Southam Lecturer Vivian Smith talks gender & journalism

We may be living in the 21st century, but that doesn’t mean we’ve achieved gender equality in Canada. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of journalism, as Vivian Smith well knows.

The 2016 Southam Lecturer for the Department of Writing, Smith is drawing from her own research on how women’s careers in print journalism are limited by its deeply gendered culture. As well as currently teaching in the Writing department, Smith will be giving a free public talk titled “Minding My Own Business: A Reporter’s Inquiries into Gender and Journalism,” starting at 7:30pm on Tuesday, October 4 in room A240 of UVic’s Human & Social Development building.

2016 Southam Lecturer Vivian Smith

2016 Southam Lecturer Vivian Smith

A Canadian journalist and author, Smith has been a reporter, editor and manager at The Globe and Mail, a columnist for the Times Colonist and an editor of Boulevard magazine. She has taught journalism at four Canadian universities, freelanced for national publications and provides media training for professionals and academics.

Her book, Outsiders Still: Why Women Journalists Love – and Leave – Their Newspaper Careers, was published in 2015 by the University of Toronto Press. Her talk will consider who defines the news and how their decisions reinforce – and increasingly resist –.stereotypes that limit us all.

No stranger to the university environment, when Smith spoke to about 100 journalism students at Ryerson University in October 2015, she felt that the large number of women pursuing journalism degrees today could well make the difference to future workplace environments.

“When I was doing this, [I was] one woman [at a table with] seven or eight men and it was all very interesting to them, but not that important,” Smith told the class, as reported in this article. “So keeping up the conversation with your numbers, with your mass, is really important . . . . Just your sheer numbers mean that you’re going to have more influence in newsrooms.”

For Outsiders Still, Smith interviewed 27 women journalists from five different Canadian newspapers; ranging in age from mid-20s to early 60s, these journalists shared common experiences and discussed how—or if—times had changed.

“The main satisfaction these women got from their work as journalists—whether they were a columnist or a managing editor or a reporter—was they were voices for the voiceless,” Smith told the Ryerson class. “The role of being a social advocate was really important to them, rather than ‘just reporting the news.’”

outsiders-stillAs noted in this Globe and Mail review of Outsiders Still, Halifax Chronicle Herald reporter Patricia Brooks Arenburg told Smith “she remembers feeling like ‘garbage’ when she found out she was being paid less than men who had been hired after her. Margo Goodhand, editor of the Edmonton Journal, recalls being turned down twice for a city editor position because she was, according to one manager, ‘too nice.’ She told Smith that, traditionally, ‘it’s looked on as weak if you ask people’s opinion, like, ‘You don’t know your own opinion?’'”

Smith’s Southam lecture will offer a mix of personal experience, research findings and, no doubt, some of what she’s hearing from the students taking her current Writing elective on Gender & Journalism.

Smith is the 10th person to hold the prestigious Southam lectureship, following the likes of Jo-Ann Roberts (CBC’s All Points West), acclaimed Indigenous author Richard Wagamese, journalist Terry Glavin, sports writer Tom Hawthorn, satirist Mark Leiren-Young, and journalists Sandra Martin (Globe and Mail) and Charles Campbell (Georgia Straight). The annual Harvey Stevenson Southam Lectureship – named after UVic alumnus Harvey Southam – is made possible by a gift from one of the country’s leading publishing families.

Former FBI art crimes expert visits Art History & Visual Studies

What kind of agent does it take to infiltrate a gang of international art thieves capable of pulling off a museum heist involving car bombs and getaway speedboats? Just ask former FBI art crime special agent Robert K. Wittman.

Robert K. Wittman

Robert K. Wittman

“We did an undercover operation in Copenhagen in Denmark, where we recovered the most valuable piece—it was a [1630] Rembrandt self-portrait stolen in the armed robbery, valued at $35 million,” Wittman told the local Times Colonist in this September 29 article. Calling it “a very well-thought-out crime,” Wittman says the thieves also nabbed a pair of Renoir paintings before zooming off in a speedboat—that’s when Swedish authorities called in the FBI art-crimes unit.

Going undercover, Wittman was able to set up a buy and meet the thieves in a Copenhagen hotel room with $250,000 US, which he traded for the Rembrandt. Once he had the famous painting in hand, Wittman signalled a Danish SWAT team to move in.

