New Fine Arts Indigenous student award

At UVic, we are committed to facing head-on the realities of Canada’s history and present. The new Faculty of Fine Arts Indigenous Student Award brings us one step closer to meeting this commitment.

More than just financial assistance for our students, this award is a crucial endorsement of our commitment to creating a stronger and more vibrant community at UVic.

“With this award, Fine Arts is making a commitment toward creating better opportunities for our Indigenous students and the greater goal of fostering respect and reconciliation here at UVic,” says Acting Dean Allana Lindgren.

A scholarship in perpetuity

Our current goal to raise $25,000 to permanently endow this fund and we are so close to our $25,000 goal. Please visit the Faculty of Fine Arts donation webpage: just choose “Faculty of Fine Arts Indigenous Student Award” from the “Designation” menu.

Once endowed, this award will then provide a scholarship for Indigenous Fine Arts students in perpetuity.

In supporting this award, you are also honouring the memory of the 215 Indigenous children found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and all victims and survivors of the Canadian Indian Residential School System.

Student achievement

We proudly celebrate the achievements of our Indigenous alumni, ranging from celebrated authors like Eden Robinson (Haisla and Heiltsuk) and Distinguished Alumni Richard Van Camp (Dogrib Tlicho) and acclaimed mezzo soprano Marion Newman (Kwagiulth and Stó:lo)—who was recently named host of the long-running national CBC Radio program Saturday Afternoon at the Opera—to the socially engaged likes of artists Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde (Iroquois Mohawk) and Tlehpik Hjalmer Wenstob (Nuu-chah-nulth).

Most recently, we recognized the achievement of 2021 Writing grad Jenessa Joy Klukas (Xaxli’p and Métis), who was hired immediately after her degree as a reporter for IndigiNews.

Bestselling alumni author Eden Robinson

Indigenous scholars

Fine Arts also has a history 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. We are honoured to include Danielle Geller (Navajo), Carey Newman (Kwakwak’awakw and Coast Salish) and Gregory Scofield (Métis) among our permanent teaching faculty.

For the past 30 years, Fine Arts has also collaborated with the En’owkin Centre to offer our Foundations in Fine Arts program to Indigenous students both in the Okanagan and in Victoria.

Over the past decade, our students—like Fine Arts alumnus Jordan Hill of the T’Sou-ke Nation—have worked with a variety of Indigenous artists as Audain Professors, including Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabekwe), Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Haida), Rande Cook (Kwakwaka’wakw), Jackson 2Bears (Kanien’kehaka) and Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit and Unangax̂).

Our students also continue to benefit from the experience of returning Indigenous alumni, including authors Robinson, Van Camp and Philip Kevin Paul (WSÁNEĆ), as well as the likes of visiting authors and filmmakers including Richard Wagamese (Wabaseemoong), Marie Clements (Métis), Jeff Barnaby (Mi’gmaq) and Nyla Innuksuk (Inuk).

Our ongoing Orion Series continues to present a dynamic range of Indigenous artists, most recently including Tania Willard (Secwepemc), Shawn Hunt (Heiltsuk), Heather Igliolorte (Inuk), Gary Farmer (Haudenosaunee/Iroquois), Drew Haden Taylor (Ojibwe) and Monique Mojica (Guna and Rappahannock).

Jordan Hill of the T’Sou-ke Nation in Avatar Grove / T’l’oqwxwat with Visual Arts professor Kelly Richardson in 2018 (photo: Paul Walde)


Join us for a discussion on sustainability & the arts

The climate crisis is one of the most urgent problems of our time, and the arts can play a vital role in helping people better understand its impact.

Discover how scholars and researchers in UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts are responding to today’s defining issues with innovative and compelling ideas in this first of a new Dean’s Speaker Series.

Join us from 12:30-1:30pm Tuesday, November 2, online via Zoom webinar. Register here.

This lively, moderated panel discussion exploring the relationship between the arts and sustainability will feature Conrad Alexandrowicz (Theatre) and Kathryn Mockler (Writing) plus moderator Shane Book (Writing). An audience Q&A will follow the discussion.

Sustainability & the arts

“The arts have a central role to play in motivating the average citizen to not only care but also take action,” says Allana Lindgren, Acting Dean of Fine Arts—and the creator of this new series. “Sustainability and climate change touch people in an emotional way, so action in this area by us has potential to spur action that, say, scientific reports will not.”

Lindgren notes that while UVic as a whole is known for its expertise in sustainability and climate change, this new speaker series will serve as a reminder that work in this area is a priority both across campus and in our communities.

