ONC Artist in Residence debuts “Gossip with Whales”

The ocean has many songs to sing! Join us for this feast of music and celebration as we launch the world premiere performances of four new choral compositions created during Dennis Gupa‘s artistic residency with Ocean Networks Canada.   

Together with a panel of artists, performers and scientists, Gupa will present the unique collaboration “Gossip with Whales: Exploring Ocean Science through Applied Theatre” at 6:30pm PST Wednesday, September 22 via a free online webinar.

Exploring the tanaga and Mangyan poetic forms

Drawing on Tanaga—a Filipino traditional lyrical art form—the four pieces that make up “Gossip With Whales” will offer artistic insights into current challenges for our oceans. One of the poems was translated into an Alangan-Mangyan poetic form of the Mangayan of Mindoro Province, Philippines.

“By looking at the experience and knowledge of local people—who have been experiencing these climatic events for so many years, but are not really given a lot of opportunities to tell their stories—we can learn from their knowledge and wisdom,” says Gupa. “Our poetries and songs renew our kinship with the ocean.”

Find out more about Dennis Gupa’s work here.

Gupa, together with participating Filipino artists Karla Comanda, Roijin Suarez, Darren Vega, Thai Hoa Le and Jeremiah Carag, will discuss the creation and intention of these pieces with event moderators ONC scientific data specialist Megan Kot and School of Music composer Taylor Brook

Dennis Gupa

The arts & oceans together

A PhD in UVic’s Theatre department, Gupa is also the most recent artist-in-residence with Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), a UVic initiative.

He sees the artistic residency—launched by the Faculty of Fine Arts and ONC two years ago—as a natural fit with his doctoral focus on Indigenous sea rituals, climate change and sustainable ecology.

“This residency program comes at a time of crisis in ocean sustainability,” ONC chief scientist Kim Juniper. “Science-art collaborations such as this one bring together the insight and power of two ways of looking at the world, and will hopefully lead to new understanding and greater benefits for our ocean and our future.”

This event is presented by UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts & Ocean Networks Canada in celebration of our shared ocean and the launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. 

An example of Ambahan, a Hanuno’o poetic form.
Source: PINAGMULAN: Enumerations from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ed., Dr. Jesus T. Peralta, NCCA & I). ICHCAP, 2013 // Photo by Renato Restrollo, NCCA – ICH (2013) (courtesy of National Commission for Culture and the Arts)

Student jobs now open!

Looking for on-campus work that won’t conflict with your studies? Check out UVic’s workstudy program: with 58 student jobs now posted in Fine Arts alone, each of our departments (and some associated units) are offering paid positions that will benefit your academic experience.

We have all sorts of jobs now available in various areas, including—but not limited to:

  • props and costumes 
  • stage managers and ushers
  • visual resources
  • technical theatre
  • communications and social media
  • web design
  • sound recording
  • lab supervision
  • life drawing
  • photo lab

Most pay $16 to $19/hour and offer invaluable skills to boost your degree—and look great on a resume! While some departments prefer to hire students from their own areas, you can apply for any position across campus—some units even have multiple positions available.

Click here for full application details

Here’s the current list of Fine Arts-related jobs:

Fine Arts

  • SIM Lab supervisor (6)
  • Communications assistant
  • Web designer
  • Developer

Art History & Visual Studies

  • Visual resources assistant
  • Social media/communications coordinator

Music

  • Recital hall coordinator
  • Concert & event stage manager (4)
  • Recording technician (4)
  • Social media assistant
  • Concert & event usher (4)
  • Orchestra/Wind Symphony stage manager
  • Livestream technician

Theatre

  • Communications assistant (2)
  • Audience service assistant (5)
  • Theatre production assistant
  • Theatre properties assistant
  • Technical theatre assistant (4)
  • Scene shop assistant (4)
  • Senior costume assistant (3)

Visual Arts

  • Photo lab technician
  • Workshop assistant (2)
  • Life drawing coordinator
  • Visiting artist assistant

Writing

  • Digital storytelling online editor

Legacy Gallery

  • Visitor engagement assistant (3)

Malahat Review

  • Editorial assistant
  • Social media assistant

Student recording technician at work in the School of Music

New accordion scholarship offers keys to the future

Visit any music academy in Eastern Europe, Russia or China and you’ll find numerous programs created specifically to study the accordion. Not so in North America, where it still doesn’t get the respect it deserves as a symphonic instrument­.

At UVic, however, that perception is changing thanks to the Brian Money & Nancy Dyer Accordion Scholarship in Music, which supports outstanding graduate or undergraduate students.

New accordion program

Our new School of Music program is unique in North America (University of Toronto also offers accordion studies, but only at the doctoral and Masters levels), and was “purposely designed” to be flexible, says Music professor Adam Con—an accordionist himself.

“We’re preparing students to enter the market to be performers and ambassadors of the accordion with a wide variety of styles under their belt—even jazz, which you can’t do anywhere else.”

Part of that preparation will come from internationally acclaimed accordion performer and teacher Jelena Milojević, as well as from our Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. “We had 30 professionals from all over the world come here for a festival and they thought our acoustics were the best they’d ever heard for accordions,” says Con.

