The Hart House Hancock Lecture Series

“From its inception, the Hart House Lecture has inspired debate about visions of our place in the world.”
— Margaret Hancock, Hart House Warden 1997–2007

First launched in 2001, the annual Hancock Lecture is one of the biggest events on Hart House’s busy calendar. Organized by students and open to the public, the lecture aspires to ignite public conversation and debate and take issues identified as important by youth to a national audience.

Originally called the Hart House Lecture, it was renamed in 2007 to honour Margaret Hancock’s decade as Warden. For Hart House—a historic gathering place at the University and a home for debate, discussion and critical thought—the Lecture is a fitting medium to nurture civic leadership and participation.

Hart House Hancock Lecture Student Advisory Committee

Students involved in the Advisory Committee can be leaders in many areas: selecting the speaker, organizing a suite of parallel programs (link to programming page?) and activities, managing logistics, marketing and promoting the event, reaching out to other students and staging the event itself. The Student Advisory Committee brings tremendous insight and energy, which makes the Hancock Lecture an annual highlight. Our speakers are selected for their ability to galvanize constructive dialogue within the University and the broader community. If you would like to get involved on the 2020 Student Advisory Committee, please contact day.milman@utoronto.ca

2019 Hart House Hancock Lecture Student Advisory Committee

Bukama Muntu currently serves as the Hancock Lecture Program Associate and is also a part of the Hart House Global Commons Committee. Bukama is in her last year at UTSC majoring in Women and Gender Studies and minoring in English Literature and Psychology. In her free time she enjoys writing poetry, short stories and making art.

Kerry Munro is a second year student pursuing a double-major in Equity Studies and Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto St. George Campus. Aside from being the Leader of Social Media and Communications for this year's Hancock Lecture, she is also the Academic Bridging Students' Director for the Woodsworth College Students Association. What Kerry hopes to achieve from the Hancock Lecture is to broaden her experience in student leadership roles and to promote accessibility. in her spare time, Kerry volunteers with the U of T Food Bank, sips coffee at Sid's Café, and practices yoga.

Jheanelle Anderson is currently a Year 1 MSW student at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. She currently sits on three advisory committees reflecting her interests in disability activism on campus and within her faculty, and mental health support for newcomer women within the GTA. Ms. Anderson currently volunteers alongside Crisis Counsellors at Victims Services Toronto providing emotional and practical support for victims of crime within the GTA. She is currently in her first-year practicum at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and learning how to be an advocate for those marginalized within the medical industrial complex. Ms. Anderson emphasizes self-advocacy with those who she works with as an empowerment tool. She wants to assist people in developing the skills to navigate systems and structures of oppression. In her spare time, she enjoys playing Pokémon GO!

Joshua Joachimpillai  is currently studying  Biology and Psychology, and currently works at the AODA office as a Web Accessibility Assistant.  He is currently on the Event Logistics and Social Media committees. His hobbies and interests include politics and statistics.

Maria Vella loves to read and play games. She has been a treasurer for her high school student council. She plans to do Criminology in her second year then after fourth year do law school.

Rhea Bhatia is a fourth year undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Political Science and Peace, Conflict, and Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about policy, social issues, media, and arts & culture, and is hoping to combine these interests for her future endeavors in her community.

Jennifer Simpson is a Toronto based singer, performing artist and writer/songwriter. She is a student at the University of Toronto, majoring in Sociology and Criminology, with a strong focus on mental health and the criminal justice system. Jennifer is passionate about working with marginalized and vulnerable communities. She has worked as a counsellor with men experiencing mental health issues and insecure housing, post-incarceration. Jennifer is a member of the Hancock Committee, assisting primarily with the Talking Walls exhibit. Through her art and continued academic endeavours, she aims to advocate for those who are unable to. As a woman with a disability, Jennifer is interested in raising awareness about the daily realities and experiences of those living with both visible and invisible disabilities.  