“It’s always dangerous,” he says. “You’re dealing with people who are criminals. They’re doing criminal enterprises: armed robberies, bank robberies. They’re stealing cars, they’re selling drugs and weapons. And they happen to do art theft, too . . . . What I always say is, they’re better criminals than they are businessmen.”

Listen to more of his riveting stories on this Sept 30 interview with CFAX radio (skip ahead to the 11:34am mark).

Dubbed “the most famous art detective in the world” by The London Times, Wittman is a former FBI special agent who has recovered millions of dollars worth of stolen art and cultural property during his 20-year career — including paintings by Rembrandt, Goya, Norman Rockwell, and one of the original 14 copies of the U.S. Bill of Rights. He was instrumental in the creation of the FBI’s rapid deployment Art Crime Team, and has since instructed international police and museums in investigation, recovery and security techniques.

519nguo5oyl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Now the New York Times bestselling author of Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures, Wittman will deliver a free public lecture at 7pm Tuesday, October 4, in Room B150 of the Bob Wright Centre. He will be speaking about his career and signing both Priceless and his latest book, The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich. His lecture, “Saving $300 Million in Art and Antiquities: True Tales from the FBI’s Real Indiana Jones,” will also feature art history & visual studies alumna Alison Ross, the owner, appraiser and auctioneer at Kilshaw’s.

Wittman’s appearance on campus is part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Department of Art History & Visual Studies. For 50 years now, AHVS (formerly named the History in Art department) has been researching, teaching and championing the importance of visual culture in society. From art forms both ancient and modern, the role of art history has only become more important as we shift to an increasingly visually based world.

“Robert Wittman is the ideal choice for our 50th anniversary event,” says department chair Dr. Erin Campbell. “He demonstrates the impact art history can have on the world, and his participation in two of our classes during his visit is typical of the kind of exciting, expert-based, hands-on learning that happens in AHVS.”

In addition to his lecture, Wittman will also spend a number of days on campus, where he will engage with AHVS students — notably in the new elective Art Crimes: Fakes, Forgeries and Fraud with Dr. Carolyn Butler-Palmer.

Don’t miss this chance to hear from the “FBI’s Real Indiana Jones” in what’s guaranteed to be a fantastic event!

Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby kicks off Indigeneity & the Arts series

Fine Arts is proud to kick off its new Orion Series on Indigeneity and the Arts with a public presentation by acclaimed filmmaker, author & composer Jeff Barnaby.

Jeff Barnaby

Jeff Barnaby

While at UVic, Barnaby will be hosting a free screening some of his short films starting at 7pm Monday, Sept 26, in UVic’s David Lam Auditorium (MacLaurin A144), and will host a discussion and Q&A afterwards. He will also be making some classroom visits while on campus, talking with Fine Arts students in our various departments.

A Mi’gmaq member from Listuguj, Quebec, Barnaby was educated at Concordia University, and is best known for his 2013 feature film, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. Barnaby’s first short film, From Cherry English (2005), won 2 Golden Sheaf awards (Yorkton) and played in dozens of festivals including Sundance, Tribecca, Fantasia, the Vancouver International Film Fest and the Atlantic International Film Fest; he has also created such acclaimed short films as The Colony (2007) and File Under Miscellaneous (2010).

He has been nominated for a Genie Award, won several other major awards and was named Best Director of a Canadian Film by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2014. In 2015, Barnaby was one of four Indigenous directors invited to participate in the NFB documentary Souvenir. Watch his interview with George Stromboulopoulus here.

A scene from Jeff Barnaby's 2013 film, Rhymes for Young Ghouls

A scene from Jeff Barnaby’s 2013 film, Rhymes for Young Ghouls

The Orion Indigeneity Series is an important addition to our existing Orion Lecture series, which offers our students the opportunity to engage with numerous visiting professional artists each academic year. Fine Arts has a tradition of collaborating with indigenous artists, communities and scholars, and has been actively engaged in integrating culturally sensitive methodologies in our teaching, research and creative activity.

