Books, books, books

Spring has sprung and there’s no better way to mark the return of the leaves than with some exciting book news from Department of Writing graduates. (Get it? Books, leaves, pages . . . ah, never mind.)

Arleen Pare

Arleen Paré

First up is news that recent MFA Arleen Paré is launching her second book of poetry this month. Lake of Two Mountains. Published by Brick Books, Lake of Two Mountains is described as “a portrait of a lake, of a relationship to a lake, of a network of relationships around a lake. It maps, probes and applauds the riparian region of central Canadian geography that lies between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence Rivers.”

Paré’s first book, Paper Trail, won the 2008 Victoria Butler Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2010 Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize in Poetry. She’ll be launching Lake of Two Mountains alongside authors Jane Munro, Joanna Lilley and Karen Enns at 8pm Tuesday April 29 at Open Space (510 Fort Street). The event will be hosted by Kitty Lewis, with a  Q&A  session will be facilitated by Sara Cassidy.

Martens

Garth Martens

The first book of poetry by Garth Martens was also recently released. His Prologue for the Age of Consequence (House of Anansi) offers an elemental world both beautiful and severe, where characters assume a collective status both emphatically human and radically mythic. While his Prologue is about Alberta’s tar sands industrial project, and the men who work in them, these are poems of great philosophical ambition with a startling ethical and psychological reach.

Wigmore

Gillian Wigmore

Better still, Martens will be launching his book alongside fellow Writing alum Gillian Wigmore, who will whose debut book Grayling is described by no less than retired Writing professor Jack Hodgins as “a spirited journey story I found as irresistible as the powerful river that carries us through the beautiful and treacherous northern landscape.” Grayling is released through the venerable Mother Tongue press.

Join both Martens and Wigmore for their launch celebration at 7:30pm Thursday, April 3, at Russell’s Books (734 Fort Street).

Shepard

Aaron Shepard

Also on deck for his debut novel is MFA alum Aaron Shepard. He’ll be launching When Is A Man on April 8. Described by publishers Brindle & Glass as “an original debut novel that is meditative, raw, and exuberant in tone, Shepard’s When is a Man offers a fresh perspective on landscape and masculinity.” You can read our full interview with Shepard here before joining him to celebrate the release of When is a Man at the reading and launch party from 7-9pm Tuesday, April 8 at the Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas Street in Victoria. The event will be hosted by Writing professor David Leach. Shepard will also be participating in the At the Mike: Fiction Night! (alongside guest authors M.A.C. Farrant and Margaret Thompson) at 7pm Tuesday, April 15, at Russell’s Books, 734 Fort.

celona

Marjorie Celona

Congratulations go out to Writing grad Marjorie Celona for making the prestigious Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award shortlist—which is the richest story prize in the world! Celona is up against five other writers—including two Pulitzer Prize winners—for this hefty £30,000 prize. (But the runners-up will receive £1,000 each, so that’s okay too.) The winner will be announced on April 4. For those keeping track, Celona’s first novel Y was heralded as a stunning debut back in 2012.

wilson

D.W. Wilson

Further congratulations to Writing grad and novelist-on-the-rise D.W. Wilson for making the Amazon First Novel Award shortlist with his Ballistics (Hamish Hamilton Canada). Wilson has continued to earn fans and critical acclaim alike since the publication of his short story collection Once You Break A Knuckle—which includes the “The Dead Roads”, the story that earned him the 2011 BBC National Short Story prize. Alongside Marjorie Celona, Wilson was also selected for 2013′s prestigious Waterstones Eleven list in the UK.

More prize-winning news from the Department of Writing: MFA candidate and filmmaker Connor Gaston just won “Best College Short” at the 2014 Phoenix Film Festival in April for directing the 2013 Writing 420 class project, ’Til Death. This is the fourth prize for ’Til Death, which continues to attract attention wherever it screens.  

BooksWriting grads are well represented among the nominees for the forthcoming 2014 BC Book Prizes. Two alum are both nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize: Arno Kopecky made the shortlist for The Oil Man and the Sea, as did Jane Silcott for Everything Rustles. Meanwhile, Ashley Little has been named in two different categories: the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her novel Anatomy of a Girl Gang and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for The New Normal. Finally, Catherine Greenwood is up for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for The Lost Letters. (Also noted in the fine print were faculty member Lynne Van Luven and instructor and alumnus Steven Price as judges in the non-fiction and fiction categories, respectively.) The winners will be announced at the 30th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala on Saturday, May 3, at the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel. British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, will be in attendance.

Melanie Siebert

Melanie Siebert

Acclaimed Deepwater Vee poet, MFA grad and occasional Department of Writing instructor Melanie Siebert was announced as the winner in April of the inaugural poetry prize from the online Lemon Hound with her poem “Thereafter.” Noted poet and prize judge Rae Armantrout had this to say about Siebert’s poem: “Every sentence in ‘Thereafter’ is interesting . . . . It’s as if we’re listening to the voices of the damned (‘Dante’s goddamn mike was open’) and they’re our voices, just skewed enough that we notice what we’ve been saying all along . . . . In this poem our own language comes back to bite us. If only we could wake up.” Visit Lemon Hound to read Siebert’s poem.

While we’re talking about literary prizes, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention 355830d4d1f1585da36e273359cb2e78that our Writing grads are all over the 2014 PRISM International Poetry & Fiction Contest winners list.
The first place Fiction winner is Cathy Kozak and the first place Poetry winner is Jordan Mounteer. First runner-up in Poetry went to alum Kyeren Regehr and the Fiction runner-up went to Leah Jane Esau. And second runner-up in the annual PRISM Creative Non-fiction Contest went to Writing grad Jenny Boychuk for her piece, “Notes on Breath”. (Judge and Can-lit biggie Timothy Taylor described Boychuk’s piece as “A difficult set of family relationships is unwoven and revealed in the process of an episodic meditation on breathing.”)

Carol Lyn Morgan

Cara-Lyn Morgan

Speaking of Writing MFA alum Kyeren Regher, she has also been selected as the only Canadian represented in the U.S.-based collection Best New Poets 2013. (Of course she’s one the best—she came from UVic!) Other first books for Writing grads: Cara-Lyn Morgan just released her book of poetry What Became of My Grieving Ceremony with Thistledown Press, and Colin Fulton‘s book of poetry Life Experience Coolant was recently published by BookThug.

Finally, current Writing undergrad Sheldon Seigel has been named as one of the 10 finalists for the infamous 3-Day Novel Contest organized by Geist magazine and Anvil Press. Siegel is among the five Canadian finalists for the 2013 prize—and he was also profiled as a contestant on CBC’s Canada Writes site, where he shared some humourous insights in both his entrance and exit interviews.

Sheldon Seigel

We’re sure Sheldon Seigel is just hiding his bloodshot eyes as a result of writing a novel in 3 days

As Canada Writes reports, “the last time we spoke with Sheldon was in early September when he had just finished his first writing marathon. Sheldon was zonked, but happy. He called the experience ‘horrendous, spectacular, cathartic, shocking, and enlightening.’ We thought we would ask him now, with time and some perspective, how he feels about being shortlisted: ‘… I’m still shocked that I survived the contest weekend. I have since read my story and found it to be surprising. Perhaps that is because I don’t remember writing half of it! It was indeed a wonderful and horrible experience, one that paid incredible dividends in terms of literary growth and a stronger bond with my dog.’”

You can also hear an interview with Seigel on this episode of CBC’s All Points West.

The winner of the 3-Day Novel Contest will be announced later this week.

Stand by your Man

Chalk up another achievement for Department of Writing MFA graduates: this month, Aaron Shepard is releasing his debut novel, When Is A Man.

Writing MFA Aaron Shepard

Writing MFA Aaron Shepard

Shepard, who picked up his MFA back in 2010, is only the latest in a string of Writing MFAs—including Anne Marie Bennett, Frances Backhouse, Devon Krukoff, Garth Martens, Arleen Paré, Kevin Paul, Melanie Siebert and Yasuko Thanh—to publish. (Expand that to include BFAs and the list grows even further, thanks to the likes of Esi Edugyan, Marjorie Celona, D.W. Wilson and many more than can be listed here.)

But while this may be his first novel, Aaron Shepard has already written some award-winning short fiction, served on the fiction board of The Malahat Review and has been published in a number of Canadian literary journals, including The Fiddlehead and PRISM International. His personal essay “Edge of the Herd” appears in the 2009 anthology Nobody’s Father: Life Without Kids (Touchwood).

When is a ManDescribed by publishers Brindle & Glass as “an original debut novel that is meditative, raw, and exuberant in tone, Shepard’s When is a Man offers a fresh perspective on landscape and masculinity.” In a nutshell, the novel follows Paul Rasmussen—a young ethnographer and academic recovering from prostate cancer—who retreats to the remote forests and towns of BC’s fictional Immitoin Valley, where a drowned man and a series of encounters with the locals force him to confront the valley’s troubled past and his own uncertain future. As Rasmussen turns his attention to the families displaced 40 years earlier by the flooding of the valley to create a hydroelectric dam, his desire to reinvent himself runs up against the bitter emotions and mysterious connections that linger in the community in the aftermath of the flood.

  • Join Aaron Shepard in celebrating the release of When is a Man at the reading and launch party from 7-9pm Tuesday, April 8 at the Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas Street in Victoria. The event will be hosted by Writing professor David Leach.

