Whether they realize it or not, generations of graduating UVic students have been touched by the music of Dr. Erich Schwandt.
Professor Emeritus of Musicology in the School of Music, Dr. Schwandt passed away in Victoria on August 2. A native of California, he attended Stanford University for his entire academic training, where he studied harpsichord with noted American musicologist, Putnam Aldrich. After a period of teaching at the Eastman School, Schwandt came to UVic in 1975, where he taught until he retired in 2001.
Erich P. Schwandt
An expert on music of the French Baroque, towards the end of his career Schwandt did major work on the early 20th century composer Erik Satie, notably reconstructing his lost Messe des pauvres, which had its world premiere at UVic in 1997, accompanied by a 40-person choir.
A gentle and witty man, much beloved by his students, he continued to be a presence at the university after he retired, and for 30 years played the huge Clearihue organ at every convocation ceremony in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium until spring 2013. His work as an organist was profiled in this “Day in the Life” story for UVic’s Ring newspaper back in 2011. “It’s a lot of fun, and it’s an easy thing to do,” Schwandt said at the time. “I get to play whatever music I please.”
Indeed, due to his position as organist, Schwandt may have attended more UVic Convocations than any other person, with tens of thousands of UVic grads hearing his work. “It means a lot to the families to see their child get their degree,” he said, adding that he had “also heard speeches of all kinds from honorary degree recipients through the years.” (Favourites included eco-forester Merv Wilkinson and Canadian author Carol Shields.)
Schwandt was also instrumental (pun intended) in UVic’s acquisition of the Clearihue organ in the late 1970s. “I saw an ad with a very vague description of an organ for sale in Quebec for $20,000,” he recalled in the Ring article. “I went to Quebec to investigate. And it was in a church where it had been subject to extreme fluctuations in temperature and had suffered damage so that it was barely playable. Local organ builder Hugo Spilker went and examined it, took it apart, arranged for transport and modified it mechanically for installation in the new UVic auditorium.”
The French classic organ — originally built by 1966 by Georges Mayer of Sarre-Union, France, for the parish of St. Mathias, Quebec — was purchased and donated to UVic by Dr. Joyce Clearihue, as a memorial to her parents Joseph and Irene Clearihue (Joseph served as UVic’s first chancellor). “I like it very much,” Schwandt said at the time.
Schwandt’s interest in education surfaced at an early age when he tutored the neighboring pastor’s child on the kitchen blackboard. His appreciation of music dates back to his early years in his childhood home, which held two pianos and an organ that he restored while in high school.
In 2015, Schwandt was awarded Honorary Alumnus status at UVic, when then-Director of Music, Dr. Susan Lewis, described him as “one of the department’s defining spirits.”
A memorial gathering for Erich Schwandt, with music and refreshments, will take place at 2 pm Saturday, September 30, at the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mary M. and Erich P. Schwandt Scholarships. Donations can be made either online or by mail: Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria BC V8W 2Y2. Attn: Development Office. Please include in Cheque Memo: “Mary M. and Erich P. Schwandt Scholarships”
—With files by Kristy Farkas, Robie Liscomb and Samantha Krzywonos
When this year’s group of graduating Fine Arts students cross the stage of UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium on June 13, they’ll find themselves in the presence of a true master — or maestro — as Timothy Vernon will also be receiving an Honorary Doctor of Music (DMus) on the same day.
Maestro Timothy Vernon
The founding artistic director of Pacific Opera Victoria, Maestro Vernon has earned the admiration of audiences by virtue of his artistic vision and fashioned POV into one of the city’s true cultural treasures. Renowned for the quality of its often challenging productions and for bold programming that can range from Handel to contemporary works, Pacific Opera Victoria has proven itself as arguably the most successful, innovative and progressive arts organization in the country — primarily thanks to Timothy Vernon.
“Timothy is an active community leader, volunteer, and an inspiration to aspiring students and professional musicians,” says Dr. Susan Lewis, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. “He has conducted for opera companies and orchestras across Canada and is deeply committed to the careers of emerging Canadian artists.”