She points to Fine Arts positions like the new Crookes Professor in Environmental & Climate Journalism and the environmentally focused work of professors like Kelly Richardson and Paul Walde, as well as the work of alumni like journalist Arno Kopecky, orca researcher Mark Leiren-Young, artist Colton Hash and director Dennis Gupa, to name a few.

“We have no shortage of faculty members who are doing fascinating work when it comes to sustainability, the environment and the climate crisis, and we thought it was time to share that work with the rest of campus and the community at large,” says Lindgren.


Featured speakers

Department of Theatre professor Conrad Alexandrowicz is a director, writer and choreographer, and the artistic director of Wild Excursions Performance. He specializes in the creation of varieties of interdisciplinary performance that address subjects central to the human journey: issues of relationship, gender and power, and the nature of the performance event itself.

In 2021 Conrad published a new book which he instigated and co-edited: Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis (Routledge), which offers an innovative re-imagining of the ways in which the art of theatre—and the pedagogical apparatus that feeds and supports it—might contribute to global efforts in climate protest and action.

Co-edited with Brock University professor David Fancy, the book also features two chapters by Conrad, as well as chapters by UVic Theatre professors Sasha Kovacs and Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta, and a trialogue with Sadeghi-Yekta and Theatre alumni Lara Aysal and current Dennis Gupa.

Department of Writing professor Kathryn Mockler is the co-editor of Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House)—which offers readers a warning, a movement and a collection borne of protest. Published in fall 2020, Watch Your Head offers poems, stories, essays and artwork that sound the alarm on the present and future consequences of the climate emergency.

In this collection, writers and artists confront colonization, racism and the social inequalities that are endemic to the climate crisis in a collective space where the imagination both amplifies and humanizes the science . . . and offers a call to climate-justice action, with proceeds being donated to the Victoria-based RAVEN Trust and Climate Justice Toronto

Kathryn’s professional and teaching practice focuses on writing for short & feature films & TV, plus poetry, short fiction, climate/eco writing, small press publishing and working in hybrid genres.

The work of Department of Writing professor Shane Book focuses on poetry, hip hop culture, filmmaking, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction and the film / literature / visual art / music / dance of the African diaspora, among other areas.

An award-winning alumnus of UVic’s Writing department and a finalist for the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize, Shane is also the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, All Black Everything (McClelland & Stewart).

Future topics

The second in the Creative Futures series will launch in early 2022, with more to come each academic year.

“Looking ahead, we’re considering a different focus on sustainability each year—climate & the environment this year, perhaps lndigeneity next year,” says Lindgren.

Stay tuned!

Thinking globally, reporting locally

On October 31, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for COP26—the most important climate change summit to date. But how can Canadian journalists make those global negotiations relevant to their local audiences?

Thinking Globally, Reporting Locally: A Conversation on How to Cover the COP26 Glasgow Climate Change Talks from Canada offers a conversation with some of the country’s top news media, environmentalist, Indigenous and scientific leaders.

Together, they will explore that question, helping develop fresh new angles for reporting on both the Glasgow climate talks and global warming. 

Thinking Globally, Reporting Locally is open to journalists and members of the public interested in the news media’s coverage of climate change.

This event is co-organized by Sean Holman, the Crookes Professor in Environmental & Climate Journalism with UVic’s Department of Writing, and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Thursday, October 28 | 4:30pm (Pacific) / 7:30pm (Eastern)

Register here for the event.


Denise Balkissoon is the Ontario bureau chief for The Narwhal. Prior to that she was executive editor at Chatelaine, as well as a columnist, reporter and editor at the Globe and Mail, where she co-hosted and co-produced the podcast Colour Code about race in Canada. From 2011 to 2018, she was a founding member of the Ethnic Aisle, a groundbreaking digital magazine about ethnicity and racism in the Greater Toronto Area.
Seth Klein is the author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency and writes a regular column for Canada’s National ObserverHe is also the team lead and director of strategy of the Climate Emergency Unit.

Prior to that, he served for 22 years as the founding British Columbia director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She is the founder of Sacred Earth Solar and co-founder and healing justice director at Indigenous Climate Action.

Melina is the inaugural fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation where her research focuses on climate change, Indigenous knowledge and renewable energy. She is the host of a new TV series called Power to the People which profiles renewable energy in Indigenous communities across the country.

