VI - Past Conferences


Beginning in 1997, Visual Impetus has grown from humble beginnings into a multi-day conference that promotes inclusiveness among a range of departments across the university as well as internationally. Visual Impetus (VI) is a conference hosted by the University of Victoria’s graduate department of Art History and Visual Studies. VI provides a unique opportunity for the unification of an entire department of graduate candidates, at both the MA and PhD level, to present their research. This graduate student conference allows audiences the opportunity to experience the breadth of topics explored within the UVic community.




Art, Crises and New Possibilities

As we entered a new decade, the human race was moving forward at a breathtaking pace. The unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic halted this marathon, pausing economic and social activities. The pursuant silence allowed us to hear the voices that had been suppressed underneath the hustle and bustle of 21st century life. The long-muffled protests of underrepresented groups, ecologies and societies became visible. Therefore, this year, the Virtual Visual Impetus conference will focus on ‘Art, Crises and New Possibilities’.

Throughout history, human beings have experienced and continue to face a myriad of crises including conflict, oppression and environmental devastation. This conference aimed to revisit those crises in the light of current global conditions, investigating how the practices and perceptions in the arts are altered. In 2021, we invited participants to reflect on the social, economic and ecological crises that the art world faces. How will the consequences of crises continue to resonate in the near and distant future? Can the arts be used as a catalyst for change in difficult times?  Some may cause obvious social and cultural disruptions, while others emerge in retrospect and need to be revisited.


For Your Viewing Pleasure? Ethics, Activism, and Visual Media

This conference focused on art objects that affirm, comment on, or challenge the ways in which visual media has skewed power dynamics throughout time. Artists have had the unique opportunity to be able to depict struggle, polarize opinion, and ignite conversation in a variety of mediums. Presentations covered a range of topics and media across historical time periods.




Visual Culture: Materiality and Memory

On the 20th and 2st January, the Art History and Visual Studies Graduate Association hosted its annual Visual Impetus (VI) graduate student conference.  This year’s conference was especially exciting as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.  In celebration of VI’s success over two decades, the theme “Visual Culture: Materiality and Memory” was developed to encapsulate the significance of materiality and memory within the world of Art History.

This year’s VI welcomed students, alumni, and faculty from the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.  The conference covered diverse topics including but not limited to: urban planning and architecture of British Columbia, Islamic Art, British Art, American Art, Asian Art cross-cultural death imagery, material culture studies, and medieval manuscripts. Facilitated by graduate students within the Department of Art History and Visual Studies here at UVic, discussions were held at the end of each panel so that students could answer questions regarding their research.

PhD Candidate David Christopher led the keynote discussion, “Memory, Materiality, and the Beginning of History.” Christopher elegantly grappled with the complex interplay between memory and material culture, concluding that we have not exhausted our understandings of visual art, its ontology, nor its place in an ever-changing historical narrative. To round out this year’s conference, graduate students in the Visual Arts Department outfitted the lobby with large scale sculptures.

This year VI offered new research, art objects, and thought provoking discussions.  Congratulations to all of those who attended!

View photographs from VI 2017 on our Media Gallery page.

2014 - Visual Impetus XVII

2014 – Visual Impetus XVII

Munazzah Akhtar
Architecture Signifying Culture: The Monuments of Makli Necropolis at Thatta, Pakistan

Botschaft e.V.: The Corporation as Medium and Message

Lorena Calahorrano
Guayasamín: Drama and Passion in his Age of Wrath

Atri Hatef Naeimi
Identification of Residential Compounds in the Central Desert of Iran

Zahra Stark
Colonial Craft: Ornamental Images of Labour on the Thornhill & Mayne Memorial in Allahabad, India

Jenelle Pasiechnik
Collecting and Compiling Humanity: Parviz Tanavoli’s Oh Persepolis II as a Collection of Miniature Figures

Brinlyn O’Hare
Sacred Territory: the Influence of Walt Whitman on Emily Carr’s Forest Scenes of the mid-late 1930’s

Alanah Garcin
Encoded Objection: Robert Rauschenberg and the NASA Artist Cooperation Program

Clint Sleeper
Generosity, Maintenance, and Urbanism: Reading Inferences to Novel Practices