 Yin Liu is a fourth year student majoring in Economics, and minoring in Education and English. She is excited to be a part of the Hancock Lecture to expand her knowledge of accessibility and inclusivity in our society. Through her experience on the committee, she hopes to learn how she can address salient issues faced by people with disabilities in different aspects of their life.

 Eliana Bravos  is a 1st-year student at the University of Toronto who's passionate about equity, inclusion, and justice. She is also the Chair and Co-founder of Viability Employment Services, a youth-led non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities find gainful employment and be leaders in their communities. Ultimately, Eliana hopes to inspire youth and contribute to destigmatizing how the world sees neurodivergent individuals and their capabilities.

 Celine Persaud is a 3rd-year student, at the University of Toronto, who is double majoring in Political Science and Criminology & Sociolegal Studies. She has previously offered her skills in planning and organizing to various fundraising committees which supported various causes, one of which was the extension of her high school. She enjoys volunteering with the UTSU’s Blue Crew, as it allows volunteers to connect with not only one, but various local organizations. As a member of the Hancock Committee, she hopes to use her experience and skills to facilitate discussion and raise awareness on this year’s Hancock Lecture central theme of Disability Justice.

Marisa Dariotis is a third-year student studying Forensic Psychology and Biomedical Communications at UofT. As well as being an Institutional Representative for the organization “Creative Arts for Mental Health”, she  works as an Ambassador for “Atlantis”, an independent global healthcare education organization and is a Customer Service Representative for “My Lil’ Health Bot”. Her participation in the Hancock Lecture Committee stems from her wish for universal accessibility to individuals from all walks of life and her role in this committee has been Leader of Resource Building. She is a lover of film, food, an avid reader and skier.

Gabriela Hecken has a B.A. in Drama and Psychoanalytic Thought, which included studying the depth psychology of C.G. Jung.  It took 32 years of ups and downs of navigating her disabilities and changing approaches and even issues. Most of it was on her own but she did meet people who gave her a variety perspectives of other disabilities and multiple disabilities and the challenges of self- care alongside academic commitments.  Today, she is still researching depth psychology, writing poetry for a ‘zine and talking with friends and acquaintances about hosting a social on the limitations of aging, beneficial activities and health.

Diana Opolski is in the Transitional Year Programme at the University of Toronto.  She has lived with invisible disabilities for most of her life. She hopes to become a therapist to help others with mental health issues.  Diana is accompanied by her service dog, Spike.

Stephanie Clark is a student whose leadership focuses on female and gender-non-binary peoples’ empowerment, equity, and success in the global marketplace. She comes from a family of multi-generational Caucasian Canadians, but has been able to recognize her privilege and is continuously attempting to explore intersectionality in an effort to eradicate divisiveness, locally and globally.  She is tired of the status quo disability rhetoric and wanted to be a part of the Hancock Lecture Committee change the dialogue on campus and beyond.

Saad Shahid Shafiq  migrated to Canada from Pakistan several years ago, and is now a current student of the University of Toronto, about to complete 3rd year, and enter his final year. Saad has been diagnosed with dyslexia and the autism spectrum disorder in the last several years. He was a diagnosed with this disability early in his life, whilst still in Pakistan, which had no facilities then to treat the consequences of this disorder, leading to impaired growth in his education. Not counting his time at University, he has had just about 6 years of formal school education in Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Canada. Despite this misfortune in his life, he is a part of the University of Toronto, one of the leading universities of the world, studying a Specialist in Philosophy, a Major in Equity and a minor in Indigenous Studies, with a keen interest in Islamic Studies. Saad was also a part of the workforce for several years, officially classified as a ‘disabled’ person. The idea of higher education was always far removed in his sub-conscious, as he was always told that he would be unable to manage university education due to his disability. As time went on, he knew that he had to get a higher education degree to get a job, but more importantly to prove to himself that he could surmount K-2 (the second-highest mountain, but more deadly than Everest itself).