Call for 2024 grad student ONC artistic residency

2021 ONC AIR Dennis Gupa

Are you a Fine Arts graduate student interested in oceans and looking for a paid artistic residency in 2024? Are you excited by the idea of exploring the potential for the arts or alternative cultural practices to highlight the visions, challenges, philosophical, aesthetic or ethical aspects of oceans and the impacts humans have on it?

If so, then the Fine Arts/Ocean Networks Canada Artist-in-Residence program may be the perfect fit for you!

Who can apply?

Open to current grad students (working in any discipline) who have completed most of their course requirements in any Fine Arts unit (including Art History & Visual Studies, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing and the School of Music), the Artist-in-Residence program is currently seeking proposals for 2024. The application period closes on December 22, 2023.

UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) co-lead and sponsor the Artist-in-Residence program, with additional financial support provided by the Faculty of Science and UVic’s Office of Research Services provide  to the program.

When does it run?

The residency period can start anytime between Feb 1 and August 31, 2024, and last for up to four months. A cost-of-living stipend of CAD$2,000/month will be paid to the selected Artist, with limited additional funds to support production or materials. At the conclusion of the residency, a public event featuring the resulting art will be presented, displayed or performed, and will be promoted by ONC and the Faculty of Fine Arts. This event will work within a specified budget agreed to during the residency, and depending on the type of project to be exhibited. Assistance for marketing and/or ticketing could be made available from other UVic departments.

Who else has done it?

Our 2023 AIR is Neil Griffin (Writing), who fused the creative with the scientific in a series of lyric essays titled Whale Fall, exploring the ecological stages of whale decomposition from its last breath to its incorporation into the deep-sea ecoscape.

Find out more here about our previous AIRs, including Colin Malloy (School of Music), Dennis Gupa (Theatre) and Colton Hash (Visual Arts).

What’s it about?

The ONC AIR program strengthens connections between art and science that broaden and cross-fertilize perspectives and critical discourse on today’s major issues, such as environment, technology, oceans, cultural and biodiversity, and healthy communities.

The Artist-in-Residence will ignite cross-disciplinary exchanges, interacting with Fine Arts faculty members and scientists & staff at ONC, as well as with other individuals using ONC’s ocean observing facilities and data portal. The Artist will learn from and engage with the current research, connecting it to the Artist’s own practice, and to wider societal and cultural aspects, creating work for public presentation at the end of the residency. The Artist will also be invited to contribute as a lead or co-author in scientific conference proceedings and/or journal articles.

Possible themes:

The selected Artist will actively engage with researchers on a variety of ocean science themes that may include:

  1. Natural hazards
  2. Ocean soundscapes
  3. Indigenous perspectives
  4. Arctic observing
  5. Community-engaged ocean monitoring
  6. Advancing deep ocean observing
  7. Hot and cold vent dynamics
  8. Coastal ocean
  9. Ocean data science 

How to apply

Proposal Submission Interested applicants are to email ONC ( with the subject line “Ocean Artist-in-Residence Program,” and attach:
  1. the artist’s CV
  2. a concise portfolio of previous relevant artistic work;
  3. a letter of motivation outlining the artist’s project proposal for the residency, and
  4. a 500-word project proposal with a separate project-costs budget
Applications will be reviewed by representatives of Fine Arts and Ocean Networks Canada. Artists may be contacted for an interview or to supply further information before a decision is made.

About the program

The ONC Artist-in-Residence program is established to:
  • explore the potential of the arts or alternative cultural practices in the area of the visions, challenges, philosophical, aesthetic, and ethical aspects of the ocean and the impacts humans have on it;
  • add a complementary artistic and creative perspective to ocean science, the societal ramifications of its exploitation, and its cultural aspects;
  • create opportunities for potential new research questions, experimental approaches and knowledge synthesis resulting from interaction between the arts and science; and
  • help envision and communicate the potential long-term impact of ocean changes on humanity.

Orange Shirt Day events

Did you know this popular Orange Shirt Day design “Hearts & Hands” was created by multi-disciplinary Kwakwaka’wakw/Coast Salish artist Carey Newman? UVic’s Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices and a professor with both our departments of Visual Arts and Art History & Visual Studies, Newman is also the creator of the powerful Witness Blanket sculpture, now permanently housed in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.

