Creative Futures: Documenting the Climate Crisis

Creative Futures:
Dean’s Speaker Series

“Documenting the
Climate Crisis”

With Sean Holman, Colin Malloy & Paul Walde

Moderated by Dennine Dudley

12:30pm (PST) Thursday, May 26, 2022

Online webinar 

Free & open to the public via Zoom

Register here

Presented by UVic’s Faculty of Fine 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. This moderated panel discussion will explore current work aimed at documenting the impact of the climate crisis, and how Fine Arts artists, scholars and researchers are responding with innovative and compelling ideas. Audience Q&A to follow.

This session features moderator Dennine Dudley (instructor, “Environmental Art”, Art History & Visual Studies), 2022 Ocean Networks Canada artist-in-residence Colin Malloy (PhD candidate, School of Music), Crookes Professor in Environmental & Climate Journalism Sean Holman (Writing), sound & visual artist Paul Walde (professor, Visual Arts). 

“The arts have a central role to play in motivating the average citizen to not only care about the climate crisis but also take action,” says Fine Arts Dean Allana Lindgren. “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. We have no shortage of faculty members who are doing fascinating work when it comes to sustainability, the environment and the climate crisis.”

About Creative Futures

This continuing Dean’s Speaker Series was established in 2021 by Dean Allana Lindgren to showcase the scholarly and artistic efforts of professors, instructors and graduate students in the Faculty of Fine Arts. Each year we will present two sessions (fall & spring) exploring a central theme showing how Fine Arts has a demonstrative impact on the most pressing social issues of our time. Our Fall 2021 session on Sustainability & the Arts featured Theatre professor Conrad Alexandrowicz (author of Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis), Writing professor Kathryn Mockler (Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis) and moderator & Writing professor Shane Book. Watch a recording of it here

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

Visiting Artist: Jaimie Isaac

“The Eighth and Final Fire” (2021), public art installation by Jaimie Isaac (Winnipeg)

Our final Visiting Artist of the academic year is the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s new chief curator, Jaimie Isaac, an interdisciplinary artist and mixed-heritage member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Treaty 1 Territory who is dedicated to decolonizing art and cultural institutions.

Join us from 7:30-9:20pm Wed, April 6 in room A162 of UVic’s Visual Arts building, or online.

Isaac is dedicated to making space for womxn, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ voices and decolonizing art and cultural institutions. She served as the Indigenous and Contemporary Arts at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for more than 6 years and has been in leadership positions in arts and cultural organizations as well as many independent projects. Isaac holds a degree in Art History From University of Winnipeg and a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia, with the thesis focus on Decolonizing Curatorial Practice.

Exhibitions curated at the Winnipeg Art Gallery include the likes of “Nahdohbii: To Draw Water” (an international curatorial collaboration triennial and symposium), “Born In Power”, “Behind Closed Doors”, “Insurgence Resurgence” (co-curated), “Vernon Ah Kee: cantchant”, “Boarder X”(national tour), “We Are On Treaty Land” and “Quiyuktchigaewin; Making Good”. During her tenure, Isaac managed touring shows and initiated many dynamic and sustained partnerships and programming.

Artistically, Isaac co-founded The Ephemerals Collective, which was long-listed for the 2017 and 2019 Sobey Art Award. Collectively and independently, she has exhibited and presented work internationally. Jaimie collaborated with an artistic team on a public sculpture at the Forks called “Nimama at South Point Path: Niizhoziibean” and collaborated on a public art project, “Cyclical Motion: Indigenous Art & Placemaking” and a solo public art work, “8th and Final Fire at the Forks” (Winnipeg, 2021).

With published work, Jaimie has contributed articles and features for Art + Wonder, C Magazine, Bordercrossings and essays for exhibition catalogues; Nahdohbii; To Draw Water, Insurgence Resurgence, Boarder X, Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, and unsacred. Isaac has contributed in collections of writing within The Land We Are Now: Writers and Artists Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, West Coast Line 74 and Public 54: Indigenous Art: New Media and the Digital Journal and contributed in forthcoming publications.