Calling it “an intimate and affecting exploration of screw-tight landscapes of the Interior,” Canadian novelist Mark Anthony Jarman praises Aaron Shepard’s freshman effort. “Shepard paints scenes in smoke and snow and light and dark, and the crack language and iron settings of river, mountain and forest put me in mind of the best of Ken Kesey the merry prankster,” he writes. “When is a Man is complex and stubborn and a serious joy.”

Shepard FocusFocus magazine book columnist Amy Reiswig is also clearly a fan. Writing in the April 2014 issue, she notes, “Shepard blends his great love for and experience of rural BC communities with the freedom of fiction, resulting in a book that deals head-on with specific BC issues but isn’t bound by specific BC history. Rather, Shepard creatively combines his own personal concerns with knowledge and research from a variety of very real events.” Reiswig also describes how Shepard’s “raw, honest look at male sexuality and constructed ideas of masculinity will encourage conversation about prostate cancer and about self-acceptance, patience and respect—another set of powerful unseens—that we could do well to extend to one another and ourselves.”

Shepard, who works by day as a writer for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (“Way too much desk time,” he admits), took some time to discuss the origin and intention of When Is A Man recently. Explaining that he had “essentially mapped out the novel before I started the MFA program—a much more surreal version than what I ended up with,” Shepard says he only wrote the first third as his MFA thesis. “After I graduated, I wrote the rest. Once I had a rough draft of the whole novel, the revision process—which is basically glorified problem-solving—took me in unexpected directions because now I was focusing on character development, which tends to disregard things like chapter outlines.”

His inspiration came from living and working in the West Kootenays, where he spent a few summers in his twenties building hiking trails beside rivers and doing some fisheries work. “River imagery took over a lot of my writing,” he explains. “I’ve always been interested in water issues, whether it’s the pros and cons of run-of-river dams, fracking, and so on. I was also inspired by the notion of time and events repeating themselves. One of the characters in the book embodies that idea: he keeps encountering the bodies of drowned men until he loses all sense of time . . . . As I wrote, these ideas somehow led me to thinking about the parallels between an altered landscape and an altered body.”

nobody's fatherWhile it’s been a couple of decades now since Robert Bly brought men’s issues to the forefront, both When Is A Man and his essay in the Nobody’s Father collection both touch on issues of masculinity. Does Shepard feel the representation of men and men’s concerns is somewhat ho-hum in literature right now?

“I often feel like the conversation about masculinity in literature is one-sided, that we expect our male characters to grapple with the so-called ‘crisis in masculinity’ through the familiar tropes of drinking, fighting and fucking,” he says. “Those are presented as the only ways to confront any type of emasculating force—like economic hardships, divorce or boredom. Any kind of weakness, like Paul’s impotence and incontinence, is usually reserved for satire or parody—that’s how we mock or punish characters.”

“As I developed Paul’s character, I thought, ‘What if things like impotence could be seen as a type of opportunity for an alternative take on manhood?’ I liked the idea of someone trying to avoid the questions of sexuality and gender role as they re-examine their identity,” he continues. “Paul learns it’s not a simple matter of choosing a monk-like seclusion or a ‘life of the mind.’ So the questions can never be entirely avoided, but there’s value in the searching. In that regard, I was influenced by [international novelist] A.S. Byatt, which sounds odd, but her female characters are often looking for a way of life that’s not strictly tied up in sex and gender roles —they want to be free just ‘to think.’”

  • Shepard will also be participating in the At the Mike: Fiction Night! alongside guest authors M.A.C. Farrant and Margaret Thompson. That kicks off at 7pm Tuesday, April 15, at Russell’s Books, 734 Fort Street in Victoria.
Lorna Jackson (Photo by Diana Nethercott)

Lorna Jackson (Photo by Diana Nethercott)

Before she became his MFA advisor, Department of Writing professor and acclaimed short story writer Lorna Jackson taught Shepard as an undergrad. “I thought he had a ton of promise,” she recalls. “He had a great attitude, his writing was original and well-crafted.” When they started working together toward his MFA, Jackson was even more impressed. “I really found his preoccupation with masculinity and landscape interesting and appealing, as well as his resistance to writing it as a romance, staying really strong in the idea of who the character was and what he wanted to accomplish. Aaron was really open to suggestions about what the story might need—especially to do with the body—but he’d always take an idea, really develop it and make it his own. That was the pleasure of working with him: seeing what he would do with a suggestion.”

“We had long discussions about the philosophical elements of the book—or, rather, why I want to tell this particular story in this particular way,” Shepard recalls of working with Jackson. “We studied a lot of writing about landscape/body, essays on watching and playing sports, things that helped refine certain ideas and lend a more focused approach to my writing.”

Shepard

An author’s favourite kind of selfie

While he admits that setting his book in the interior of British Columbia was “a bit risky in terms of broad appeal” when it came to landing it with an agent, Shepard proudly stands by his Man. “I suspect many agents felt the book was too ‘regional’ or ‘local.’ For When is a Man—and this is also true for the novel I’m currently drafting—I’ve been wrestling with my own ideas for too long to worry about what’s selling, or what’s popular with agents and publishers, etcetera. Maybe down the road, if I start with a blank canvas, I’ll be more strategic. But I doubt it. Then again, my next novel does deal a bit with climate change, so maybe my interests and the publishing world’s interests will intersect. In the meantime, I’m grateful to Brindle and Glass for believing in the story as is.”

But when it comes to placing that first novel, Lorna Jackson doesn’t feel bigger is always better. “I’m sure he wanted a great big publisher to get all excited, but it’s a different kind of novel than that,” she says of Shepard’s debut. “I think it’s great he’s found a smaller press to release it—I’m all about the small press. They’re so interesting and so not commercial, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sure we’d all love a rousing commercial success, but it doesn’t always serve the art. Aaron’s a pretty arty guy—he’s a deep thinker and a deep feeler, and sometimes that doesn’t translate into massive sales.”

Current Department of Writing faculty

Current Department of Writing faculty

Finally, Shepard credits the MFA program for being “hugely influential in shaping and refining the starting ideas,” and praises other Department of Writing faculty members, notably Bill Gaston (“He’s a great ‘big picture’ person—he had a lot of good advice for thinking about the book as a whole, which came in handy after I finished the program and still had two-thirds of a novel to write”), Tim Lilburn (“his class on nature writing was, for obvious reasons, extremely useful and inspirational”), David Leach (“his class on travel writing helped improve my sense of pace”) and retired professor and novelist Jack Hodgins. “Three years later, funnily enough, John Gould—another instructor—was chosen by Brindle and Glass to work with me on the final edits after they’d accepted the manuscript.”

What’s up next now that first novel hurdle has been leaped? “I’m working on the next novel, just in the rough draft stages,” he says. “It’s slow going, and I’m bad at multi-tasking, so that’s the only project on the go right now.”

Recent Fine Arts media roundup

Whatever the season, our Fine Arts faculty always seem to be in the media. The only trick is keeping up with it all!

EdgeKicking off 2014, History in Art’s Victoria Wyatt was announced as a contributor to the influential Edge blog. For those not familiar with Edge, it’s an ongoing conversation of intellectual adventure. As they say on the Edge website, To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

The 2014 Edge question was, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?” and it’s a bit  unusual for a History in Art professor to be asked to contribute to the conversation. But Victoria Wyatt was more than game for it, weighing in with her idea that “it’s time for the rocket scientist to retire.” She’s not talking about the folks at NASA, mind you, but that tired old cliche, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to . . . ” Read Wyatt’s engaging short essay here. All the responses are compiled in one really long list, so if you want to find hers quickly, just search for “Wyatt”.

The online Edge salon is, as they put it, “a living document of millions of words charting the Edge conversation over the past 15 years wherever it has gone.” In the words of the novelist Ian McEwan, Edge.org offers “open-minded, free ranging, intellectually playful . . . an unadorned pleasure in curiosity, a collective expression of wonder at the living and inanimate world . . . an ongoing and thrilling colloquium.”

JMPS_new_covIn other History in Art news, Allan Antliff recently edited a special issue of The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies focusing on “Anarchist Modernism in Print” (Volume 4, Number 2, 2013). As Antliff says in his introduction, “This issue of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies examines political engagements with modernism in journals where productive comingling gave rise to new modes of anarchism contiguous with modernism, while modernism itself was propelled in new directions. In this instance we have a critical/creative nexus . . . keyed to values profoundly at odds with modernity, including its ‘socialist’ guise. Anarchism’s modernisms grapple with such issues as power relations, sexual difference, colonialism, and the economics of art—to name a few—with revolutionary intent.” Read more about Antliff’s issue here.

Allan Antliff's latest book, Joseph Beuys (Phaidon Focus)

Allan Antliff’s latest book, Joseph Beuys (Phaidon Focus)

Antliff also has a soon to be released new book about sculptor, painter, draughtsman, teacher, theorist and political activist Joseph Beuys. Simply titled Joseph Beuys, the 144-page book from Phaidon Focus is part of a groundbreaking new series that offers accessible, enjoyable and thought-provoking books on the visual arts. Described as “An enigmatic figure whose complex imagination drew on his research across a wide range of themes . . . Beuys strove to establish a truly democratic approach towards artistic creativity, and prove that modern art need not be confined to the museum or the gallery.”

Phaidon notes, “As Antliff effectively demonstrates, the ecological and political issues that informed much of Beuys’s art can be considered as relevant today as they were in his own lifetime.” You can read more about the art and life of Joseph Beuys in this article and this one. The book will be released on March 23.