Vernon’s leadership and dedication to the Victoria arts community — and beyond — is well known. As the founding Artistic Director of Pacific Opera Victoria, he has led most of POV’s more than 100 productions since the company’s inception in 1979, including at least three world premieres and numerous Canadian premieres. He has conducted for opera companies and orchestras across Canada, served as Conductor Laureate for Orchestra London (Ontario) and has been a leader in education with his tenure at McGill University and his role as artistic director of the Courtenay Youth Music Centre.
Vernon receiving his Honorary Doctor on June 13. (Photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)
In his address to graduating students on June 13, Vernon admitted that he was worried about the future of opera and how its “quiet voice” is in danger of being drowned out — particularly with the disappearance of music programs in the public school system.
“How do we find the faith in this elusive thing that is art, in the face of an apparently indifferent and hostile world?” he asked. Citing a POV rehearsal for La Traviata on September 11, 2001 — the day of the 9/11 attacks in the USA — Vernon spoke of the inspirational realization that came from that terrible day.
“We asked ourselves, what were we doing here making opera in the face of these horrific events? But from that low point came a discovery: that real artists fight. The real way of dealing with the demons within is to invoke the angels of our better natures — and who better than our great creators in all of our arts and traditions and histories? Even reading a page from one of Mozart’s masterpieces offers a glimpse of perfection . . . every performer understands that. Can the world ever have enough of beauty, truth, depth and grandeur? Never, we decided, should we apologize for pursuing a life in the arts; it needs no defense. It is essential for the spiritual heath of society, as in the individual . . . fashion may change, but the truth of the achievement of great art remains relevant.”
School of Music voice professor Benjamin Butterfield has a long history performing with Vernon and POV, and was quick to laud the maestro. “No one deserves greater recognition for their achievements,” he says. “Timothy is a role model to so many, crossing all generations. His unflagging enthusiasm for everything and anything, his integrity towards all he involves himself in and his inexhaustible desire to learn makes him a crucial member of this community. He is eternally young at heart — and yet, at the same time, he can engage about anything with anyone by drawing on his wealth of experience, knowledge and diverse personal interests. It is not only his enthusiasm about life but his understanding of what is important that keeps him firmly embedded in the conscience of this community.”
Timothy Vernon with Benjamin Butterfield at the special reception following Convocation (photo: Kristy Farkas)
In recognition of his work in expanding professional opera in Canada and his commitment to young musicians, Vernon was presented with the Order of Canada in 2008, and is also the recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, among numerous other honours.
A life lived in music
Raised in Victoria, Vernon studied conducting as a teenager at the Victoria School (now Conservatory) of Music and, at just 14, held appointments as organist and choirmaster in local churches. He went on to study in Europe at the Vienna Academy of Music and Salzburg’s Mozarteum, as well as in Nice, Sienna and the Netherlands, before returning to Canada in 1975 to become conductor and music director of the Regina Symphony Orchestra. In addition to beginning his work as POV’s artistic director in 1980, he began teaching at McGill University’s Faculty of Music in 1986, where he also served as conductor of the McGill Symphony Orchestra and associate director of Opera McGill.
Butterfield fondly recalls participating in Mahler’s 2nd Symphony under Vernon’s leadership while both were at McGill. “That concert remains for many one of the greatest experiences of their lives; Timothy’s knowledge and love of the piece was beyond comprehension — he taught everyone, through that one event, how to love what they do. The fiery ease with which Timothy brought the orchestra and choir to life is still talked about in musical circles. Timothy stood tall that day — as tall as any true leader.”
School of Music chair Christopher Butterfield with Fine Arts Dean Susan Lewis and Timothy Vernon (photo: Kristy Farkas)
Most recently, Vernon was appointed artistic director of Opera Lyra Ottawa in 2015, but it is his continuing work with Pacific Opera Victoria for which he is best loved locally. And given the long history the School of Music’s has with POV — where numerous students, graduates and faculty in the voice program continue to perform — Maestro Vernon is an ideal choice to receive this latest award.
