Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 06, 2004

Symposium to explore ‘Paths of Masculinity’

The way men have been influenced by various historical definitions of what it means to “be a man” is the topic of an innovative two-day symposium at the University of Guelph Jan. 16 and 17.

“JourneyMen 2004: Exploring Paths of Masculinity” will be held at the Arboretum Centre from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday and from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday. A variety of speakers will discuss societal expectations and personal experiences with relationships, work, parenting, childhood abuse, alcoholism, sexual orientation, violence and other identity-forming issues. The symposium, which is open to everyone, is hosted by the university’s Counselling Services and the department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition.

“This is a chance to hear, participate in and discuss issues relevant to men today and to aid in the holistic growth of men in our society,” said Rob Baldwin, a counsellor/therapist who co-ordinates a U of G men’s program and is spearheading the event. “More and more, men are searching and growing, trying to figure out who they are and what it really means to be ‘a man,’ to be masculine. But there are relatively few healthy models for them.”

Traditionally, men have not been encouraged to talk openly about the challenges they face as men, added Kerry Daly, a family relations professor who specializes in men’s issues and helped organize the symposium. “When men feel that they can finally start to speak about some of their own personal struggles, there is often a sense of relief. This symposium is an opportunity for women and men to come together to talk about these issues.”

Baldwin, who has worked professionally with men for many years, added: “Men grow up with such shame about almost anything internal, any feelings that seem weak. They believe that if they are feeling frightened or grieving, there is something wrong with them.” This can often lead to difficulties in relationships and issues with anger, violence, depression and substance abuse, he said.

At the symposium, keynote addresses will be presented by Fred Mathews, director of research at Central Toronto Youth Services, and Ian Brown, a columnist for the Globe and Mail, host of CBC Radio’s Talking Books and a TVOntario anchor. Mathews will speak at 1:30 p.m. Friday on “The Normalization of Shaming and Blaming in the Socialization of Boys and Young Men.” Brown will discuss “The Portrayal of Men in the Media and Its Impact” at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Other symposium highlights include:

Friday, Jan. 16

• 3:15 p.m. “Generations of Men: Stories from the Ages,” a panel discussion featuring men in various stages of the personal and professional life cycle on the impact of societal definitions of “masculinity.”

Saturday, Jan. 17

• 10:35 a.m. “Stories from the Diverse Paths of Masculinity,” personal stories from men about transsexuality, impacts of childhood abuse, spirituality and other experiences.

• 1:15 p.m. “Men in Intimate Relationships,” a discussion led by Kathyrn Greenaway, a clinical psychologist, and John Theis, a family therapist, who are also a couple.

There will also be a special concert, “Stories and Music of Men,” Friday night from 7:30 to 11 p.m. in War Memorial Hall. “The concert really is an integral part of the conference,” Baldwin said. “It tells of the experiences of men in the form of stories and music.” The performance will feature the Kiyoshi Nagata Japanese Drum Ensemble, professional storytellers Vince Wall and Brian Holstein, and “Poetry of Men,” presented by U of G students. The concert is free to conference delegates and is also open to the public at a cost of $20 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors.

Cost of the symposium is $210 for both days or $115 per day for advance registration. At the door, the cost is $250 for two days and $135 for one day. Students will be admitted for $50 for both days, and a fee subsidy is available for U of G students. Guelph alumni who graduated in the past year will receive a 30- per-cent discount, and other U of G alumni will receive a 10- per- cent discount. To register, contact Counselling Services at (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53244, or by e-mail at Information is also available online.

* Note to media: Media may attend the symposium free of charge. The two keynote presentations, as well as the Saturday afternoon session, are open to media.

Rob Baldwin
U of G Counselling Services
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 54694

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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