A happy—and no doubt relieved—Carolyn Butler Palmer watches as the big button blanket is raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

A happy—and no doubt relieved—Carolyn Butler Palmer watches as the big button blanket is raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

Still in History in Art, Carolyn Butler Palmer‘s Big Button Blanket project—which earned all sorts of media attention during its fall 2013 creation—continued to make headlines with its 2014 public debut. Times Colonist art writer Robert Amos called the blanket’s exhibit at Legacy Gallery Downtown‘s Adasla: The Movement of Hands (continuing through to April 25) a “stimulating and multi-faceted show” in his review. Following the blanket’s debut at the opening of the Diversity Research Forum, UVic’s Ring newspaper previewed the upcoming performance by blanket co-creator Peter Morin and former Department of Visual Arts Audain Professor Rebecca Belmore in this article, and the Times Colonist also ran this article previewing the February 22 performance, summarizing the history of the button blanket and this blanket’s specific intention.

Peter Morin observes the big button blanket after it has been raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

Peter Morin observes the big button blanket after it has been raised in First Peoples House (UVic Photo Services)

Local visual arts writer Robert Amos also ran this Times Colonist article about Adasla, describing it as a “stimulating and multi-faceted show.” The exhibit was also featured in the February/March issue of Preview: The Gallery Guide magazine, was written up in this article for the UVic student newspaper Martlet and appeared in the Victoria News article, “Big Art Emerges From A Big Blanket.”

Shifting to the Department of Theatre, professor emeritus  Juliana Saxton was the focus of this March 7 Montreal Gazette op-ed by Andrea Courey about life-long learning. At 80, Saxton certainly knows how to walk the talk! (“When asked to comment on the fun of still ‘coming to class,’ Saxton said she had no time to talk. She was off to teach a class! Bingo. I smiled and remembered the old adage: If you want to learn something, teach it. And if you can, keep learning.”)

Some of the cast of Unity (1918), on to March 22 at Phoenix Theatre (photo by David Lowes)

Some of the cast of Unity (1918), on to March 22 at Phoenix Theatre (photo by David Lowes)

Phoenix Theatre’s last production of the year—the award-winning Unity (1918), written and directed by Department of Writing professor Kevin Kerr—picked up a great deal of media attention in advance of its March 13 opening. The Times Colonist, CTV VI and CFUV’s U in the Ring all featured previews of the production, and the reviews coming in have all been outstanding (“Who knew a play about the flu could be so moving?” writes the Times Colonist). Click to this separate post to read a roundup of the press surrounding Unity (1918).

School of Music instructor Colleen Eccleston was a guest on CFAX 1070′s “Cafe Victoria with Bruce Williams” show (unfortunately not archived online). Eccleston spoke about the recent anniversary of the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and the impact they have had since that day 50 years ago. Music’s Wendell Clanton was also featured on CFAX 1070 in February (but also not archived); both he and members of the UVic Vocal Jazz Ensemble were interviewed about their Singing Valentines fundraiser.

12tet-frontThe UVic Wind Symphony and the Naden Band appeared on Shaw TV’s Go Island South show in advance of their Naden Scholarship fundraiser concert on February 7. Also in the brass department, congratulations go out once more to School of Music professor emeritus Ian McDougall on his latest Juno Award nomination! His album The Ian McDougall 12tet LIVE is nominated for “Traditional Jazz Album of the Year.” The winners will be announced on the March 30 broadcast from Winnipeg.

The School of Music’s new live streaming initiative also sparked this Times Colonist article about the pros and cons of digital content when it comes to audience impact. Concert Manager Kristy Farkas was interviewed, saying “she knows of no evidence suggesting that this program compromises attendance at UVic concerts.” The TC’s Kevin Bazzana quoted Farkas on how technology is “broadening our reach with the community” by allowing a student’s family in another city to watch a graduating recital, for example.

Sandra Meigs' "The Basement Panoramas"

Sandra Meigs’ “The Basement Panoramas”

Over in Visual Arts, the Toronto exhibit of Sandra Meigs‘ new series of paintings The Basement Panoramas got a great full-page review in the Toronto Star, which called it “perhaps the most potent work of Meigs’ career.” As anyone who saw the show when it appeared locally at Open Space back in November 2013 will recall, these are really, really big paintings—so large the Toronto exhibit was split between two galleries!

Daniel Laskarin at Deluge

Daniel Laskarin at Deluge

Current Visual Arts chair Daniel Laskarin had his fourth exhibition at downtown’s Deluge Contemporary Art from January 31 to March 8. In fallen and found, Laskarin returned to a decades-old preoccupation with the role of the sculptor as matterist in this solo exhibit, and you can hear him discuss the work in this video interview from ExhibitVic website.

WainoAnd the timing was perfect for Carol Wainio’s March 12 appearance as the latest in the long-running Department of Visual Arts VIsiting Artist series. Wainio had just been announced one of the recipients of the 2014 Governor General’s Awards for Visual & Media Arts on March 4, alongside Visual Arts alumnus Kim Adams. Wainio’s talk was teased by an advance photo in the local Victoria News listings.
Finally, in the Department of Writing, Joan MacLeod‘s latest play The Valley opened in Winnipeg recently, earning her this Winnipeg Free Press article: “Over almost three decades, the Victoria-based MacLeod has won a shelf full of awards for her plays, including the 2011 Siminovitch Prize, Canada’s richest theatre award. She is taken aback by the news that anyone thinks of her as a groundbreaking dramatist. ‘That’s extremely flattering and shocking,’ MacLeod says from her office at the University of Victoria, where she teaches. ‘When I sit down to write, I never feel like a master playwright. It’s nice to hear people think that. I’m blushing.’”
BCB-Feb2014-Cover_5_2Fellow Writing professor and Technology & Society program director David Leach wrote a great piece for BC Business magazine’s special all-TED issue in February. “Over the past 30 years, the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference has grown into a media juggernaut, fuelled by “ideas worth spreading” (as its tag line promises) and the most effective marketing on the social web,” writes Leach. “Today, this brand without borders aspires to reprogram our entire global operating system for the greater good.”

And the 2014 Southam Lecturer, Tom Hawthorn, popped up in the news a few times recently—not surprisingly, given that his Southam course focuses on sports journalism, and we’ve just come through a flurry of coverage on both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. While it’s no longer archived, Hawthorn spoke to CBC All Points West host Jo-Ann Roberts—also a former Southam Lecturer herself—about his January 29 public Southam Lecture titled, “In Defence of Sports Writing (Not All of it, Just the Good Stuff)”.

HawthornHawthorn also spoke about the importance of UVic’s new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) in this article for the CARSA website: “When it comes to training facilities, there’s no question: CARSA will attract a very high level of athlete,” he says. “You’re going to attract people who want to succeed in athletics—that will definitely be weighed in their decision of where they’re going to do their studies—and you’ll have more people dedicated to success at that elite level.”

Cleve Dheensaw, sports writer for the Times Colonist, also talked to Hawthorn ahead of his lecture in this article. “Even people who don’t follow sports should read the sports pages because sport tells us a lot about ourselves as a society,” he says. (Plus, who wouldn’t want to take a class where your homework is watching the Super Bowl?) And Hawthorn talked about the likelihood of queer activism at the Olympics in this Victoria News article. “I fully anticipate that some athletes will make a display of solidarity with gay people in the community of Russia,” he said.

WordsThaw this weekend

The Malahat Review‘s annual “intellectual icebreaker at the cusp of spring” returns this week, and many Department of Writing faculty, alumni and graduate students are involved. It promises to be a fascinating and illuminating weekend of literary learning. Here’s what’s in the works—but you can get all the details, including ticket information, at WordsThaw 2014.

Landsowne Lecturer Daphne Marlatt (7:30pm Thursday, February 20, in Turpin A120)

Daphne Marlatt

Daphne Marlatt

In the opening event to WordsThaw 2014, Vancouver writer Daphne Marlatt celebrates the fluid relationship between language and place—in particular, Vancouver—and how they stream into and out of one another, both of them accruing allusive sediments. (Lansdowne Lectures sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities)

Words on Ice: Evolution of the Author (7:30pm Friday, February 21, in HSD A240)

David Leach

David Leach

A reading featuring writers at every stage of a writing career, hosted by Malahat Review editor John Barton and local poet Yvonne Blomer. From high school-aged writers, University writing students, authors without a first book, those who’ve published a first book, to those with an established writing career. Panelists include paulo da costa, Cynthia Flood, Phil Hall, Anita Lahey, Daphne Marlatt and Miranda Pearson, as well as Writing professor David Leach and Writing student Benjamin Willems.

Author as Avatar: Social Media and Blogging (10am-noon Saturday, February 22, HSD A250)

John Threlfall

John Threlfall

Fine Arts communications honcho and Writing instructor John Threlfall will lead a discussion with local writers, bloggers, and publishers about the importance of social media for writers. Questions to be covered will include: How important is it for an author to develop a following and community on social media? What is the best tactic for an author to take while participating in social media? Roundtable panelists include Times Colonist journalist Sarah Petrescu, Brindle & Glass publicist Emily Shorthouse and Writing alum Will Johnson.