In community, Jaimie was co-faculty for the Wood Land School at Plug In Summer Institute in 2016.  She is the Advisory Committee for the Manitoba Museum and is on the board of directors for Bordercrossings Magazine and Trustee for the Sobey Art Foundation. Jaimie is an honouree for Leaders of Tomorrow from the Manitoba Museum 50th Tribute Awards 2020, CBC Future 40 Finalist and the Canadian Museums Association recipient for an outstanding achievement award in exhibitions category with the Boarder X exhibition, 2021

Young Alumni Lunch & Learn Series: Finding Meaningful Work in the Arts

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?

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

“Finding Meaningful Work in the Arts” with Caroline Riedel

Find out the steps some 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. 

Did you know UVic’s Coop & Career Services offers free career services for students and alumni—regardless of when you graduated? From  brushing up your resume and cover letter to mock interviews and more, the Fine Arts rep can help you find the work you want to be doing. 

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

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? 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.

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!

RESCHEDULED to 12-1pm Wed, April 13: register here

 

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.

Fine Arts well represented at the 2022 Victoria Film Festival

Running February 4-13, both online and in theatres, the Victoria Film Festival will descend on Victoria with a new raft of films to delight movie goers of all stripes.

No stranger to the VFF, you’ll once again find Fine Arts well-represented in these films and events:

Writing alum Sean Horlor (co-director, Someone Like Me, Feb 5) : this award-winning documentary follows the story of Drake, a gay asylum seeker from Uganda. When a queer group unites to support Drake seeking asylum in Canada, unexpected challenges lead them down an emotional road together in search of personal freedom.

Writing’s David Leach (moderator, Welcome to the Metaverse, Feb 9) : Join Brett Gaylor (documentary filmmaker) and Mike Wozniewski (President & CTO, Hololabs) for a hands-on demonstration and discover the power and perils of facial-recognition data-harvesting technologies — and how to make your “metaverse” a “better-verse”. Moderated by UVic’s David Leach and SFU’s Kate Hennessy.

Theatre’s Leslie D. Bland (co-director, Tzouhalem, Feb 13) : This documentary examines the near-mythic figure of Cowichan Chief Tzouhalem, the account of his life from both historians and First Nations Elders, the folkloric tales concerning him, his impact on the modern relationship between the Crown and First Nations, and how his legend remains alive to this day, examining critically how his story has been told and passed down to us.

Writing’s Dan Hogg (producer, Esluna: The Crown of Babylon, Feb 6) : In this action-packed animated feature set in the retro-futuristic world of Esluna, a relic hunter and her crew must track down an ancient artifact known as the Crown of Babylon.

MFA alum Katherin Knight (director, Still Max, Feb 10) : See how artist Max Dean learned to cope with his cancer diagnosis the same way he has dealt with everything in his life: through art. Sometimes whimsical, ultimately touching, this journey is a life enhancing story as only an artist can tell it.

Theatre alum Trevor Hinton (actor, Fragile Seeds, Feb 10) : The dramatic thriller Fragile Seeds follows Ryann Temple, a therapist working with sex offenders who uncovers haunting secrets in her family’s past through the disturbed men she counsels every day.

Visual Arts alum Laura Gildner and former Visual Arts student Enda Burke (Posterful art exhibit, Feb 4-13) : We’ve asked 10 local artists to reinterpret their favourite indie film poster at the Atrium Building.

Visit the Victoria Film Festival’s website for how to attend these and other entertaining and thought provoking shows.

“Never less than amazing”: Lafayette String Quartet take its final bow in 2023

The Lafayette String Quartet at UVic, January 2022 (l-r): Pam Highbaugh Aloni, Ann Elliott-Goldschmid, Sharon Stanis, Joanna Hood (Credit: UVic Photo Services)

A Detroit McDonald’s may be the most unlikely place to start the story of UVic’s internationally acclaimed chamber music ensemble, yet under the golden arches is precisely where the newly formed Lafayette String Quartet (LSQ)—violinists Ann Elliott-Goldschmid and Sharon Stanis, violist Joanna Hood and cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni—had made the decision to pursue a career as a professional string quartet in 1986.

Even more unlikely? Getting their first big international break thanks to the Chernobyl meltdown: when fears of radioactive fallout prompted another string quartet to cancel an appearance at a Munich music festival, the nascent LSQ snapped up the offer to step in as replacements—and never looked back.