“Timothy has always thrived on sharing his talents, knowledge and wisdom with students,” concludes Butterfield. “He is witty, clever, well-read, well-spoken and a man of great integrity, and has much to offer through his decades of experience in music and in the world. UVic has done a good thing in acknowledging Maestro Vernon with this Honorary Degree. Our arts community is better for it.”
She has helped uncover the forgotten works of suppressed composers and played alongside the likes of the National Orchestra of Taiwan and the Moody Blues. Now, the research and creative practice of School of Music flute professor and music scholar Suzanne Snizek is receiving renewed attention with the news that she is among the 10 recipients of UVic’s inaugural REACH Awards.
Music professor Suzanne Snizek (UVic Photo Services)
“This is a tremendous honour,” says Snizek. “I am very thankful to my colleagues who took the time to nominate me, and happy that my work has been recognized in this way.”
Combining the Teaching Excellence Awards with the Craigdarroch Research Awards, the REACH Awards celebrate the extraordinary teachers and researchers who lead the way in dynamic learning and make a vital impact at UVic, in the classroom and beyond.
“The REACH Awards mark a new era of recognition for our university,” says UVic president Jamie Cassels. “By honouring research and teaching together, we acknowledge how they’re inextricably linked for the betterment of our students, our university, our partners and collaborators, and society at large.”
Snizek, who received the Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression on May 25 at an evening ceremony at the Royal British Columbia Museum, is an expert in “suppressed music” — classical music silenced under the Nazi regime because of the composers’ ideologies, aesthetic or Jewish heritage. Many of these works are exceptional, but are rarely performed to this day.
“If it’s a good piece of music, it should be played,” says Snizek, who was delighted when one of her music students picked two suppressed pieces for an end-of-year recital. “One of the challenges for this music is that it gets ghettoized again as ‘suppressed music.’ So I’m trying to present it on its own terms, and include it in my teaching here so students can encounter this music for themselves.”
You can listen to some samples of Snizek playing suppressed music here.
Indeed, Snizek has dedicated much of her academic career to bringing this suppressed music back to life. Through audio recordings, publications, performances and lectures around the world, she’s part of a global effort to bring these forgotten treasures back into our musical and historical consciousness, and to remind us what can happen when the rights to free speech and artistic expression are violated.
Snizek’s research was originally inspired by the illegal detentions at Guantanamo Bay in the early 2000s. “The inherent cruelty and injustice of ‘indefinite detention’ has always been particularly unacceptable to me and so was a natural starting point for my research.” Unfortunately, she says she isn’t shocked that issues of personal and artistic suppression are still as relevant today as in the World War II era.
“It doesn’t at all surprise me, but it does concern me,” she admits. “None of this is just dry history, it all has a very real human impact: in generations of family trauma, in artistic production — or lack thereof. In 1940, the war was going quite badly for the Allies, and many felt the world was at the point of coming to an end . . . just listening to the news today can generate empathy for their despair.”
Research aside, she has also been pleased with student response to this body of work. While awareness of history and context differs greatly according to the individual — “I had one student who told me he knew nothing about the Holocaust . . . [as well as] participants in UVic’s I-Witness Holocaust Field School” — Snizek says there has been a great deal of interest in discovering a previously unknown potential repertoire.
Given her international academic and performance background, she also credits the School of Music with nurturing “a healthy, supportive atmosphere” among its students. “The sense of nurturance and the personal attention students receive in our Music department is quite unique. I think we do an exceptionally good job in that area.”
As both a flute performer and music scholar, she says there’s no denying the global impact of a small group of people can make with this kind of work. “There is growing interest in ‘recovering’ these composers, and attitudes have markedly improved even since 2005. People are far more aware now,” she says.