Spirit of Place: Writing Local History (10am-noon Saturday, February 22, HSD A240)

John Adams

John Adams

What role does history play in contemporary society? Has the rapid pace of today’s world led us to lose contact with our past? How acquainted are we with Victoria’s rich and fascinating heritage, with the stories and lives behind the streets and buildings we pass each day? Local-history authors will discuss their research, their craft, and how the writing (and reading) of local history can shape our perception of the present in powerful ways. The past is not dead. But it relies on writers to keep its spirit alive. Readers include John Adams, Linda Eversole, and Peter Grant. Moderated by Rosemary Neering.

The Inner Life of our Words: Writing and the Human Spirit (1:30-3:30pm Saturday, February 22, HSD A240)

Tim Lilburn

Tim Lilburn

Is there a relationship between poetry and the inner life? And if there is, what form or direction—or directions—does this relationship take? Can writing and reading be a useful, even insightful tool to probe the spiritual life (or lives) of the self, of another person, of a community, or even of an age? With moderator Andrew Rippin as their “guide,” poets Jane Munro and Writing professor Tim Lilburn and Writing instructor Marita Dachsel—also the current Artist in Residence for UVic’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society—each approaching the inner life of our words from a unique perspective, talk about how poetry can be a catalyst to discovering and expressing not only “what we know,” but about “what we want to know.”

Shining a Light: Writer as Witness (3:45-5:45pm Saturday, February 22, HSD A240)

Gary Geddes

Gary Geddes

All writers are observers, perceptually attuned. But what is the difference between seeing and witnessing? In many cases, to be a witness is to dare—to risk one’s emotions, or one’s reputation, in order to make known what others would keep hidden. Representing different backgrounds and genres—First Nations, environmental science, and poetry—panelists will explore the various ways writers use their craft to speak out, raise awareness, and shine a revealing light on some uncomfortable truths. Readers include Gary Geddes, Monique Gray Smith, and Andrew Weaver. Moderated by Amy Reiswig.

Brief Encounters: 15-minute Critiques of Your Work (noon-1:15pm Saturday, February 22, in the HSD Building)

wordsthaw poster letter sizeThis year WordsThaw will also have one-on-one critiques set up in several genres over the lunch break. Local writers will be available to critique your writing in the following genres: poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, life-writing, or young adult/children’s writing. Critique spots will be filled in advance (once registered for WordsThaw), on a first-come first-served basis. Writers include Maleea Acker, Dede Crane, Catherine Greenwood, Steve Noyes, Aaron Shepard, Robin Stevenson, Christine Walde and Writing instructor Matthew Hooton and Writing graduate student JoAnn Dionne.

Fine Arts at IdeaFest

Want to change the world? All you need is the right idea.

ideafestUVic’s third annual IdeaFest is back and ready to expand your mind with fascinating ideas from fascinating people. Running March 3 to 8 at various venues across campus, IdeaFest offers over 50 ideas worth celebrating.

This year’s theme is “Ideas that can change everything,” and Fine Arts is once again in the mix, with every department offering something. Here’s a quick rundown by date of what we’ve got scheduled, but be sure to see the main schedule for complete details. Remember, all events are free and don’t require registration—unless otherwise noted.

• Get an inside look at how musicians make music with a Cello Master Class featuring School of Music professor Pamela Highbau Aloni. (1:30-2:30pm Tuesday, March 4 in the Phillip T Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin B Wing)

Inside the Kwisitis Visitor Centre

Inside the Kwisitis Visitor Centre

• What do you do when you suddenly find yourself over your head with a creative project? Find out in “A Props Master Out of his Depth”, a slide lecture by Department of Theatre master props artist Bryn Finer. Finer will address how his theatre experiences translated to the development of sculptures and dioramas for the Kwisitis Visitor Centre at Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino. (12:30-1:30pm Wednesday, March 5, in the Roger Bishop Theatre, Phoenix Theatres)

• The annual Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards feature new research produced by 115 young scholars—of which 10 are from Fine Arts: Caroline Baicy, Justin Barski and Evelyn Brotherston (History in Art); Alannah Bloch and Jocelyne Lamarche (Theatre); Abigail Laycock and Graham Macaulay (Visual Arts); Bethany Hughes and Benjamin Willems (Writing); and Sondra Moyls (Music).  Be sure to check out what they’ve got on hand in this fascinating exhibit. (11:30am-3pm Wednesday, March 5, Michelle Pujol room, SUB)

• Get an inside look at how musicians make music as School of Music professor Patricia Kostek leads a master class on the clarinet in this workshop. (1:30pm – 2:30pm Wednesday, March 5, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building)

Lafayette String Quartet

Lafayette String Quartet

• Find out how young musicians hone their craft and learn from master musicians at this string chamber master class with UVic’s own artists-in-residence, the Lafayette String Quartet. (7-9pm Wednesday, March 5, in MacLaurin B016)

• Ever heard of Soundpainting? Find out what it’s all about at this presentation and interactive demonstration by UVic’s new music ensemble, Sonic Lab. All are invited to participate with movement, visual arts, spoken word, acting or music in a real-time, gesture-based group composition. (1-2:30pm Thursday, March 6, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building)

• A late addition to our IdeaFest lineup: The 3-Minute Thesis competition! School of Music graduate student Michael Dias will have three minutes to explain the ideas behind “The Creative Process: A Composer’s Sketches and Drafts” with one slide, 180 seconds and no jargon. Can he do it? Find out 7-9pm Thursday, March 6, in the David Lam Auditorium.

IdeaFest_WR1• In this age of digital publishing, you don’t need a printing press to create your own magazine—unless you choose to go the traditional publishing route. So You Want To Launch A Magazine offers an interactive panel discussion and showcase of some of the very successful magazines—both digital and print—created by students in the Department of Writing to address social and literary concerns in society. The panel includes moderator Dr. Lynne Van Luven (Writing), Nadia Grutter (Coastal Spectator), Patrick Close (The Warren), Kimberley Veness (Concrete Garden), Patrick Grace (This Side of West) and Andrea Routley (Plenitude). (noon-1:30pm Friday, March 7, in HSD A270)

• If you’ve ever been to an opera, you’ve heard how the voice can be an instrument in itself. Learn more about this primordially human instrument when professor Benjamin Butterfield leads a master class in voice. (2:30-3:30pm Friday March 7, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building)

Biro

Dániel Péter Biró and students

• Unless you’re a musician yourself, the process of creating music can offer be a complete mystery. Discover more in “Exploring Aesthetic Diversity Through Music,” an interactive workshop where you can experience the excitement of live music creation. School of Music composition and performance students will also perform their latest music compositions, created under the guidance of Music professors Dániel Péter Biró (Tsilumos Ensemble) and Joanna Hood (Lafayette String Quartet). The general public is welcome to attend! (7-9pm Friday, March 7 in MacLaurin B016)

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

• This year’s “Concert Without Borders” features the UVic Orchestra, under the direction of Ajtony Csaba, offering a program that includes Berlioz, Grisey and Beethoven and is punctuated by multi-media interventions highlighting Learning Without Borders projects from across campus. Theatre, song, visual art and spoken word shine a spotlight on the many ways in which members of the campus community are working to internationalize the curriculum and campus life. (8-10pm Friday, March 7 in the Farquhar Auditorium. Note: this is a ticketed event, and tickets can be purchased at the UVic Ticket Centre.)

Bruce Vogt

Bruce Vogt

• Finally, we offer the concert, A Night of Schubert. What makes a composer great? Why do we revere the music of one artist over another? Is it the beauty of the melody, a special harmonic sound, or something else? Discover the secrets of the romantic music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828) as explained and performed by pianist and School of Music professor Bruce Vogt. There will be a pre-concert talk at 7:30pm as well. (8-10pm Saturday, March 8, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, MacLaurin Building. Note: this is a ticketed event, and tickets can be purchased at the UVic Ticket Centre.)

Reel Life Learning

The tools writing professor Maureen Bradley uses with her students may not immediately leap to mind when most people think about research at UVic. But for Bradley, lights and cameras are very much the focus of the action when it comes to film production.

Maureen Bradley and Daniel Hogg (photo: Nik West)

Maureen Bradley and Daniel Hogg (photo: Nik West)

“Research is the creation of new knowledge,” she says, “and literature, art and film are knowledge. Those images and stories explain to us who we are, and how we function as humans.”

Bradley has been teaching film-based courses at UVic since 2004, but her real success began with the creation of the writing department’s CFI Hi-Def Story Incubator Laboratory in 2009. This film production class allows her to take experiential learning to a whole new level.

Thanks to nearly $350,000 in funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund and UVic’s Office of Research Services, the Story Lab continues to have great success with their experiential “class as crew” model.

Filming an episode of "Freshman' Wharf"

Filming an episode of “Freshman’ Wharf”

Their inaugural effort—Freshman’s Wharf, a light-hearted, 10-episode web series looking at the first-year student experience—won a 2010 Leo Award, presented annually to the best in BC’s film and television industry.

Bradley and her writing students have since gone on to create three other short films: Stuck, How Socrates Bought the Farm and ‘Til Death—the latter of which won a pair of awards at the Vancouver Short Film Festival in November 2013, and will screen at the Victoria Film Festival in February.

With students taking on all the jobs of a film crew, from lighting and continuity to set decoration and film editing, Bradley has created a hands-on course that teaches how film production really works. “It’s just such a fantastic experience,” she says. “They love being on set.”

But while there’s clearly talent aplenty among the 20-odd students who enroll in her class each year, Bradley sees the writing department as the key to their success.

