Fine Arts contest raises awareness

How much do you know about the Indigenous presence at UVic?

A new Fine Arts Orange Shirt Day contest is designed to help you learn more while having fun exploring the campus—and possibly win a fantastic prize!

Created by Karla PointIndigenous Resurgence Coordinator for the Faculty of Fine Arts—the Orange Shirt Day scavenger hunt will encourage us all to learn more about the Indigenous presence on campus.

Awareness & activities

The contest runs September 27-October 8 and is part of UVic’s overall observance of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30: a day set aside to commemorate the history and the ongoing tragic legacy of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada.

“The truth is that these institutions were set up to acculturate, assimilate and near annihilate the Indigenous Peoples,” says Point. “To move towards true reconciliation, more about the truth needs to be known.”

Karla Point

How to play

Point hopes the contest will help everyone in Fine Arts be more aware of UVic’s Indigenous connections. “This scavenger hunt is intended to create more awareness of the presence of Indigenous people on campus,” she says, “and to tweak your interest so that you will want to know more.”

You can pick up the scavenger hunt contest from the entry box in the Fine Arts lobby or download a PDF of it here. You’ve got until October 8 to answer the 20 questions and drop the completed form back in the box.

All completed contest forms will be entered into a draw for a traditional cedar hat—handmade by Karla Point herself.

Note: this contest is only open to students, faculty and staff of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Win this woven cedar hat, handmade by Karla Point

About Karla Point

Point—whose traditional Nuu chah nulth name is Hii nulth tsa kaa—attended the Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island for 15 months in the 1960s, before being withdrawn from the school by her parents.

Previously the cultural support liaison with UVic’s Faculty of Law, Point has also been a reconciliation agreement coordinator with the Sts’ailes Nation, a First Nations program coordinator with Parks Canada, and a treaty negotiator and elected councillor for the Hesquiaht First Nation.

Want to reach out to Karla Point in her role as the Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator for Fine Arts? Contact her at kpoint@uvic.ca.

Enter to win in the Fine Arts lobby

Climate-crisis sparks new journalism position

Wildfires, droughts, floods, extreme storms: we are living in a time when climate change should be the biggest story of our time—yet, as the recent federal election proved, all too often it doesn’t even make the headlines. As the new Wayne Crookes Professor in Environmental and Climate Journalism with UVic’s Department of Writing, Sean Holman hopes to bring a more human dimension to the climate crisis.

An award-winning journalist whose appointment began September 1, Holman brings his research expertise in the areas of freedom of information, institutional accountability and climate journalism. Previously an award-winning public affairs and legislative journalist, Holman—a UVic alumnus—comes to UVic from Mount Royal University, where he was a journalism professor.

In addition to his teaching duties as the Crookes Professor, he is co-leading the first-ever survey of journalists and scientists regarding climate change media coverage, as well as working with at least nine other different Canadian journalism programs to launch a “climate disaster survivor” memory vault.

In this Q&A, Holman discusses his concerns and goals, as well as his intention with the climate disaster survivor memory vault.

What is the media doing wrong—and right—when it comes to reporting the climate crisis?

The news media has extensively reported on the environmental, economic and political dimensions of climate change. But journalists have struggled to humanize that phenomenon—something Greta Thunberg pointed out in a recent interview with the New York Times. She said the news media hasn’t been telling the stories of “people whose lives are being lost and whose livelihoods are being taken away” by climate change.

As a result, global warming can often seem like it’s a remote phenomenon that’s happening elsewhere or in the future, rather than something close at hand and already harming people and families around the world. That dampens the urgency to act on climate change. And it means those who have been harmed can feel alone in their experiences, rather than being supported as part of a shared community of climate disaster survivors—a community we are all part of.

How do you propose to solve that problem as the Crookes Professor?

I’m working with a consortium of journalism programs and talented colleagues at post-secondary institutions across the country to create the climate disaster project. This project will amplify the stories of those who have experienced such disasters.

With their permission, those stories will be shared with news media partners, as well as preserved in a climate disaster memory vault, similar to other important oral history projects that have humanized the impact of natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the world. In doing so, we hope to better understand the commonalities in those experiences, launching investigative journalism projects that can surface these shared problems, and solutions to them.  

Donor Wayne Crookes (right) speaks with Sean Holman at UVic

Why wasn’t the climate crisis a bigger issue in the federal election?

I think a large portion of the blame for that rests on the problems my colleagues and I hoping to help solve: the need to humanize the costs of climate change, the need to create a community around the shared experience of climate change, and the need for journalists and scientists to work together to improve coverage of that phenomenon.

In this new age of disaster, climate change should be the biggest story of our time: it should be the biggest political issue of our time—and what to do about it should be the top ballot-box question. Because if we answer that question wrong, everything that we have built together as a society and everything we could build together will be put at risk.

Are there any other ways climate change coverage can be improved?

