Hot new electives for Winter ’22

Students, do you need a fascinating elective for Winter 2022? Fine Arts has you covered, no matter what your faculty or area of study. While we’re offering dozens of electives, we’re highlighting these four as they’re open to all students across campus.

The Ongoing Art of Resistance

There couldn’t be a better time for this new course taught by acclaimed artist & Visual Arts / Art History & Visual Studies professor Carey Newman: “The Ongoing Art of Resistance: Decolonization Through Indigenous Resurgence”.

From the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie & the art of Kent Monkman to the films of Alanis Obomsawin and so many others, you’ll explore how Indigenous artists continue resistance within local, national & international contexts.

Better still, you’ll be learning with one of Victoria’s leading multi-disciplinary artists & master carvers—the creator of the acclaimed Witness Blanket installation.

The Ongoing Art of Resistance: AHVS 392 A04 • CRN 24121
runs 2:30-5:30pm Thursdays, starting Jan 2022

(Image: Andy Everson)

Exploring arts & technology

Interested in exploring immersive & augmented experiences? Check out our new Arts & Technology elective run by noted intermedia artist Christine Swintak.

From virtual exhibitions & livestream performances to geolocation, projector mapping, virtual/augmented reality, immersive media installations & data-driven practices, this practice-oriented seminar will dive into immersive & augmented experiences in both art and society.

Arts & Technology II: FA 346 A01 • CRN 2410
10-11:20am Mon/Thurs starting Jan 2022

Evolution of comics

How did early 20th century comic strips evolve into the sophisticated graphic novels we have today? 

Journey from Milton Caniff’s classic adventure strip “Terry & the Pirates” to Alison Bechdel’s landmark lesbian memoir “Fun Home” via artists like Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Charles Schultz, Robert Crumb, Lynda Barry, Darwin Cooke, Chris Ware & so many more.

You’ll even have the option of creating your own comic in this course taught by local artist Peter Sandmark.

Comic Strips to Graphic Novels: AHVS 392 A02  • CRN: 20075 • 4:30-7:20pm Mondays

Suppressed music

Explore the greatest music you’ve never heard and discover how first-rate composers were suppressed under Third Reich and Communist regimes during the 20th century.

By listening to music and watching films, plus readings & in-class discussions, you’ll explore issues of antisemitism, racism, exile, imprisonment and cultural dispersion/immigration.

You’ll also discover the surprising role of music in internment & concentration camps, all with School of Music professor Suzanne Snizek.

Issues in Suppressed Music: MUS 391 A01 • CRN 22241
2:30-5:20pm Wednesdays starting Jan 2022

Staging Equality is making change by building relationships with theatre

Kandil & Kovacs outside Chief Dan George Theatre (cred: Adrienne Holierhoek)

If you’ve ever attended a play in the Phoenix Building, odds are good you’ve been inside the Chief Dan George Theatre. Named for the actor and chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation whose talent took him beyond North Vancouver to become an Oscar-nominated actor, the theatre also features a striking Coast Salish-inspired wooden-inlay wall panel—both signs of Indigenous respect literally built into the building when it opened in 1981.

Yet, as professor Yasmine Kandil noted when she hosted the President’s Town Hall in the Chief Dan George Theatre in October, has the department done enough to live up to those respectful intentions? Especially when taking into account who has historically come to, and been represented in, that space.

Enter Staging Equality, a vision of how theatre can address issues of race, diversity and inclusion by building relationships based on trust and respect.

 A collaborative and creative research project

Created out of the Strategic Framework Impact Fund, Staging Equality is a three-year, $64,000 collaborative and creative research project devised by Kandil and fellow theatre professor Sasha Kovacs.

“Theatre is a tricky space to be contending with stories of racism and to try to work in an anti-racist methodology and decolonize theatre practices,” says Kovacs. “These are really challenging things to do.”

Currently working with an interdisciplinary team of students, faculty and community partners on a series of workshops and staged readings, Kandil and Kovacs hope Staging Equality will cultivate an environment that respects the legacy of Chief Dan George.

“It’s welcoming through building relationships,” explains Kovacs. “What context or work do we need to do before our new partners and audiences enter this space?”

Now in the second of a three-year framework, Staging Equality is built on a year-long foundation of consulting, questioning, listening and planning alongside their community and campus partners. One early—but essential—shift involved abandoning the standard model of working with out-of-town guests and professionals, and instead focusing on Indigenous and racialized artists who are already doing the work right here in Victoria.

That led Kandil and Kovacs to local playwright Lina de Guevara, who founded Puente Theatre back in 1988 to showcase the experiences of immigrants and diverse minorities. In September, Staging Equality presented a staged reading of de Guevara’s play Journey to Mapu in the Chief Dan George Theatre, which featured a 15-person cast of almost entirely people of colour.