Now, with over a dozen albums and a thousand appearances worldwide behind them, the members of UVic’s multiple award-winning Lafayette String Quartet have announced their decision to retire as a performance ensemble in August 2023—a decision made collectively and unanimously, as all their decisions have been…including the anonymous vote on whether or not to accept the newly created position as artists-in-residence at UVic’s School of Music in 1991.

“We just thought we’d do this for two or three years, but here we are over 35 years later—and what an experience we’ve had,” says Highbaugh Aloni. “But great things have to stop at some point, and this feels like the natural time to finish.” 

A passionate commitment as artists and teachers

 While plans are currently underway for the LSQ’s final season—including the recording of five new commissions by female composers, among other performance projects—the university community has been quick to praise the ensemble’s accomplishments.

“The Lafayette String Quartet and UVic have created musical history for over 35 years. Supporting the world’s only all-female string quartet with its original members is a distinct rarity, and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments,” says acting Vice Provost Susan Lewis, who as former dean of UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts and former director of the music school, has known the LSQ for 20 years. 

“In addition to their internationally acclaimed performance history, the quartet has transformed the teaching of chamber music at UVic, training and mentoring a generation of over 400 string musicians and developing the master’s of music in string quartet performance—the only program of its kind in Canada,” continues Lewis.

Read the university’s January 27 news release 

Not only has the LSQ enhanced UVic’s reputation, it has also played an essential role in Greater Victoria’s extended music community, as both musicians and champions of public-school string programs, as well as bolstering Canada’s chamber music reputation and legacy.

“The Lafayette Quartet helped put UVic on the map as a string and chamber music destination by setting an internationally recognized standard of excellence,” says Alexis Luko, current director of UVic’s School of Music.

 

(Left) The Lafayette String Quartet at UVic in 1991, just after the musicians were hired as artists-in-residence, and now in 2022 (left to right: Elliott-Goldschmid, Stanis, Hood, Highbaugh Aloni)

A musical lineage of performance and teaching

Named for both the street and early home of two of their members (the Lafayette Towers on Detroit’s Lafayette Avenue), the LSQ’s musical lineage is far more vaunted: among their own musical mentors were the Cleveland String Quartet and the noted Russian violinist Rostislav Dubinsky, founder of the Borodin Quartet, who had the unique opportunity of working directly with famed 20th-century Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

Indeed, one of the LSQ’s career highlights—along with performing the complete Beethoven cycle of string quartets and the full Mozart quartets and quintet cycles—was the unique performance of a chronological cycle of Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets over a series of five concerts at UVic in 2017.

“The great thing about being in a string quartet is that it’s repertoire-driven: it’s the music that we play that makes being in a string quartet worthwhile,” says Elliott-Goldschmid. “Our career took such a rich trajectory with teaching—had we been strictly a performing group, we would have gotten through much more repertoire—but our role models were always great musicians who taught.” 

Highbaugh Aloni agrees. “Teaching enhances so much of our playing: one of my own teachers said you don’t really learn how to play until you can teach. We have all benefited from being teachers; it really affected how we play individually and as performers.”

Music director Luko, who was herself an undergraduate music student in the 1990s, clearly recalls the impact of the LSQ’s early years—and their importance as female faculty members.

“When I was a student, nobody missed a Lafayette String Quartet concert. The sheer performance energy and powerful bond of these four women made a huge impression on me . . . . It felt like a real feminist moment. This group brought ‘woman power’ to the highest levels of chamber music,” says Luko. 

Pianist and long-time School of Music colleague Bruce Vogt was the one who called the LSQ to see if they might be interested in moving to UVic, and he clearly recalls their arrival on campus in 1991. “They brought an instant energy, a joy in performing and in collaboration,” he says. “It was always an inspiration to play with them . . . individually or together, they brought us closer, inspired so many of us.”

