India field school spotlights intergenerational theatre

The buildings may have been repaired, but two key segments of the population in the southeastern coastal region of India are still struggling to overcome the effects of the 2006 tsunami: seniors and rural youth. Now, a new UVic field school hopes to bring a sense of joy to these marginalized people by creating India’s first intergenerational theatre company.

Matthew Gusul (centre) during a field trip to the region last year

Matthew Gusul (centre) during a field trip to the region last year

Led by PhD candidate Matthew Gusul, 13 Department of Theatre students will be traveling to Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India, to participate in the two-month field school. Gusul, an applied theatre practitioner who has done similar fieldwork in Mexico and Guatemala, has been working with the 80 people in Tamil Nadu’s Tamaraikulam Elders’ Village (TEV) for the past two years.

By positively highlighting the life experiences of TEV residents and the 750 young students of the Isha Vidhya Matriculation School—both of which were created after the 2006 tsunami to address issues of displacement and vulnerability—Gusul will work with a team of Indian directors to encourage these seniors and rural youth to perform their own stories, develop strong community relations and create new lines of dialogue across generations.

Matthew Gusl_India8_smMany of the seniors at TEV were alive at the time of India’s independence in 1947 and offer rare opportunities for living history. But the idea of meeting the needs of seniors is still relatively new in India; in 1947, life expectancy was about 42 years, while today it’s closer to 64.

“India has a new population they don’t know how to deal with—they don’t have old age pensions or facilities for seniors,” says Gusul. “And when disasters happen, seniors are the last in the pecking order of importance. Often seniors tend to get put off to the side in what are commonly referred to as ‘granny dumps.’”

Intergenerational Theatre for Development is one example of the kind of community-engaged research happening at UVic, where undergraduates have the opportunity to take dynamic hands-on learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom and into communities around the world.

Matthew Gusl_India4_sm“Our students are there to bear witness to the process of getting this company up and running and creating the first performance,” says Gusul. He is working with the NGO HelpAge India, which will act as the organizational home for the theatre company. Once Gusul and his students arrive, the company will begin rehearsing with intergenerational theatre techniques used by the GeriActors and Friends in Edmonton, and Roots and Branches in New York City. The first performance will be on November 27, 2014.

Matthew Gusl_India3_sm“I really want to look at how the community is affected by this process—the performance and process leading up to it should be absolutely wonderful, filled with fun and joy and laughter,” says Gusul. “We really use the idea of intergenerational playfulness. You see it on the bus all the time: a young person will sit next to an old person, and the first thing the old person does is make a joke, then they start laughing together. It’s the same with seniors and their grandchildren. That’s what the company works with.”

Following the field school, the company’s Indian directors—Pondicherry University’s Dr. Bala Pazani and Sugantha Lakshmi, along with Dean of Performing Arts Dr. K.A. Gunasekaran as Creative and Cultural Consultant—will take what they learned from UVic’s theatre artists and adapt the model to be culturally appropriate for India.“Even though we have this desire to help, there have been a lot of projects with the exact same motivations that have really gone awry,” says Gusul. “Often times theatre projects with NGOs and in development situations can almost become tools for teaching or message giving—and you can see that in India right now. But we view theatre as more of a process, more about the celebratory nature.”

Matthew Gusl_India2_smKey to the whole project is its ability to survive and grow after Gusul and his students return to UVic in December. “Part of what I’m trying to do is make sure we’re as little involved as possible with the actual theatre work,” he says. “We’re there to support the idea getting generated and going; then it’s about the India community taking it on. Ultimately, it’s up to them—I can’t be too much of a cook in their kitchen.”

While Gusul notes success can be difficult to measure when it comes to theatre for development (“it’s a struggle for our entire discipline,” he admits), he’ll know the field school will have done well by the smiles on the participants faces. “The most important thing is to have one of the best days TEV has ever had, where the entire community is laughing and sharing a generational experience.”

No rest for Paul Walde’s Glacier

New departmental chair Paul Walde is participating in the October 4 dusk-to-dawn contemporary arts celebration that is Nuit Blanche Toronto. His recent video installation Requiem for a Glacier will be screened at University of Toronto’s Hart House as part of the choral exhibit All Together Now. All Together Now will consider the renewed interest in the choir format and its capacities for inspiring feelings of togetherness, communicating shared memory and history, and—occasionally—provoking less than harmonious results. Nine video installations and sound works by Canadian and international artists will resonate throughout Hart House, accompanied by on-the-hour performances by 10 choirs from the Toronto community.

