Undergrads in focus at JCURA

While much of the high-profile research and creative activity on campus tends to happen at both the faculty and graduate student level, let’s not discount the foundational work being done by our undergrads. As such, the Faculty of Fine Arts is once again proud to feature the work of 10 students from four separate departments in the annual Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards.

March 4_JCURAFirst instituted in 2009-10 as the Undergraduate Research Scholarship program by then Vice-President Academic and Provost—and now UVic President—Jamie Cassels, the JCURAs are designed to provide support for exceptional undergraduate students who might otherwise not be able to obtain a direct research experience as a part of what we anticipate should be a truly formative learning experience. With the award nomination process administered by the Learning and Teaching Centre, on behalf of the Provost’s Office, the annual JCURA symposium is one of the highlights of IdeaFest.

You can read full abstracts on all 110 entries here, from almost every department on campus, but we’re just going to note the Fine Arts contributions—which you can find out more about in person at the JCURA symposium running 11:30am-3pm Wednesday, March 4.

The Department of Art History & Visual Studies is in the lead with three JCURA students this year. Aimee Hawker (supervised by department chair Catherine Harding) is focusing on the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi for her JCURA project. “An essential site of veneration and pilgrimage, it is visited by thousands of pilgrims each year,” she writes. “It also houses the most expansive narrative program that survives in Italy from the 13th and 14th centuries, with masters such as Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini and Giunta Pisano taking part in the Basilica’s decoration.” Her project examines the current research on the degradation of the frescos of the Upper Basilica and the restoration and conservation efforts carried out by the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (I.C.R.).

A clip from Holly Cecil's William Morris film project

A clip from Holly Cecil’s William Morris film project

Fellow AHVS student Holly Cecil (supervised by professor Erin Campbell) presentation is “A Joy to the Maker and the User”: The Arts & Crafts Movement in Canadian Collections, which traces the origins of the British Arts and Crafts design movement to its reception in Canada, by analyzing several representative objects in our Legacy Art Galleries collections. “Uniting beauty and function, these works of art allow us to trace the movement and its appeal to Canadian collectors,” writes Cecil.  Her project will culminate in website-friendly short films, like this foundational William Morris film project she created.

When planning the summer 2015 Legacy Art Gallery exhibit on Katharine Maltwood and the Arts and Crafts movement, curator Caroline Riedel notes, “The inclusion of Holly Cecil’s work . . . also underlines the mandate of the Legacy Art Galleries to foster research and learning through art and, where possible, to showcase the work of faculty and students who work with our collection.”

At work on VISA's Peoples Apothocary

At work on VISA’s Peoples Apothocary

And AHVS’s Laurie White (supervised by professor Allan Antliff) is considering the aesthetic and ideological role community gardens play in our contemporary visual culture. “Through the aesthetic medium of the garden, these shared outdoor spaces promote social interaction and connection to nature and are in this sense works of ‘social sculpture’, a term coined by German artist Joseph Beuys,” she writes. “Whether they grow food or flowers, community gardens are an outlet for creative and political self expression and form an important part of counter-cultural struggles in the West today.” She will be looking at gardens as works of art in themselves, both on an aesthetic and socially transformative level, and will consider local community gardens with artistic connections, such as Vancouver Island School of Art‘s People’s Apothecary.

Meanwhile, Department of Writing student Cody Gies (supervised by professor Lee Henderson) proposes to write and illustrate a weekly/bi-weekly alternative webcomic that will explore and make use of various structures and techniques of the medium. “Inspired by ‘rubber hose’ animation and the highly imaginative works of Jean Giraud (Moebius) and Brandon Graham (an influential Vancouver cartoonist with Victoria connections), I hope to write a surreal fantasy focused on the journey and relationship of two protagonists,” says Gies. “I plan to research and incorporate an interactive narrative experience through use of links, gifs, games, etcetera, embedded in the sequential art.” You can check out both a digital and limited-run print version of the comic at the JCURA fair.

Watch out, Writing profs—Flexer has diagrams

Watch out, Writing profs—Flexer has diagrams

Also in Writing, Jerry Flexer (supervised by Writing chair David Leach) will be examining the very thing he spends days listening to: creative writing pedagogy, with an emphasis on creative nonfiction. “My research will consider two dominant approaches,” he writes. “The product-focused approach invites students to read published works and emulate, while the process-focused approach relies on a step-by-step process to gradually develop learners’ creative writing skills. One area of debate is whether a method based on a process of any kind can be effective. Some creative writing instructors, as well as some published writers, attribute artistic writing to talent and hard work, something instruction does not provide. I will argue for the importance of including a process focus in creative writing instruction because research suggests it better meets the expectations and needs of learners.”

Over in the Department of Visual Arts, Elizabeth Charters (supervised by professor Robert Youds) is examining sculptural practice is space. “I’m interested in how we interact with the space of the constructed environments we find ourselves in,” she says. “Inspired by everything from street lamps and neon signs to the objects displayed on a living room mantle, I am curious about the physical and psychological impacts that various artificial environments­­ have on our way of living. How we move through and interact with the space that is immediately found around us, whether it is in the private or public realm, can be reflected in our body’s relationship to the space and the objects within it.” Charters’ eventual goal is to challenge the viewer’s ideas about lived spaces, providing a platform for both a bodily and psychological understanding of the self within the space of an urban setting.

instagram-to-compete-with-snapchat-with-new-bolt-appAnother Visual Arts student, Hovey Eyres (supervised by professor Lynda Gammon), is looking at the impact of Instagram. A social media application that produces 60 million photographs per day from 200 million users around the world, Eyres notes that “love” and “me” are two of the most popular tags used to describe these photos, with “selfie” not far behind. “These photos reflect my generation’s desperate search for identity and acceptance in today’s society,” she says. “By reproducing these images with pencil and paper, I redefine their context and provoke questions about Instagram, identity, and society. The images’ content is recognizable and familiar, yet the materials make them surprising and stimulating.” Her drawings ultimately reflect issues including publicity versus privacy, appearance versus reality, and the individual versus society.

One last Visual Arts student is Olivia Prior (supervised by Jennifer Stillwell) whose work in the realm of art and technology focuses on “the cohesion of technology, space, and light, by creating interactive installations that generate results unique to each engaging participant.” Her JCURA presentation will use light to examine the control that the physical presence of each participant has in a space, by using various methods to measure values of proximity, sound, or touch. “The light and methods of physical measurement will aim to remove the notion of control, and use technology as a way to reflect the ongoing activity in the space.”

Jerzy Grotowski

Jerzy Grotowski

Finally, we have two Department of Theatre students presenting their research. Emma Leck (supervised by Theatre professors Allan Lindgren and Conrad Alexandrowicz) will be examining the theories of two international theatre artists: Polish experimental director Jerzy Grotowski and Soviet director Vsevolod Meyerhold to determine how external actions can inform emotional states. “This research promises to augment the actor’s process and illuminate issues involving the relationship between body and self,” she says.

And Chase Hiebert (supervised by professor Jan Wood) is engaged in a project that will “explore a technique of acting that engages and involves the audience in a cathartic experience. This research promises to reframe the actor/audience relationship in ways that emphasize the need for empathy.” You’ll have to visit the JCURA symposium to find out more on that.

Fine Arts shines at Ideafest

From issues in contemporary Indigenous arts to plastic waste, fake news and comic books about very serious topics, UVic’s annual Ideafest always offers one of the most fascinating weeks of the year!

Running March 2-7 at locations both on- and off-campus, Ideafest 2020 is UVic’s week-long festival of research, art and innovation. There are over 35 free events to capture your imagination, and tickets are not required (unless otherwise stated in the event description).

While you can peruse the full list of Ideafest events here, we’ve rounded up the Fine Arts offerings for your quick reference.

Luff: An Exploration of Kites

Take a stroll through UVic’s Fine Arts courtyard for an outdoor exhibit on kites from third-year drawing students in our Visual Arts department and other contributors. With a history dating back more than 10,000 years, the kite has entranced inventors and creative thinkers from Benjamin Franklin to Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers. This exhibit seeks inter-disciplinary connections and philosophical insights grounded in a fundamental truth: Without good design and careful construction, nothing flies.

Luff runs March 2-7 in the Fine Arts Courtyard

JCURA Student Research Fair

A recent installation by JCURA student Josh Franklin

Nine different students from all five of our departments are presenting their work in the annual Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards fair, including:

  • Josh Franklin (Visual Arts): “Holon Inc.: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Holistic Process Based Art”
  • Megan Ingram (AHVS): “Police, Prejudice, and Film: Contemporary Perspectives on Filmic Representations of Law Enforcement”
  • Emily Markwart (Music): “Florence B. Price: An Antidote to the Whitewashed Classical Music Canon”
  • Hana Mason (Writing): “Re-coming of Age: Themes, Motifs and Conventions in New Adult Fiction”
  • Hannah Moore (AHVS): “Revisiting the Anarchist Politics of Barnett Newman’s ‘Zip’ Paintings”
  • Benjamin Parker (Music): “Post-War Art in Europe: Stravinsky, Sibelius, Vaughn Williams and Schoenberg in the wake of WW1”
  • Christian Tervo (Theatre): “Representing War on the Canadian Stage”
  • Olivia Wheeler (Theatre): “EVOKE: An Exploration of Theatrical Designs Emotional Stimulus”
  • Keren Xu (Music): “The flute solo repertoire ‘Reflections 1’ and reception of female composer Diane Berry”

JCURA runs 11:30am-3pm Wednesday, March 4, in the SUB

Where are the Women Composers?

Even in 2020 there are significant challenges and barriers to women who are composing music. How did a patriarchal concept of art music routinely ignore historical and contemporary achievements by women in the classical music industry? Through performances of four solo flute works by female composers and a discussion with the performers and scholars, this session will explore the reasons why female composers have been excluded, ignored or sidelined.

Presenters include School of Music professor Suzanne Snizek with Sikata Banerjee (Department of Gender Studies) and flute students Emily Morse, Lisa Matsugu, Charlie Mason and Rhiannon Jones.

Where are the Women Composers? runs 12:30-2:20pm Wednesday, March 4, in Mac B037

Artistic Alliances: Indigeneity & Fine Arts

The District of Saanich along with the artist, Carey Newman, officially welcomes Earth Drums to Cedar Hill Park in September 2019 (photo: Kevin Light)

Indigenous arts engage people in multiple ways. Some works are more visible than others for some audiences and for different reasons. What is the social impact of Indigenous arts?

The research and creative activity happening in the Faculty of Fine Arts reflects the dynamic range of contemporary work being created, Indigenous knowledge and both the written and spoken word. Join fine arts teaching faculty and graduate students at this timely interactive session to learn about some of the surprising and engaging approaches to contemporary practices.

Presenters include Gregory Scofield (Writing), Carey Newman (Visual Arts), Lauren Jerke (Theatre) and Lindsay Delaronde (Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator). Hosted and moderated by Allana Lindgren (Acting Dean, Fine Arts).

Artistic Alliances runs 4-6pm Wednesday, March 4, in ECS 116

All Lit Up

Meet the next generation of Canadian literature as Master’s of Fine Arts students from UVic’s legendary Department of Writing read (and perform) groundbreaking graduating manuscripts in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting and creative non-fiction in this lively literary cabaret.

Hosted by Writing professor Kevin Kerr, readers include MFA candidates Martin Bauman, Daniel Hogg, Ellery Lamm, Troy Sebastian / nupquʔ ak·ǂam̓ and Guochen (Chen) Wang.

All Lit Up runs 7-8pm Thursday, March 5, at the Intrepid Theatre Club, 1609 Blanshard

And while Ideafest offers over 35 events, members of the Fine Arts community may also be interested in some of these other Ideafest offerings:

UVic’s annual Ideafest runs March 2-7. UVic is accessible by sustainable travel options including transit and cycling. For those arriving by car, hourly pay parking is in effect. Evening parking is $3.50. Click here for parking info and campus maps.