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EDI Scholars-in-Residence: "Can We Laugh Together? The Role of Humour in Building Inclusive Connections" with Ky Sargeant

EDI Scholars-in-Residence: "Can We Laugh Together? The Role of Humour in Building Inclusive Connections" with Ky Sargeant

In the world of EDI, we are often acutely aware of how humour and laughter can become forms of marginalization. We talk a lot about the microaggression experience of having "jokes" told at your expense or having your experience be represented through dismissive or reductive stereotypes. When we think about creating inclusive and psychologically safe environments, the literature around EDI often centers on feelings of safety & respect in terms of an absence of negative experiences.

However, there also are few things that can connect a group of people together better than a good laugh, and rarely do we flip the script to view the ways that humour and laughter can be a grounding experience of connection within a diverse group. Despite the stigma that laughter is often "unprofessional" or not appropriate in serious conversations, as a stand-up comedian and an EDI practitioner, Ky Sargeant has found that the most meaningful moments of learning facilitated in her career, have come from the moments when a room lets down their guard to share a moment of joy.

In this talk, we will explore:

  • What exactly is a "joke" and why can they hurt or help connection so effectively?
  • How humour is a tool available to everyone, not just for those deemed as "funny"
  • The parallel between comedy and education in asking the listener to consider new information

EDI Scholar-in-Residence

Ky Sargeant is a professional EDI consultant and educator who brings an empathetic human-centred approach to all of her work, driven by an international lived experience. Having lived and worked in multiple cultures, she has developed a keen ability for compassionate communication and a critical eye toward the structural impacts felt by people of diverse identities. They believe in fostering deep connections with the people they work with and co-creating innovative solutions for inclusion. As a student, they led numerous grassroots inclusion efforts to support the experiences of LGBTQ2+, BIPOC, and neurodiverse students at the UBC, before joining the EDI committee at the Sauder School of Business to assist senior administration. She has a great appreciation for academic scholarship and is passionate about teaching. She strives in her work to build safe environments for the discussion and learning of EDI topics. Outside of the university, she has supported a range of corporate and non-profit organizations. Her projects include regularly leading workshops on inclusive culture, conducting facilities audits, providing coaching, and building professional training curriculums. Her skills as a facilitator shine most through her communication skills, where she strives to combine her love for performance art and comedy to make EDI concepts accessible to all learners. She has over 8 years of public speaking experience and has performed at events such as Vancouver Pride and TEDx UBC.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Irving K Barber Learning Centre
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  Peña Scholars  
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