David Christopher
Canadian Horror and Apocalypse Cinema: an Unlikely Medium for the Negotiation of National Identity

Hamed Yeganehfarzand
Ismaili Castles in their Environmental Context (Case Study: Alamut Region)

Anne Napoli
How do you Solve a Problem like Maria? Examining Polymateriality in the Madonna and Child Enthroned of Santa Maria Maggiore

Luceinne D. Auz
Arte Povera and Shifting Discourse of Germano Celant’s Art Criticism

Regan Shrumm
The Social Lives of Kachina Dolls: Examining the Miniature through the Aboriginal Artists’ and non-Aboriginal Tourists’ Effects on Kachinas

Nathaniel Wong
Defamiliarizing Straight Forward Vision: Understatement and Satire in the Artwork of Elodie Pong and Leila Pazooki

2013 - Visual Impetus XVI

2013 – Visual Impetus XVI

Behrang Nabanivejad
The Royal Patronage of Illustrated Manuscripts in the Medieval Iran: Political and Ideological Forces in Production of the Shahnama Manuscripts

Ignacio Antonio Sarmiento Pánez
Pinochet Illstrado and Social Judgement Ten Years After London 1998

David Christopher
The Monstrous Mondkey Man as Fundamental Fear

Brian Pollick
Gender, Genitalia, and the Triumph of Orthodocy: The Story of Patriarch Methodios in Skylitzes Synopsis Historion

DJ Fraser
Divergent Discourse: Rereadings and Reorientations Towards Kate Craig’s Pink Poem (1977-1980)

Anat Goldman
Psychological Aspects of Identity Formation in 19th Century Prientalist Painting

Jamie Kemp
“What the Dog Saw” whe slooked The Mona Lisa

Erin Wallace
Making Space Speak: Performing Wiolence in Gordon Matta-Clark’s Window Blowout

Elisa Cullingham
Asustainable Place from Modern Waste: Re-adapting Aalto’s Silo in Oulu, Finland

Lindsey Schneidman
The Production and Reception of Hybrid Expressions A Study of the Trilingual Epigraphy at the Alcazar of Seville

Jennifer Manuel
Bridging Narrative in British Columbia: An Online Exchange of Art and Artefacts Between Indigenous and Non-indigenous students

Bethany Dowell
Acnowledgement, Witnessing, and Reassertion: Public Displays of Displays of WSÁNEĆ Cultural Revitalisation at the Victoria International Airport

2012 - Visual Impetus XV

2012 – Visual Impetus XV

Catherine Nutting & Michael Dias
The Evolution of a Work: Sketch Study in Music and Art

Cindy Drover-Davidson
Sea-Storm and Shipwreck: Metaphors for Measurement

Brooke Brassard
Virtuous Vampires and Monstrous Missionaries

Randip Bakshi
Architecture, Empire, and Modernity: Richard Roskell Bayne and the Oak Grove School

Sara Checkley
Of Art and Football: The Curious Case of a Brochure

Gareth Clayton
“I’ll see you down on the water”: West Saanich No.5, Coast Salish Canoe Racing Culture & A Serious Case of White Blindness.

Susan Hawkins
Intersections of Art and Ecology: An Essay on Visual Ecocriticism

Kathryn Leonard
“In search of some Alpine nightmare”: John Singer Sargen’ts Lake O’Hara Experience of 1916

Andrea Kuipers
All the Kings’ Horses: Composite Imagery in Mughal India

Brian Pollick
Recovering Chastity: A Case Study into Thematic Change in Post-Trentine Bologna

Erica Bloom
No Longer a Spectator Sport: images of Domestic Devotional Meditation in 16th Century Lombardy

Holly Stewart
Maternity Portraiture of Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun: How Enlightenment Art Mirrored Changing Paradigms in Childrearing

Lauren Smeltzer
The Performance of Feasting: The Specialization of Household Staff in Early Modern Italy

2011 - Visual Impetus XIV

2011 – Visual Impetus XIV

Gareth Clayton
Nuances of the Façade: Vancouver Central Library’s Library Square and the Issue of Representation

Jennifer Cador
In the Halls of Power: Interrogating Responses to the British Columbia Legislature Mural Controversy