I think there are. But this is also a question I think scientists and other journalists should be talking to one another about too. Both professions have a lot in common: we are part of a shared community that contributes to evidence-based decision-making by the public and policymakers—but its members need to be speaking with one another about climate change communication more than we are right now.

So my colleagues and I will be starting more of those conversations by surveying journalists and climate scientists and asking them what they think about environmental coverage and how it can be improved. And the first phase of that survey project is scheduled to launch in advance of the November global climate change negotiations in Glasgow.

How will your background as a freedom of information researcher factor into researching and teaching environmental and climate teaching journalism?

As a freedom of information researcher, one of my focuses has been on better understanding why we have historically valued information in democracies. And one of the conclusions I’ve reached is that we do so for two reasons: control and certainty.

With information, we can better understand the past and present, as well as anticipate the future. And we can then use that understanding to make wiser decisions in our personal and political lives, thereby exerting some measure of control over the world around us.

But, in the current post-truth era, that process has broken down. Instead, people have sought other kinds of control and certainty in the form of denialism, authoritarianism and conspiracy theories.

As a result, many governments have failed to effectively respond to the pandemic, just as they have failed to effectively respond to climate change. In other words, climate change isn’t just the result of greenhouse gases, in the same way the pandemic isn’t just the result of a virus—it’s the result of a failure to use information in the way we would expect to in a democracy.

So, if we want to address the climate crisis, we need to figure out how to reinforce the value of information while finding other means of affecting change.

The Crookes Professorship in Environmental and Climate Journalism was created in January 2021 through a gift of $1.875 million to the University of Victoria by Vancouver business leader and political activist Wayne Crookes.

Orange Shirt Week activities

UVic is committed to reconciliation. We’re working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities. You can partner in the work of reconciliation by listening, learning and sharing on Orange Shirt Day.

“Orange Shirt Day is a national movement that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the spirit of hope and reconciliation, and honours former residential school students, their families and communities,” notes UVic President Kevin Hall. “This year, the confirmation of thousands of unmarked graves at the sites of residential schools across Canada has brought attention and urgency to the issue of reconciliation.”

As this year’s Orange Shirt Day takes place on September 30—the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada—UVic will be closed, so on-campus Orange Shirt Day events will take place from September 27-29.

“Reconciliation is an ongoing process and a shared responsibility,” continues Dr. Hall. “The University of Victoria, like all educational institutions, has a responsibility to learn about the history of Canada and address our role in perpetuating colonial systems. On Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, we encourage the UVic community to take time to reflect on Canada’s history and present, and commit to taking action toward reconciliation.”

Orange Shirt Day

All faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are invited to attend UVic Orange Shirt Day events. We also encourage everyone to wear an orange shirt during the week of Sept. 27 as a visual symbol of our awareness of the need for ongoing action toward reconciliation.

Orange shirts featuring a design (above) by artist and Visual Arts professor Carey Newman Hayalthkin’geme (Kwakwaka’wakw/Coast Salish) are available at the UVic Bookstore. Profits from UVic T-shirt sales directly benefit the Elders Engagement Fund, the Witness Blanket Project and the Orange Shirt Day Society.

If you already have an orange shirt, please consider making a $25 donation to the Elders Engagement Fund this year.

Film screenings (Cinecenta and First Peoples House)

Cinecenta: 1-3pm Monday, Sept 27

Cinecenta will be screening Savage by director Lisa Jackson (2009) and Kuper Island: Return to the Healing Circle by director Christine Welsh  (1997). These screenings will be followed by a panel discussion with Christine Welsh, Robina Thomas, Steve Sxwithul’txw and Ry Moran.

First People’s House: 7-9pm Tuesday, Sept 28

First People’s House is also hosting two film screenings: I’tustogalis: Rising Up Together – Our Voices, Our Stories by director Barb Cranmer (2015), and Truth Dance and Reconciliation by director Barbara Hager (2018).

Admission for both is by donation. Proceeds will go to the Elders Engagement Fund.

First People’s House and Cinecenta capacity is 50%. Proof of vaccination and government issued ID is required for admission. These events are open to UVic students, staff, faculty, alumni and the general public. 

On-campus events

UVic will host in-person events from 9:00am to 4:30pm Wednesday, Sept 29. Some of the events will be livestreamed so you can view them remotely.

The Past (9-10am)

Associate University Librarian-Reconciliation Ry Moran will host this morning event featuring a sacred fire, a welcome to the territory, opening prayer and featured speakers associate vice-president Indigenous Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas and residential school survivor Mark Atleo.

The Present (noon-1pm)

Ry Moran will welcome speakers including UVic Chancellor Shelagh Rogers, professor Andrea Walsh and Vice President Research Lisa Kalynchuk, who will discuss the role of acknowledging and educating people about the history of residential schools

The Future (3:30-4:30pm)

Ry Moran will host UVic President Kevin Hall and an Indigenous faculty panel—including Visual Arts professor Carey Newman—for this cultural presentation about the role of education in truth and reconciliation and the TRC’s calls to action.