But the Orion Indigeneity Series is also our first phase of responding to the TRC recommendations and the UVic Indigenous Plan in meaningful and compelling ways, while simultaneously raising awareness of Indigenous cultural creativity for the UVic and wider community.

Jeff Barnaby is only the latest example of the people and projects we have been involved with in all five of our departments (Writing, Theatre, Art History & Visual Studies, Visual Arts, and the School of Music). Over the past few years, we’ve been working with the likes of artists Rebecca Belmore, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Nicholas Galanin, Rande Cook and Jackson 2Bears in the Audain Professor of Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest, hosting writers like Richard Wagamese and alumni Richard Van Camp, Eden Robinson and Philip Kevin Paul, holding workshops on indigenizing music education, using intergenerational applied theatre techniques to preserve the languages of the Hul’q’umi’num’ Treaty Group, and creating dynamic exhibits with Williams Legacy chair Dr. Carolyn Butler Palmer and guest artists Peter Morin and current Visual Arts MFA candidate Hjalmer Wenstob.

You can read more about Fine Arts and Indigeneity here.


Writing event features inaugural Lorna Crozier Scholarship recipient

Even though she’s now retired, beloved poet and Department of Writing professor Lorna Crozier continues to have an impact on campus: a highlight of the popular annual faculty reading night—happening 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 in room 105 of UVic’s Hickman building—will be the announcement of the inaugural recipient of the Lorna Crozier Scholarship.

Lorna Crozier at the original scholarship fundraiser

Lorna Crozier at the original scholarship fundraiser

Awarded annually to a top-level, fourth-year poetry student, initial fundraising for the scholarship began at the celebration reading that marked Crozier’s retirement from the writing department in 2013. Hosted by Shelagh Rogers, before she was declared UVic’s current Chancellor, the original fundraiser saw a number of Crozier’s previous students—many of whom are now among Canada’s finest poets—return to campus to honour their mentor. (And in nice bit of full-circle, Rogers will be in attendance at this latest event as well.)

One of those past students is acclaimed poet Shane Book, recently hired as the writing department’s newest poetry professor. “Lorna provided a nurturing environment where students were challenged to really engage with their own work and with Canadian and world literature,” Book recalls. “She was not afraid to be direct and honest: on one of the first poems I wrote for workshop she wrote something along the lines of, ‘You can do better than this if you take this seriously.’”

Even though he won’t start teaching at UVic until 2017, Book will be among the faculty’s featured readers at the event, alongside department chair David Leach and the award-winning likes of novelist Bill Gaston, playwright Joan MacLeod, poet & essayist Tim Lilburn, short-story writer Lorna Jackson, novelist Lee Henderson, filmmaker Maureen Bradley and playwright Kevin Kerr. Also on the reading bill will be the inaugural student recipient of the Crozier scholarship and, most likely, Crozier herself.

UVic's newest poetry professor, Shane Book

UVic’s newest poetry professor, Shane Book

As well as a great poet, Book notes Crozier’s essential influence as both a teacher and mentor. “She was a leader who led with her passion for poetry—a passion so great she was able to take a room full of students who had nothing in common with each other . . . and instill in us a care and concern for each other as artists and as human beings. She set an example for how to live in the world as an artist. Her drive, ambition, and work ethic told us that poetry was an important thing worth devoting one’s life to. But she was also a lot of fun.”

While Book doesn’t start teaching classes until 2017, he will be featured at the reading night alongside the rest of the writing faculty, as well as the winning student and Crozier herself. “The founding of the Lorna Crozier Scholarship helps to ensure a new generation of poets can continue to study and practice their craft at the finest writing program in the country,” he says.

BC sculptor’s donation benefits study of Art History

A gift from BC sculptor Jeffrey Rubinoff and the Jeffrey Rubinoff Foundation will allow doctoral students at the University of Victoria exceptional opportunities to study the complexities and richness of the history of modern and contemporary art and why it matters to Canadians and the world.

Sculptor Jeffrey Rubinoff

Sculptor Jeffrey Rubinoff

“UVic is internationally recognized as a leader in creative innovation and arts knowledge, and Jeffrey Rubinoff has identified UVic’s extraordinary academic environment as being ideally suited to the goals of the Rubinoff Endowment — to expose students to the leading edge of art history,” says UVic President Jamie Cassels.