Catherine Nutting
The Five Senses

Randip Bakshi
Architecture, Ornament, and Empire: Edwin Lutyens and the Viceregal Lodge

Jared Skoreyko
The Culture of Sustainability and Architecture’s Response

Sara Checkley
A New Location of Culture: The Art of a Sports Stadium

Mercelie Dionne-Petit
Breaking Barriers: The Work of Contemporary West African Artists

Jessica Monninger
Coptic Textiles in Seattle

Alison Fraser
Deir el-Medina A Society of Fashion: Dress and Status of Women in Pharonic Egypt

Brian Pollick
The Zoe Panel as an Expression of Change in Eleventh-Century Byzantium

Behrang Nabavinejad
The Meaning of Oriental Carpets in the Early Modern Domestic Interior

India Young
Re-pressed: How Serigraphy Re-envisions Northwest Coast Iconography

Brooke Brassard
The Fihrist of al-Nadim: Academic and Book Culture in Baghdad

Stephanie Korn
Breakthrough: Jack Bush, Clement Greenberg, and the Tensions Between Toronto and New York

2010 - Visual Impetus XIII

2010 – Visual Impetus XIII

Brian Pollick
Clocks and Domestic Time in Early Modern Europe

India Young
Food and Service on Display: The Art of Dining

Honoure McIlwain-Collard
Jewish Nuptial Rings in Renaissance Italy

Angela Vanderheide
Jan Steen’s Dissolute Households

Jenelle Mary Pasienchnik
Gianlorenzo Bernini’s St. Peter’s

Mercelie-Dionne Petit
A Theory of Art by Roger De Piles

Melissa Berry
Facades of Modernity on a Parisian Street

Magdalyn Asimakis
La Flaneuse: The Pedestrian in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Catherine Nutting
Maria Sibylla Merian’s Artistic Lineage

Christina Smylitopoulos
The Grand Master and Missionary Influence

Katy Scoones
Photographs by Children Born into Brothels

Leah Taylor
Grit and Grace

Behrang Nabavinejad
The Inju Style of Painting

Heather Crowley
Ceramic Shards and Medieval Travel and Trade

Bryn Dharmaratne
China and Europe’s Cross-Cultural Contact

Erik Hanson
Graphic Recording and Facilitation

Susan Hawkins
Familiar-rarities: Images from the Periphery

Jennifer Cador
A Complicated Discourse: Wealth and Poverty in Vicky Marshall’s Retired

2009 - Visual Impetus XII

2009 – Visual Impetus XII

Michael Coughlin
Gender Constructs in Titian’s Il Bravo: The Triumph of the Feminized Male

Bryn Dharmaratne
The Fertile Spring of Botticelli’s Primavera

Marla Stevenson
Visually Coded Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Culture

Nancy Schnarr
Sacred Nudity: Finding Meaning in the Magdalen

Michele Robinson
Children in Late Sixteenth-Century Italian Family Portraits

Carla Bernachi
Cosimo/Wagner: The Soul in Spectacle

Won Chang
Photography and Post-Colonialism in the Korean Chosun Dynasty Under Japanese Imperialism

Marnie Mandel
Katherine Maltwood, Theosophy and Spirituality

Jennifer Cador
Spiritual Designer: Emily Carr, Religious Innovation, and the Boundaries of Society

Eric Anderson
L’Atelier Populaire: The Revolutionary Poster Production of May 1968

Nancy Cuthbert
The Collision Project: Exploring Interdisciplinary Encounters Between the Arts

Filiz Tutuncu
“The Land of Beautiful Horses” The Archaeology of Medieval Stables in Cappadocia, Turkey

Tess Hawkins
Xie He’s (Hsieh He)’s “Six Laws on Painting”

Susan Hawkins
Natural Dialogues: Photography and Collections

Kaitlyn Patience
Brendan Fernandes’s “Matter of Fact”

Magdalyn Asimakis
The Flaneur and the Modern City

Melissa Berry
Content in Context: Japanese Influences in France from 1865 – 1870

Fatima Quraishi
Representations of Architecture and Imperial Ideology in Timurid Painting

Timothy Paulson
Out of Focus: Contemporary Photographers Confront Cowboys and Indians

