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The Systems We Live In


Title: The Systems We Live In: Where We Are, How We Got Here & What’s Next

About: Our societal context has evolved such that issues, once possible for some to ignore, are now at the forefront of society. Alongside an increased recognition of racial, socio-economic, and other inequities comes an ennui of isolation, loneliness and feelings of helplessness. We are met by personal and civic challenges daily that threaten to overwhelm our already overwhelmed mental and emotional resources. The priorities and research areas of Social Innovation & Leadership; systemic critiques, personal values, emotional intelligence, managing change and others are critical components for unearthing new approaches to address society’s most pressing concerns. Graduate students who attend these sessions will be inspired to move from theory to praxis, applying this learning daily as leaders and change agents who reconfigure today to create a better tomorrow for us all.

All seminars use principles of affective and peer-to-peer learning. 

Future Smart: This series is a part of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies’ Future Smart program, an extensive program of professional skill development for graduate students, free of charge.

Attendance in a minimum of two sessions is required for Future Smart eligibility.


Man in grey hooded sweatshirt walking past a brick wall with black and white posters.

Title: Where We Are Now & How We Got Here

About: What factors, events and choices have contributed historically to where we are today societally? 

  • Historical systems overview, e.g. colonialism, capitalism, the new age of manifest destiny
  • Can we escape the past? Do we want to/need to?

This session took place on November 24, 2021.

Ripped black and white poster with face of a man and graffiti overtop.

Title: Interpersonal and Systemic Othering

About: What are the things that keep us from realizing fair, equitable and just societies? Is it possible to envision different ways to navigate our relationships, personally, professionally, institutionally?

  • Systemic oppression 
  • Unequal power dynamics 
  • Bias & presupposition 
  • Challenging assumptions 
  • Uniqueness vs diversity

This session took place on March 1, 2022.

A dark silhouette of a woman walking past a wall plastered with black and white posters.

Title: What’s Next?

Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2022, from 12 to 2 pm (ET)

About: What would it look like if we re-imagined our society as a place that affirms and includes each person based on our own unique contributions? What values inform inclusive societies? What if we threw everything we know out and started all over? Personally? Societally?

  • Shifting mindsets 
  • Importance of lived experience 
  • Creating safe space for others 
  • Challenges vs opportunities 
  • Alternative ways of Being in the world

Please note that this workshop will be hosted online using Zoom.

A Zoom link and password to access the Workshop will be sent via email to all persons registered. You can download Zoom on your device for free using the following link: (external link) .


This session took place on May 3, 2022.

Wayne Dunkley

Man wearing blue tshirt standing against a white background, laughing.

As a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University and the University of Toronto, Dunkley has worked as a consultant on interactive storytelling and digital strategy with the  National Film Board and served as a panellist and advisor for the Canadian Race  Relations Foundation, Royal Ontario Museum and the Dak’Art Biennale of  Contemporary African Art. He has served as Cultural Mediator for the School of  Image Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University and has facilitated workshops with the Toronto Art Therapy Institute and Artscape’s Launchpad program. 

Dunkley transmutes his lived experience as a black male into a critical, reflexive and socially engaged consultancy that utilizes cultural mediation, workshops, community engagement, mentorship, photography and digital media as catalysts for societal and personal transformation. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the Office of Social Innovation at Toronto Metropolitan University and serving as the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisor for Capilano University. Dunkley has lived and worked in Montreal,  Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver and San Francisco.