Studying world art creates opportunities for intercultural understanding, as people instantly connect with the visual. A greater awareness of the impact of modern and contemporary art can add to the richness of our lives, engage us with the past and present, and inform how we think about our world.

The Jeffrey Rubinoff Scholar in Art as a Source of Knowledge Endowment establishes a recurring four-year PhD fellowship in UVic’s Department of Art History and Visual Studies, in the area of modern and contemporary art history.

“My own sculptural work is completely dedicated to art history,” says Rubinoff. “Original ideas grow out of original work, which led me to see art as a source of knowledge. Since these insights form the context within which the work becomes meaningful, it is imperative that the general public, artists and art educators understand them if the work is to be fully appreciated.”

Jeffrey Rubinoff with his sculpture "Series 1- 4" at the Jeffrey Rubinoff sculpture park on Hornby Island (Photo: August 2016. Credit: Michelle Tarnopolsky)

Jeffrey Rubinoff with his sculpture “Series 1- 4”
at the Jeffrey Rubinoff sculpture park on Hornby Island (Photo: August 2016. Credit: Michelle Tarnopolsky)

After receiving his MFA in the USA in 1969, Rubinoff returned to Ontario to pursue his artistic career before moving to a 200-acre farm on Hornby Island in the early 1970s. Living and working on the northern Gulf Island for nearly five decades, he has built the Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park and the annual Company of Ideas forum held at the park. This remarkable 200-acre site is home to over 100 of his steel sculptures, which he has created unassisted using his one-man steel foundry.

“Jeffrey’s sculptural work is monumental in its scope and his legacy will now create a monument to future scholarship,” says UVic Dean of Fine Arts Susan Lewis. “This extraordinary contribution underscores the crucial cultural work done in the Faculty of Fine Arts and reaffirms once again that UVic is a key player in creative innovation and the exchange of ideas about social change.”

An author of Rubinoff on Art and the subject of scholarly study himself in the book The Art of Jeffrey Rubinoff, his commitment to scholarship includes the establishment in 2014 of a fellowship at Cambridge University in England. The UVic endowment is the second only such donation from the Jeffrey Rubinoff Foundation.

“Together, the Endowment at UVic and the Fellowship at Cambridge are the institutional mainstays of the unfolding, permanent educational program at the Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park, which will continue to explore the future of art as a source of knowledge,” adds Rubinoff.

Art History graduate students (from left) Ali Macdonald, Munazzah Akhtar and Atri Hatif with prof. Maria Tippett (University of Cambridge), at the Company of Ideas Pavilion, Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park (Credit: Michelle Tarnopolsky)

Art History graduate students (from left) Ali Macdonald, Munazzah Akhtar and Atri Hatif with prof. Maria Tippett (University of Cambridge), at the Company of Ideas Pavilion, Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park (Credit: Michelle Tarnopolsky)

The new endowment at UVic will also provide travel and costs for the scholar and two students to attend the annual Company of Ideas, established by Rubinoff in 2008 to engage scholarly collaborators from around the world with the advancement of education in the arts.

AHVS PhD candidate Munazzah Akhtar attended the Company of Ideas forum in 2016, and found the experience invaluable. “Being a student of Islamic art history, it was a novel experience for me to get acquainted with art beyond my area of specialization,” says Akhtar. “Unlike any other conference I had attended before, this forum gave me an opportunity to engage with not only the works of a contemporary artist but the artist himself in getting firsthand knowledge about his contributions to the art world.”

“The forum offered an unparalleled opportunity for the students to learn from and engage with artists, writers, curators and academics from distinguished universities,” she continues. “Moreover, I feel very strongly that these are fantastic occasions for students to network with renowned scholars, which could certainly be beneficial for their future endeavors.”

This contribution is ideally timed to help the department celebrate 50 years of teaching, research and scholarship — ideas all strongly linked to the educational mission of the Jeffrey Rubinoff Foundation.

“In our 50th Anniversary year, as we look forward to the next 50 years and beyond, Jeffrey Rubinoff’s generous gift to the department allows us to envision a brighter future for our vibrant and diverse graduate students, who will use this legacy to deepen the impact of art history both at home and around the world,” notes AHVS department chair Erin Campbell.