Paul Walde recording on Farnham Glacier (photo: Pat Morrow)

Paul Walde recording on Farnham Glacier (photo: Pat Morrow)

Says Nuit Blanche: “Paul Walde’s massive video installation Requiem for a Glacier will engulf visitors in a panoramic portrait of BC’s Jumbo Glacier area, serenaded by a four-movement oratorio written to respond to the imminent threats of global warming and resort development.”

Walde’s piece is presented alongside acclaimed UVic Visual Arts alumnus Althea Thauberger’s sound piece Murphy Canyon Choir, a documentation of a choral performance developed by the artist and a group of spouses of active-duty soldiers in the largest military housing complex in the USA.

Originally conceived in Paris in 2002, Nuit Blanche is a 12-hour event with a mandate to make contemporary art accessible to large audiences, while inspiring dialogue and engaging the public to examine its significance and impact on public space. Nuit Blanche is both a “high art” event and a free populous event that encourages celebration and community engagement.

nuit-blancheFrom sunset to sunrise city spaces and neighbourhoods are transformed into temporary exhibitions: unusual or forbidden spaces become sites of contemporary art open for all-night discovery and rediscovery, and cultural institutions—from museums to galleries to artist run centres—open their doors and offer free access to contemporary art. Now universally translated as “Sleepless Night,” Nuit Blanche has expanded its reach beyond Paris to more than 25 cities across the globe, each offering its own version of the all-night art extravaganza.

Fellow Visual Arts professor Vikki Alexander‘s photographs were a highlight of the 2012 Nuit Blanche Toronto.

A little closer to home, Requiem for a Glacier is also currently on view through to October 25 at the Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam BC, and from there will appear at Université Laval’s visual arts gallery in Quebec City until the end of December.

You can read more about Walde’s Requiem in this UVic KnowlEDGE feature.

Walde's "Interdeterminacy" offers art from mushroom spores

Walde’s “Interdeterminacy” offers art from mushroom spores

In other Paul Walde news, his work Interdeterminacy (for John Cage)—seen locally as part of last year’s Visual Arts faculty exhibit Paradox—is part of Open Sound 2014: Sonorous Kingdom at the Surrey Art Gallery in Surrey, BC. That exhibition runs until December 14, but Walde will perform with EMU: Experimental Music Unit from noon to 5pm on Saturday, November 15, at the Surrey Art Gallery. Elements from the concert Music for Mycologists will be on the program, including Interdeterminacy.

New book for Writing professor Lee Henderson

From Blondie to Doonesbury, comic strips have been a mainstay of the newspaper industry for the better part of a century. Now, Department of Writing professor Lee Henderson has crafted an insider’s look at the world of comics in his highly anticipated new novel The Road Narrows As You Go (Penguin/Random House).

Lee Henderson

Lee Henderson

Henderson will be launching the book locally at a special event: 7:30pm Saturday October 4 at Munro’s Books, 1108 Government Street. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

A young woman growing up in sleepy 1970s Victoria dreams of becoming a successful cartoonist like Peanuts creator Charles Schultz, and when she winds up in hedonistic 1980s San Francisco she finds herself competing for newspaper space with the likes of ‘80s stalwarts Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes—even Peanuts itself. But is US President Ronald Reagan really her father? Henderson deftly explores all this and much more in a book that he also rounded out by illustrating his main character’s fictional comic strip, Strays.

book-U6-A146-B319-R493“The way it started for me is just living out a vicarious dream that I had when I was a kid in the eighties to be a comic-strip artist,” says Henderson in this Globe and Mail interview. “As soon as I knew that my next book would be about a comic-strip artist, [I had] the idea that I would learn how to draw them at a professional level. It was an ambition to take [on] something I did as a kid.”

Named one of “the 25 most anticipated Canadian books of 2014” by the National Post, The Road Narrows As You Go is the follow-up to Henderson’s BC Book Prize-winning novel The Man Game—which he also illustrated. A two-time Journey Prize nominee, he is also the author of the short story collection The Broken Record Technique.

