QuartetFest West celebrates strings

Quartet Fest West, the popular summer string quartet intensive, returns to the School of Music from June 9 – 20. Attracting participants from across Canada, the US and Italy, the festival of concerts, workshops and coachings is hosted by UVic’s beloved quartet-in-residence, the Lafayette String Quartet.

The LSQ's Ann Elliott-Goldschmid with students at QuartetFest West 2013

The LSQ’s Ann Elliott-Goldschmid with students at QuartetFest West 2013

Anchored by the chamber music workshop, QuartetFest West is an in-depth study of the string quartet literature that also features a series of public concerts (see below) and masterclasses (open to the public by donation). Another highlight is an open discussion with Andrew Dawes, first violinist of the Orford String Quartet and the Tokyo String Quartet.

“It’s really intensive,” says LSQ violinist Ann Elliott-Goldschmid of the QuartetFest West experience. “The students learn how to communicate very effectively, they have to learn the music quickly and come to agreements quickly—they don’t have a semester to work on something, they only have 10 days.”

Alcan String Quartet

Alcan String Quartet

Participants and the public alike will have the opportunity to soak in the host quartet’s prowess in a concert on June 18. Performing works by Boccherini, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn, the Lafayette String Quartet will share the stage with David Ellis, cellist of the Alcan String Quartet—this year’s guest coaches from Chicoutimi, Québec. One of Canada’s most celebrated chamber music ensembles, the Alcan String Quartet is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The festival culminates in a student concert on June 20 featuring chamber groups made up of Quartet Fest participants.

Andrew Dawes

Andrew Dawes

Open Discussion with Andrew Dawes
7:30pm – 9:00pm Friday, June 13 • Maclaurin Building Room B037
Admission by donation

Join a chat with teacher and soloist Andrew Dawes, founding member and first violinist of the Orford String Quartet and first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet. During his career he performed over 3,000 concerts on six continents and made 60 recordings.

Lafayette String Quartet with David Ellis, cello
8pm Wednesday, June 18 •  Phillip T. Young Recital Hall (UVic MacLaurin Building, B-Wing) • Tickets are $12 (students) and $25 (general) from the UVic Ticket Centre (250-721-8480).

Don’t miss this concert featuring Boccherini’s Cello Quintet, Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 10, Op. 118 and Mendelssohn‘s Quartet in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2

Participating Quartets Concert
8pm Friday, June 20 • Phillip T. Young Recital Hall (UVic MacLaurin Building, B-Wing)
Admission by donation

Featuring participating quartets of Quartet Fest West 2014, the program for this concert is yet to be announced.

Be sure to check the School of Music’s online calendar for more QuartetFest West workshops and events.

Call for Courses

The Faculty of Fine Arts is requesting expressions of interest for the following sessional assignments:

Got a great course idea?

Got a great course idea?

Fall Term - FA 200 A0: Special Topics in Fine Arts (maximum enrollment: 150 students), September-December 2014.
A multi-disciplinary investigation into various aspects of the arts. Focus may vary from year-to-year. Class runs Monday and Wednesday, 4:30pm – 5:50pm.

Spring Term -FA 335 A01 – Popular Culture (maximum enrollment: 75 students), January – April 2015.
An interdisciplinary examination of the popular arts and their place in society. The topics for
examination will vary in different years and sections. Class runs Monday and Thursday, 8:30am – 9:50am.

Expressions of Interest are due by 4:30pm Thursday, June 19th, 2014. Positions will be assigned no later than June 27, 2014.

Insert your course here

Insert your course here

Please submit a written letter of interest indicating qualifications and experience,
potential course outline along with a current Curriculum Vitae to:
Samantha Knudson, Academic Administrative Officer
Faculty of Fine Arts (Fine Arts Building, Rm 116)
University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 Stn CSC, Victoria BC V8W 2Y2

If you are interested in proposing future courses that fit within the Fine Arts curriculum (see Undergraduate Calendar pg. 310), please contact the Dean of Fine Arts Office to schedule an appointment. Sessional Instructors are CUPE 4163 (Component 3) positions with Sessional Lecturers Certification.