“In the Netherlands, for example, just two musician-researchers managed to recover a large number of excellent musical works and were also successful in disseminating them through recordings, live performances and by making the scores accessible to other musicians. And there are similar centres in Los Angeles and London that have developed strong platforms and networks for promoting these works.”
Snizek has also experienced the emotional impact of her work first-hand. “When I first played through Hans Gál’s Huyton Suite, which had been written during his internment in 1940, it was rather intense,” she admits. “I had closely read his internment diary, met and interviewed his daughter and stayed for a couple of weeks on the Isle of Man where he had been interned . . . so I was coming at this piece of music from a deeply experiential level.”
Learn more about Snizek and her students via her Flute Studio Blog.
Internationally recognized composer and School of Music Associate Professor Dániel Péter Biró can now add one of North America’s most prestigious awards to his list of honours — the Guggenheim Fellowship. And he’ll be using the one-year award worth $50,000 US to reflect on one of the most important issues of today: global migration.
2017 Guggenheim Fellow Dániel Péter Biró (UVic Photo Services)
“I am happy and honoured to be awarded this prestigious fellowship,” says Biró. “I am also extremely grateful to have time to work on the proposed composition cycle.”
Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Scores of Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and eminent scientists are past Guggenheim fellows, including Henry Kissinger, Linus Pauling and Ansel Adams.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced this year’s recipients in its 93rd annual competition for the US and Canada on April 7. Biró is among a diverse group of 173 scholars, artists and scientists selected from a field of almost 3,000 applicants. The seventh UVic scholar to be awarded a Guggenheim, he’s the second from UVic to receive the honour in the creative arts category.
Listen to this interview with Biró on CBC Radio One’s North by Northwest show.
New work explores concepts of space and place
During the Fellowship period, Biró will work on a large-scale musical composition cycle based on Baruch Spinoza‘s philosophical work, Ethica.
“Exploring concepts of ‘space and place,’ the proposed composition will deal with questions of one’s place in the global world and how music informs and influences our perception of our place in this world,” he explains. “Looking at musical creation as an analogy to the movement of the immigrant — who discovers, remembers, forgets and rediscovers places on his voyage — the composition will investigate relationships to historical space, space of immigration and disembodied space.”
The cycle, also titled Ethica, will be scored for voices, ensemble and electronics and use text from Spinoza’s philosophical work.
The project is inspired by Biró’s time as a visiting professor in the computing and information sciences department of Netherland’s Utrecht University in 2011, where he was living not far from Spinoza’s burial site in The Hague. While one of the greatest philosophers of the 17th century, Spinoza was banned from the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam because of his views — which, says Biró, proved too radical for the time.
“In his philosophical treatise Ethics, Spinoza attempted to present a new type of theology, one that was autonomous from organized religion, such as that of his own Portuguese Jewish community,” he explains. “I would like to create a composition that explores historical dichotomies between religious and secular thinking from the perspective of modern-day globalized existence.”
Biró with other Fellows at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute in 2014 (photo: Ben Miller)
During the 2016/17 academic year, Biró was an artist-in-residence with UVic’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society; in 2015, he was made a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and was awarded a 2014 Fellowship at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and has received numerous other international prizes and commissions. All of these experiences simply inspire him to rethink and finish years of compositional research.
“My year at the Radcliffe Institute was unforgettable, as I was in dialogue with 49 other scholars for a year from every possible discipline,” he says. “The community at Harvard showed great interest and support for my work and I was grateful to experience the collegial environment.”
As a new Canadian, Biró was also honoured to become a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and was pleased that the organizers celebrated their 2015 gala featuring 600 star academics from all over Canada with two compositions—including one by himself, and one by McGill composer Philippe Leroux.
“It was a good moment for the field of contemporary music in Canada, with the Royal Society proudly acknowledging music composition as an important field of creative research for Canadian society,” Biró says. “Upon hearing my composition for bass flute and electronics, the scientists of the Royal Society had many questions about my practice of notation and use of space in my work.”