Henderson will also be teaching a special Writing department course in January 2015: “Inside the Comic Artist’s Studio,” an in-depth and insider’s look at how comics and graphic novels are made. A study of the early stages on sketchbook with pencil to final inked pages laid out as digital files, the class will look at the unique challenges and opportunities for comic artists when telling a story using sequential illustrations. Not just superheroes, the semester will focus on a range of comics including Chris Ware’s groundbreaking graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.

History mystery central to First World War exhibit

It’s a history mystery worthy of its own exhibition.

Art History & Visual Studies professor Marcus Milwright with JM's diaries

Art History & Visual Studies professor Marcus Milwright with JM’s diaries (UVic photo services)

When Art History and Visual Studies professor Marcus Milwright began planning his upcoming exhibit The Arts of World War I, he knew there was one item in the university library that he just had to use: a beautiful two-volume leather diary set illustrated with watercolours and pen-and-ink drawings of life during wartime. There’s only one problem: he has no idea to whom it actually belonged.

JM’s World War I sketchbooks, housed within UVic Special Collections and University Archives for more than three decades, contain approximately 130 sketches and drawings ranging from caricatures to sombre images, by a British soldier based in France and Belgium in 1917 and 1918.

“The dedication on the first page says, ‘To my daughter, Adele’ and it’s signed simply J.M.,” says Milwright. “Other than that, there is only the emblem of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, with whom I assume he served. We do know that J.M. survived the war, as there’s a painting dated 1920, and we know he saw active service in the areas of Ypres and Menin, as the paintings are dated and named. But that’s about it.”

diary G&MMedia attention to this story has been brisk, with most major news outlets giving Milwright’s search for J.M. prominent play. Recent stories have appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Times Colonist, Vancouver’s Metro news, the Saanich News and on CBC Radio’s On The Island, CFAX radio, CTV-Vancouver Island, plus pieces on CBC Television, Global TV, Shaw TV and a Canadian Press story that was picked up by the National Post, Vancouver Sun and the Province newspapers.

Skype interviewed from Belgium!

Skype interviewed from Belgium!

Milwright was even interviewed for this article that  appeared in the famed French international publication Le Monde. And he was interviewed via Skype by Belgian blogger Rudi Rotthier, who runs the Knack—if your Flemish is good, you can read it here.

In addition, a Postmedia website dedicated to stories about The Great War is now showcasing a special segment on the diary and UVic’s hunt for the missing diarist. There are also pieces pending on Shaw television and the Saanich News.

Milwright has attempted to track J.M. down through brigade records—but those require at least one name to search, not just initials—and UVic Libraries has no record of where the diaries came from, just that they were purchased from a private seller in Victoria, likely between the early 1970s and mid-1980s.

diary2The library has been trying for some time to solve this mystery as well and is hoping the centennial of the First World War this year will spark some new leads.

Milwright’s theory is that the diary set was sold by a family member, possibly through an estate sale following the death of Adele herself, and he’s hoping someone will recognize either the diaries or the artwork and be able to help solve the mystery. “They’re fantastic images,” he says.

WWI exhibitThe diaries and their illustrations will be a central feature of a new exhibition, The Arts of World War I, curated by Milwright and running November 7 to March 2 in the Legacy Maltwood (at the Mearns Centre – McPherson Library). The exhbiit will offer examples of books, prints and trench art from Europe and the Middle East drawn from the Legacy Art Galleries, the university’s archives and private local collections. Milwright hopes J.M.’s identity will come to light either before or during the exhibition’s four-month run.

“There is one preparatory sketch, which indicates these images weren’t just spontaneously drawn but actually planned,” says Milwright. “They look to me like book illustrations, so it’s probable that J.M. was a trained painter or illustrator before going into the army.”

If anyone has any information about either J.M., Adele M. or the diaries themselves, please contact Marcus Milwright at mmilwrig@uvic.ca.

Arts of WWIMilwright is also organizing a series of weekly lectures—Cultures of the First World War—which will run throughout October and November. Featuring a wide variety of speakers, the lectures will reflect upon dimensions of the arts, intellectual activities, and political life in countries involved in the “Great War.”