The University of Victoria is an equity employer and encourages applications from women, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, people of all sexual orientations and genders, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of the University. The University reserves the right to fill additional teaching assignments from the pool of applicants for this posting. All positions are subject to enrolment and budgetary approval.

A Day in the Life: Kirk McNally

Each issue of the UVic community newspaper The Ring features a different “Day in the Life” profile of various staff members. This month, it was Kirk McNally’s turn. Here’s a reprint of the piece that ran in the Summer 2014 issue.

Kirk McNally in the School of Music's audio booth

Kirk McNally in the School of Music’s audio booth

A decade ago he was recording the likes of A-list rockers R.E.M., Bryan Adams and the Foo Fighters, but these days you’ll more likely find Kirk McNally tweaking the levels in the MacLaurin Building’s recording studio. But as the Audio Specialist and Recording Engineer for the School of Music since 2004, the best part of McNally’s job is that he doesn’t really have a typical day. “I can be teaching a recording class or mentoring a work-study student or collaborating with a faculty member on a creative project,” he says with characteristic quiet humour. “Every day is a varied day, and that’s a good day for me.”

With a Masters in Music from McGill and a professional career working at some of the industry’s top recording studios, McNally has spent much of his past decade on campus putting UVic on par with other Canadian institutions. Not only does he teach with the joint Computer Science/Music program, but he also designed and maintains four digital audio studios, trains the technicians responsible for the recording and sound re-enforcement of all School of Music concerts, and supports any faculty, staff or student with audio needs. Across campus, McNally is also a member of the Computer Advisory Committee and worked in collaboration with the Mearns Centre for Learning to upgrade the library’s multi-media rooms.

Not that he’s given up on his recording background. Just as this interview was happening, McNally was completing his latest CD collaboration with the School of Music’s Colin Tilney—an internationally renowned harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano artist—and has also recorded albums for the Lafayette String Quartet and music for filmmaker and composer John Celona. “I also work with external people, like Victoria Symphony’s Terence Tam and his wife, the pianist Lorraine Min, and Symphony cellist Brian Yoon, as well as Pacific Opera,” he says.

What brings this level of classical talent to UVic, rather than record at the Royal Theatre? “We’ve got a good recital hall that’s quieter than any of the options downtown,” he says. “And we’ve got great pianos in our Steinways.” There’s also the presence of McNally himself. “It’s a good combination,” he agrees. “Certainly with Pacific Opera’s Young Artist series, they’re looking for an education side to it—not just someone to do the recording, but someone to speak to that experience as well.”

McNally performing "Resonant Chambers" at New Currents Festival in 2008 (photo: Lyssa Pearson)

McNally performing “Resonant Chambers” at New Currents Festival in 2008 (photo: Lyssa Pearson)

McNally has also started collaborating with local radio stations CFUV and CBC, the latter of which he assisted with their recent “Blues for Esi” concert supporting Giller Prize-winning author and UVic alumna Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues as a contender for the Canada Reads competition. “We sent a student down and by all accounts he did a really great job,” he says. “That was the first inkling that we could be a valuable partner for doing remotes, because CBC simply can’t afford to bring people over from Vancouver anymore.” McNally looks at both this kind of community engagement and the increasing popularity of his sound courses—demand for which has more than doubled since he came on board—as evidence that his work here has only just begun. “The studios still have plenty of room to grow,” he says.

Another progressive initiative he has spearheaded is the digital live streaming of School of Music concerts. “We’re doing really, really well with that—we’ve actually maxed out the server a couple of times,” he says enthusiastically. “A lot of it depends on the event, of course, but we’re getting regular listeners in Toronto, the UK and Germany. Even if we’re getting 30 or 50 more people listening live, that’s more people spreading it around.”

McNally with The Krells (photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)

McNally with The Krells (photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)

Given all McNally does at UVic—in addition to his personal creative collaborations as part of the live electronics trio The Krells—does he ever miss the rock & roll lifestyle? “Yes,” he hedges. “I miss the environment, and I miss the people who are drawn to work in big studios . . . the hours, not so much.” He pauses and laughs. “I do miss the scope of the projects—working on something that goes out to that many people in the world is a pretty cool feeling.”