“This design was made to honour the children who died in residential school,” says Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme. “The hearts express love for all those in unmarked graves and compassion for the families and communities who waited for them to be found. The small and colourful hands remind us of the uniqueness and beauty of every child. Taken together, they represent our commitment to listen to our hearts and use our hands, to do the work that needs to be done.”

“The visceral confirmation of Survivor accounts that has come from locating these graves has affected many of us on an emotional level,” he continues. “It has changed the way that many people think and feel about our histories and current realities in Canada.”

Examining the impacts of colonialism

A master carver, filmmaker, author and popular public speaker, Carey Newman’s artistic practice strives to highlight Indigenous, social and environmental issues as he examines the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, harnessing the power of material truth to unearth memory and trigger the necessary emotion to drive positive change. He is also interested in engaging with community and incorporating innovative methods derived from traditional teachings and Indigenous worldviews into his process.

Support meaningful engagement with Elders

Just in time for Orange Shirt Day, Newman’s design is currently available to order on a t-shirt at UVic’s Bookstore. But be warned: fake designs are unfortunately available online, the proceeds from which are not going to Indigenous groups. It’s best to pick one up from a trusted supplier, like the Bookstore.

If you already have a shirt from a previous year, we encourage you to support Orange Shirt Day initiatives by considering making a $25 donation directly to the Elders Engagement Fund, Witness Blanket Project or Orange Shirt Society.

The university has established the ITOTELNEW̱TEL ȽTE: LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER Fund (Elders Engagement Fund). It provides meaningful engagement with Elders and opportunities for learning Indigenous ways of knowing for students, faculty and staff.

Orange Shirt Day events

Events are taking place across campus this week in recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Week. You can see a full list of campus activities here. Be sure to wear your orange shirt and join in the campus gathering in the Quad from 11:45am-1:30pm Friday, Sept. 29.

There’s also the big South Island Pow-wow starting at 10am Saturday, Sept 30, in downtown’s Royal Athletic Park.

What is Orange Shirt Day?

Orange Shirt Day is a national movement in Canada. In this annual event, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation to honour former residential school students, their families and communities. We consider the impacts of the policies and actions of the Government of Canada and the churches that operated the schools.

Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake, BC in 2013 at the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event at which survivor Phyllis Webstad told the story of her shiny new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day of school at the Mission.

Orange Shirt Day occurs in early fall because this is the time of year when children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools. The day inspires Canadians to take part in anti-racism and anti-bullying initiatives at school and work.

The residential school era began in the early 1870s, with the last school closing in 1996. More than 150,000 Indigenous, Métis and Inuit children attended these schools. There are an estimated 80,000 survivors living today.

Legacy gift highlights Steinway anniversary

Arthur Rowe performing on one of UVic’s Steinway pianos (photo: Leon Fei)

Fifteen years ago, UVic’s School of Music was named Canada’s first All-Steinway School and, while there are now over 200 All-Steinway schools globally, UVic is still the only one in Canada — a significant designation currently being celebrated with both a new $300,000 estate gift and a signature concert.

“Steinways are recognized worldwide for their excellence and are by far the most preferred concert piano in the world,” says School of Music piano professor Arthur Rowe.

But keeping 63 pianos ready for daily student use also requires constant tuning and repairs, which makes the new $300,000 Martha Cooke Fund so important. Named for the late Public Archives Canada curator, Cooke’s legacy earmarks $200,000 for essential piano maintenance.

 “These pianos are now 15 years old, so this gift comes to us at a critical time,” says Rowe. “Maintaining our excellent instruments is crucial, so these funds will help ensure the longevity and excellence of our Steinways.”

Internationally renowned guest pianist

The Martha Cooke Fund also sets aside a further $100,000 for three years of annual concerts and masterclasses with internationally renowned Korean-American pianist Minsoo Sohn — the first of which debuts October 3 at UVic when he presents an awe-inspiring performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s complete Études-Tableaux.

Sohn will also host a free public masterclass with School of Music piano students at 10:30am Wednesday, Oct 4, which all are welcome to attend.