Creating complete musicians
A valued asset to both UVic and the School of Music itself, Biró hopes his Guggenheim Fellowship will enhance the School’s already very strong reputation — a nice addition to their 50th anniversary year coming up in 2017/18.
“The School of Music is proud to congratulate Dr. Biró on being awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship,” says School of Music director Christopher Butterfield. “As well as being an internationally acclaimed composer, Dániel is widely recognized for his scholarship on Jewish, Islamic and Christian chant traditions. Since coming to UVic in 2004, he has composed a body of music work notable for its aesthetic rigour and integration of elements from various chant traditions.”
Biró with School of Music students
Biró see his work in combining historical music research with modern creation, as well as contemporary music performance with music technology, as being perfectly in sync with the School’s goal to produce “complete musicians.”
This past term, for example, Biró taught music composition, contemporary music performance, the theory and analysis of 20th and 21st century music, and a graduate seminar in Jewish, Early Christian and Islamic notation practices—all of which he will be teaching again as part of the European/Canadian summer course Narratives of Memory, Migration, Xenophobia and European Identity: Intercultural Dialogues in Hungary, Germany, France and Canada. They also dovetail with his role since 2011 as the managing director of the local SALT New Music Festival and Symposium.
“My ability to conduct research in these areas gives me expertise that I can pass on to my students, allowing them a more comprehensive music education,” he says. “I am grateful to be able to integrate teaching and research at the University of Victoria and am hopeful that this Fellowship will allow the School of Music future opportunities to enhance and integrate music creation, history, technology and performance research, making it a destination for researchers from around the world.”
On cultivating obsessions
Finally, considering the Guggenheim Fellowships are often characterized as “midcareer” awards, what does he see in his immediate future?
“My last composition cycle — completed at the Radcliffe Institute — took me 13 years to complete,” Biró says. “As I tell my composition students, one has to ‘cultivate obsessions’ as a composer. I am hopeful that this next obsession might allow me to discover new universes of musical expression and compositional possibilities in the years to come.”
UVic’s past Guggenheim fellows are sculptor and Visual Arts professor emeritus Mowry Baden (2014), climatologist Andrew Weaver (2008), astrophysicist Julio Navarro (2003), English professor Anthony Edwards (1988), ocean physicist Chris Garrett (1981) and biologist Job Kuijt (1964).
Ideafest — UVic’s week-long free festival of world-changing ideas — is once again ready to welcome thinkers, innovators, artists and audiences to a fascinating range of events across campus. This year’s festival features hundreds of speakers, presenting on topics ranging from the creative economy and ocean sustainability to cybernetic innovations and Indigenous resurgence. Fine Arts is once again a major participant in Ideafest, with our faculty or students participating in eight different events.
For the Faculty of Fine Arts, Ideafest starts off with the student exhibit Sensitive chaos: The Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air. Organized by instructor David Gifford, the exhibit showcases the work of his Drawing 300 class and expands the concept of what it means to illustrate an idea. The exhibit is inspired by Theodor Schwenk’s 1965 book of the same title, an exploration of fluid dynamics in relation to our ability to read patterns revealed in nature and art. As Jacques Cousteau says in the book’s forward, “All that life around us was really water, modeled according to its own laws, vitalized by each fresh venture, striving to rise into consciousness.” 9am – 5pm daily March 6-11 in the Visual Arts courtyard and Audain Gallery.
Our signature Fine Arts panel discussion this year is focused on Rethinking the Creative Economy, an important and timely discussion about the economic impact of creativity and creative production. Indeed, when it comes to the creative economy, myths often trump facts: while some believe the arts have no significant financial impact, the cultural sector boasts 700,000-plus jobs and contributes more than $60 billion annually to the Canadian economy—10 times more than sports, and that’s not even factoring in the value of art. This lively panel discussion will blow the lid off outdated arts myths, consider culture’s lasting impact and explore our key investment: our students. Moderator and Dean of Fine Arts Susan Lewis will be joined by panelists including Kirk McNally (School of Music), Maureen Bradley (Writing), Tony Vickery (Theatre), Cedric Bomford (Visual Arts) and Melissa Berry (Art History & Visual Studies), plus special guest David Dunne from the Gustavson School of Business. 4 – 6pm Tuesday, March 7, in Turpin A110.