Nikolay Ovchinnikov

Gift makes program a reality

Donor Brian Money started playing accordion at seven and continued studying throughout his career as a telecommunications engineer—including with Milojević herself). Russian graduate student Nikolay Ovchinnikov became our first accordion performance student in 2020, with three more starting in fall 2021 and still more confirmed for 2022.

“This instrument has a lot of ability to open up a diversity of music styles and experiences we’re otherwise blind to,” says Con. “There are a lot of students from Eastern Europe who want to come to North America.“

20/21 Donor Fast Facts

  • $4.688,093 received from donors
  • $2.3 million funds received from estate gifts
  • 749 overall donors
  • 200% donors doubled in last year
  • 9 new fine arts awards created
  • $759, 314 awarded to students from donor awards
  • 452 awards available for undergraduate students
  • 68 awards available for graduate students
  • 319 students who received awards
  • 1 in 4 student received donor support

Donors Brian Money & Nancy Dyer

Dean’s Lecture Series focuses on sound studies, gender paradox in art

As part of our commitment to experiential learning and research excellence, our faculty members regularly present as part of UVic’s ongoing Dean’s Lecture Series. This spring, we were fortunate to present talks by the School of Music‘s Joseph Salem and Melia Belli Bose of our Art History & Visual Studies department.

Research is continually reshaping the way we live and think. In this ongoing series of free online lectures, you’ll hear from distinguished faculty members and learn about their areas of research interest.

The series is presented in partnership with UVic’s Faculties of Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Graduate Studies, Human and Social Development, Humanities, Law, Science and Social Sciences, as well as the Greater Victoria Public Library and the Division of Continuing Studies.

Joseph Salem: Sound Studies

From music to the conversations around us, our lives are shaped by sounds. Yet the field of Sound Studies—the study of the role sound plays in culture (both natural and unnatural)—is relatively new, having emerged from the disciplines of anthropology, history and cultural studies only two decades ago.

School of Music professor Joseph Salem makes his position clear in his talk, Sound Studies: What Is It, Who Does It and Why Do We Care?

“The idea of Sound Studies is not to discriminate between sounds as it is to provide a soundtrack for our study of humanity,” he says. “Scholars can now read between the lines of historical documents to discover the role sound played in cultures of the past.”

While focusing on the unconscious role of sound in society, Salem—an assistant professor who specializes in music history, theory and musicology—says his goal is to make it more explicit.

“Our self-awareness about the role of sound in culture has increased over the past 50 years,” says Salem. “Sound Studies remains a model for other disciplines: in lacking a specific centre and in maintaining flexible boundaries, it provides a space for us to adapt to our changing selves while maintaining a connection to our anthropological past.”

Melia Beli-Bose: The Razor’s Edge

No question, art provides an opportunity to discuss issues often considered taboo by societies. Consider contemporary Bangladeshi artist Tayeba Begum Lipi’s sculpture Love Bed: a life-sized bed fashioned from stainless steel razorblades, it’s held in the Guggenheim Museum’s permanent collection.

“The sculpture exposes paradoxes in rural Bangladeshi women’s lives,” explains Art History & Visual Studies professor Melia Belli Bose in her Dean’s Lecture, The Razor’s Edge: Gender Politics and Structural Violence in the Work of Bangladeshi Artist Tayeba Begum Lipi.

 

 “The bed of razors is seductive and eerily inviting, yet—by virtue of the material’s potential to inflict pain and even death—dangerous,” she says. “Together with tiny golden safety pins, razorblades are synecdoches tethered to key events in the artist’s early childhood and young adult life.”

An associate professor who specializes in visual cultures of early modern and contemporary South Asia, Belli Bose’s research focuses on issues of death, memorialization, gender and public identity in the early modern courtly and contemporary art and architecture of north India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. As such, Lipi’s work makes for an ideal topic.

“She has established herself as one of a handful of brazenly outspoken, politically engaged Bangladeshi women artists whose work holds a mirror to their society and advocates changes such as improved women’s education and healthcare,” says Belli Bose.

Violin donation offers 250-year-old gift

Some gifts transcend time, as current School of Music undergraduate Iryna Peleshchyshyn discovered when she received the gift of a treasured 18th century violin to play during her degree program.

The French violin—crafted in 1748 and valued at nearly $35,000—was donated to UVic by well-known local violinist Trudi Prelypchan, who knows a thing or two about being a young violinist: at just 16, she began playing with the Victoria Symphony in 1964.

Back to Bach

The impact of the gift isn’t lost on Peleshchyshyn. “The first time I played it, I fell in love with the sound,” she says.

“New violins might be powerful, but old violins have a gorgeous tone and a beautiful rich sound. It’s like it has a soul: you feel its history, how many people have played it, how it has traveled and the different pieces it has played over the centuries.”

In fact, the first piece Peleshchyshyn played on the instrument was Bach’s “Chaconne”—which was also the first piece donor Trudi Prelypchan performed on the same violin . . . which was itself built during Bach’s lifetime.