'Til Death is another outstanding Writing-created short film project

‘Til Death is another outstanding Writing-created short film project

“Film is just a development of writing’s already well-known streams—fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and drama,” she says. “I don’t know anywhere else in the country where this is happening. There are good student films being made, but they’re not being driven by faculty-led courses.”

Bradley has spent the past four years building up the technical equipment and supporting talent needed to create professional-looking 10-minute short films.

“Drama and film are really applied forms of learning,” she explains. “A screenplay and a play are not final products, and they’re always open to interpretation. Students need to see how hard it is to make a film, how to adjust the writing as the film is made, how to write with a budget in mind.”

With no other Vancouver Island college or university offering film production classes, UVic’s writing department is uniquely situated to help fill a gap locally and nationally.

“I think we have the best student screenwriters in Canada here,” she says. “This is a unique situation where the production comes through the writing first.”

“I’ve seen beautiful films at student screenings across Canada, but the story is usually lacking, so it’s really exciting to see story and surface come together here. Why make a film if there’s no heart to it?”

Other notable UVic-related film projects

  • Connor Gaston's Bardo Light

    Connor Gaston’s Bardo Light

    Previous Story Lab student films have played at the Whistler Film Festival, the Vancouver Short Film Festival and the Victoria Film Festival. Current master’s student Connor Gaston’s short film, Bardo Light, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.

  • ‘Til Death screens at the Victoria Film Festival as part of the “Love & Danger” short film series (8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street). “It’s quite extraordinary for a student film,” says Bradley, “and it’s really exciting seeing it screening at a local festival.”
  • Bradley will start shooting her film Two 4 One locally in February. It’s a transgender romantic comedy produced by Story Lab partner Daniel Hogg and featuring 10 former and current film students working on the set. Bradley sees Two 4 One as delving into new territory. “Living life as a transgendered man is not something most people know anything about,” she says. “But people are open when they laugh and might take in new ideas. I want to reach a broader audience with this one.” Read more about Two 4 One in this interview in Plenitude magazine.
  • D.W. Wilson & Daneil Hogg puttin' on the ritz in Cannes

    D.W. Wilson & Daneil Hogg puttin’ on the ritz in Cannes

    Writing department alumni Jeremy Lutter, Ben Rollo, D.W. Wilson and Daniel Hogg took their latest short film Floodplain to the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Floodplain recently won two awards at the Vancouver Short Film Festival, and was produced with support from the National Screen Institute and BravoFACT.

Learn more about Maureen Bradley’s research in this Faces of UVic Research video.

This article originally appeared as part of UVic’s KnowlEDGE series in the January 26 edition of the Times Colonist.

Upcoming events

As always, there’s plenty going on in the Fine Arts faculty. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks:

Open Word: Reading and Ideas with Gillian Jerome

Gillian Jerome

Gillian Jerome

The founder of Canadian Women in the Literary Arts and celebrated co-creator of Hope in Shadows: Stories and Photographs from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Gillian Jerome will read from her latest book of poems, Red Nest. A live interview with UVic’s own Melanie Siebert will follow the Open Space reading.

7:30pm Wednesday, January 22, at Open Space, 510 Fort

Adaslā: The Movement of Hands

Thanks to the History in Art department, thousands of buttons and hundreds of metres of thread have now transformed one enormous swath of cloth into one huge button blanket. The companion exhibit, Adasla: The Movement of Hands, centres upon the creation and exhibition of what we’re calling the World’s Biggest Button Blanket. A project of Carolyn Butler Palmer, the Williams Legacy Chair in Modern and Contemporary Art of the Pacific Northwest, and sessional instructor Peter Morin, the blanket was created over the Fall 2013 academic term in collaboration with students at UVic’s First Peoples House. The finished blanket invites new conversations about indigenous button blanket makers and the artistic traditions that surround them.

Sewing button blankets at First Peoples House. (Photo: Michael Glendale)

Sewing button blankets at First Peoples House. (Photo: Michael Glendale)

Morin will offer the inaugural dance of the blanket on Wednesday, January 29, at First Peoples House as part of UVic’s 2014 Diversity Research Forum. There will also be a companion performance on at 2pm on Saturday, February 22, at the Legacy Gallery Downtown with Morin and Governor General’s Award-winning performance artist Rebecca Belmore, a former Audain Professor for the Department of Visual Arts.

Adaslā: The Movement of Hands continues to April 25 at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown, 630 Yates.

Visual Arts MFA Silent Auction

Just a few of the 60 pieces up for auction

Just a few of the 60 pieces now up for auction

Our Visual Arts MFA students are trying to get to New York City, and you can help by bidding on one (or more) of the 60 pieces on offer in this silent auction. Work by both students and faculty is up for sale, and the event culminates with a 5:30pm performance on Thursday, January 23, by Fantastico! (better known as Visual Arts instructor David Gifford.)

Bidding runs 9am-5pm daily, and up to 6pm Thursday, January 23, in the Visual Arts building’s Audain Gallery. You don’t have to be present to win your bid.

Visual Impetus XVII: Conceived, Created & Consumed

Visual_Impetus_XVII_posterJoin Visual Impetus, the annual History in Art department’s graduate student symposium, and the theme this year is “Conceived, Created & Consumed.” When attempting to analyze and understand the significance of visual culture in society, we must examine the various stages of development as it transitions from the artist’s idea to a tangible manifestation that audiences perceive and respond to. The organizers of Visual Impetus XVII offer presentations addressing visual culture within the moments of conception, creation, or consumption, and how significance and function can shift within these different stages.

Included among the presentations is the keynote address by Peter Morin of the Big Button Blanket Project, 4pm Friday, January 24. Click here to see the full schedule of presenters.

Visual Impetus XVII runs January 24 & 25 at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown, 630 Yates

A double dose of Sonik

Madeline Sonik

Madeline Sonik

Fans of Department of Writing sessional instructor Madeline Sonik will be excited to hear the multi-genre writer has a pair of events on the horizon: first up is her participation in the Malahat Review’s WordsThaw prequel “CNF Night in Canada!” Kicking off at 7:30pm Tuesday, January 28, at Russell Books (734 Fort), Sonk will be joined by Vancouver Island authors Maleea Acker and Jay Ruzesky at this free “intellectual icebreaker,” hosted by Malahat Review editor and fellow Writing instructor John Barton. They’ll all be discussing “the grace and agility of memoir, the essay, and travel writing.”

After that, the award-winning Sonik will be giving an interactive talk on literary magazine and book publishing, designed for new and emerging writers at UVic and the Victoria community at large who are interested in knowing how to make submissions, write pitches and book proposals, and approach literary agents. Other topics will include literary contests, grants, market studies, and how to keep track of it all. This equally free event runs 2:30-4pm Tuesady, February 4, in room A240 of UVic’s HSD Building.

Visiting Artist: Michael Klein

KleinMichael Klein has been exhibiting video and photo-based work for more than 30 years. He has curated, organized and programmed numerous exhibitions and publications. and opened the MKG127 gallery in Toronto in 2007. Recent exhibitions include The Other Side for Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche 2012, All in the Family at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Family Ties at Daniel Faria Gallery in 2013.

Michael Klein speaks at 8pm Wednesday, January 29, in Room A162 of the Visual Arts building 

Southam Lecture: Tom Hawthorn

Tom Hawthorn is the 2014 Southam Lecturer (Photo: Deddeda Stemler)

Tom Hawthorn is the 2014 Southam Lecturer
(Photo: Deddeda Stemler)

Just in time for the Sochi Winter Olympics, Tom Hawthorn—2014 Southam Lecturer for the Department of Writing—presents his free public lecture, In Defence of Sports Writing (Not All of It, Just the Good Stuff). Not only will Hawthorn discuss the importance of sports writing but also examine the more political side of the Olympics at his public lecture, from the move to boycott the Nazi Olympics and the Black Power salutes of 1968, to the African boycott of the Montreal Olympics and the contemporary protests over Russia’s anti-gay laws.

In addition to having covered the 1996 Olympic Games in Athens, Hawthorn has worked in the sports departments of the Globe and Mail, Province and Times Colonist newspapers, and is a well-respected journalist and magazine writer whose byline has appeared in magazines across the country. He is also the author of the recent book, Deadlines: Obits of Memorable British Columbians.

Tom Hawthorn speaks 7pm Wednesday, January 29, in room A240 of UVic’s Human & Social Development Building

Daniel Laskarin: fallen and found

Laskarin's "fallen and found"

Laskarin’s “fallen and found”

Hot off the Visual Arts faculty exhibition Paradox, Visual Arts chair Daniel Laskarin presents his latest solo show, fallen and found. In this, his fourth exhibition with Deluge Contemporary Art, Daniel Laskarin returns to a decades-old preoccupation with the role of the sculptor as matterist. A mix of sculptural pieces and newer works from an ongoing narrative of small wall pieces, Laskarin’s artistic production is object-based, and uses a diverse range of media including photography and video, optics, robotics systems, installation and sound works, set design and public projections

Opens 7pm Friday, January 31 and continues to March 8 at Deluge, 636 Yates

UVic Orchestra: Don Joyorchestra3.jpg

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

Csaba rehearsing the UVic Orchestra (UVic Photo Services)

The School of Music’s Ajtony Csaba conducts the UVic Orchestra in a program of Mozart (Overture to Don Giovanni), Maurice Ravel (Piano Concerto in G Major), and Richard Strauss (Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24). Featured in the Ravel piece will be  piano soloist Barry Tan, winner of the annual UVic Concerto Competition.