That same night, Rande Cook — the current Audain Chair in Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest for the Visual Arts department — will join university chancellor and celebrated broadcast journalist Shelagh Rogers for Reconciliation and Resurgence: How Indigenous Artists are Re-imagining the Story of Canada. Rogers, an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, offers an intimate conversation with Indigenous visual artists Cook, Carey Newman and visual anthropologist and Art History and Visual Studies alumna Andrea Walsh. Across Canada, contemporary Indigenous artists are using images to explore place, truth and identity and challenging us to transform our perspectives, conversations and ideas. Collectively, this great imagining is playing a unique and pivotal role in understanding our past and determining our shared future. This event will be hosted by UVic’s Vice-President Research, David Castle. 7 – 9pm Tuesday, March 7 at Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora. Note: registration is required for this free event.
Interested in what Fine Arts students are creating and researching? Don’t miss the always-fascinating Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards (JCURA) Fair, which offers exceptional undergraduate students the opportunity to carry out research in their field of study. The annual JCURA Fair will feature over 100 of these inspiring projects, with Fine Arts student projects ranging from Saskatchewan folklore and 19th century social behaviour here in Victoria to the use of brass instruments in Chinese music and intergenerational theatre for educational sexual health projects. Click on the links to read about JCURA projects by Writing students Leone Brander and Holly Lam, Visual Arts students Artemis Feldman and Brandon Poole, Music students Ian VanGils, Alex Klassen and Jordan Shier, Art History & Visual Studies students McKaila Ferguson, Lorinda Fraser and Baylee Woodley, and Theatre students Mary Barbara Clerihue and Leah Tidey. 11:30am – 3pm Wednesday, March 8, in the Student Union Building (SUB) Michele Pujol room and Upper Lounge.
Goya’s The Third of May 1808
From the Russian Revolution to the Arab Spring uprising, from Palestine’s West Bank to the gates of the White House — wherever there is political unrest, there is art. And at a time when (sadly) xenophobia, ethnocentrism, political tensions and censorship are on the rise, art and the visual — from the meme to the masterpiece — have more to offer society than ever before in human history. Don’t miss the lively panel Why Art Matters in Dangerous Times featuring Art History & Visual Studies professors Victoria Wyatt, Astri Wright, Melia Belli, Evanthia Baboula and Lianne McLarty. This panel event accompanies the exhibition Learning through looking: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Department of Art History & Visual Studies. 5 – 7pm Wednesday, March 8, in room 025 of the McPherson Library.
Meet the next generation of Canadian literature at The Write Stuff, where MFA students from UVic’s legendary Department of Writing read (and perform) ground-breaking graduating manuscripts in fiction, poetry, screenwriting and playwriting and creative nonfiction at this lively (and licensed) literary cabaret. Presenters include Claire Mulligan (screenwriting), Alexa Eldred (fiction), Melissa Taylor (playwriting), Kelsey Lauder (fiction) and Nicola MacWilliam (poetry). 6:30pm Thursday, March 9, at the Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas. While admission is free, please note there are no minors allowed in this licensed venue.
How do artists of colour experience race and identity? That’s the question behind Re-imagining Race, Art and Landscape. Hooked to the current Legacy Gallery exhibit The Mystery of Grafton Tyler Brown, three contemporary Victoria artists of colour — Victoria’s 2016 youth poet laureate Ann-Bernice Thomas, also a Writing/Theatre undergrad — plus painter and performance artist Charles Campbell and filmmaker Kemi Craig — will perform new work relating to racial identity. Grafton Tyler Brown was one of the first professional landscape artists in BC, and the story of his racial identity shifted throughout his career to where he eventually passed for white. 7 – 9pm Friday, March 10, at the Legacy Gallery Downtown, 630 Yates.