But so is training the next generation of recording artists.

Shelagh Rogers named next UVic chancellor

It’s the kind of news that will warm the heart of any arts supporter: famed CBC Radio host Shelagh Rogers has been named the University of Victoria’s 11th chancellor.

UVic's new chancellor designate, Shelagh Rogers

UVic’s new chancellor-designate, Shelagh Rogers Credit: UVic Photo Services

The news was announced to a packed room in UVic’s Mearns Centre for Learning on May 29, as a beaming Rogers took to the stage and said, “To speak in a very non-chancellorian way, I’m thrilled out of my bean.” The genuine laughter and applause with which this statement was greeted was a strong indication of the popularity of the announcement. “I feel like over the last little while I’ve been dating UVic,” Rogers qiupped. “I’m glad now to be in a relationship with you.”

Click here to listen to her interview on CBC Radio’s All Points West with 2013 Southam professor Jo-Ann Roberts.

A longtime associate of the Department of Writing and friend to the Faculty of Fine Arts, Rogers will assume the office for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2015. As the titular head of UVic, the chancellor is the chair of convocation, confers all degrees and is a member of the university’s board of governors, as well as the senate (which governs the university’s academic affairs). The position carries no remuneration.

Rogers hosting the Litereary Celebration of Lorna Crozier in November 2013

“As UVic’s chancellor, Shelagh Rogers will enhance the excellence of our university. She will bring tremendous energy and great insight to her new role. Her national reputation as an advocate for Canadian arts and culture will serve the university well,” write nominators Dr. Sarah Blackstone, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, and Dr. Lynne Van Luven, Associate Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts. “Shelagh has a deep commitment to higher education and to the Aboriginal reconciliation process. She has the ability to ask the right questions and to tell the whole story so that others can understand complex and urgent issues and ideas. UVic could not ask for a better ambassador as we build on our reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement.”

Speaking at the event, UVic President Jamie Cassels noted that Rogers “exemplifies the values that characterize our university. She is deeply connected with communities across Canada; her cultural contributions and ability to reach into people’s everyday lives as a well-known broadcaster and as an advocate for public awareness on important societal issues will make her an outstanding ambassador for the university. On campus, her trademark warmth, compassion and enthusiasm will help inspire our students and connect with them on a very authentic level.”

Chancellor-designate Shelagh Rogers meets the media. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Chancellor-designate Shelagh Rogers meets the media. Credit: UVic Photo Services

A veteran broadcast journalist, Rogers is currently the host and a producer of The Next Chapter, a CBC Radio program about Canadian writers and songwriters. She moved to BC in 2003 after 23 years working on CBC news and current affairs radio programs. In 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions as a promoter of Canadian culture, and for her volunteer work in the fields of mental health and literacy. She has committed herself to working toward reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from coast to coast to coast, and was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June 2011. As Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus Magazine, has said, “Think of her as Canada’s ear. Then add a brain, a heart . . . and a very recognizable voice. That’s Shelagh Rogers.”

Rogers hosting the 2011 Southam Lecture

Rogers hosting the 2011 Southam Lecture

No stranger to UVic events, Rogers recently hosted the Department of Writing scholarship fundraiser A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier in November 2103, as well as the Harvey S. Southam Lecture by Richard Wagamese in February 2011. Better still, it turns out that Writing professor Lynne Van Luven was the person who first thought of nominating Rogers.

“I remembered all the great interviews I had had with her over the years, how she always gets right to the heart of a book, and responds so warmly and honestly to her subject, whoever they are,” says Van Luven. “Then I remembered what a great time we had when she hosted the Lorna Crozier Scholarship fundraiser.  She seemed to be just the best person I could think of because of her wide range of interests, her great interviewing and communication skills and her obvious curiosity about the world around her.  I thought, ‘If I were convocating, I’d like someone like Shelagh presiding at the ceremonies.’”

While Rogers will be UVic’s second female chancellor, she is the first from the world of the arts. We congratulate her, and look forward with to her tenure great anticipation.

More Writing prizes & nominations

There’s never a slow season, it seems, when it comes to honouring faculty, students and alumni of the Writing department.

Newly minted Writing MFA Erin Frances Fisher was announced as the winner of the 20th annual $5,000 Writers’ Trust RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers on May 27, with the jury praising her as “a writer you will see again.” Fellow top-three finalist and $1,000 winner Leah Jane Esau is also a former Writing student. Both were selected by the jury from a field of 133 blind submissions. The winning and nominated stories can be downloaded free at iTunes.com/BronwenWallace.

Erin Frances Fisher

Erin Frances Fisher

Fisher (who also holds a BFA from the Department of Writing) has had her stories been shortlisted and won prizes from The Malahat Review and PRISM international. Her work has also been published in Riddle Fence, Little Fiction, and Granta; she is also a pianist and a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

The Bronwen Wallace jury was quick to praise for her entry, “Girl,” as “a visceral tale guaranteed to make you shiver, ‘Girl’ reminds us of the truth that humans are more than blood and bone,” notes the jury. “With a surprising and perfect ending, flawless sentences throughout, and a consistently realistic tone, this short story is as vast and satisfying as a great novel.”

Leah Jane Esau

Leah Jane Esau

Former student Esau is a playwright and fiction writer based in Montreal, where she recently graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada. Her play Disappeared won the 2012 Pam Dunn Award as well as the 2012 Tom Hendry Award, and she holds an MA in drama from the University of Toronto. Her story Dream Interpretation” was singled out as being “Compressed and expansive at the same time, ‘Dream Interpretation’ is a story that will leave you both completely satisfied and wanting more. Each new revelation is surprising and disturbing, as Leah Jane Esau skilfully doles out the backstory and brings her characters to life. Nothing is what it seems, least of all dreams.”

Writing MFA alumnus Garth Martens was the 2011 poetry winner in the Bronwen Wallace Awards, and alumna Marjorie Celona won for fiction in 2008. The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award rewards writers who are under age 35 and unpublished in book form, and alternates between poetry and fiction each year.

Madeline Sonik

Madeline Sonik

Meanwhile, longtime Writing instructor Madeline Sonik and current student K’ari Fisher are both on the 12-writer shortlist for the Exile Quarterly $15,000 Carter V. Cooper short fiction prize.  Regardless of where they place in the contest, both will als be included in the forthcoming CVC4 Anthology. The winner of the  Carter V. Cooper short fiction prize will be announced at the end of May.

Congratulations also go out to Writing alum Ashley Little for her pair of wins at the BC Book Prizes in May: her book The New Normal won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize while her other book Anatomy of a Girl Gang picked up the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize!

FH259Also in the “recent winner” category is alumna Kayla Czaga, who won first the $2,000 first-place prize in The Fiddlehead‘s 23rd annual Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize for her piece, “That Great Burgundy-Upholstered Beacon of Dependability.” Honourable mention in that same category also went to MFA alumna Kyeren Regehr for her poem, “Dorm Room 214, who picked up $250.

Two Writing department playwrights were also recently announced as winners of Theatre BC’s 2013 Playwriting Competition.

Sheldon Seigel (left) with Writing professor Maureen Bradley

Sheldon Seigel (left) with Writing professor Maureen Bradley

Congratulations to current undergrad Shedon Seigel and MFA grad Peter Boychuk. Siegel’s play Last Fall was selected as the winner of the One Act competition from a field of 23 entries, while Boychuk’s one-act play Gamergrlz was awarded the Special Merit prize. (Interesting side-note: Seigel’s play emerged from WR203, the second-year playwriting workshop, and was presented as a SATCO workshop production in the Department of Theatre in 2013.)

Seigel was also recently in the news as one of the final five finalists in the infamous Three-Day Novel Writing Contest.  And Boychuk garnered media attention with a full production of his play Shelter from the Storm by Touchstone Theatre at Vancouver’s fabled Firehall Arts Centre in 2012.

Peter Boychuk

Peter Boychuk

The winning playwrights will have their plays read by volunteer actors during the week of Theatre BC’s Annual Provincial Theatre Festival “Destination Mainstage”  led by host, jury member and Writing grad Michael Armstrong, July 8-10 at the Thompson Rivers University Actors Workshop Theatre in Kamloops BC.  The Playwrights will also be honored  at the Theatre BC “Destination Mainstage” Awards Ceremony on July 12. Seigel wins $750 and a trophy, while Boychuk receives $500 and a trophy.

Finally, Writing MFA alumna and busy playwright Sally Stubbs will be at Calgary’s Lunchbox Theatre in June, where her script Spinning You Home has been selected for the Suncor Energy Stage One Festival. After a week-long workshop process the play will be presented to the public in a staged reading.

Sally Stubbs

Sally Stubbs

Stubbs’ play Centurions was also selected from 75 cross-Canada submissions to be featured in Nightwood Theatre’s National Play Reading Series, part of the New Groundswell Festival which runs in September in Toronto. The script will receive a workshop and a public reading. Centurionshas also been shortlisted for the 2015 Women Playwrights International Conference in Cape Town.

And, after an intense period of rewrites, Stubbs’ revised script And Bella Sang with Us received a workshop and a very successful public reading at the Firehall Arts Centre’s BC Buds in May 11, and there will be a Winnipeg launch of the published script in October, sponsored by publisher Scirocco Drama.

Good news for Gaston

It’s been a busy spring for new Writing MFA Connor Gaston—who certainly hasn’t waited until graduation to start making a name for himself.

Connor Gaston

Connor Gaston

The talented director-on-the-rise has been touring film festivals with ‘Til Death—the latest short film to emerge from Writing professor Maureen Bradley‘s Writing 420 film production class, for which she was also Executive Producer—which recently beat out all the big American universities to win “Best College Short” at the 2014 Phoenix Film Festival in April. That makes four prizes so far for ’Til Death, which continues to attract attention wherever it screens.

In fact, Gaston is off to the Cannes Film Festival in May with ‘Til Death, where it will be screening as part of Telefilm Canada’s annual Not Short on Talent short film presentation. For those keeping track, this is two years in a row that Writing alumni have been represented at the Telefilm pavilion: last year, it was Daniel Hogg and Jeremy Lutter were on the red carpet with their short film, Floodplain—based on a short story by fellow Writing grad D.W. Wilson. (Floodplain will also be screening in June at the Niagara Integrated Film Festival as part of the “Canada’s Not Short on Talent” Cannes short film compilation, as selected by renowned Cannes programmer Danny Lennon—the only BC film being shown.)

A scene from 'Til Death

A scene from ‘Til Death

But it doesn’t stop there—‘Til Death was also recently nominated for a Leo Award, which honour the best in British Columbia film and television production. This is the second Leo nomination for a Writing 420 project: the campus-created 10-part series Freshman’s Wharf won Best Web Series back in 2010. This year’s nomination is for Best Student Project.

Gaston is also nominated for one of Monday Magazine‘s annual M Awards—in fact, in the “Top Filmmaker” category, he’s nominated alongside fellow alumnus Jeremy Lutter (Floodplain) and Writing professor Maureen Bradley (Two 4 One). Talk about knowing the competition! (Voting closes May 30, click here to offer your vote.)

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, Connor Gaston’s feature film project The Devout is a finalist for Telefilm Canada 2014-2015 Micro-Budget Production Program. Gaston’s The Devout was selected by local independent film society CineVic for recommendation to the program, alongside—surprise!—Jeremy Lutter, who also successfully applied through the National Screen Institute. (In fact, the only two selections from British Columbia are Lutter and Gaston, both Victoria-based CineVic member directors!)

The Micro-Budget Production Program supports new filmmakers seeking to produce their first feature-length films, with an emphasis on the use of digital platforms for distribution and marketing. Candidates for this year’s program were recommended to Telefilm through a network of 32 institutional partners from the film education and training community across Canada.

Both Gaston and Lutter screened work at CineVic’s Short Circuit event in early May, an annual celebration of Pacific Northwest Short Film.

Phoenix alumni nominated for Jessies

The nominations for Vancouver’s 32nd annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards are out, and there are once again a number of Phoenix Theatre alumni on the list! The Jessies  are divided into three categories: Large Theatre, Small Theatre, and Theatre for Young Audiences, as well as the Significant Achievement Award and a few other special awards.

Sebastien Archibald (left) in ITSAZOO's Killer Joe

Sebastien Archibald (left) in ITSAZOO’s Killer Joe

Foremost among the nominations is alumni company ITSAZOO Productions, whose presentation of Killer Joe earned seven nominations in the small theatre category, including Outstanding Direction, Production, Set Design, and Supporting Actor categories—as well as the Georgia Straight Critics’ Choice Innovation Award. Co-Artistic Director Chelsea Haberlin is nominated for direction, and Co-Artistic Director Sebastien Archibald is nominated for supporting actor.

Jennifer Lines

Jennifer Lines

Also twice nominated is accomplished actress and frequent Jessie nominee Jennifer Lines, up for best supporting actress (large theatre) for Bard on the Beach’s Twelfth Night, and (in small theatre) for Whose Life is it Anyway?

Other nominated Phoenix alumni include Susan Hogan, up for Lead Actress (small theatre) for her role in Kayak, Peter Carlone (of Peter ‘n Chris fame) for Supporting Actor (large theatre) for his turn in The Foreigner, Michelle Deines for Outstanding Original Script for Ghosts in Baghdad and and former student Kim Collier, who is nominated for Outstanding Direction for Bard on the Beach’s Hamlet. (Collier, it’s worth noting, is co-artistic director of Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre, as is our own Writing professor Kevin Kerr.)

Jenny Cassidy (far right, with yellow & blue bears) in Avenue Q (photo: Emily Cooper)

Jeny Cassaday (far right, with yellow & blue bears) in Avenue Q (photo: Emily Cooper)

Alumnus Andrew Wade was also a cast member of Patrick Street Theatre’s Floyd Collins, nominated for Outstanding Production Musical (large theatre), and incoming Directing MFA Alan Brodie is nominated for his work on Blackbird Theatre’s Uncle Vanya (small theatre). Finally, stellar alumna puppeteer Jeny Cassady is among the cast of the Arts Club’s Avenue Q, nominated for Significant Artistic Achievement – Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

The awards ceremony will be held at Vancouver’s famed Commodore Ballroom on June 23.

Conrad Alexandrowicz’s new production earns praise


Linda Quibell, Vanessa Goodman and Peter Anderson (Photo: Tim Matheson)

Mother Tongue, the latest stage production by Department of Theatre professor Conrad Alexandrowicz, earned praise and wowed audiences in its debut performance this month.

Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Alexandrowicz with text by recently retired Writing professor Lorna Crozier and Governor General’s Award-winning poet Erin Mouré, Mother Tongue ran May 14-18 at Vancouver’s Scotiabank Dance Centre. Presented by Alexandrowicz’s Wild Excursions, the productionuses a company of six actors and two dancers to explores the poets’ texts. And chalk one up for interdisciplinary mingling—the germ of Mother Tongue came from the 2011 Fine Arts faculty retreat, where Alexandrowicz met Crozier. From that opportunity came a nearly $175,000 SSHRC grant that resulted in the production that Vancouver theatre reviewer Jo Ledingham described as “cerebral . . . and mind-expanding.”

Mother Tongue1

Peter Anderson, Lucas Hall, Sandra Ferens, Brahm Taylor and Linda Quibell (Photo: Tim Matheson)

Georgia Straight reviewer Colin Thomas was also quite taken with the production, noting in one scene that, “Alexandrowicz’s choreography is powerfully simple . . .  the performers sit in two lines of stools and face one another, their arms raised . . . their hands float away: we know we’re in the memory of a destroyed church. In moments like these—and there are more than enough of them to make the evening worthwhile—Alexandrowicz and his company catch the ineffable in their net.”

Thomas also praised Crozier’s text: “[Her] language is so alert and sensual that listening to it feels intimate—even erotic.”

(Photo: Tim Matheson)

(Photo: Tim Matheson)

In his director’s notes, Alexandrowicz explains his inspiration for Mother Tongue: “If dance is a kind of ‘visual poetry’, so poetry is perhaps ‘dancing with language’”—and clearly, he has found success with this form. Describing the director/choreographer as “a big thinker who has gone on to explore and challenge the way language works or fails to work,” Ledingham notes the show has in fact inspired her to return to poetry. “I have all but given up on poetry but I will now seek out Crozier and Moure’s work. And I will try to let linearity go and give searching for ‘meaning’ a rest.”

Ledingham offers a concluding thought: “Alexandrowicz doesn’t let you out of the theatre without a desire to learn, to discover and to explore. Challenging your brain is seldom packaged so gorgeously.”

Fingers crossed for a local production!

Size matters at CCWWP

If there’s one thing Department of Writing delegates will know before arriving at the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs conference this week, it’s that size does matter. Unlike its American counterpart, the CCWWP is expecting about 200 attendees at their third biennial conference this weekend at UBC, instead of the thousands who attend the AWP.

Lynne Van Luven

CCWWP chair & Writing professor Lynne Van Luven

“We’re what you might call intimate,” says Department of Writing professor and current CCWWP chair Lynne Van Luven. “Because our numbers are manageable, students can meet with publishers and editors, as well as with each other—and while writers come to such events to renew old friendships, they also come to hear from new writers with new ideas, which is much easier at a small-scale conference.”

Formed in 2010 to address the need for a Canadian professional organization devoted to supporting the teaching of creative writing in its myriad forms, the goal of the fledgling CCWWP is to be as inclusive as possible. That means it’s an organization not only for academics and instructors, but also for creative writers and students working in various languages, and in all types of venues and situations.

Current Writing faculty members (from left) Kevin Kerr, Tim Lilburn, David Leach, Lynne Van Luven,  Lee Henderson, Maureen Bradley, Lorna Jackson, Bill Gaston and Joan MacLeod

Current Writing faculty members (from left) Kevin Kerr, Tim Lilburn, David Leach, Lynne Van Luven,
Lee Henderson, Maureen Bradley, Lorna Jackson, Bill Gaston and Joan MacLeod

Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include Giller Prize-winner Joseph Boyden, Commonwealth Award-winner Lisa Moore and noted author Amy Bloom. Attending on behalf of UVic’s Writing department are undergraduate students Nadia Grutter and Patrick Close, graduate students JoAnn Dionne and Danielle Janess, recent MFA graduates Frances Backhouse and Aaron Shepard, alumna Andrea Routely and faculty members Bill Gaston, David Leach, Tim Lilburn, Kevin Kerr and, of course, Van Luven herself.

“I’m delighted to see both our undergraduate and graduate students participating in the conference,” says Van Luven, who also sat on the first provisional board back in 2010. “This is a chance for them to network with key persons in the publishing industry, as well as with their peers.”

Grutter, Close and Routley are joining Van Luven in presenting “So you want to start an on-line magazine?” at Friday’s publishing, editing, & technology panel, showcasing some of the work that’s being done in departmental projects like the Coastal Spectator online review magazine and Routely’s queer literary magazine Plenitude. Meanwhile, Dionne and Janess taking part in the student reading event alongside alum Kayla Czaga (Arc). For their part, Backhouse and Shepard will be participating in the “From MFA to Page and Stage: Getting Your Thesis Published or Produced” panel on Saturday, alongside fellow Writing alumni Peter Boychuk and Melanie Siebert. Also attending is alumni novelist Aislinn Hunter (Stay), who is participating in the Friday panel “What’s the Matter? Thinking, Writing and Teaching through Things.”

“We have had a wonderful Conference Committee for this event, under the steady direction of Andrew Gray from UBC,” says Van Luven, who will also be hosting Saturday’s plenary session on “Writing Programs in a Global Context”, featuring a panel of international writing teachers. “I’ve had the opportunity to interface with writers and teachers all across the country, which has been an added benefit of being chair of the CCWWP board for the past two years.”

Pedagogie-et-Pratiques-canadiennes-en-creation-litteraire650UVic’s Department of Writing will also be represented at the conference’s book and magazine fair, which is open to the public and will feature some of Canada’s finest literary publications and presses: The Malahat Review, SubTerrain, PRISM international, Arc, Fiddlehead, Event, Geist, Rice Paper, Filling Station, The Capilano Review, Eighteen Bridges, New Quarterly, Room Magazine and Broken Pencil, as well as Alberta Book Publishers, Association of Book Publishers of BC, UBC Bookstore, PEN International, Anvil Press, McGill-Queens University Press, Granville Island Publishing, Reality Skimming Press, Kwantlen Creative Writing, Literary Press Group, UBC Press, Harbour Publishing, Nightwood Editions, Douglas & McIntyre, and Lone Pine Publishing.

The CCWWP conference runs May 15 to 18, 2014, on the UBC campus in Vancouver.

Fine Arts in the 2014 M Awards

While their printed format may have changed, the local Monday Magazine is still running their annual M Awards honouring what they describe as “Greater Victoria’s best and brightest in the arts and entertainment field.” Fine Arts faculty, students, staff and alumni have been frequent nominees and winners in the past, and this year’s lineup is no different.

12124925080832946964Rather than list all nominees in each category, we’ve just listed the Fine Arts associated nominees below, and you can vote online here. According to the rules, you can only vote online once, and must vote in a minimum of 20 categories. Voting closes at 5pm Friday, May 30—and you’ll automatically be entered to win $75 at Zambri’s.


  • The Krells concert poster_2013Top Electronic Artist: The Krells (featuring School of Music’s Kirk McNally and John Celona)
  • Top Avant Garde/New Music Artist/Composer or Group: School of Music concert manager Kristy Farkas is nominated alongside Aventa Ensemble (under the direction of Music’s Bill Linwood), as well as Music alumni Daniel Brandes, Christopher Reiche and Alex Jang. It’s worth noting that every nominee in this category is associate with UVic’s School of Music!
  • Top Classical Artist or Group: the Lafayette String Quartet


  • Top Overall Production: the Phoenix production The Skin of Our Teeth is nominated alongside Theatre professor Brian Richmond‘s production of My Fair Lady for his Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre (which he also starred in, alongside grad Kholby Wardell). Phoenix talent were also involved in nominated shows Calendar Girls (featuring Randi Edmunson) and Will Weigler‘s From the Heart.
  • Top Improv/Sketch or Variety Show: alumna Britt Small‘s Atomic Vaudeville company is nominated, alongside Paper Street Theatre, which features Monica Ogden.
  • The Skin of Our Teeth (photo: David Lowes)

    The Skin of Our Teeth (photo: David Lowes)

    Top Director: Phoenix alum Christine Willes is nominated for her UVic production of Reasons to be Pretty and Theatre professor Linda Hardy is nominated for The Skin of our Teeth.

  • Top Emerging Company/Artist: Kerploding Theatre, run by Phoenix alum Mollison Farmer; Impulse Theatre, run by Andrew Barrett, New Blood Theatre, Robin Gadsby and Kieran Wilson
  • Top Original Production: Kitt & Jane by the Phoenix Theatre alumni company SNAFU, featuring the talents of Ingrid Hansen and Katherine Greenfield, who are also nominated for the SNAFU/WHoS co-production Fractured Fables; From the Heart: Enter the Journey of Reconciliation, by Phoenix PhD alum and former instructor Will Weigler; Paper Street Theatre’s An Improvised Quentin Tarrantino featured Phoenix student Monica Ogden ; New Blood Theatre’s Judgement Day starred alumni Robin Gadsby and Kieran Wilson; and  also featured the talents of Greenfield and Hansen.


  • Jeremy Lutter's latest film

    Jeremy Lutter’s latest film

    Top Filmmaker: Oooh, it’s a tough race between alumni filmmakers Jeremy Lutter (Floodplain), Connor Gaston (’Til Death) and Writing professor Maureen Bradley (Two 4 One).

  • Top Local Book: Writing alum Thelma Fayle is nominated for her recent book, Ted Grant: Sixty Years of Legendary Photojournalism.
  • Top Spoken Word Performer: Writing undergraduate and former City of Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Aysia Law has earned a well-deserved nominated in this category

Be sure to add your vote to the efforts of our top achieving faculty, staff, students and alumni!