As the winner of many prestigious competitions and a teacher of renowned pianists himself, Minsoo Sohn’s concerts and masterclasses will demonstrate his own pursuit of musical excellence for the benefit of UVic students. This promises to be an extraordinary experience that will transport audiences to a realm of emotion, virtuosity and musical brilliance.

Masterful virtuosity

Known for his musical intelligence and masterful virtuosity — qualities that have earned him acclaim throughout the United States, Canada and Korea — Sohn’s readings of the works of Bach and Beethoven in particular have placed him among the elect in this repertoire, and the inspired ingenuity of his performances of orchestral repertoire have earned him many accolades.

Sohn owes much of his success to his mentors, Russell Sherman and Wha Kyung Byun, with whom he studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston. After teaching at Michigan State University, Sohn returned to South Korea where he instantly became a much sought after performer and pedagogue, as he joined the faculty at Korean National University of Arts. He has also served on the jury at prominent international piano competitions including Honens, Top of the World and Busoni Competition.

Southam Lecture: Erica Gies

“Nearly every human endeavor on the planet was conceived and constructed with a relatively stable climate in mind. But as new climate disasters remind us every day, our world is not stable — and it is changing in ways that expose the deep dysfunction of our relationship with water. Increasingly severe and frequent floods and droughts inevitably spur calls for higher levees, bigger drains, and longer aqueducts. But as we grapple with extreme weather, a hard truth is emerging: our development, including concrete infrastructure designed to control water, is actually exacerbating our problems. Because sooner or later, water always wins.”

So writes acclaimed science journalist Erica Gies in her “quietly radical” book, Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge (University of Chicago Press), where she introduces us to innovators in what she calls the “Slow Water” movement who start by asking a revolutionary question: What does water want?

Appearing live on campus

Find out more when this National Geographic Explorer and independent journalist appears on campus as the 2023 Southam Lecturer in the Department of Writing, offering the free public talk “Water Always Wins: Working with Nature in an Age of Drought, Fire & Flood”.

While Gies spoke on campus on Oct 3, her talk is now live for viewing here: 

Slow water

As Dept of Writing Lansdowne Professor Deborah Campbell notes in this recent Tyee interview with Erica Gies, she also coined the term “Slow Water” to describe working with water’s natural processes.

“Like ‘Slow Food’, ‘Slow Water’ works with local geology, ecology and culture to figure out how to make space for that place’s natural slow phases of water, respecting its agency and relationships,” explains Gies. “Slow Water means systems thinking rather than single-focus solutions. Projects are distributed across the landscape rather than centralized. Slow Water solutions are also local and environmentally just.” 

Journalism with impact

With Water Always Wins recently published in the US, UK and China, Gies’ reporting on water, climate change, plants and critters continues to appear in Scientific American, Hakai, The New York Times, The Narwhal, The Guardian and other publications.

She has received the Sierra Club’s Rachel Carson Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, Friends of the River’s California River Award, the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Award and was a finalist for the Berlin-based Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year Award.

She has given keynote talks at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, scientific and water industry conferences, and to government agencies, community organizations, NGOs and classrooms. Media appearances include CBC, CNN International and public radio in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England and the United States.

A legacy of excellence

Gies is only the latest journalist to be named a Southam Lecturer, joining the recent likes of Tyee founder David Beers, climate journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, photojournalist Farah Nosh and many others. Since 2007, we have been bringing some of Canada’s leading print and broadcast journalists to campus to speak, teach and mentor our Writing students.  

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.

Annual Reading Night Returns

Hear new work by some of Canada’s top writers at the annual Writing Faculty Reading Night!

Back for the first time since pre-pandemic days, this event features acclaimed Department of Writing professors Shane Book, Mo Bradley, Danielle Geller, Lee Henderson, Kevin Kerr, Kathryn Mockler, Gregory Scofield plus Lansdowne Professor Deborah Campbell (above). Catch readings of new work in their respective fields of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays and screenwriting. 


Always a fun & fascinating evening, this event will be hosted by Fine Arts communications officer John Threlfall

7pm Thurs, Sept 28 in room A240 of UVic’s HSD building.