Trina Roache is the Rogers Chair in Journalism at University of King’s College. A proud member of the Glooscap First Nation and an award-winning Mi’kmaw video journalist, she’s covered stories in the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq, Wolostoqey, and Pestomuhkati Nations. Her work has earned regional and national awards from the Atlantic Journalism Awards, Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Association of Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association.
Andrew Weaver was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s second, third, fourth, and fifth assessment reporters. He is a professor of Earth and Oceans Sciences at the University of Victoria, and was leader of the Green Party of British Columbia, having been MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head between 2013 and 2020.

Weaver is the author of two books about climate change: Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World and Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming.

Orion Series presents visiting artist Tania Willard

The Orion
Lecture Series in Fine Arts

Through the generous support of the Orion Fund in Fine Arts, the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, is pleased to present:

Tania Willard

Visiting Artist


7:30 – 9:00 pm (PST) Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021

Room A162, UVic Visual Arts building


Free & open to the public in-person or via Zoom

Presented by UVic’s Department of Visual Arts

For more information on this lecture please email:

Shifting ideas

Tania Willard, of Secwepemc Nation and settler heritage, works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Indigenous and other cultures.

Willard has worked as an artist in residence with Gallery Gachet in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, the Banff Centre’s visual arts residency, fiction and Trading Post and as a curator in residence with Grunt Gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery.

Willard’s curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-2014), co-curated with Kathleen Ritter, Vancouver Art Gallery (touring), featuring 27 contemporary Aboriginal artists. In 2016 Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hanatyshyn Foundation as well as a City of Vancouver Book Award for the catalogue for the exhibition Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Public Art projects include Rule of the
Trees, a public art project at Vancouver’s Commercial Broadway sky train station, and If the Drumming Stops, with artist Peter Morin, on the lands of the Papaschase First Nation in Edmonton, AB.

Willard was recognized for outstanding achievement and commitment in her art practice in 2020. Willard’s ongoing collaborative project BUSH gallery, is a conceptual land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges and relational art practices. Willard is an Assistant Professor at UBCO in Syilx territories (Kelowna, BC) and her current research intersects with language learning, and land-based art practices.

About the Orion Fund

Established through the generous gift of an anonymous donor, the Orion Fund in Fine Arts is designed to bring distinguished visitors from other parts of Canada—and the world—to the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and to make their talents and achievements available to faculty, students, staff and the wider Greater Victoria community who might otherwise not be able to experience their work.

The Orion Fund also exists to encourage institutions outside Canada to invite regular faculty members from our Faculty of Fine Arts to be visiting  artists/scholars at their institutions; and to make it possible for Fine Arts faculty members to travel outside Canada to participate in the academic life of foreign institutions and establish connections and relationships with them in order to encourage and foster future exchanges.

Free and open to the public  |  Seating is limited (500 Zoom connections) |  Visit our online events calendar at

Orion Lecture: The Day The World Stops Shopping

We can’t stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma that noted author J.B. MacKinnon is addressing in this special Department of Writing Orion Lecture.

Join us at 2:30pm Tuesday, Oct 19, as MacKinnon speaks to Writing students and the general public. You can watch online via Zoom webinar or attend in-person by registering here.

To consume or not to consume

The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy and home foreclosure.

The planet says we consume too much: in North America, we burn the earth’s resources at a rate five times faster than it can regenerate. And despite efforts to “green” our consumption—by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power—we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions.

These are the core issues at work in MacKinnon’s latest book, The Day the World Stops Shopping. A thought experiment that imagines what would happen—to our economies, our products, our planet, our selves—if we committed to consuming far fewer of the Earth’s resources.

Can we really stop shopping?

“What would really happen if we simply stopped shopping?” MacKinnon asks. “Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering economic collapse?”

The answers to this apparently simple question took him around the world, seeking answers from America’s big-box stores to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate.

Then the thought experiment came shockingly true: the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt, and MacKinnon’s ideas were tested in real time.

An award-winning author

The author of five books of nonfiction, MacKinnon is also an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic and Atlantic, as well as the Best American Science and Nature Writing.

His previous works are The Once and Future World, a bestseller about rewilding the natural world; The 100-Mile Diet(with Alisa Smith), widely recognized as a catalyst of the local foods movement; I Live Here (with Mia Kirshner and artists Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge), about displaced people; and Dead Man in Paradise, the story of a priest assassinated in the Dominican Republic, which won Canada’s highest prize for literary nonfiction.

Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain: An investment in our physical and emotional wellness. The pleasure of caring for our possessions. Closer relationships with our natural world and one another.

Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will embolden you to envision another way.