Talking Babies and Language with Psychologist Janet Werker

DSC_1056This week Ira was joined by psychology professor Janet Werker to chat about her research on babies, speech and language as director of UBC’s Infant Studies Centre

Janet is one of the world’s leading developmental psychologists and Canada’s Research Chair in Psychology. Her 30-year career has focused on understanding the roots of language acquisition through studying speech in infants. Her research has revealed much about babies’ speech perception, acquisition of native speech sounds and how this supports early world learning.  For her contributions to the field and ongoing research, Janet was awarded the SSHRC 2015 Gold Medal Impact Award, SSHRC‘s highest distinction.

Her latest project is a collaboration with members from the Faculty of Linguistics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, which aims to create partnerships between researchers from different disciplines. The Language Sciences Initiative is a cross-disciplinary effort to broaden access to language sciences for all students.

You can hear more about Janet’s fascinating conversation with Ira here and catch Janet’s talk on bilingual babies at Science World on May 12. 


Student Series Part II: Carmen Miranda Barrios & Juan Hernandez

IMG_1361For the second and final episode of our Student Series, which profiles graduate students in the Faculty of Arts, Ira spoke with UBC Hispanic Studies students Carmen Miranda Barrios and Juan Hernandez.

Carmen is studying Latin American radio and media in a Canadian context. She is no stranger to the airwaves and has been volunteering as a radio producer for the past 15 years with the bilingual Spanish/English radio program America Latina al Dia. The show was created by Latin American expats in the 70s to discuss culture and current events in Canada and in their home countries. This experience inspired the subject of her PhD dissertation where she is exploring how the program has evolved and what is has meant and still means for the community.

Juan studies the portrayal of mining in Latin American literature. He is looking at how extractive industries are treated in short stories, novels and poems from Latin America; specifically those countries with mining in their history, such as Chile, Bolivia and Peru. It was his move to Vancouver that inspired Juan’s interest in this research topic.

Hear more of Ira’s conversation on with these two engaging PhD students here.


CiTR Fundrive

Arts on Air is excited to participate in CiTR’s annual fund rising campaign, Fundrive!

A substantial amount of CiTR’s operating budget comes from a small student fee levy, which means the bulk of the fundraising money gets used for new equipment and programs. Last year the money raised went to open the new studio in the UBC AMS Student Nest.

On-Air Fundrive: February 25 at 12:00 pm – March 3 at 9:30 pm

(accepting donations until Friday, March 18)

Goal: UBC Arts on Air is hoping to raise $500.00

How to pledge: Donate by phone: 604-822-8648 or Online

UBC Arts On Air LIVE show: Thursday, March 3: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Donors who call the pledge line will receive the following gifts from us UBC Arts On Air and CiTR as a Thank You!

UBC Arts On Air Gift:

1, a change purse key chain from Chile – will go to the first person to donate $30.

2, a signed biography of Leonard Cohen – will go to the first person to donate $101.90.


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Thanks for listening to Arts on Air and we hope you’ll continue to support us and pledge.

Student Series Part I: Ian Heckman & Richard Sandlin

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UBC Philosophy graduate students Richard Sandlin (left) and Ian Heckman (right) joined Ira in studio this week to talk about the ways food and dance stimulate human emotion. This is the first episode in a two part series exploring graduate student research in the Faculty of Arts.

Richard has just begun his dissertation on the relationship between flavour perception – our sense of smell and taste – and pleasure/displeasure. A relationship that has received little research attention and which, according to Richard, is rather mysterious. His research will examine the link between these two chemical senses and our affective systems to explore why there is such a tight connection between food and our emotions.

Ian is studying how dance evokes feelings of the sublime in audience members. He has published a book on this research, which was also the subject of his masters thesis, Evoking the Sublime Through Dance: Embodiment, Music and the Profound. It was Ian’s choreography background which inspired this research interest and he continues to question the nature of audiences’ emotional engagement with dance performance.

Listen to the full episode on CiTR radio here. And tune in next week for the second and final part in Arts On Air; Student Series.



Ira Talks Music & Cognition with Professor Ève Poudrier

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To kick off the 2016 season, Ira sat down with Music Professor Ève Poudrier to talk music and cognition – a subject that she will be bringing to UBC next year as a new course at the School of Music.

Ève Poudrier’s interest in the relationship between music and cognition was inspired by her research on polymeter – the layering of different beats in one piece of music – which she discovered through the works of composer Elliott Carter while studying music theory at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Carter’s use of irregular beats became the foundation for her PhD dissertation, which explores issues of performance and perception. Since then, Poudrier has developed a body of research that focuses on how people experience music and the cognitive systems that trigger these emotional responses. She has recently expanded her study of polymeter to include music from Western Africa, as well as the experimental sounds of today’s popular electronic music.

Currently on maternity leave, Poudrier will return to UBC in the Fall 2016 to introduce her new course, which will be cross-listed between the School of Music and the Cognitive Systems Program. Listen to Ira’s  full conversation with Professor Ève Poudrier on CiTR Radio here.


New Year, New Season

Happy 2016! Arts on Air is excited to be returning to the airwaves this new year for another season of engaging interviews with guests from across UBC’s diverse Faculty of Arts. Our host Ira will be behind the microphone again to talk new projects, upcoming events, ongoing research and much more with students, faculty and staff!

Tune in every other Thursday at 6pm on CiTR Radio to catch the latest!

If you have an questions, comments or guest suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact us at or on Twitter @ArtsonAir

Holiday Hiatus

We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to the wonderful guests that have joined Ira in studio this semester. So far this season we’ve touched on a diverse array of topics from UBC’s history and the Canadian election to the unethical imprisonment of journalists and the historic voyage of the Komagata Maru. We have some exciting developments in the works for next semester, but for now we bid everyone a fond farewell as we take temporary leave of the air waves for winter break. Tune in again in a few weeks time for more insightful interviews with guests from UBC’s Faculty of Arts on CiTR Radio.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year! Back again in 2016!