• October 2—”World War One and the Remaking of the Modern Middle East,” with Martin Bunton, Department of History

• October 16—”Revolutionary Violence and the War against War,” with Allan Antliff & “The Contrary Experience: Herbert Read and the Cultural Memory of the First World War,” with Matthew Adams, both of the Department of Art History and Visual Studies

• October 30—”The First World War in Film,” with Mitch Parry, Department of Art History and Visual Studies

• November 13—”Daughter of Empires: The Archaeological and Political Activities of Gertrude Bell in Mesopotamia, 1909-1926″ with Lisa Cooper, UBC’s Department of Classical, Near Eastern & Religious Studies. (This lecture is sponsored by the University of Victoria branch of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Consortium of British Columbia – MEICON).

• November 27—”From Ithaca to Number 31328: Greek Literature of the First World War,” with Evanthia Baboula, Department of Art History and Visual Studies

 All lectures run 4:30-6:00pm in room C118 of UVic’s David Strong Building

—A version of this article originally ran in UVic’s newspaper, The Ring

Two 4 One has BC premiere

Department of Writing professor Maureen Bradley‘s debut feature film, Two 4 One, will have its BC premiere in Vancouver on October 1 & 3 at the Vancouver International Film Festival.This is following the world premiere at the 2014 Calgary International Film Festival, in their Canadian Cinema Series. At VIFF, it’s featured in both the Canadian Images program, and in the BC Spotlight.

A scene from Two 4 One

A scene from Two 4 One

“The VIFF West Coast premiere at the Rio was packed,” wrote Bradley on the movie’s Indiegogo page, which helped finance the production. “So far,  response has been fantastic. Last night there lots of laughs and some tears.  It was great to see old friends and have family cheering me on.”

Regular blog readers will have been following the development of Bradley’s transgender romantic comedy. Both Bradley and film producer & Fine Arts digital media specialist Daniel Hogg were in attendance for Q&As at the Calgary screenings, along with some of their cast.

Two 4 One's Calgary premiere: (from left) producer Daniel Hogg, actor Gabrielle Rose, writer/director Maureen Bradley, actor Gavin Crawford, actor Naomi Snieckus

Two 4 One’s Calgary premiere: (from left) producer Daniel Hogg, actor Gabrielle Rose, writer/director Maureen Bradley, actor Gavin Crawford, actor Naomi Snieckus

Described as the first transgender rom-com, Two 4 One follows transgendered Adam (This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ Gavin Crawford) and Miriam (Mr. D’s Naomi Snieckus) as they enjoy an ill-advised one-night stand . . . only to wind up both being pregnant. Gabrielle Rose (The Sweet Hereafter) co-stars.

Check out this Calgary Sun interview about the film, which they describe as having “several clever and hilarious twists.” You can also peruse this VIFF Q&A with Bradley, where she discusses the project’s inspiration, biggest challenges and offers some advice to aspiring directors.

And VIFF BC Spotlight programer Terry McEvoy said this about Two 4 One in this Westender article: “It strains your belief, this idea that this couple gets together and both end up pregnant, but the set-up that she has for it, and the performances in it, are just fantastic.”

Two 4 One plays Oct. 1 at 9:00pm at Vancouver’s classic Rio Theatre and multiplexing it Oct. 3rd at 11:00am at the Cineplex Odeon International Village 8.

Keep up tp date on all things Two 4 One via their Facebook page. And fingers crossed for a Victoria date with this locally-lensed charmer at the Victoria Film Festival!

Diversity highlighted in alumni concert

It may seem unusual to pair a classical violist with a folk band in concert, but the two acts  performing in the School of Music’s inaugural Emerging Artists Alumni Series concert have a lot in common. Nothing short of eclectic, these artists are skilled on multiple instruments and in a wide-range of musical styles. This kind of multiplicity gives these artists a leading edge as they break into professional careers in music.

Sarah Treadwell

Sarah Treadwell

Violist Sarah Tradewell (B.Mus ’14) recently graduated from the School of Music and already has a busy schedule of teaching and performing. “It’s only been a few months, but a bunch of opportunities cropped up that I was overjoyed to accept,” says Sarah.

Raised in Northern Saskatchewan, Sarah had a rich musical upbringing inspired by her music-teacher mother. She gave her first performance at age three, was involved with musical theatre from age six, and insisted on learning both fiddle tunes and Classical music when she started violin lessons.