Shandi Leadbetter
Be an Anthropologist in Your Own Hometown: Representations of First Nations in Tourist Postcards

Sutrisno Hartana
Toward an Appreciation of the Study of Javanese Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet Theatre

2008 - Visual Impetus XI

2008 – Visual Impetus XI

Robbyn Gordon
Highway 16, Highway of Tears

Nancy Schnarr
The Group of Seven: Marketing a Myth

Jamie L. Kemp
Score and Structure in Ritual Representation: The Notational Forum in Sarum Processional Images

Eric Anderson
The Evolution of the Corinthian Column

Genevieve Gamache
A Stupa in Northern Thailand

Fatima Quraishi
A Folio from a Dispersed Manuscript of the Baburnama

Susan Hawkins
Jan Vermeer: Early Modern Photographer? Examining the Camera Obscura and Pinhole Photography

Erin Travers
Visual Evidence: Portraiture, Beauty, and Early Modern Ideology

Michele Robinson
Sofonisba Anguissola’s Game of Chess: Old Age as an Afterthought

Michael Coughlin
Giambatista Tiepolo’s David: Heroic King or Celestial Nymph?

Jennifer Cador
The Inner Hag Laid Bare: Hans Baldung’s Beautiful Portrai of Devilish Malevolence

Tusa Shea
“The Fabric of the Nation’s Art”: Women’s Appropriation of First Nations Textile Motifs during the Interwar Period in British Columbia

Marla Stevenson
Queering the Picture: Reading Quirizio da Murano’s Altarpiece of the Saviour

Shandi Leadbetter
First Nations Graphic Narratives: “The Invisible Art”

2007 - Visual Impetus X

2007 – Visual Impetus X

Ivana Horacek
Rembrandt’s Faustus

Jennie Biltek
Getting Lucky: Visual Pleasure and Commodity Fetishism in Shopping Magazine

Marla Stevenson
Queering the Picture: Reading Quirizio da Murano’s Altarpiece of the Saviour

Catherine Nutting
Temperament and Style: Herbert Read’s Artistic Typology

Jennifer Cook
BLACK and WHITE and red All Over

Kathy Rogers
Last Judgment Tympana at the Churches of St. Lazarre Autun, and Ste. Foy, Conques: A Pilgrim’s Call to Repentance

Menno Hubregtse
Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Mega-project: A Glass Technotopia

Molly Steeves
Moving Abstractions: Translating Abstraction to film in Ballet Mechanique and Le Retour a la Raison

Shandi Leadbetter
Sights of Similarity, Sites of Difference: Constructing Canada in the Graphic Narrative

Marcus Greatheart
Stripped: Tearing Away the Veil of Nineteenth-Century Orientalist Harem Painting

2006 - Visual Impetus IX

2006 – Visual Impetus IX

Genevieve Gamache
Adjarn Chalermchai’s Wat Rong Khun: Dharma or Dream Vision?

Machiko Oya
Artworks by Yoko Takashima

Jamyang Lodto
Art of the Visualization Sutra: The Taima Mandala

Ivana Horacek
Guiseppe Arcimboldo, the Habsburg Court, and the Power Invention: The Self-Fashioning of a Court Artist

Catherine Nutting
The Divine Embrace: The Reformation ‘Salvation by Grace’ in Rembrandt’s Annunciation Sketch

Shandi Leadbetter
The All-Singing, All-Dancing, Art Historical Review (Now in Glorious Technicolour)

Marcus Greatheart
Reflections of an Activist: How Art and the Art Historian Effect Social Change

Angela Andersen
Samovars and Samarkand: Looking for a Ride in Uzbekistan

Alex Townson
Ascetic Aesthetics: Conceptualizing the Egyptian Monastery

Michelle Smith
What is a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? Scenes of the Myth of Dionysus on an Early Islamic Brazier

2005 - Visual Impetus VIII

2005 – Visual Impetus VIII

Menno Hubregtse
Urinals and Steam Hammers: Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain and Robert J. Coady’s The Soil

Travis Tambone
Space and Sex: The Visual Manipulation of the Tactile Sense

Nancy Cuthbert
The Gardens of Lord Burlington and Alexander Pope: Cultivating a Balance Between Public and Private