Violin donor Trudi Prelypchan

The many colours of music

Originally from Ukraine, Peleshchyshyn is a  fourth-year education major studying with Lafayette String Quartet violinist and Music professor Ann-Elliott Goldschmid; as well as performing with the UVic Orchestra, she also plays in a student quartet and was a finalist in the School of Music’s 2021 Concerto Competition.

When asked if she has any remarks for Trudi Prelypchanthe violin’s donor, Peleshchyshyn doesn’t hesitate in expressing her gratitude.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to play upon this violin,” she says. “It has really allowed me to explore so many new colours . . . it’s such a beautiful instrument.”

20/21 Donor Fast Facts

  • $4.688,093 received from donors
  • $2.3 million funds received from estate gifts
  • 749 overall donors
  • 200% donors doubled in last year
  • 9 new fine arts awards created
  • $759, 314 awarded to students from donor awards
  • 452 awards available for undergraduate students
  • 68 awards available for graduate students
  • 319 students who received awards
  • 1 in 4 student received donor support

Banting Fellow & Vanier Scholar named in Fine Arts

Fine Arts researchers and creative practitioners Taylor Brook and Troy Sebastian are among UVic’s recipients of the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars,

“Congratulations to Taylor and Troy,” says Acting Dean Allana Lindgren. “Having a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow and a Vanier Scholar in the Faculty of Fine Arts is an honour.”

Together with Canada’s federal granting agencies, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced the results of the 2020-2021 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships competitions on July 15.

“Both Taylor and Troy are highly talented and accomplished young artists/scholars, so it is very satisfying to see the excellence of their creative work and research recognized at the national level,” says Lindgren. “I am confident that their expertise, creativity, and aspirations will enrich our community.”

Taylor Brook

School of Music composer Taylor Brook is one of four UVic recipients of the Banting fellowships. The federal program is designed to build world-class research capacity by recruiting top-tier postdoctoral researchers at an internationally competitive level of funding.

The two-year Banting fellowships are worth $70,000 per year. They are open to both Canadian and international researchers who have recently completed a PhD, PhD-equivalent or health professional degree and other eligibility criteria. UVic’s other three recipients are Kristina Barclay (Biology and Anthropology), Simon Blouin (Physics and Astronomy), and Gillian Kolla (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research).

A Canadian composer who writes for the concert stage, video, theatre, dance and robotic instruments, Brook’s compositions have been performed by ensembles and soloists worldwide. A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, he has won numerous SOCAN Young Composers awards, including the 2016 grand prize, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Columbia University.

 

Brook’s music is often concerned with finely tuned microtonal sonorities, combining his interest in exploring the perceptual qualities of sound with a unique sense of beauty and form. Current projects include a new concerto grosso for the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet with the Partch Ensemble and a concert-length piece for the NYC-based TAK Ensemble.

As part of his SSHRC project, he will be writing a new composition for the Aventa Ensemble, to be performed in 2023.

“I am thrilled to begin my research at the University of Victoria as a Banting Fellow. My research will develop a novel framework for cross-cultural musical analysis that overcomes limitations engendered by Western musical notation. I hope to build a greater understanding of tuning and temperament as an expressive force in music as well as contribute to a broader effort in musicology, composition and music theory to decolonize the curriculum in higher education.​”
—Taylor Brook

SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Troy Sebastian | nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓

Department of Writing alumnus and instructor Troy Sebastian is one of three UVic researchers named as Vanier Scholars in the annual competition by the Government of Canada.

The scholarships are earmarked for social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health. Vanier scholars, who receive $50,000 funding each year for three years, demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies. UVic’s other two recipients are Dorothea Harris (Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies) and Lucie Kotesovska (English).

A Ktunaxa writer from ʔaq̓am, Sebastian’s research and creative practice focuses on memoir, Indigenous masculinities, Canadian military history, Ktunaxa nation building and Ktunaxa language revitalization. His proposed PhD program is a special arrangement between the Department of Writing and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

 

“My Vanier scholarship will focus on celebrating who we and our history in our ancestral homelands by researching the life and service of a Ktunaxa veteran who was killed in action during World War II,” says Sebastian.

A graduate of UVic’s Writing MFA program and an instructor with the department, Sebastian was selected for the 2020 Writer’s Trust Rising Star program, is a recipient Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Reveal – Indigenous Arts Award and is also a graduate of the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Writers program.

His writing has been longlisted for the 2019 Writers’ Trust Journey Prize, both the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize and 2018 CBC Short Story Prize, and he has been published in Best Canadian Stories 2019, The Walrus, Ktuqcqakyam, The New Quarterly, Quill and QuirePrairie Fire and The Malahat Review.

“My research and artistic practice centres on Ktunaxa language, storytelling, morality and ethics, and is dedicated to the empowerment of the Ktunaxa Nation’s vision statement: ‘Strong, healthy citizens and communities, speaking our languages and celebrating who we are and our history in our ancestral homelands, working together, managing our lands and resources, within a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation.’”
—Troy Sebastian | nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar