Summer plans for Fine Arts faculty

It’s summer, which means the majority of our Fine Arts faculty have broken free of the classroom and are now engaging on their own creative research or practice. As always, here’s a quick roundup of what various faculty members are getting up to this summer.

Lewis Hammond & Monteverdi

Lewis Hammond & Monteverdi

Come August, new School of Music director Susan Lewis Hammond will be researching Claudio Monteverdi and music of the baroque period at the University of Toronto. Her travel is funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant and the results will appear in two forthcoming books from Routledge Press: Claudio Monteverdi: A Research and Information Guide and Music of the Baroque: History, Culture, Performance.

Over in History in Art, the husband-and-wife research team of Marcus Milwright and Eva Baboula will be tackling the last phase of their SSHRC-funded fieldwork in Greece, continuing their search for Ottoman-period buildings and hydraulic engineering in the Peloponnese. Milwright also plans to spend some time in the Linden Museum in Stuttgart working on the Egyptian puppets in their collection. However, his main task for the summer—and forthcoming study leave—will be to complete a book on the seventh-century mosaic inscriptions in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

Floodplain posterBusy digital media technician and filmmaker Dan Hogg is heading off to the Cannes Film Festival in May with his new short film Floodplain—and you can watch the trailer here. Created in association with equally busy filmmaker, Writing grad and returning Cannes guest Jeremy Lutter (whose Joanna Makes A Friend was at Cannes last year) and based on a story by Writing grad and current Can-lit star D.W. Wilson, Floodplain has been invited by Telefilm Canada as part of their annual Not Short on Talent short film program. Check out this short interview with Hogg, written by fellow Writing grad Will Johnson on his dandy Literary Goon blog. Floodplain stars Victoria-based actor Cameron Bright (Twilight, X-Men 3) and Sarah Desjardins. But as if that’s not enough, Hogg is also currently writing Rip My Heart Outa tongue-in-cheek creature feature for Movie Central.

Writing professor David Leach will be working “with six or so students” to produce issue #2 of their well-received Concrete Garden urban agriculture magazine—which will also feature a bigger print run—and will shortly be launching the Campus Confidential anthology. And, muse willing, he’ll be finishing up his second book, which currently has three working titles: Look Back to Galilee, The Shouting Fence, or Who Killed the Kibbutz? On the international front, Leach will also be giving a paper and workshop on sustainable suburban design at the International Communal Studies Association conference being held at the spectacular Findhorn Ecovillage in northern Scotland. (Keep a sharp eye open for the fairies!)

butterfieldThe always busy performer and head of Voice for the School of Music, Benjamin Butterfield, has a full lineup of international activities this summer, including performing at the Aldeburgh Connection as part of Toronto’s Britten Festival, singing with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem at the Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, participating at the local Friends of Mengo Hospital Africa Benefit in May, and appearing with the American Classical Orchestra at New York City’s Lincoln Center for a concert of Mozart and Rossini Arias/ Duets. Butterfield will also be part of the Summer Vocal Programs faculty at the Opera on the Avalon in Newfoundland, Opera Nuova in Edmonton, the Vancouver International Song Institute and the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy.

Music instructor Anita Bonkowski will be on tour performing in Western Europe throughout June, before she returns in July to teach her summer film music course Let’s Go To the Movies. She’ll also be performing at both Butchart Gardens (July 13 and August 7) and Filberg Festival in Comox (August long weekend). All this in addition to her regular weekly gigs and more summer performances with various groups and ensembles.

Campbell artHistory in Art professor Erin Campbell is also currently on study leave, finishing up her book on “Old Women and Art in the Early Modern Italian Domestic Interior.” (There is absolutely no truth to the rumour we just started that Meryl Streep will be starring in the book’s film adaptation.) She’ll also be heading to Bologna, Italy, for a few weeks in June to do some research and reconnect with the art. Send us a postcard!

Theatre instructor Leslie Bland is finishing the editing of his all-female comedy series She Kills Me for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and is in the process of putting together the financing for his feature-length documentary Gone South: How Canada Invented Hollywood, created in association with writer Ian Ferguson. Also on Bland’s summer to-do list is attending the Banff World Media Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and working a number of writing projects.

Very StarBusy new Writing professor Kevin Kerr is heading into a new production with his always groundbreaking Vancouver-based theatre company, Electric Company. The new piece is called You Are Very Star and it’s being staged at Vancouver’s HR MacMillan Space Centre & Planetarium. “We’re billing it as a transmedia event that plays with the boundaries of where theatre begins,” explains Kerr, who conceived the project and is co-writing it. “Participants start their journey with the piece prior to performance in an online encounter. The play then continues through public and private exchanges with the audience through social media, and in performance the two-act structure takes the audience on a bit of time travel—back to 1968 and ahead to 2048—and in the middle invites them on a narrative scavenger hunt inside the space centre building.” If you’re in Vancouver, You Are Very Star June 12 – 29. Also stay tuned for a production of Kerr’s Governor-General’s Award-winning play Unity (1918) at Phoenix Theatre next season, which he will be directing himself.

In addition to helping her Writing 420 filmmaking class crowdsource the funds they need to complete their current project, ‘Til Death—directed by Connor Gaston—Writing professor and busy filmmaker Maureen Bradley will be making her own feature film. Bradley was recently announced as one of four winning teams for the National Screen Institute’s Features First initiative, and her project will be going in front of the camera this summer. Stay tuned for details!

Kirk McNally (centre) with his group The Krells (photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)

Kirk McNally (centre) with his group The Krells (photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)

School of Music audio specialist and recording engineer Kirk McNally will be recording a CD project with adjunct faculty member Colin Tilney on harpsichord this summer. “This will be the fourth project that Colin and myself have collaborated on,” says McNally, who has previously recorded Preludes and Dances for a French Harpsichord, Fugue: Bach and his Forerunners, J.S. Bach: The French Suites and Froberger 1649. “I’m also working with Dave Broome and a student from the joint major program in music and computer science to realize an online ‘library’ of the school’s concert recordings—similar to the DIDO slide library. It will be a secure, streamable presence for the School’s recordings on the webpage.” (This project is a follow-up to the Fall 2012 class Special Studies: Project in Digital Media Storage & Dissemination.)

John Boehme really likes to put himself into his art

John Boehme really likes to put himself into his art

Visual Arts instructor John G. Boehme is off to Australia to attend and fully participate in exist-ence 5: international festival and symposia—a celebration of live art, performance art and action art. Boehme will be premiering work alongside international artists Henrik Hedinge (Sweden), Labanna Babalon (USA), Peter Baren (Holland) and Sari Kivinen (Finland), and Australian artists Julie Vulcan, James Cunningham, Jade Boyd, Dracopede and Onnie Art. From June 17 to 30, he’ll be at exist-ence in Brisbaine, followed by July dates in Lismore (New South Wales) plus Melbourne’s A is for Atlas festival and Sydney’s PACT Centre for Emerging Artists. exist-ence fosters global education and appreciation for performance art. “We at EXIST hope that this undertaking creates a meeting place where artists, audiences and communities can engage openly,” say the organizers, “a space where one can pause, ask, discover, surrender.”

The latest play by Department of Theatre’s Jennifer Wise is being given a reading in Toronto as part of the new-play fest In The Beginning: A Jewish Playwriting Festival at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Wise’s story of Ray Frank, titled The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West, recently had a public workshop presentation here in Victoria as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Congregation Emanu-El—the very place where Frank actually officiated at High Holiday services in the synagogue’s sanctuary in 1895.

smith_vivianFinally, Department of Writing instructor Vivian Smith has just returned from Ontario’s Western University, where she gave MA students in journalism a presentation on her PhD dissertation. Completed at UVic, the Interdisciplinary Studies dissertation is called All the Resistance That’s Fit To Print: Canadian Women Print Journalists Narrate Their Careers. Smith interviewed more than 25 women journalists in newspapers across the country to explore their reasons for loving—and very often leaving—their newsroom positions. Smith will be part of a panel on gender studies at Congress 2013 in early June here at UVic, and officially graduates June 13. She’ll spend the summer working on a manuscript for a scholarly book on her dissertation, as well as writing and editing for a new Victoria-based consulting company, Santé Communications Group. A few weeks of cruising around the local waters in the “Ruthie B” might produce a few travel articles, or at least reduce the pile of books waiting to be read!

Edugyan & Price at Russell’s

Good news for local literature lovers—not only is Russell’s Books expanding again, but they’re also kicking off a new reading series! In an age where independent bookstores seem to be vanishing faster than space in newspapers for book reviews, it’s great to see a local outfit like Russell’s breaking new ground.

Edugyan & Price

Edugyan & Price

As part of their latest expansion, Russell’s Books is now opening Russell’s Vintage, which collects all their antiquarian books in one handy spot—the former Fort Café location, downstairs at 742 Fort Street. Better still, Russell’s Vintage will also offer a stage which will host a new reading series. This week, the series kicks off with multiple award-winning author Esi Edugyan (Half-Blood Blues) and local poet and novelist Steven Price (Into That Darkness), plus poet Marita Daschsel, at 7pm Tuesday, May 14.

Books x 2Like Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane for the next generation, the husband-and-wife team of Edugyan and Price both hail from the Writing program and have both taught for the Writing department. (They’ve even been nominated for the same award at the same time.) Come on out and support them on Tuesday night . . . after you vote. And you are going to vote, right?

Recent awards roundup

History in Art professor Marcus Milwright‘s recent win of the 2013 Craigdarroch Silver Medal for Excellence in Research isn’t the only award-winning news in the Faculty of Fine Arts of late.

Lorna Crozier (Gary McInstry)

Lorna Crozier (Gary McInstry)

Recently retired long-time Writing professor Lorna Crozier—a multiple award-winning poet (including her own Craigdarroch award) and former chair of the Writing department—was just named the co-winner of the 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. The award was established in 2003 to recognize B.C. writers who have contributed to the development of literary excellence in the province. Lieutenant Governor Judith Guicho presented the award to Crozier as part of the B.C. Book Prizes gala at Government House on May 4; she shares the award with young adult author Sarah Ellis.

As the jury noted, “The committee for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence quickly agreed that among many strong candidates, two were outstanding—and, as quickly agreed, there were no grounds to choose between these two most deserving giants in their field. Both are prolific, both are recipients of numerous awards, both are passionate advocates for their literary genre and for Canadian writing, both are internationally recognized, both tirelessly mentor their literary children, and both bring the strength of oral tradition to their writing. … Both bring the highest honour to the Lieutentant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.”

Gaston_Q&Q That same event saw Bill Gaston—the current chair of the Writing department—win the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for his latest novel, The World. (Ironically, former student and Writing alumni Yasuko Thanh was also nominated in the same category as Gaston for her acclaimed short story collection, Floating Like The Dead.) Gaston was previously nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize for his 2006 short story collection Gargoyles, which earned him a nomination for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. (Hmm, could a 2013 GG nom be in the cards for The World?)

And in other Yasuko Thanh news, Floating Like the Dead has also been named one of five finalists (out of 29 submissions) in the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Now in its 16th year, the $10,000 Danuta Gleed is administered by the Writers’ Union of Canada and recognizes the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author. This year’s jury includes authors Alexander MacLeod, Carol Malyon and our own Bill Gaston. And busy Writing alum Eliza Robertson recently won the Canadian/European regional prize for the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She’ll now compete with the other regional prize winners (Africa, Asia, Caribbean and the Pacific region) for the overall prize, which will be announced May 31. Go Eliza!

Mark Reid with Shania Twain (Photo: AEG Live)

Mark Reid with Shania Twain (Photo: AEG Live)

Meanwhile, over in the School of Music, alumnus Mark Reid has been named Teacher of the Year by MusiCounts, the music-education charity associated with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). The award, one of the highest honors in Canadian Music, was presented to Reid by country music superstar Shania Twain at a private ceremony in Las Vegas. Reid also received $10,000, which he will put toward his post-graduate studies; he is currently pursuing a master’s degree from Chicago’s Vandercook College to add to his Bachelor’s degree in music education from UVic. Reid has been teaching at Vancouver Technical Secondary School for the past seven years, and those students will receive an additional $10,000 in instrument inventory as part of the CARAS award.

In other Music news, the Canadian University Music Society (CUMS) announced that recent UVic Master’s graduate, Robert Hansler, is one of the recipients of their 2013 Student Composer Competition. He has worked primarily with Dániel Péter Biró and John Celona in the pursuit of his Master’s degree in composition. The jury selected his “Broken Branch” as one of two outstanding pieces to share first prize; both pieces will be performed by School of Music faculty members as part of a concert of contemporary music to be presented on Friday, June 7 at the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall.

 And fourth-year School of Music student Lynne Penhale recently had the opportunity to attend the 19th Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. The meeting, chaired by iconic Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, offers a select group of 14 emerging composers from around the world the opportunity to exchange ideas about contemporary music. “It was the most enriching experience of my life!” says Panhale. “I learned more about society, myself and music in an experience which seemed to have lasted three weeks but was really only one.” Each composer came prepared with a three-minute piece composed for the 23-instrument ensemble-in-residence, Orkest de Ereprijs. Participants engaged in rehearsals, lectures, and lessons with composers Martijn Padding, Richard Ayers, Dmitri Kourliandski, Carola Bauckholt, and Ted Hearne. “As intense a learning experience this was . . . my favourite learning experience was getting to engage with the other young composers, and being completely inspired and challenged by everyone’s individual strengths they had brought with them,” says Penhale, who thanks UVic’s School of Music for supporting her in this opportunity.

In other student award news, recent Visual Arts BFA graduate Bronwyn McMillin received the 2013 Royal Canadian Academy of Arts C.D. Howe Scholarship for Art and Design as part of the BFA graduation exhibit Work. The Howe Scholarship is awarded annually to allow the recipient the opportunity “to pursue further formal study in a discipline represented by the RCA membership. These opportunities in Canada or elsewhere should enable recipients to develop further their studio practices while gaining a deeper understanding of the historical precedents and contemporary issues relevant to their discipline.” Fellow BFA graduates Carson Wronko, Emma Palm and Won Seok Seo also received the Visual Arts Achievement Award, funded by the office of the VP Academic and Provost, Dr. Reeta Tremblay.

Recent Visual Arts grad and aboriginal artist Kelli Clifton has won the YVR Art Foundation Scholarship Award. She will be given one year to complete a work that will then be on display at the Vancouver International Airport. Founded in 1993 by the Vancouver Airport Authority, the YVRAF fosters the development of BC First Nations art by providing scholarships and awards to artists wishing to develop their artistic potential.

CNA winners Bhandar & Annand

CNA winners Bhandar & Annand

Busy Writing MFA student Connor Gaston has been nominated for a Leo Award in the “Best Student Film” category for his TIFF & VFF screened short film, Bardo Light. Two other Writing students—Lukas Bhandar and Vanessa Annand—were both named winners of the 2013 Community Journalism Scholarships, courtesy of the Community Newspapers Association. Also among the winners at the recent BCYCNA Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards were Writing alumni Nathalie North of the Saanich News (First Place, Arts & Culture Award) and Monday Magazine‘s Danielle Pope (First Place, Business Writing Award; Second Place, Environmental Writing Award).

Finally, current Writing student Vin Fielding has been awarded honourable mention in the short fiction category of The Fiddlehead‘s annual literary contest. His story, “All Bones Recovered,” appears in their current issue. It was originally workshopped in Writing instructor Matthew Hooton’s class, and Hooton describes it as “gorgeous writing, and one of the most arresting opening scenes I’ve encountered. I still think about it nine months after first reading it.”

Congratulations to all!

—With files from Kristy Farkas

Milwright wins Craidarroch Research award

History in Art professor Dr. Marcus Milwright has been named the winner of the 2013 Craigdarroch Silver Medal for Excellence in Research. One of only five annual Craigdarroch awards, the Silver Medal is given to UVic faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in their field and “excel in original, productive, entrepreneurial and ground-breaking research.

Marcus Milwright proudly displays his Craigdarroch Award

Marcus Milwright proudly displays his Craigdarroch Award

That description certainly applies to Milwright, who, in addition to being a professor in Medieval Islamic art and archaeology, is also the director of the Medieval Studies program. “It’s an honour to receive an award like this, and very much unexpected,” says Milwright. “There are many people nominated from many departments across the university, so it’s very good it’s come over to Fine Arts.” (Only two other Fine Arts representatives have won Craigdarrochs: Lorna Crozier in 2012 and the Lafayette String Quartet in 2010.)

“As one of the most active and productive Islamic art historians working in the world today, Marcus Milwright is an expert in explaining the history of medicine and cross-cultural exchange in the medieval Mediterranean world though art, architecture and objects—connecting the dots between these artifacts and social history,” notes Dr. Howard Brunt, Vice President Research. “And he’s also great at sharing what he knows: amid two distinguished Aga Khan Fellowships and more than 15 years of field work, Milwright published An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology in 2010—an award-winning textbook considered by his peers to be the world’s best introduction to this field of work to date.”

“Marcus is a specialist in the archaeology of Islam—one of his scholarly peers calls him ‘a shining light’ in the discipline,” says History in Art department chair Catherine Harding. “Since being appointed at the university in 2002, he has made substantial scholarly contributions to the fields of Islamic archaeology—especially in the field of ceramics—and the history of Islamic art and architecture in a number of important books and articles. The field of archaeology is tremendously important right now, as political events impact on the historical and material artifacts of Middle Eastern civilization.”

Milwright speaking to the media at 2012's Medieval Workshop

Milwright speaking to the media at 2012’s Medieval Workshop

Milwright, who seems perpetually busy with teaching, students, research and various book projects, appears to take his diverse accomplishments in stride. “I have a low boredom threshold, so I like to have lots of different projects operating simultaneously,” he chuckles. “But the Medieval Studies work has been very important to me. We do have a very important role in terms of the Medieval Workshop every year, where people can talk about their research in the community, and create a stimulating environment where discussion of medieval culture and research is possible.”

Miwright in Syria, at the ancient site of Dura Europos on the banks of the Euphrates River

Miwright in Syria, at the ancient site of Dura Europos on the banks of the Euphrates River

A member of the History in Art department since 2002, Milwright feels his field of expertise helps keep him connected with a constantly evolving field of knowledge. “Archaeology is intrinsically a cross-disciplinary process,” he explains. “One day you’ll be looking at ceramics, the next you’ll be looking at the archaeology of a site and collaborating with scholars around the world.” (He’s seen here in this earlier photo of at the ancient site of Dura Europos, which he describes as “a fantastic site containing all sorts of treasures including one of the earliest known Christian places of worship and a lavishly decorated synagogue, both of the 3rd century CE.”)

“One of the important things about doing art history and archaeology is conserving the cultural heritage,” says Milwright, who just returned from a brief stint as a visiting professor at Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University. “Syria, where I do a lot of work, is one of the richest countries of the world in terms of it having such great sites from every single period of human history—but so much of that gets lost in times of threats and unrest. There’s tangible things, like the loss of archaeological sites and widespread looting, but there are also changes to the cultural environment.”

Milwright vessel_crop1

UVic Photo Services

Despite the current political situation, Milwright is still busy doing what he can from a distance. “We do have an important responsibility to try and record as much of the history—and I’m talking about history on the human level, not the big political history, the sort of little micro-relationships within the centers that we try to record through archaeology and the texts.”

Harding notes Milwright’s latest research project “includes a study of balsam in the medieval period, linking his research to the history of medicine and material culture in the Middle East.” In addition to the medal itself, the Craigdarroch Award also comes with a $1,500 research grant. “If I can, what I’d like to do is use it to involve students to work on various projects I’m doing. I think it’s really important to get students involved in these research projects.”

A complete list of all 2013 Craigdarroch winners can be found here.