Young Alumni Lunch & Learn Series: Are You Media Ready?

Whatever your creative practice, it’s essential that you tell the right story about yourself—and have the kind of social media profile that shows you’re serious about your craft. Join a recent grad for this insider-look at best practices when it comes to working with the media, framing your story, creating a professional social media presence & more.

Bring your questions when recent Fine Arts alumni offer the inside scoop in these moderated, informal, free lunch & learn sessions on a variety of topics.

Find out the steps these recent grads took to get where they are—and how they applied skills they already had—in this new Fine Arts Young Alumni Lunch & Learn webinar series.

Are You Media Ready?” with Cormac O’Brien

Regardless of your artistic discipline, you need to be able to tell your story through words and pictures—but are you ready to speak to the media? Is your social content appropriate and relevant to your practice? Do you have current and accurate information online? If you’re putting yourself out there, what’s the media going to find?

Currently social media manager with Toronto’s Six Shooter Records, Cormac O’Brien is a multifaceted Department of Writing grad who has held all sorts of jobs across multiple arts industries—including musician, journalist, editor, podcast host/creator, content creator, artist manager and graphic designer!

12-1pm Wednesday, April 13: register here


“Finding Meaningful Work in the Arts” with Caroline Riedel

Everyone wants to find a relevant job after graduation, but what are the actual steps you’ll need to take to get there? How do you make connections and learn to network? How important can volunteering be to career development? What career assistance is available to you, both before and after graduation?

An experienced arts professional, Caroline Riedel is passionate about creating job opportunities help students mobilize classroom learning into rewarding professional experiences. with UVic’s she coaches students & alumni on career development, employment prep and work search transitions.

12-1pm Friday, April 8: register here

Note: these sessions are open to all students and recent alumni.

Catch up on the other sessions in this series with these recordings of our earlier presentations: 

Distinguished Alumni

Fine Arts was thrilled to see three past graduates named among the 20 recipients of the UVic’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards announced on March 10. 

Presented by UVic and the University of Victoria Alumni Association, the awards recognize graduates who, through their leadership or accomplishments, contribute significantly to communities locally, nationally or globally. New this year, there are three award categories: the Presidents’ Alumni Awards, the Indigenous Community Alumni Awards and the Emerging Alumni Awards—and Fine Arts had winners in each category. Congratulations to all!

Kim Senklip Harvey directing a staged reading of Kamloopa at UVic’s Chief Dan George Theatre in Nov 2021 (photo: Tori Jones)

Kim Senklip Harvey

Syilx and Tsilhqot’in director, writer and actor Kim Senklip Harvey (MFA Writing, ’21) was named one of the winners in the Emerging Alumni Awards category, adding to her 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for her groundbreaking play, Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story. 

Kim is no stranger to awards, with Kamloopa having won the 2019 Jessie Richardson Award for Significant Artistic Achievement, Best Production and the Sydney J. Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Play. Kim is currently developing three television series, working on her first book of prose and earning her PhD in Law at UVic. She believes that storytelling is the most compelling medium to move us to a place where everyone is provided the opportunity to live peacefully.

Kim feels her work is in deep service to her peoples. “I say my stories are a place of respite for their trying lives and if I make them laugh once or momentarily nourish their spirits I’ve done my job,” she says. “I hope my continued work supports the next generation in the ongoing practice of making a more equitable and peaceful future.”

Read more about Kim Senklip Harvey here.

Marion Newman

Kwagiulth and Stó:lō First Nations mezzo-soprano and CBC Saturday Afternoon at the Opera host Marion Newman (Music, ’93) is the recipient of one of UVic’s new Indigenous Community Alumni Awards. “I hope to bring about better awareness and understanding that will lead to meaningful change in who we see as our leaders and innovators,” she says.

As a singer, Marion is acclaimed for her portrayals of Dr. Wilson in Missing and title roles in Shanawdithit and Carmen, and will make her debut with the Welsh National Opera in June 2022. She is also co-founder of Amplified Opera, a group that centres artists and encourages audiences to embrace diverse and challenging cultural experiences.

She is sought after as a speaker, teacher, dramaturge, director and advisor for institutions and arts organizations across North America.

When asked about her advice to young people entering the world of professional music, who may feel lost or confused about their future, she had this to say: “Never stop learning and don’t be afraid to make mistakes: learn, apologize if needed and move forward. And remain open to other ways of engaging in your area of interest and expertise.”

Read more about Marion Newman here.


Karen Clark Cole

Recipient of a prestigious President’s Alumni Awards, Karen Clark Cole (AHVS ’91) is the CEO & co-founder of the award-winning, global experience design firm Blink UX. “Our mission is to enrich people’s lives . . . so the world can have more happy people,” she says from her home in Seattle, where she loves to trail run, garden, backcountry ski, kitesurf and hang out with her amazing daughter.

Karen’s leadership philosophy is grounded in what she calls being a “Possibility Thinker.” Her optimistic, fully present approach to life enables her to turn big visionary ideas into action and plant a seed for what is possible in everyone she meets.

When asked about her time in Fine Arts, Karen recalls, “The campus, the students, and the professors were all top notch. The profs were all so accessible and engaged it created a very personal and intimate learning experience.”

