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Dr. Katharine McGowan sits at the intersection of professor of social innovation at Mount Royal University and historian extraordinaire! You’ll find most social innovation discussions with her to be framed through a history lens, and more often than not, you leave with a newfound fact about a past monarch. This unique lens of learning about social innovation through history allows her to educate students not just on how transformation and change happens, but also pulling from history to help our understanding of the present social innovation conditions.

The big question she is sitting with is “Would you know if the world were collapsing around you?” She shares her perspective on this question through the lens and example of the Black Death.



This episode was produced by Alberta Social Innovation Connect. You can learn more about our network, find our newsletter, get inspired by and connected to other Albertan changemakers by visiting our website: We’d also love to feature your big question on a future episode! Find us at for more information on how to be a guest.

Thank you to the students of The Virtual School Project for the land acknowledgments. For more information on the Virtual School Project you can contact Julia Dalman at

We’d like to thank our funding partner the Suncor Energy Foundation, producer and editor Elise Martinoski of ABSI Connect, and theme music creator Eily Aurora.

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