Staging Kamloopa

Journey to Mapu, featuring ICA’s Paulina Grainger (cred: Miranda Hatch)

Staging Equality’s next project is similarly local: a staged reading of the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story, written by Kim Senklip Harvey of the Syilx and Tsilhqot’in Nations—who won the GG the same week in June 2021 that she graduated with her MFA from the Department of Writing, becoming the first Indigenous woman to ever win that award.
Now a PhD candidate with UVic Law, Harvey will be directing the November 20 Staging Equality reading of her own play, featuring a mixed cast of Indigenous students, alumni and community members. “With the readings, we’re also really trying to foster connections between current BIPoC students and BIPoC alumni and artists,” says Kandil.

Not only will this mark the first time Kamloopa has been performed locally in any format, but Harvey’s participation also represents a strong measure of confidence in Staging Equality. “It really has been about collaboration, about building those relationships across campus and in the community,” says Kovacs.


Hope for change

Kandil also sees Staging Equality as a way of offering hope to students and partners, both current and future. “Racialized students do not always see themselves represented in curriculum . . . so when they work alongside practicing artists, they can have the hope and see the opportunity to practice their craft after they graduate.”

While they are only at the halfway point, Kovacs feels the project has already made an impact on her personally and professionally. “As a white woman, this has been hugely transformative: not only on how I do research but also in the way I make theatre and teach students,” she says. “And, as a department that has a theatre company operating within it, the hope is that the work we’re doing on this project can be of value and of use for other departments across Canada.”

For her part, Kandil is pleased that Staging Equality has become a sign of positive change in Victoria’s theatre community.

“It’s already starting to create a buzz and cultivate the kinds of relationships that will lead to projects beyond this,” she says. “If you show trust and you show respect, people come willingly and want to stay and build more relationships through the arts. That’s what’s been moving for me.”


workshop photo (cred: Yasmine Kandil)

The free public performance of Kamloopa is at 8pm Saturday, Nov 20, in the Chief Dan George Theatre (reservations required).

Jenessa Joy Klukas harnesses the power of the pen

When it comes to wrapping up a writing degree with a flourish, it’s hard to beat Jenessa Joy Klukas. Not only did Klukas finish the final year of her studies interning at the independent media outlet The Tyee as part of the Journalists for Human Rights’ Indigenous Reporters Program, she’s also been hired by the equally independent IndigiNews as their new education and child welfare reporter.

“Children, child welfare, education, Indigenous issues: these are the topics I’m passionate about and really enjoy writing about,” says Klukas. “Having those all in one position is basically my dream job.”

Of Xaxli’p and Métis descent, Klukas grew up on the land of the Haisla Nation in Kitimat before moving to Victoria and transferring into UVic’s writing department from nearby Camosun College. With a focus on creative nonfiction (CNF), Klukas found UVic a good fit for her aspirations.

“The CNF program did a great job in setting me up for success and gave me a lot of really useful tools: publishing, how to pitch, what editors expect,” she says, offering her praise for the department—and specifically the support of CNF professor Deborah Campbell.

“The faculty and staff were all very encouraging and helped me a lot in finding my confidence and voice . . . I really appreciated that,” she says. “But Deborah was incredibly helpful and gave so much advice.”

From intern to reporter

It was Campbell who encouraged Klukas to apply for the six-week Tyee internship, where she wrote a series of stories about the childcare industry. ”Early-childhood educators don’t get the support they need: it’s an under-developed topic in the media,” says Klukas, who also likes the idea of harnessing the power of the pen for positive change.

“As somebody who is Indigenous, the lack of diversity [in journalism] made me want to contribute my voice and make sure Indigenous stories are heard,” she says. “It’s nice to see the industry opening up—and I really do think it is what Canada needs right now.”

Big conversations, big stories

Given the social upheavals that coincided with her degree studies—reconciliation, COVID, the continuing climate crisis, the rise of recent social justice movements—Klukas feels like the world has definitely shifted since her first writing class.

“It does feel different . . . there are big conversations to be had with people you often don’t know,” she says. “The political and conversational climate is changing, especially in areas like social justice and reconciliation . . . in some ways for the better, I hope. It’s an interesting world to adapt to.”

With her IndigiNews beat covering Vancouver Island, Klukas gets to remain Victoria-based for now—another plus to an already ideal position. “IndigiNews has been on my radar for a while, as they’re a really great outlet,” she says.

Better still, when she applied, it turned out she was already on their radar: “They had already been reading my pieces at the Tyee.” None of this surprises writing professor Deborah Campbell. “Jenessa Joy’s engagement with challenging issues from an Indigenous perspective makes her an invaluable member of any news team,” she says.

Jenessa Joy Klukas (photos: Andrew Silbernagel)

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.

All donations matched to Dec 31

As part of our goal to raise $25,000 to permanently endow this fund, we currently have a donor who will be matching all donations up to $10,000 received prior to December 31, 2021.

To make a donation, 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)


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

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

Enter to win in the Fine Arts lobby


Our contest winner is undergraduate Art History & Visual Arts student Alexie Pusch, seen here both with her winning hat and with contest organizer Karla Point and Fine Arts administrative assistant Olivia Hardman.