To this day, Sarah continues to hone a range of skills and pursue diverse opportunities. Her broad repertoire of experience, paired with her talent and tenacity, is proving advantageous. The evidence is in her fall schedule: teaching the Conservatory Fiddles at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, touring with acclaimed tenor Ken Lavigne, playing in several concerts with the Victoria Symphony, and playing the role of Jane Bennet in Langham Court’s upcoming production of Pride and Prejudice in October (adapted by UVic Fine Arts alumna Janet Munsil). Sarah can also be heard regularly with Black Angus at the Irish Times pub in downtown Victoria.

“I’m pretty happy with my life right now and the diverse performance opportunities I have. I don’t know what my future holds yet, but I do know that I want to be performing, whether it’s orchestra, chamber, new music, or folk music.”

West My Friend

West My Friend

Members of the chamber-folk band West My Friend—featuring Eden Oliver (B.Mus ‘08), Jeff Poynter (B.Mus ‘11) and Alex Rempel (B.Mus ’12), as well as Nick Mintenko—believe their diverse experiences have made them more well-rounded artists. From touring musician and church music director to house painter, and non-profit program director, “our journey since graduating has been very much one of chiseling out lives for ourselves and exploring the different things we want to put our energies into,” says Poynter. A lot of that energy has gone into preparing for their upcoming tour through BC, Alberta, Idaho, Washington and Oregon this October and November.

West My Friend CDPoynter describes West My Friend’s sound as “cascadian third-wave indie prog chamber folk roots music.” Apparently this is what happens when you put an accordion, mandolin, guitar and upright bass together with four part harmonies and three music degrees. Having formed five years ago, the band has two albums under their belt as well as multiple tours. Their most recent tour across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands turned some heads—given that they were traveling by bicycle. “Many people were shocked that we carried all of the gear and instruments,” chuckles Poynter.

Both Tradewell and Poynter couldn’t say enough about the value of performing—on campus and in the community—during their time at UVic. “Perform as much as you can. You never know who will see you,” stresses Tradewell. Whether you’re fiddling at pubs, singing in local choirs, or accompanying a musical, Poynter emphasizes that “the connections you make with other musicians and people in the music business can be priceless and can have far reaching impacts you can’t imagine yet!”

The School of Music’s inaugural Emerging Artists Alumni Series concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 21 in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tradewell will perform solo works by Bach, Hindemith, Stravinsky and others while West My Friend plays songs from their latest album along with some new and old material. Chances are good that Tradewell will join the group with some fiddle stylings. Admission is by donation and proceeds will benefit further Emerging Artists Alumni Series events.

—Kristy Farkas

Re-Birth of the Cool

The Birth of the Cool recordings have influenced musicians and arrangers worldwide, and—since their release on vinyl in 1954—continue to be one of the most extensively discussed, studied, imitated, and transcribed in the history of jazz. For UVic Jazz professor Patrick Boyle, these recordings were his first exposure to Miles Davis.

ReBirth of the Cool_PatrickBoyle9 copy“In high school I took a cassette tape out from my local library and practically wore it out,” Boyle recalls. Revolutionary in their time, the Birth of the Cool sessions were the first notable new movement in jazz since bebop. Sixty-five years later, “there is still a freshness and vitality to these recordings,” says Boyle.

In a special faculty concert on Saturday, September 20, Boyle will perform innovative arrangements from the classic Birth of the Cool charts on trumpet and guitar. His all-star band will feature some of the island’s hottest jazz players, including Monik Nordine (alto sax), Marc Patsula (horn), Ross MacDonald (double bass), Kelby MacNayr (drums), Tom Vickery (piano), and School of Music faculty Wendell Clanton (baritone sax) and Eugene Dowling (tuba).

Miles Davis (right) with the original nonet

Miles Davis (right) with the original nonet

The original nonet recordings were organized as labour of love—and exploration. “In 1948, Gil Evans held informal jam sessions in his small apartment behind a Chinese laundry in New York City where Davis, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, and John Carisi experimented with new harmonies and orchestrations,” explains Boyle. “The arrangers were never paid for their work and were excited to see if they could capture the intricate complexity of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra—Evans’ one-time employer—through a smaller group. Most notable are the inclusion of french horn and tuba, instruments which were and remain under-utilized in jazz settings.”