Don Joy begins at 8pm Friday, January 31, in the University Centre’s Farquhar Auditorium. Click here for ticket information.

The Lafayette String Quartet: Quintets Old and New

Lafayette String Quartet

Lafayette String Quartet

The Shostakovich Op. 57 Piano Quintet has been in the Lafayette String Quartet’s repertoire from the very beginning. As students, three of the quartet members performed this work with the great Rostislav Dubinsky and his wife, Luba Edlina and the Quartet has performed this piece numerous times since. “This piece is an old friend—it’s in our blood,” says Ann Elliott-Goldschmid, violinist with the LSQ. In contrast, the Dvorak Op. 97 String Quintet, which uses idiomatic modalities common in Native American song and African Amercian spirituals, is a fresh undertaking for the group. The Quartet will bring both of these works to the stage with the help of guest performers Alexander Tselyakov (piano) and Yariv Aloni (viola).

The LSQ performs at 8pm Saturday, February 1, in the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall in UVic’s MacLaurin Building. Click here for ticket information

Department of Theatre Open House

Iwanttobeintheatre_HEADER_x508x261Choosing a career in theatre is a big decision, but new students who want to follow in the footsteps of UVic’s successful theatre alumni have a great opportunity to learn more about the program when the Department of Theatre welcomes prospective new students for a behind-the-scenes introduction at the annual I Want to Be In Theatre! event on Saturday, February 1.

This fun interactive afternoon offers an inside look at life as a theatre student and is ideal for high school students who are deciding about their university studies—or anyone who is interested in studying theatre at a post-secondary level. As well as a tour of the impressive facilities at the Phoenix Theatre, the day provides detailed information about the department’s many theatre specializations: acting, applied theatre, set, costume or lighting design, directing, production and management, and theatre history. Attendees will also see a rehearsal scene of the upcoming play Picnic, have an opportunity to chat with current students over a free pizza lunch, and get advice about choosing courses and the application process. Parents and teachers are welcome to attend with interested students.

I Want To Be in Theatre! runs 11:30am to 3pm Saturday, February 1 in the Phoenix Theatre. Tickets are free, but please register in advance with this registration form before Monday, January 27.

The 27th Annual Medieval Workshop

Medieval WorkshopSpend a full day in two of the most beautiful and prosperous cities of the Middle Ages—Cairo and Venice! Settled at the margins of powerful empires, defying prejudice and authority, both islands of culture and wealth—over the desert in Cairo and over the sea for Venice—these two cities write a story of dialogue, art, and trade. History in Art’s Catherine Harding and Marcus Milwright are both among the presenters.

In this full-day of workshops presented by UVic’s Medieval Studies and History in Art departments, you can explore the former slaves who became rulers under the name of Mameluks (the Jewish community in Cairo), the hostelries for merchants in Egypt, the fashions and trends found at rich Italian merchants’, and the friendship between Boccacio and Petrarch in Venice. You‘ll also discover music from Orient and Occident, performed on Venetian lute and Oriental oud. Most of all, you will be part of the vibrant Victoria community which gathers for the Annual Medieval Workshop. Click here to see the full itinerary.

The 27th Annual Medieval Workshop runs 9am-5pm Saturday, February 1, in Room B150 of UVic’s Bob Wright Centre. Click here for ticket information.

Visiting Artist: Jon Sasaki

Work by Jon Sasaki

Work by Jon Sasaki

Multidisciplinary Toronto artist Jon Sasaki borrows conceptual art strategies to make works with an emotionally resonant core. Sasaki’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions across Canada. His work has been seen in several editions of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, and Sasaki holds a BFA from Mount Allison University and is represented by Jessica Bradley Gallery in Toronto.

Jon Sasaki speaks 8pm Wednesday, February 5, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building

Open Word: Readings and Ideas with Nora Young

Nora Young

Nora Young

Whether hosting CBC Radio’s long-running technology & culture show Spark, creating documentaries for CBC’s Ideas, working online and in television, or in her previous role as the founding host and producer of CBC’s popular culture show Definitely Not the Opera, few know how to reflect life in the 21st Century better than Nora Young.

Now, Young will read from her non-fiction book, The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives Are Altering the World Around Us. Young looks at the debates and challenges around virtual data-sharing and its potential for building responsive communities and governments. She has fascinating information at her disposal, unique insights into the intersection of virtual and real worlds, and a wonderful voice for making all of these clear to a general audience.

Following her Open Space reading, Nora Young will be interviewed live by Writing professor David Leach, also the director of UVic’s Technology & Society Program.

Nora Young’s first reading is at 1:30pm Wednesday, February 5, in room 104 of UVic’s Engineering & Computer Science Building. Her second reading is at 7:30pm Wednesday, February 5, at Open Space, 510 Fort.

Distinguished Alumni: Michael Whitfield

With over four decades of designing nationally and internationally for theatre, opera and ballet, Michael Whitfield is one of Canada’s most versatile and experienced lighting designers—and he has also been named the Distinguished Alumni for the Faculty of Fine Arts for 2014. Even better, Whitfield’s career at UVic has gone full circle, from his graduation way back in 1967 to his current work as a sessional instructor with the Department of Theatre. Now, Whitfield will be honoured by UVic Chancellor Murray Farmer at a special evening honouring Distinguished Alumni representing all 12 faculties, divisions and the UVic Libraries, from 7pm Wedneday, February 5 at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

Michael Whitfield

Michael Whitfield

Whitfield went on to become the Resident Lighting Designer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for 25 years, where he created the lighting for over 100 productions on the Festival, Avon and Tom Patterson stages. Concurrently with his work at the Festival, Michael also designed for the Shaw Festival and for many of Canada’s regional theatres, particularly the Grand Theatre, London and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Since the late 1970’s, Michael has designed extensively for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto as well as for opera companies across the country. His work in the United States has included lighting designs for opera companies in San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, while overseas his lighting has been seen at the Welsh National Opera and the Netherlands Opera.

Michael’s lighting for ballet and dance has been featured at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the American Ballet Theatre, the Finnish National Ballet, the Canadian Native Arts Foundation and the Banff Centre. In addition to his extensive professional design career, since the early 1970’s Michael has taught at educational institutions including the University of Windsor, the University of Illinois, York University, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and the National Theatre School of Canada. By taking on apprentice designers as his assistants he has also mentored the careers of many young designers who are now illuminating stage productions across Canada.

University of Victoria Wind Symphony & the Naden Band

cal_21_event_93494The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy has been an important part of naval tradition on the West Coast since 1940 and UVic’s School of Music has a long-standing relationship with the group. Many alumni have served as members of the ensemble and in 1994 the Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific Scholarship in Music Performance was established. The band, currently under the direction of Lieutenant (Navy) Matthew Clark, will join the Wind Symphony for a special concert supporting this valuable scholarship, awarded annually to second and third year School of Music students who demonstrate excellence in brass, woodwind and percussion performance.

The School of Music’s Eugene Dowling will be conducting the concert, which welcomes back to the Farquhar Auditorium stage bassoon soloist Petty Officer Second Class Robyn Jutras. “Although musicians in the Naden Band are from all over Canada, alumni from the UVic School of Music make up ten percent of their current membership,” says Dowling. “It is wonderful that our featured soloist, Robyn Jutras, was not only trained at UVic, but was a past recipient of the Naden Band Scholarship!” Featured works on the program include David Maslanka’s massive Symphony No. 8 and Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bassoon.

The Wind Symphony & the Naden Band perform 8pm Friday, February 7, at the University Centre’s Farquhar Auditorium. Click here for ticket information.

Phoenix Theatre: Picnic

Grant Wood, "Spring in Town" 1941

Grant Wood, “Spring in Town” 1941

On the last day of summer in small town Kansas, unfulfilled dreams and repressed desires come to a head when a charismatic young drifter arrives in town. His combination of rough manners and titillating charm sends everyone reeling, including the Owens sisters (Millie, the smart one, and Madge, the pretty one), their determined mother, Madge’s college-bound boyfriend, the watchful neighbour and the spinster schoolteacher who boards at the Owens’ house. This 1953 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama is an American classic from the post-war/pre-feminist era which speaks to the timeless themes of lost aspirations and the heart’s yearning to leave everything behind for a new adventure.

Directed by Peter J. McGuire with lighting by Allan Stichbury.

Picnic previews February 11 & 12, and runs February 13-22. Click here for more information and tickets.

Media roundup for early January

2014 started off fast and furious for Fine Arts, with a flurry of media coverage coming out of the new year’s gate.

Eva Baboula's interview in The Jewish Independent

Eva Baboula’s interview in The Jewish Independent

Wrapping up 2013, History in Art’s Eva Baboula was interviewed by Vancouver’s Jewish Independent newspaper for this late December article. She was talking about her new course on Jewish art—the first of its kind in Canada!—and discusses the distinctive characteristics of ancient & medieval Jewish art.

Baboula was also asked why, as someone who isn’t Jewish but is Greek, she would teach a course on this subject. “I just love learning,” she explains. “Something that did intrigue me . . . was the history of the Jews of Greece. Up to the Second World War, Greece had very significant ancient Romaniote Jewish communities, as well as Sephardim who had originated in the Iberian Peninsula. The country witnessed an unprecedented loss of its Jewish communities in relation to its general population (about 80 percent were lost in the Holocaust). Often this kind of history, as well as the material remnants of the history of many centuries, is not really known or very visible. I think it is the history of all of us and it has to be preserved.”

