Mark Dance

Communications Coordinator, Samara Canada

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), Contemporary Studies and Philosophy, 2010

...it trains you to think more objectively, speak more clearly, listen more generously and live more passionately.

Contemporary studies (CSP) and philosophy graudate Mark Dance has been busy since he graduated from King’s as co-valedictorian. As a parliamentary intern in Ottawa, Mark’s research on digital democracy landed him an interview on CBC’s The House. Dance then interned with NYC-based Lapham’s Quarterly, a periodical that explores contemporary topics through voices from the past. Along with fellow CSP graduate Ryan Lum (BAH ’11), Mark followed up his editorial internship by traveling across the eastern half of Canada, co-writing a series of columns about outdoor hockey for the Chronicle Herald.

Dance’s writings on politics, culture, sport and history have appeared in Toronto Star, National Post, Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s and many points in between. More recently, Dance has completed an MSc in cognitive science at the University of Edinburgh, an innovation fellowship exploring the relationship between art and technology at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto and an amazing, two-month bike trip down the west coast of North America with fellow King’s grad Erin Murray (BSc ’10).

Mark credits King’s with giving him a passion for learning, the ability to read difficult texts, and the capacity to link old and new. “Any education that teaches you to be a technician will always fall short,” he says. “King’s promotes curiosity and engagement.”

Mark’s current expression of engagement comes through his communications and community work at Samara Canada, a Toronto-based organization dedicated to reconnecting citizens with the importance of public service and leadership.

While expressing gratitude for the opportunities that he’s had since graduating, Mark emphasizes that his intellectual groundwork was laid in the Foundation Year Program, the History of Science and Technology Program and CSP: “the relationship between language, democracy, media and human cognition continues to fascinate me—but I doubt that I would have had my horizons opened to the richness of these things without King’s.”

From strengthening Canada’s democracy at Samara to advancing the national affairs debate, Mark has found that the habits of thought adopted in the course of his liberal arts education have been indispensable: “You have to argue for things and push for change—but you also have to appreciate the context, history and perspectives of those with whom you are disagreeing. The unity of those two sides is what liberal arts education is all about; it trains you to think more objectively, speak more clearly, listen more generously and live more passionately. I’m so fortunate to have had that foundation.”

With lines from Cheryl Bell. Read an earlier article by Cheryl about Mark in the summer 2012 edition of Tidings.

Posted: Apr. 2016

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