One surprising element of this concert will also be Boyle’s instruments of choice. “I think a lot of people know me as a trumpet player, but guitar is an equal part of my musical life and it’s an equal part of this concert,” he says. “I’ve been playing it just as long—22 years now—and I play guitar just as much as I play trumpet.”

McDougallCTV1Also notable among the guest artists for the September 20 concert is revered Victoria trombonist and School of Music professor emeritus Ian McDougall, who will join Boyle for some duos in the second half of the evening. “One of the most important musicians this country has produced, [McDougall] is an ideal model for anyone wishing to pursue a career in music: know everything about what you do, do it better than anyone else, and be the funniest guy to hang out with while you’re doing it,” says Boyle.

Re-Birth of the Cool starts at 8pm on Saturday, September 20 at the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are available through the UVic Ticket Centre and at the door.

—Kristy Farkas

Writing professor Tim Lilburn earns national honour

Noted poet and Department of Writing professor Tim Lilburn has joined the ranks of Canada’s academic elite after being elected by his peers to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. The distinction is Canada’s highest academic honour.

Poet & Writing professor Tim Lilburn

Poet & Writing professor Tim Lilburn (UVic Photo Services)

Lilburn is one of the world’s leading poets and essayists on poetics. His works—including nine books of poetry and two essay collections—help us interpret our relationship to landscapes and their ecologies, and offer paths forward to living ethically within these relationships.

“Place is a version of one’s larger body: where you live shapes you physically, psychically and spiritually,” says Lilburn. “It certainly affects how you write. If you live in a colonial mindset you tend to forget about this link—and, as a result, you forget about an important part of yourself. Poetry is important because it gives us stillness.”

Lilburn’s work has been translated into French, Chinese, Siberian, German, Spanish and Polish, and has been widely anthologized. He gives readings and lectures around the world and is a frequent guest on radio and television. In 2011, he served as a judge for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the world’s largest prize for a single collection of poetry written in, or translated into, English.

Among his many awards, he has been twice nominated for the Governor General’s Award in Literature: first for Tourist to Ecstasy in 1989, and then winning it with 2003’s Kill-site.  As the award jury noted at the time, “Lilburn has dug down to a speech which is like ‘unbearable nudity.’ Everything comes together here: immensity of canvas, ambition of language and line.”

Read more about Lilburn’s reaction to his award in this Times Colonist article.

His most recent book of poetry is Assiniboia (2012)—which you can hear him read a poem from by clicking here.

“I was lucky enough as a poet to grow up in a time of literary resurgence,” says Lilburn. “I’m talking about the great wave in Can Lit that began to build in the late ’60s and rode right through to the late ’90s . . . it seemed at the time that literature was helping to define the national identity. You see a similar thing going on in the literatures of other countries at around the same time—in Nigeria, say, with writers like Achebe, Soyinka and Okigbo. A similar phenomenon occurred in China a few years after the death of Mao.”

When asked about finding inspiration in nature, in the Canada landscape and in a greater sense of our place in the universe, Lilburn is characteristically philosophical. “I think place is a version of one’s larger body: where you live shapes you physically, psychically and spiritually,” he says. “It certainly affects how you write. I think that if you live in a colonial mindset you tend to forget about this link, and as a result, you forget about an important part of yourself.”

Tim Lilburn joins other current and past Faculty of Fine Arts colleagues Mary Kerr, Lorna Crozier, Bill Valgardson, Pat Martin Bates and Jack Hodgins as RSC Fellows.

Also elected as a Fellow this year is UVic History professor Eric Sager—the sixth UVic historian in recent years to join the prestigious academy.

This year’s new Fellows will be inducted to the academies of the RSC during the Induction and Awards Ceremony on November 22 at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City.

A total of 66 UVic scholars, scientists and artists—including current, former and adjunct faculty members—are fellows of the Royal Society of Canada.

Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada comprises the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. Its mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world.

New student welcome

Now that classes are back in session, it’s time again for our annual Fine Arts New Student Welcome soiree, where we welcome our first-year students in style.

ice-social_960x540But rather than offer yet another year of pizza, this time around the Fine Arts faculty and staff will be serving something different: ice cream! Yep, we’re throwing an ice cream social—but better still, this Sept 11 event will feature tasty gourmet ice cream sandwiches by Cold Comfort, local purveyor of high-end ice cream yumminess.

ColdComfortRather than just the humdrum likes of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, Cold Comfort offers ice cream sandwiches with flavours like Vanilla Bean sandwiched between chocolate cookies and Salted Caramel (that’s dairy and gluten-free, no less). We’ll also have a mystery box of random flavours for the more daring ice cream gourmands.

Coastal Giant

Coastal Giant

But there will be more than just ice cream up for grabs. In addition to popcorn and cookies (for those who don’t like chilly treats), we’ll also be featuring the music of local country funk band Coastal Giant.

Come for the food, stay for the fun! The New Student Welcome is always a great chance to connect with Fine Arts faculty and staff in a casual environment. All Fine Arts students, staff and faculty are welcome to join us from 4 to 6pm Thursday, September 11, in the Fine Arts Courtyard.

A September full of events

Now that  university classes are back in session (at least some BC students have returned to school), Fine Arts is also back in action with a full slate of September events. Here’s a chronological list of what’s coming up in the next few weeks—be sure to check back in early October for next month’s lineup.

irontomahawksThe annual Audain Exhibition presents returning Audain Professor Jackson 2Bears and his live cinema/scratch video performance, Iron Tomahawks. Digitally-encoded vinyl records—created in conjunction with specialized software developed by the artist—enable the manipulation of audio/video media in realtime, creating a multimedia performance that simply needs to be seen. Pop in and see the kind of contemporary work our Visual Arts professors are creating.

Iron Tomahawks should be open by Sept 12—they’re just dealing with some technical issues at the moment. Once it opens, it will run 10am-4:30pm Mondays-Fridays through to Sept 26 in the Audain Gallery, found off the main foyer of the Visual Arts building. And it’s free to watch, of course.

TiaCasperPhotoMagicPosterVisual Arts alumna Tia Casper is opening her first exhibit since graduating. Photo Magic offers a series of photographs taken in Las Vegas over 48 hours.These analog, pseudo tourist snapshots show Las Vegas through its lights, signs and grandiose architecture. The images juxtapose the glamour of greed against the detritus and decay of a failing dream. The images are dark, yet the lights shine through to create a parody of what Las Vegas symbolizes.

Photo Magic opens Thursday, Sept 11 and runs to Sept 28 at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, 2516 Douglas.

From Thomas Kneubuhler's "Access Denied" series

From Thomas Kneubuhler’s “Access Denied” series

Staying on the visual arts beat, we’ve got the first of the 2014/15 Visiting Artist series—Thomas Kneubuhler. A Swiss-born multimedia artist, Kneubuhler creates work that often deals with social issues and how technology affects people’s lives. His work has been presented in many exhibitions in both Europe and North America. He’s appearing here as part of his participation in Open Space’s Work’PLACE’ exhibit. (Thanks to Open Space for jointly sponsoring his illustrated talk here on campus.)

If you’ve never caught one of the Visiting Artist talks, they’re a great chance to hear about what’s happening in the contemporary art scene around the world. Thomas Kneubuhler appears at 8pm Wednesday, Sept 17, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. Also free!

Iron Chink imageAs mentioned above, Open Space’s fall exhibit is Work’PLACE’, and it features a number of connections to the Visual Arts department. Work’PLACE’—curated by longtime Visual Arts professor Lynda Gammonuses a variety of strategies to interrogate the rapidly transforming definitions of “work”. Work’PLACE’ features Visual Arts MFA alumnus Dong-Kyoon Nam, previously mentioned Visiting Artist Thomas Kneubuhler, and London’s Tommy Ting, along with a film by Christine Welsh of UVic’s Women’s Studies.

Work’PLACE’ opens 7pm Friday, Sept 19, and continues to Oct 25 at Open Space, 510 Fort. If you’re interested in the ideas behind the art, the exhibit’s Artist’s Talks is at 2pm Saturday, Sept 20.

