theatre

2024 Capilano Universe free virtual lectures

Presentations will be held either in-person or live via Zoom, maintaining spontaneous and interactive engagement and allowing the talks to easily integrate into the programming of our valued host libraries.

Some presentations are only available in person, so check each event listing for more information. 

About the Series

Capilano Universe was initiated by retired faculty member Leonard George 14 years ago. The idea was that through volunteer faculty connecting with the community over topics of interest, the vast universe of knowledge housed by the University could be expanded beyond campus boundaries.

Every spring, a series of talks is put together in collaboration with nearby public libraries — this year includes branches from across North Vancouver District, North Vancouver City, West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.

For general inquiries, please contact the organizer at capilanouniverse@capilanou.ca.


2024 Lecture Schedule

We are fortunate to have outstanding members of the CapU community ready to share their knowledge in these thought-provoking discussions. Take a look at this season's lectures in the menus below.

North Vancouver City Library
7 — 8:45 p.m.
In-person and over Zoom


Explore the fascinating world of health by delving into the scientific principles behind human movement. This interactive presentation will cover topics such as biomechanics, motor control, and exercise physiology.

Participants will gain insights into how the body functions during physical activity and learn practical tips for enhancing their own performance.

About Alan

Alan Jenks (PhD) is a distinguished chiropractor, educator, and researcher who seamlessly intertwines his rich international experience with a passion for unlocking the mysteries of human movement. His journey is marked by a commitment to holistic well-being and an unwavering dedication to the field of kinesiology.

He commenced his career as a chiropractor in the scenic landscapes of Kelowna, British Columbia, offering personalized care that blended chiropractic principles with a deep understanding of human anatomy and movement.

Driven by a quest for new challenges and global perspectives, Jenks embarked on a transformative journey to the Netherlands with his wife. Over the course of 13 enriching years in Europe, he played a pivotal role in advancing chiropractic practices and contributing to the health and well-being of diverse communities.

A lifelong learner, he expanded his horizons by pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology from Vrije University in Amsterdam. His doctoral research is rooted in exploring epidemiological trends and their impact on health outcomes in older adults. In 2021, he returned to the breathtaking landscapes of British Columbia.

Drawing upon his extensive clinical and research experience, he joined the School of Kinesiology at Capilano University, bringing a wealth of knowledge to students eager to explore the science of movement.

North Vancouver District Public Library — Capilano
6:30 — 8 p.m.
In-person and over Zoom


Character, conflict, action, plot. Contemporary filmmakers still follow many of the principles of story outlined 2,500 years ago in Aristotle’s Poetics.

The French filmmaker Robert Bresson is attributed with the famous axiom: a film is made three times, first in writing, second in production, and finally in editing. But what is editing? But what does a film editor actually do?

This talk will present how film editing works in various genres: documentary, drama, episodic and reality. It will outline the challenge of condensing multiple hours of footage into a cohesive final film, as well as discuss the evolution in processes and technology over the decades, including the shift from film to digital editing.

Ultimately choices made in the edit room reside in the story, no matter which tools we use.

About Debra

Debra Rurak (BA, MFA) worked in the film and television industry as an editor for almost 30 years. She began her career in the 1980’s, after graduating from the Film Production program at Simon Fraser University. Her professional experience includes features, short dramas, documentaries and series.

For years she was an active member of the IATSE 891 editing department and has received various film awards for her work. She has been teaching in the Bachelor of Motion Picture Arts program at Capilano University since 2012 and loves sharing her passion for film post-production with students.

West Vancouver Memorial Library
7 — 8:45 p.m.
Zoom only

This talk introduces the audience to the basic principles underlying what constitutes copyright infringement from a legal perspective and examines how those principles are applied today.

The talk features actual audio clips and video excerpts that are edited so the audience can hear the issues at hand, and goes over four decades of various songs that have been alleged to have infringed on the copyrights of other songs through legal proceedings.

About Jeff

Jeff Young (JD) is an entertainment lawyer and trademark agent qualified in B.C. and California. He is also a law and business instructor at Capilano University and an adjunct law professor at the University of Victoria.

Jeff has also taught film and new media law at the University of British Columbia and in the Faculty of Business, School of New Media at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and was the founding head of the Vancouver Film School's Entertainment Business Management Diploma Program.

Jeff has negotiated with major international media corporations and acted for and advised award-winning recording artists, music publishers, sports franchises, film and television performers and film companies.

From 2008-2010, Jeff was a legal consultant to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and from 2011-2013, Jeff was the Director of Contracts and Chief Negotiator for the Union of BC Performers. He has appeared in both the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Aside from law, Jeff is a music composer, producer, and supervisor with composer credits on three feature-length films. He also volunteers as a Black Rock Ranger with the Burning Man organization.

North Vancouver District Library — Parkgate
6:30 — 8 p.m.
In-person and over Zoom


Why do people react with fear and judgement about their grammar when they realize they are speaking with an English teacher? What power do we attribute to being able to speak in a way we have internalized as "correct"?

We'll work together to make a list of steps to celebrate the expression of individual voice and move away from thinking of a person's English as correct or incorrect as we’ve learned to understand it based on a biased system.

About Holly

Holly Flauto (BA, MA) is a settler in Canada and an instructor in the English department at Capilano University after coordinating the peer tutoring and writing centre at Douglas College for over a decade.

She is also a facilitator for the Instructional Skills Network, conducting workshops to enhance teaching effectiveness for instructors and educators.

Her current scholarship, research and pedagogical focus includes how peer-based learning, equity and antiracism, active learning, and UDL intersect in tutoring and teaching practices, particularly in the writing classroom. Her writing focus extends to creative practice as well, as she works in both creative non-fiction and poetry.