The quartet at the School of Music’s Phillip T. Young Recital Hall in January 2022 (l-r): Hood, Stanis, Highbaugh Aloni, Elliott-Goldschmid. (Credit: UVic Photo Services)

The senior string quartet in Canada

From their earliest days as a quartet, the LSQ earned both praise (“These people are good!” exclaimed Detroit’s Metro Times in 1987) and international attention (“The Lafayette String Quartet resides at the heart of chamber music life in Canada” noted a 1993 cover feature in UK’s historic Strad magazine), which continued throughout their career.

“They are never less than amazing,” says James Campbell, who has known the LSQ since he performed with them—on Dubinsky’s recommendation—for his debut faculty concert at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music in 1988. Dubbed “Canada’s premier clarinetist,” Campbell has since performed with and booked the LSQ numerous times at Ontario’s acclaimed Festival of the Sound, of which he has been artistic director since 1985.

“They were definitely unique as one of the only all-female quartets, but it was their spirit that set them apart,” he recalls. “Technical and musical excellence is assumed at that level, but there was an extra personality to their group that connected with us all—audiences included.”

That’s a sentiment shared by Jennifer Taylor, artistic director of Music TORONTO—Canada’s pre-eminent chamber music series. “Our audiences love the Lafayette Quartet,” notes Taylor, who has been booking the LSQ for 32 years—including the upcoming closing night gala of Music TORONTO’s 50th anniversary season in April 2022.

“Their longevity without a change of personnel is remarkable—and they clearly still like each other,” she says. “As the senior string quartet in Canada, we are proud to call them ‘Friends of the House’.”

Campbell agrees with their remarkable legacy.

“They’ve been together through children, through illnesses, through injuries, through all the ups and downs of a musical career, which are many,” he says. “Most quartets have players that come and go—the name continues but the personnel change—but the Lafayette are united as sisters: it’s unique and quite amazing.” 

The healing power of music

In addition to their musical and teaching legacy, the LSQ also created the annual Lafayette Health Awareness Series in 2005 to provide expert information on various health topics ranging from COVID and aging well to brain health and breast cancer—the latter of which both inspired the series and profoundly impacted the LSQ, following a 2001 diagnosis and treatment for one of its members.

As such, music and well-being have become integral to the daily lives of the LSQ—from their own practice and health to both their students and the audience members with whom they share their music.

A generational legacy

While certain aspects of the LSQ’s final season will depend on the current pandemic—including a number of local and national performances—what isn’t in question is their remarkable legacy spanning more than 35 years.

“They will never be replaced,” says the Festival of the Sound’s Campbell, who is scheduled to perform with them in fall 2022. “Those four personalities are unique and special, so you’ll never get another quartet like them.”

As a long-time colleague, UVic’s Lewis can’t help but see their influence on campus.

“If you look at the history of the School of Music, there’s before the Quartet and after the Quartet,” she says. “They didn’t just arrive and head off into a rehearsal room for 30 years: their influence permeated every aspect of the school—and beyond.”

For Allana Lindgren, the dean of UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts, they represent the pinnacle of performance and pedagogical rigour.

“”In addition to being world-class musicians, the members of the LSQ have been inspiring role models of elegance, intelligence and artistic brilliance throughout their impressive careers,” says Lindgren. “They embody our guiding aspiration in Fine Arts to challenge our students to excel through our own passionate commitment to excellence as artists and teachers.”

Their final year 

With plans currently underway for the LSQ’s final season—including decisions around who will be retiring from teaching, as well as the ensemble—each member offers a more personal reflection on their legacy.

“We could never have dreamed of this adventure,” says Highbaugh Aloni. “We’ve really had a great run.”

“I just feel so blessed to have had such rich opportunities,” says Stanis. 

Elliott-Goldschmid considers their impact on the local music scene. “There was chamber music here when we arrived, of course, but there’s been such growth over the past 30 years…Victoria had incredibly fertile ground and we just helped to plant the seeds. We’ve made music with so many colleagues around the city over the years, and our students are now playing in chamber groups everywhere in Victoria and across the country.”

It’s this final thought that may well offer the best coda to the Lafayette String Quartet’s legacy. Thanks to their dedicated mentorship, the LSQ is surrounded by a generation of student musicians who are now succeeding as peers in ensembles, symphonies and quartets of their own.

“It is so fulfilling to play with our former students,” concludes Hood. “Nothing beats that.”