Borrow a book, discover a person: that’s the whole focus of the Phoenix Theatre Human Library, a fascinating project that pairs Phoenix pioneers, current educators and local industry professionals with visitors. At the “circulation desk,” you’ll get your own Human Library card and the chance to check out one of a dozen possible human books ranging from titles like “Actor”, “Playwright” or “Producer.” A one-on-one informal conversation will begin and the rest is up to you. Following a theme of “Theatre then and in the future,” participants include the likes of former faculty member John Krich, alumnus playwright/author Mark Leiren-Young, Intrepid Theatre director Heather Lindsay, theatre historian James Hoffman, and local actor Kirsten Van Ritzen, with more to be announced.
“Books” are available on a rotating schedule and are subject to availability, so please be aware that not every book will be available during all hours the Human Library is open. If you’ve never participated in a Human Library before, don’t miss this chance to participate in this culture phenomenon that began in Denmark in 2000; since then, over 65 countries have connected tens of thousands of “readers” with “books” from all walks of life at thousands of these events! Please arrive earlier than before you expect to “read” your book — books are checked out on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9:30am, 30 minutes before the Phoenix Theatre Human Library opens. This is another signature event in the Department of Theatre’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations. 10am – 4pm Saturday, March 11, in the Phoenix Theatre lobby.
While these are what we’ll have on view for Fine Arts, be sure to see the complete schedule of all Ideafest events. Let your curiosity guide you and be inspired by ideas that really can change everything!
Starting in May 2017, the Faculty of Fine Arts will begin offering a new minor in Digital and Interactive Media in the Arts (DIMA). DIMA will allow you to combine current electives with new training in interactive media as part of your UVic Bachelor degree.
Writing prof David Leach, part of UVic’s Digital Storytelling & Social Simulation Lab
“Our minor in Digital and Interactive Media in the Arts is an innovative program that builds on our strengths in research and creative activity, as well as the kind of hands-on, dynamic learning Fine Arts is known for,” says Susan Lewis, Dean of Fine Arts.
The arts are traditionally at the forefront when it comes to creative applications of new technologies, and the conversion of regular media to digital formats unleashes new possibilities for interactivity. Networked digital media make it possible for groups to form around all sorts of shared interests in order to better coordinate, communicate and collaborate.
Not only has digital media led to emerging genres and forms of art, but it’s also created new areas of inquiry and analysis into social and cultural impacts. And we’re hearing increased demand for digital and interactive media skills from both students and post-degree industries and institutions in general.
As such, DIMA students will learn technological production and collaborative practices to create and curate immersive and interactive stories, games, performances and installations. Courses will be offered in a range of programs, including (but not limited to):
- interactive media design
- photography & film production
- digital art history
- technology & visual studies
- game strategy
- music, science & computers
- sound recording
- digital publishing & digital media arts
- acting for the camera
- film studies
As well as a foundational course in creativity (FA 101), you’ll build on a selection of electives looking at digital media production and cultural impacts, combined with a capstone course looking at digital and interactive media in the arts. A balance of practice and theory, core lectures, seminars and studio work will explore the conceptual and creative possibilities of this new area of knowledge and study.
Open to anyone across campus, the DIMA is a natural fit for Fine Arts, already home to the Studios for Integrated Media. DIMA will also join our current batch of minors, including:
The minor in Digital and Interactive Media in the Arts is yet another way we’re looking at how new technologies are revolutionizing the way we carry out our daily lives. From Netflix to smart phone culture, digital media is already a big part of what we do — why not integrate it into the classroom as well?
By taking the DIMA minor, you’ll
- Develop skills in new media to create and co-create artistic work
- Understand the intersections of art, media, and culture and their impact on society
- Enhance visual literacy and the capacity to reflect critically on the social impact of new media
- Build a critical vocabulary to clearly communicate concepts and analyze new media
To learn more about the minor in Digital and Interactive Media in the Arts, please contact our Fine Arts Advising Officer.