Gibsons & District Public Library
6:30 — 8 p.m.
In-person and over Zoom


Born in 1947, Julio Cesar Oliva, classical guitar composer and performer, is considered to be one of the greatest in the history of guitar in Mexico. He has an incredibly prolific performing career with over three thousand concerts that took him all over Mexico, Europe and the US, and he has been celebrated by guitar festivals all over Mexico.

He stands alongside composers such as Leo Brouwer, Dusan Bogdanovic, Andrew York, Roland Dyens, and others, who wrote set pieces for the Guitar Foundation of America, the most prestigious guitar competition in the world.

Sources differ on the number of pieces he has written for the guitar, with some claiming that he has written over two hundred pieces for the guitar while others say that it is closer to four hundred; however, he is one of the most obscure composers of our time with only very few of his pieces ever being published, recorded, or even heard of outside of Mexico.

This lecture will shed light on Oliva’s incredible life and career and offer a glimpse into his compositional output, exploring samples from his solo works to chamber music. This lecture is also meant to be a lecture-recital as I share some live performances of Oliva’s music.

About Luis

Founder of the Vancouver Classical Guitar Festival, Luis Angel Medina (M.Mus) is an avid performer and teacher across North America. He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program at the University of Toronto, where he is conducting research on the life and music of the prolific contemporary Mexican composer, Julio Cesar Oliva, under the guidance of acclaimed Canadian guitarist Dr. Jeffrey McFadden.

He continues to promote the guitar through public events and performances and through his active involvement with the Toronto Guitar Society, where he serves as Director of Operations.

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Luis started his musical journey at the University of Guadalajara at age fourteen. He furthered his studies in Vancouver, Canada, at Capilano University and the University of British Columbia, earning multiple awards and scholarships.

Luis obtained his master’s degree from the University of Georgia in Athens under Dr. Daniel Bolshoy's mentorship, receiving the Director's Excellence Award and earning distinctions in his final oral examinations.

Luis has performed for prestigious guitar societies across North America, including Vancouver, Calgary, Regina and Toronto, as well as the Tri-Cities Guitar Society in Washington. He has featured in the International City Music Talents concert and collaborated as a soloist with A Little Night Music Orchestra. Luis regularly teaches, directs ensembles, and performs at festivals and music events in Canada and internationally.

Now serving as a guitar instructor at CapU, Luis supports music students in pursuing their degrees and careers in music. His students consistently achieve remarkable success, including local competition wins, Provincial Festival nominations, high marks in the Royal Conservatory of Music exams, and the BC and Yukon Gold Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest score in the province.

Sechelt Public Library
6 — 7:30 p.m.
Zoom only


Our talk focuses on the history of Paldi, B.C., a logging community founded in ~1917, by Punjabi Sikh immigrants, on unceded Hul’qumi’num Territories (near Duncan, B.C.).

Due to the diversity of its workforce, which included Punjabi, Chinese, Japanese, and white men and their families, Paldi has been described as the origin of Canadian multiculturalism; a 2023 Canadian Heritage Minute called Paldi "one of Canada’s first inclusive, multicultural communities."

These representations of the community as "multicultural" aim to honour the achievements of the racialized workers and families in Paldi, who were denied the vote, paid less than their white counterparts and subjected to harassment and surveillance by Canadian police and immigration officials.

But do these uses of the term misrepresent both Canadian multiculturalism and the history of Paldi? Scholars have long argued that celebratory national discourses around multiculturalism often obscure historical and existing forms of racism, and sideline Indigenous land claims and work towards decolonization.

In our study of Paldi, we try to offer a fuller account of this complicated community, in which early immigrants of color leveraged their participation in resource extraction (on unceded Indigenous lands) in ways that expanded the category of the "Canadian” beyond the imagination — and the legal limits — of the white settler nation.

About Fenn and Jastej

Fenn Stewart (BA, MA, PhD) has recently joined the English Department at Capilano University; previously, she taught writing and literature at Douglas College and UBC.

Her research on colonialism and decolonization in "Canada" has appeared in journals including ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature and Law, Culture and the Humanities.

From 2018-2019, Fenn was editor of The Capilano Review; her poetry has appeared in several journals and collections and two full-length books (2017, and forthcoming in 2024).

Jastej Luddu holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology from UBC, and an MA in Social and Political Thought from York University; he is the Communications and Story Producer for 221A, a local arts non-profit.

Since 2021, Fenn and Jastej have collaborated on several projects focused on colonial and decolonial formations emerging from the British empire.

Our work together has appeared in Briarpatch and on the Oecologies blog; earlier this year, in collaboration with Afuwa, we co-guest-edited a special issue of The Capilano Review focused on "bad feelings." This spring, we also presented our research on the history of Paldi, BC, at the Social Sciences and Humanities Congress Conference in Toronto.

North Vancouver District Public Library — Lynn Valley
6:30 — 8 p.m.
In-person only


This presentation summarizes and discusses an archaeological project in North Vancouver’s Seymour Valley, directed by Bob Muckle; and focuses on the period between 1900 and 1950 in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.

The presentation tells the story of the more than 20-year history of the project, including unexpected discoveries, such as Japanese camps and a secret settlement; anecdotes about working in the rain and the company of bears, and how and why the research is meaningful. Some of the collected artifacts will be on display.

About Bob

Bob Muckle has been practicing, writing about, and teaching archaeology in B.C. for over 30 years. There is nowhere in the world he would rather do archaeology than in Metro Vancouver, and nowhere he would rather teach than at Capilano University, which is his work home.

He has authored several books and is working on several more. He has written scholarly and mainstream media articles on his research, given more than 30 presentations on his work at scholarly conferences, and more than 100 presentations to public and local community groups.


Have questions?

Capilano Universe

Danielle Labossiere
604 986 1911, ext. 3027