Mary Jo Hughes with work by Daniel Laskarin (foreground) and Robert Youds (back). (photo: Don Denton)

Mary Jo Hughes with work by Daniel Laskarin (foreground) and Robert Youds (back). (photo: Don Denton)

VIsual Arts got one more piece on their Paradox faculty exhibit, courtesy of this end of the year story in the weekly Monday Magazine section of the Victoria News. Running just before the exhibit wrapped up at the downtown Legacy Art Gallery in early January, the article quoted curator and gallery director Mary Jo Hughes saying, “The main point of art is to help people look at the world a different way.”

Visual Arts professor Paul Walde‘s video & sound installation “Requiem for a Glacier”—shot last summer on the Farnham Glacier in the Kootenays—opened at Nelson’s Oxygen Art Centre in early January. The Nelson Star ran this article about the exhibit, noting that political motivation and diversity of the numerous collaborators is what gave the work a whole new dimension of social practice. You can read more about the backstory of “Requiem for a Glacier” here, and the exhibit itself runs to February 8.

CdnArt Glacier reviewWalde’s “Requiem” was also recently reviewed by Canadian Art magazine. Describing it as Walde’s “most ambitious work to date”, reviewer TE Hardy noted “it demonstrates an essential progress: the ideas are more expansive than in Walde’s past work; the compositional systems that define his practice create a richer intertextual field; and his efficacy as a multi-disciplinary artist is impressively enhanced.” Hardy also notes that Walde “successfully frames questions of mythic import” and mentions the “stark and beautiful” moments in the video. Read the full review here.

And in other Paul Walde news, he’s now curating the annual installation Audiospace 10 for downtown’s Open Space arts centre. Opening 7pm Friday, January 17, and running monthly through to Saturday, June 7, Audiospace is an exploration of digital sound, originally created as a venue for sound on the Internet (a novel idea when the series began back in 2003). Walde will bring audio back to the physical realm through the creation of a listening room at Open Space, which will feature a new artist each month. Keep up to date with the series here.

From Althea Thauberger's "Marat Sade Barnace"

From Althea Thauberger’s “Marat Sade Bohnice”

While we’re in Visual Arts, high-profile alumna Althea Thauberger was listed in the Vancouver Sun as having one of the “three of the most influential events in Vancouver galleries” for her show opening January 15 at SFU’s downtown Audain Gallery. The Vancouver-based Thauberger’s video installation Marat Sade Bohnice (first presented at Toronto’s Power Plant contemporary art gallery) examines the staging of Peter Weiss’s famed play Marat/Sade at a mental institution in Prague and questions the meaning of mental illness and art’s role in therapy. As the Sun writes, “Well-known for facilitating collaborative situations with groups such as military families, adolescent girls, and artists of the Downtown Eastside, Thauberger reveals social and political issues as she creates a space for collaborators to express themselves.”

The School of Music had an ambitious first week back in January, thanks to their fascinating Week with Gustav Mahler. A combination of open rehearsals, lectures, listening rooms and a full faculty recital, Mahler Week earned a fair bit of media coverage. As busy local arts blogger Janis LaCouvee noted, it was a great way to learn more about this under-appreciated composer. “My knowledge of Mahler—sadly—is limited to the 1974 biographical film by Ken Russell, so when Kristy Farkas, the Concert Manager for the UVic School of Music, contacted me with news of a week-long Mahler tribute, I knew that I had to add some of the events to my arts calendar.” You can read more about Janis’ Mahlerization here.

Butterfield and Pohran Dawkins talk Mahler (photo: Adrian Lam)

Butterfield and Pohran Dawkins talk Mahler (photo: Adrian Lam)

The Times Colonist did a nice job with a pair of articles about Mahler Week. As TC arts writer Amy Smart noted, “One doesn’t simply say, ‘Hey, let’s play Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde,’ on a whim. The large work not only requires a certain number of trained musicians, but a level of commitment to learning the complex rhythms, especially when performed in a chamber arrangement without a conductor.”

The aptly-named Smart then speaks to both Music faculty members Benjamin Butterfield and Alexandra Pohran Dawkins in this article, who noted the concert could only come about because of the size of the School of Music’s performance faculty—the largest in the country—and its emphasis on chamber music. “There aren’t many schools that could pull this off,” said Pohran Dawkins. “I won’t say it exactly fell into place, but the timing was right and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the project. We’re hoping it will be a bit of a splash.”

The music faculty in rehearsal for Mahler week (photo: Kristy Farkas)

The music faculty in rehearsal for Mahler week (photo: Kristy Farkas)

Classical music columnist Kevin Bazzana also highlighted the final concert of Mahler Week—the faculty performance of Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)—in his January 9 column.  (Alas, it’s not available online, but can be read here in the article UVic pays tribute to Mahler.) Bazzana provided the fascinating history of the symphony as well as some insight into the specific arrangement the faculty were performing. As Benjamin Butterfield notes, “It is the ultimate chamber music piece.”

The Times Colonist returned to the School of Music again with columnist Kevin Bazzana writing about the Galiano Ensemble in this article. The Galiano Ensemble includes not only School of Music faculty members but also alumni amongst its players.

But wait, there’s more—the TC also picked up a story about professor Eugene Dowling‘s A Mostly Canadian Recital on January 12. In this article, Dowling describes the many personal connections he has with many of the composers and the stories behind the compositions, noting that he will try to bring all those emotions and friendships to mind as he plays.

Colleen Eccleston

Colleen Eccleston

Music instructor Colleen Eccleston was also interviewed on the CFAX radio show Cafe Victoria with Bruce Williams, speaking about the legacy and role the Everly Brothers had in rock-and-roll history. (Phil Everly passed away on January 3.) Click here to hear a podcast of the show, then fast forward to timecode 16:15. Eccleston teaches the history of rock and roll for Music, among other classes—and she was also announced as the first-place winner of the School of Music/Vikes Rally Song contest on January 10 (but more on that in this separate post). All in all, that’s some outstanding Music coverage for just the first week of classes!

HIA booksBack in History in Art, both Allan Antliff and Erin Campbell have contributed to new books. Antliff’s chapter on “Ezra Pound, Man Ray and Vorticism in America, 1914-1917″ can be found in the new book Vorticism: New Perspectives (Oxford University Press), and Campbell’s is co-editor of The Early Modern Italian Domestic Interior, 1400-1700 (Ashgate), with her specific chapter “Art and Family Viewers in the 17th-century Bolognese Domestic Interior.”

Peter Morin & the world's biggest Button Blanket

Peter Morin & the world’s biggest Button Blanket

History in Art is also gearing up for the unveiling of their Big Button Blanket project, debuting at the Legacy Downtown on September 16 as part of the exhibit Adasla: The Movement of Hands. An ambitious collaborative project between professor Carolyn Butler Palmer, Tahtan Nation artist and sessional instructor Peter Morin, plus local indigenous blanket makers and History in Art students, watch for all sorts of coverage coming up about both the exhibit and the blanket itself. Get a taste of it with this CBC Radio All Points West interview with Morin and host Jo-Ann Roberts (scroll down to the January 7 entry).

Adasla runs January 16 to April 25, with a special performance on February 22 by Governor General’s Award winning performance artist Rebecca Belmore, a former Audain professor for the Department of Visual Arts, and Morin. Morin will also inaugurate the blanket in its debut performance at the start of UVic’s annual Diversity Research Forum on January 29.

Over in Writing, professor Maureen Bradley was featured in this Times Colonist article in late November, being interviewed about her upcoming feature film Two 4 One and the representation of transgendered people in the media. Two 4 One will be the first transgender romantic comedy.

Lee Henderson

Lee Henderson

Meanwhile, both professor Lee Henderson and alumna Eliza Robertson were included on the National Post‘s list of “The 25 most anticipated (Canadian) books of 2014.” Despite doom & gloom in the publishing industry, books writer Mark Medley feels we’re presently in the midst of another Can-lit boom. “While the industry still faces financial challenges, Canadian writers are in the midst of a creative peak that rivals anything we’ve seen before.” Tucked in with such literary luminaries as Michael Crummey, Emma Donoghue, Steven Galloway, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Miriam Toews, Medley includes books by Henderson and Robertson among the books he “can’t wait to devour” in 2014:

Orphans, by Lee Henderson (Hamish Hamilton Canada/August). Not much is known about Henderson’s first novel since 2008’s The Man Game (an audacious, wildly inventive novel that deserved a wider audience), and even the name will likely change. In a 2010 interview he told me it was ‘about creativity.’piece.”
Wallflowers, by Eliza Robertson (Hamish Hamilton Canada/August). A debut collection from a buzzy young author whose work has been shortlisted for the Journey Prize and won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her story ‘My Sister Sang’ is alone worth the price of admission.” But hey, no pressure!
Two other pieces of Writing grad news: Canadian literary biggie Timothy Taylor selected Jenny Boychuk as 2nd runner-up in PRISM literary magazine’s annual creative non-fiction contest for her story, “Notes on Breath” (beating our Writing instructor Madeline Sonik, who was long-listed for the same prize), and poet Kyeren Regher was the only Canadian selected for the American publication Best New
Poets 2013.
Michael Whitfield

Michael Whitfield

Finally, Department of Theatre sessional instructor, former student and veteran lighting designer Michael Whitfield has been announced as this year’s Fine Arts recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Whitfield was a student during the earliest days of UVic and literally got in on the ground floor of the nascent Theatre department. You can read some of his memories in this Torch article from the Spring 2013 issue (skip ahead to page 34). Learn more about the Distinguished Alumni Awards here. Congratulations, Michael!