Karen is also executive director for Girls Can Do, a non-profit she founded in 2014. Girls Can Do hosts an event series for girls with the mission to inspire a generation of possibility thinkers and ignite a vision for equal opportunity. In 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a keynote video address, and Karen received a thank you letter from President Barack Obama for her work with girls.

Read more about Karen Clark Cole here.

Orion Series presents Islamic scholar Richard McClary

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:

Richard McClary

Visiting Scholar

“Islamic Tiles in Museums: Past, Present & Future”

11:30am – 1:30 pm (PST) Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Online webinar 

Free & open to the public via Zoom

Register here

Presented by UVic’s Department of Art History & Visual Studies

For more information on this lecture please email:

Islamic tiles are always a challenge to present, as individually they are but one small part of a larger decorative programme. This talk offers a way to contextualise the objects and tell their stories more fully by examining the history of displaying Islamic tiles, some current approaches and through the prism of a series of tiles from a single building in Iran.

Richard McClary has conducted fieldwork in India, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and across the Middle East. He is a trustee and Research Director for the British Institute of Persian Studies, and held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh (2015-18), examining the surviving corpus of Qarakhanid architecture in Central Asia.

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

Meet our newest Youth Poet Laureate


When the City of Victoria recently announced the news that recent Writing / English double-major Eli Mushumanski had been chosen as the 2022 Youth Poet Laureate, we here at Fine Arts were justifiably proud. Mushumanski is the third YPL to come out of UVic’s Writing program in the past 10 years (see our stories on previous youth poets Aysia Law & Ann-Bernice Thomas), so we were eager to sit down for an interview with this thoughtful, introspective non-binary poet.

How did you get your start in poetry? What difficulties have you encountered with writing poetry?

I started writing actually as a three-year-old, and I know this because we have this little cardboard book that has two pages pasted out that my mom typed up for me. It’s complete nonsensical gibberish. But I remember wanting to be a writer, and then I wrote all the way through elementary school, all the way through high school, and then I got to UVic and I ended up getting into poetry.

I used to write a lot of fiction and kind of stayed away from poetry, so I’ve really only been writing poetry for four years. I was a very self-conscious teenager . . . . I don’t like seeing my feelings in written form. It really took my being in workshop and having to write poems [before I thought], “Oh! This is really hard: I like this.” I think poetry is more abstract [than fiction]. In a sense, it’s bigger than my own personal problems.

How do you see your role as YPL? What do you want to accomplish? I understand that you want to tackle the issue of climate change with your poetry. Could you tell me a little bit more about how you want to do that?

I’ve talked in some of my other interviews about making climate change just a little bit more manageable. Obviously, it’s never going to be manageable—it’s this massive, massive problem [with] so many different components—but it’s so big that it feels unreal. Poetry is a way to sort of connect people more to the natural world and make them really love it and care about it. The only way things are going to get better is if we feel more connected to the natural world.

I don’t think poetry on its own is going to change the world or change the environment. It’s about helping fit people feel that they could turn outward, and that it would be safe to do so . . . enabling that process is potentially something poetry could do. It’s important to feel those things: avoiding [them] is obviously not helping. I think the only way out—to use a cliché, which as a poet maybe I shouldn’t—is to feel our way through it in order to make change.

I see the current poet laureate, John Barton, is also a Writing grad: how much will you be working together? What might you learn from interacting with a more experienced poet like him—especially one who foregrounds the queer experience in his poetry?

allow the slow sprawl.
the insects will help your glide,
tendrils of you that will root.
trees are all feeling.
you will not have sound or smell
to distract you.
                         —Eli Mushumanski 

He is going to provide mentorship—I can ask opinions and get a little feedback, which is really nice—and I actually worked with John last April for the City’s Resilient Muse series for National Poetry Month. But being able to read other queer poets like John is a really exciting thing that, 100 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do, and just having the voice of someone older in the queer community is really powerful.

I think we lost a lot of those voices between the AIDS crisis and with hate crimes happening, so I think having those other voices is really powerful to show there is a way to get older in the queer community. I know a lot of young queer people, but I don’t really know a lot of older queer people. It’s great to have the opportunity—he’s organizing some Pride readings, and he’s invited me to be part of some of those—so even just having the opportunity to stand in solidarity has been really exciting.

Where do you see yourself going after you complete your term as YPL? What are your hopes for the future?

For me, I don’t want to be a full-time writer—that may be sacrilegious to say as a poet laureate—but there are so many other parts of myself I want to bring out. I really want to go into psychology long-term: with everything that’s going on right now, people need more support in their lives.

But I am really excited to keep writing and working on longer projects . . . even just starting the position has given me the opportunity to feel this is something I can do. Ideally, I’d like to do something in psychology and then write a lot alongside that. Both of those things are very important to me.

I used to be very passionate about the idea that I was just a writer, that it was my whole identity, [but] during the pandemic, I had to let go of that. I have so many different parts of myself that I can explore, and it’s okay to explore those things; I don’t have to be tied to any one thing. I feel very lucky that I’ve had this opportunity so early on and it’s proof that, yes, [poetry] is something I can do alongside everything else.

—Story & photos by Tori Jones