General activities

The Xe xe Smun’ eem – Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters ceremony will run 12-2:30pm in downtown’s  Centennial Square. “Xe xe Smun’ eem” means “Sacred Children” in the Cowichan or Quw utsun language, and this event will feature a blessing of the land, an Orange Shirt Day flag raising, Indigenous performances and guest speakers who will share their personal experiences with residential schools and reconciliation. For a list of other public activities around Greater Victoria to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, please see this event roundup.

Support

Finally, we know that Orange Shirt Day—and conversations about residential schools—can be difficult for members of our community. If you are in need of support, please reach out.

ONC Artist in Residence debuts “Gossip with Whales”

The ocean has many songs to sing! Join us for this feast of music and celebration as we launch the world premiere performances of four new choral compositions created during Dennis Gupa‘s artistic residency with Ocean Networks Canada.   

Together with a panel of artists, performers and scientists, Gupa will present the unique collaboration “Gossip with Whales: Exploring Ocean Science through Applied Theatre” at 6:30pm PST Wednesday, September 22 via a free online webinar.

Exploring the tanaga and Mangyan poetic forms

Drawing on Tanaga—a Filipino traditional lyrical art form—the four pieces that make up “Gossip With Whales” will offer artistic insights into current challenges for our oceans. One of the poems was translated into an Alangan-Mangyan poetic form of the Mangayan of Mindoro Province, Philippines.

“By looking at the experience and knowledge of local people—who have been experiencing these climatic events for so many years, but are not really given a lot of opportunities to tell their stories—we can learn from their knowledge and wisdom,” says Gupa. “Our poetries and songs renew our kinship with the ocean.”

Find out more about Dennis Gupa’s work here.

Gupa, together with participating Filipino artists Karla Comanda, Roijin Suarez, Darren Vega, Thai Hoa Le and Jeremiah Carag, will discuss the creation and intention of these pieces with event moderators ONC scientific data specialist Megan Kot and School of Music composer Taylor Brook

Dennis Gupa

The arts & oceans together

A PhD in UVic’s Theatre department, Gupa is also the most recent artist-in-residence with Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), a UVic initiative.

He sees the artistic residency—launched by the Faculty of Fine Arts and ONC two years ago—as a natural fit with his doctoral focus on Indigenous sea rituals, climate change and sustainable ecology.

“This residency program comes at a time of crisis in ocean sustainability,” ONC chief scientist Kim Juniper. “Science-art collaborations such as this one bring together the insight and power of two ways of looking at the world, and will hopefully lead to new understanding and greater benefits for our ocean and our future.”

This event is presented by UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts & Ocean Networks Canada in celebration of our shared ocean and the launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. 

An example of Ambahan, a Hanuno’o poetic form.
Source: PINAGMULAN: Enumerations from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ed., Dr. Jesus T. Peralta, NCCA & I). ICHCAP, 2013 // Photo by Renato Restrollo, NCCA – ICH (2013) (courtesy of National Commission for Culture and the Arts)

Student jobs now open!

Looking for on-campus work that won’t conflict with your studies? Check out UVic’s workstudy program: with 58 student jobs now posted in Fine Arts alone, each of our departments (and some associated units) are offering paid positions that will benefit your academic experience.

We have all sorts of jobs now available in various areas, including—but not limited to:

  • props and costumes 
  • stage managers and ushers
  • visual resources
  • technical theatre
  • communications and social media
  • web design
  • sound recording
  • lab supervision
  • life drawing
  • photo lab

Most pay $16 to $19/hour and offer invaluable skills to boost your degree—and look great on a resume! While some departments prefer to hire students from their own areas, you can apply for any position across campus—some units even have multiple positions available.

Click here for full application details

Here’s the current list of Fine Arts-related jobs:

Fine Arts

  • SIM Lab supervisor (6)
  • Communications assistant
  • Web designer
  • Developer

Art History & Visual Studies

  • Visual resources assistant
  • Social media/communications coordinator

Music

  • Recital hall coordinator
  • Concert & event stage manager (4)
  • Recording technician (4)
  • Social media assistant
  • Concert & event usher (4)
  • Orchestra/Wind Symphony stage manager
  • Livestream technician

Theatre

  • Communications assistant (2)
  • Audience service assistant (5)
  • Theatre production assistant
  • Theatre properties assistant
  • Technical theatre assistant (4)
  • Scene shop assistant (4)
  • Senior costume assistant (3)

Visual Arts

  • Photo lab technician
  • Workshop assistant (2)
  • Life drawing coordinator
  • Visiting artist assistant

Writing

  • Digital storytelling online editor

Legacy Gallery

  • Visitor engagement assistant (3)

Malahat Review

  • Editorial assistant
  • Social media assistant

Student recording technician at work in the School of Music