 

Celebrating Lorna Crozier

With a sold-out house, gales of laughter, heartfelt reminiscences, touching readings and a few sincerely dewy-eyed moments, the Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier proved to be a smash success! And, thanks to the nearly 300 people filling the David Lam Auditorium on November 28, the Department of Writing also managed to raise a nice bit of money for the fledgling Lorna Crozier Undergraduate Poetry Scholarship.

It was a full house at the Lorna Crozier event

It was a full house at the Lorna Crozier event

Hilariously hosted by Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, and featuring a stellar lineup of poets—including Jane Urquhart, Brad Cran, Patrick Lane, Carla Funk, Melanie Siebert and Steven Price—the nearly two-and-a-half-hour event kept people alternately in stitches and silence, depending on the emotional tone of the readings . . . and anecdotes. (Alas, planned guests Anne Michaels had to cancel due to illness and Esi Edugyan was called out of town on book business.) Most of the poets read a mix of their favourite Crozier poems as well as some of their own work, much of which was either inspired by or had been critiqued by her as a teacher.

Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart

Celebrated author and poet Jane Urquhart set the tone for the evening, mixing personal—and often surprisingly frank—reminiscences of Lorna with her own readings. (Highlights included hearing about the two of them attending a literary event in Paris, which did Lorna’s fashion addiction absolutely no good.) Shelagh Rogers responded in kind with a side-splitting story about Urquhart, Crozier and herself breaking into an artistic director’s home after a reading on the Sunshine Coast to drink gin and tonics. An audience member paid $50 to hear this hilarious and totally impromptu bon mot, and it actually kicked off a cash-for-kooky-Crozier-stories frenzy that ran the entire night and saw about $500 extra raised for the scholarship. (Indeed, Crozier’s husband, Patrick Lane, offered to tell a particularly racy story about her for $100, which Crozier then outbid with another $100 for him not to tell it!)

From top left: Shelagh Rogers, Brad Cran, Carla Funk, Steven Price, Melanie Siebert, Alexandra Pohran Dawkins

From top left: Shelagh Rogers, Brad Cran, Carla Funk, Steven Price, Melanie Siebert, Alexandra Pohran Dawkins

The most memorable readings of the night came from Crozier’s former students—Cran, Price, Siebert and Funk—all of whom attested to her skill in the classroom and importance as a mentor; most of them have since become friends and colleagues, and their memories provided vivid illustrations of how important a professor can be in the lives of emerging artists. A highly emotional Brad Cran even got too choked up to finish his own reading, barely holding back the tears as he recounted his own experience with undiagnosed dyslexia, the difference Crozier made to him as a student, and the struggles his daughter is currently going through with the same thing—and the hope that she too would find such a supportive mentor one day.

Pohran Dawkins performs her musical tribute

Pohran Dawkins performs her musical tribute

Another highlight of the evening was the special performance by School of Music professor Alexandra Pohran Dawkins, who played her own charming and poetic improvisational piece on the English Horn titled, “A Musical Offering—For Lorna.”

Patrick Lane read out a message from Anne Michaels, noting that she was “very sad not to be with you all—only a doctor’s orders would keep me away.” Michaels wrote that she had known Crozier for over 30 years and had spent the past few weeks reading all of her books again, noting “how much love your poems contain, how much humour and quiet strength . . . in their grace, your poems embrace all of life.”

As Crozier's longtime partner, Patrick Lane was uniquely situated to offer, uh, insights

As Crozier’s longtime partner, Patrick Lane was uniquely situated to offer, uh, insights

Lane himself had much to say about his wife—much of it hilarious, much of it touching—before reading one of his poems that was written at a moment of indecision in their relationship. “A Red Bird Bearing On His Back An Empty Cup” silenced the house, and caused many to pause and reflect on their own emotional lives. Lane also mischievously noted the pros and cons of living with another poet: “Every now and then I come up with these phrases and Lorna says, ‘Write that down’ . . . and I do, before she steals it.”

Former City of Victoria Poet Laureate Carla Funk spoke glowingly about Lorna’s teaching legacy,  describing her “faith beyond faith” that a student’s poem would improve, and her ability to “encourage young poets, inspire them to continue, to strive, to grow, to give permission to write about things that were kept in shadows in your family’s history.”

A very moved Lorna Crozier

A very moved Lorna Crozier

By the time recently retired Crozier took the podium to a standing ovation, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. “I didn’t realize so much of the evening would be about me,” said an obviously moved Crozier, noting that “it shouldn’t be so much about me, but about raising money for our future students and aspiring poets.” Crozier also praised her former students, saying how lucky she was to have them in her classes. “Now they are peers, and I use their books as models for what one can write when you get so close to the heart.”

Crozier with Cran, Funk and Dean Blackstone (foreground)

Crozier with Cran, Funk and Dean Blackstone (foreground)

Indeed, many of the featured poets mentioned how they had been recipients of scholarships when they were in school, and how much a difference they can make in the life of a struggling student.  All in all, the evening raised about $6,000 towards the $25,000 needed to make the scholarship self-sustaining. This scholarship will continue to honour the academic life and legacy of the beloved poet now that she has retired from teaching. Please consider a donation to this important fund, which will be awarded annually to a third or fourth year undergraduate poetry student. You can give online simply by clicking this link. 

As Dr. Sarah Blackstone, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, noted at the close of the evening, “UVic has just celebrated our 50th anniversary—imagine, on our 100th anniversary, hearing the difference this scholarship has made to the lives and careers of 50 poets yet to come.”

Thanks go out to event sponsors Tanner’s Books, Marmalade Tart Boutique, Greystone Books, Harbour Publishing, plus UVic’s offices  of the Vice President Aademic & Provost and External Relations, as well as our own Faculty of Fine Arts and Department of Writing.

If you missed it in advance, be sure to check out some of the media coverage the event received: CBC Radio’s All Points West on-air column “Creative Class” which you can hear by clicking here, this short article in the Times Colonist and this piece in The Ring, UVic’s community newspaper.

Concrete Garden wants you (or your students)

Are you a keen student looking to gain some volunteer work experience in the magazine writing realm—or do you have a student who’s looking to get published and learn more about the world of magazines? Either way, check out Concrete Garden.

Concrete Garden - 2013SepUVic’s own Concrete Garden magazine is a great student success story, evolving from a project in the Writing department’s magazine writing class to an actual hard copy mag that’s now for sale around the city. Concrete Garden focuses on sustainable urban agriculture and is currently looking for an art director, photo editor, writing editors and a photographer for the Spring 2014 issue.

All positions are unpaid, except for photographers, but do offer valuable work experience, connections to the local writing biz, and the opportunity for students to publish their work in a print publication. Students should contact editor Kimberley Veness directly with “Position” in the subject line.

Here’s a quick breakdown on the various positions available:

  • Art Director – responsible for the aesthetics of the magazine, works closely with the editorial team to set editing schedules and design schedules to meet monthly production targets and ensure we meet our publication date of April, 2014. The art director will work with the photo editor and editorial team to determine which pictures (or art, comics, etc.) best suit each story, respectively, and is responsible for creating a unique design for Spring 2014 appropriate to the themes of the issue. Must show proven proficiency in Photoshop and Adobe InDesign or similar programs, and previous professional writing and editing experience considered an asset.
  • Concrete Garden staff show off their magazine at Congress 2013

    Concrete Garden staff show off their magazine at Congress 2013

    Photo Editor – responsible for coordinating photographers and businesses, groups, and individuals for photo shoots. The photo editor must fact check and attribute proper photo credit for all pictures in the magazine, and source additional pictures or visual media when requested by the art director or editor on chief. The photo editor should have proven previous photography or photo editor experience, be currently enrolled in photography or similar courses, or demonstrate recent or current involvement in photography groups/clubs within Victoria.

  • Contributing editors – We are looking to add two skilled editors to our editorial team. Under direction from the senior editor, editors must commit to at least two rounds of reading and editing each respective article, and “workshopping” articles at weekly or biweekly editorial meetings, are required to uphold the editing schedule and finish editing articles before the editorial meeting in which they will be workshopped, and should edit articles digitally so edited material can be easily distributed to the other editors and the editor in chief. Editors must have third or fourth year standing, with a declared major or minor in journalism, technical writing, or creative nonfiction at a post secondary institution, be recent writing alumni, or show proven previous editorial experience.
  • Concrete_Garden #1_Page_01Photographers – We are looking to add an additional photographer to our team. Photographers will remain easily accessible (via telephone and email) to the photo editor, art director, editorial team, and editor in chief. Photographers must be able to get to photo shoots within Victoria and surrounding communities, with the possibility of traveling to other locations around Vancouver Island. Photographers are required to shoot and upload pictures in a professional and timely manner, and work closely with the photo editor and art director. They must have own photography equipment to take on location for photo shoots. Having access to, or owning, a reliable vehicle considered an asset.

Concrete Garden is also now accepting pitches for the Spring 2014 issue. They are looking for short and long feature-length stories, but also pieces for our front and back of the book sections, which should complement the seasonal theme. As editor Veness says, “We prioritize writing students and recent graduates, but we are open to strong writers with good ideas from any background. Interested writers should review our online pitch and submission guidelines before contacting us.”

Note: all positions are volunteer and unpaid except for photographers.