Kim Crosswell
Between the Modern and Traditional: Stella Bloch’s “Dancing and the Drama, East and West”

Adam Brownfield
A General Idea about Post-Modernism and Culture Jamming

Elizabeth Crossley
Jonah and the Whale: A Layered Approach to the Early Christian Depiction of the Tale

Cathleen Thom
The Many Faces of Divinity: Christian Icons before Iconoclasm

Emily Butler
Brides of the Dark One: A Brief Examination of Witchcraft Representation in Early Modern Europe

Marie Lafreniere
The Role of Mendicant Orders: Private Family Chapels in Medieval Italy

Jamyang Lodto
Bernini’s Cornaro Chapel: A Case Study in Baroque Aesthetics

Mary Laycock
Rereading the Image: Changing the Public Perception of Victorian Womanhood

Genevieve Gamache
Beautiful Sita and Courageous Suriothai: Different Types of Women in Perfomance Art

Shandi Leadbetter
Why Have There Been No Great Canadian Superheroes?

Marcus Greatheart
True Patriot Lust: A Queer Appropriation of Joyce Wieland and Contemporary Feminist Theory in Art Historical Practice

Izmer Ahmad
Painting the Body and Circumcision: Thoughts on Malay Painting of Peninsular Malaysia

2004 - Visual Impetus VII

2004 – Visual Impetus VII

Connie Morey
The Nature of the American Lawn

Shelley Brooks
Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Amy Campbell
Disney and Society

Genevieve Gamache
Thai Woman as Stereotype

Layla Bloom
Jewish Identity in Contemporary Art

John Koenig
Note to Self: Learn to Play the Harmonica

Sara Perry
Visualizing Archaeology: Fact and Fantasy in (Re)constructing the “Ice-Free Corridor”

Nancy Cuthbert
Siting/Sighting England’s Ancient Past: John Constable’s Views of Stonehenge and Old Sarum

Alexander Townson
Pomp and Ceremony: Royal Receptions and the Palace of Mshatta

Melissa Larkin
The Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang Rivers: Tradition, Transition, and Innovation: Ukiyo-e and its Unique Vision of the Eight Views

Heather Hyslop
Rethinking Religious Behaviour: Hans Memling and a Mental Pilgrimage

Menno Hubregtse
Michelangelo, Psychoanalysis, and Social Construction Theory

Marcus Greatheart
The Bad Boy of Baroque: Caravaggio and his Borghese St. John the Baptist

Marla Stevenson
Historical Constructs and Representations of Sex and Gender

Karen Avery
Reconceptualizing the Past: The Autobiographical Voice in Sveva Caetani’s Series, Recapitulation

Geoff Carr
Building/Memory: New Approaches in Memorialization

2003 - Visual Impetus VI

2003 – Visual Impetus VI

Loressa Gniazdoski
Body Modification Practices Throughout South East Asia

Geoff Carr
Hypermasculine Spaces and the World Trade Centre

Marla Stevenson
The Feminine Christ in Late Medieval Text and Iconography

Karen Avery
“Born Roman, Always Roman”: The Italian Soul of Canadian Artist Sveva Caetani

Sarah Milligan
Demons Within: Sveva Caetani’s The Djinns for Our Dismemberment

Carla Yarish
Sveva Caetani’s Sketches for the Recapitulation: A Journey Series

Ron Burnham
Surprising Survival: The Preservation of Dawson City’s Architectural Heritage

Tusa Shea
Central Junior Secondary: A Modernist School on a Historic Site

Mary Laycock
The Victoria Trend House

Linda Zajac
Picturing the Sultans: Patronage, Politics, and Power in the Renaissance Portraits of Mehmed II and Suleyman I

Erin Coulson
Chinese “Dragon Jars” in Borneo: Different Values Emerging Out of a New Context
Angela Anderson
The Kurds, the Ottomans, and the Turkish Republic: Racial Intolerance and Accessing the Architectural Past

Ross Angus Macaulay
Web Film

Karen Kasner
John Will: Enigmatic Rake or Genius in Disguise

Eve Millar
Cow By-Products in Contemporary Indian Art and Ritual