ReBirth of the Cool_PatrickBoyle9 copyThe School of Music is keeping the “cool” in “school” (but, you know, spelling it correctly) with the first of the season’s Faculty Concert Series: Re-Birth of the Cool. Jazz professor Patrick Boyle is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the iconic Birth of the Cool sessions—featuring Miles Davis, Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan—by performing innovative arrangements from these classic charts on guitar and trumpet, as well as a duo with Juno Award-winning local trombonist and School of Music professor emeritus Ian McDougall.

Re-Birth of the Cool kicks off at 8pm Saturday, Sept 20, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $14 & $18. Can’t make it to the show? Tune in here for a live broadcast of the concert.

Our colleagues at the Legacy Art Galleries are offering a pair of exhibits focusing on Salish art: Perpetual Salish: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection and Salish Reflection: Coast Salish Art and Artists on Campus.

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Art by lessLIE

Perpetual Salish presents a wide range of art forms and ideas, and gallery visitors will gain a better understanding of the cultural and stylistic elements that unify and inspire these contemporary artists in their own artistic practices. Artists featured are Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLIE, John Marston, Susan Point and Dylan Thomas, and the exhibit runs to January 10, 2015.

Meanwhile, Salish Reflection honours Coast Salish artists Chris Paul, Maynard Johnny Jr., and knitters May Sam and the Olsen family (Adam, Joni, and their mother Sylvia), who were all part of UVic’s Artist in Residence Program through the Department of Anthropology between 2011 and 2013. During their three-month residency, they collectively taught students about their own artistic practices as well as aspects of Coast Salish history and contemporary culture.

Chris Paul's "Conservation"

Chris Paul’s “Conservation”

This exhibit illustrates the teaching methodology and experience of students and artists in collaboration along with examples of the artists’ work. (The Artist in Residence Program is facilitated by Dr. Andrea Walsh, who teaches the Anthropology of Art, and the program is supported by donors George and Christiane Smyth.)

All are welcome to join the artists and curators of both exhibits for a reception at 2pm Saturday, Sept 20, at Legacy Downtown, 630 Yates. Light refreshments will be served

You can also hear a curator’s talk with lessLIE at 2pm Saturday, Sept 27, at the Legacy Downtown.

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Sarah Treadwell (top) and West My Friend

A great new project by the School of Music is their Emerging Artist Alumni Series. Not only does it allow recent Music graduates a chance to shine in the spotlight, the Emerging Artist series also offers a fantastic opportunity for students to meet with and learn from young alumni. The first in the series brings together classical and folk traditions in a double-bill of violist Sarah Tradewell and the chamber folk group West My Friend—featuring Eden Oliver, Jeff Poynter and Alex Rempel. 

The Emerging Artist Alumni Series kicks off at 7:30pm Sunday, Sept 21, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Admission is by donation.

WR Faculty reading poster_14If the literary arts are more your style, the Department of Writing is holding its Annual Faculty Reading Night this month. Featuring the words of Carla Funk, Bill Gaston, Kevin Kerr, David Leach, Tim Lilburn, Joan MacLeod and an excerpt of a film by Maureen Bradley, plus grad students Leah Callen, Heather Clark, Danielle Janess, Michael LaPointe and Sam Shelstad, the evening will be hosted by Fine Arts communications honcho and Writing department sessional instructor John Threlfall.

The Annual Faculty Reading Night starts at 7pm Tuesday, Sept 23, in room A240 of the Human & Social Development building. Guess what? It’s also free.

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Gary Spearin’s “Careworn”

Over the past two decades, the multi-media installations of Ontario-based multimedia artist Gary Spearin have utilized painting both on and off the canvas. A repertoire of painting techniques and styles had been employed to magnify issues of site and context within museums, private and public galleries, public and domestic architecture, and the natural and historic landscape.

Come hear Spearin talk when he’s the next in the Visiting Artist series. That’s at 8pm Wednesday, Sept 24, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. Yep, it’s free.

Suzanne SnizekAnd you can end your month in harmony thanks to another of the Faculty Concert Series. This time it’s School of Music flute professor Suzanne Snizek performing works by composers Mel Bonis, Charles Koechlin, Kaija Saariaho and J.S. Bach. This concert will also feature School of Music guests, pianist Bruce Vogt and soprano Anne Grimm.

That’s at 2:30 pm Sunday, Sept 28, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tickets are $18 & $14, and you can tune in here for a live audio webcast.