Top-10 Fine Arts stories of 2021

As we wind down a(nother) year of unprecedented firsts, it is with gratitude and awe that we look back on the student accomplishments, faculty successes, new appointments and visiting scholars who made 2021 memorable. Read on to see some of the things that kept our year bright even in these often trying times.

New Impact Chair

Most recently, Fine Arts was proud to announce that we are now home to one of just four new Impact Chairs positions at UVic. With a deep understanding of art’s power to inspire change and a teaching style that embraces cultural learning, Carey Newman brings his passion for decolonization and Indigenous resurgence to his new appointment as Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices in both the departments of Visual Arts and Art History & Visual Studies.


Learning with others

“There’s something quite sacred about listening and working with your hands at the sametime.” Award-winning poet, memoirist and Writing professor Gregory Scofield—also a traditional Cree-Metis beadworker— connects traditional beadwork and writing through his creative practice and teaching. All of this unites in Scofield’s course on Indigenous women’s resistance writing and material art, which combines hands-on learning in traditional Cree-Metis beadwork with readings, films and writing practice centered on resurgence and resistance.

And in July, Fine Arts welcomed Karla Point as the new Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator, and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s what Karla had to say about it, “When I was a cultural support liaison with Law, I was ‘Aunty Karla’ for the Law students—so I’d love to be Aunty Karla for all the Fine Arts students.”


Transformational theatre

Eurocentrism in theatre continues to be one of the most pressing artistic issues of our time, whether on professional stages, community performances or academic institutions. Enter the Theatre department’s new initiative, Staging Equality—which offers a vision of how theatre can address issues of race, diversity and inclusion by building relationships based on trust and respect. Created out of the Strategic Framework Impact Fund, Staging Equality is a three-year collaborative and creative research project devised by Theatre professors Yasmine Kandil and Sasha Kovacs.


Graduate achievements

On June 1, Syilx & Tsilhqot’in playwright & director Kim Senklip Harvey became the first Indigenous woman to win the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for her play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story (Talon Books)—less than a week after receiving her MFA in Writing from our Writing department. The widely acclaimed play then received a staged reading at Phoenix’s Chief Dan George Theatre in November.

In September, Theatre PhD candidate Dennis Gupa premiered his Gossip with Whales, a unique choral collaboration which seeks to give voice to those most affected by climate change on the oceans. It was created while Gupa was Artist in Residence with Ocean Networks Canada.

Making music matter

In November, the School of Music’s AUDIO+ held its second annual event to advance the integration of women and non-gender conforming persons into the male-dominated realm of audio engineering. With exciting events including a build-your-own-synthesizer workshop and strong student participation, we hope this is the start of a new tradition here on campus.

Along similar lines, School of Music students highlighted marginalized voices during UVic’s 5 Days of Action this fall, with the hopes of bringing awareness to EDI-related challenges faced by both musicians and music institutions.

Student accomplishments

School of Music undergraduate Iryna Peleshchyshyn received the gift of a lifetime this past year when she was given the opportunity to play a treasured 18th century violin 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.

In other departmental news, Visual Arts was able to launch its long-awaited and newly upgraded Photography Lab this summer thanks to the help of UVic’s Capital Projects and our donors.

Changing climate

While we are all aware that there is a climate crisis and there’s not enough happening to stop it, the appointment of Sean Holman as the new Wayne Crookes Professor in Environmental and Climate Journalism to help change the narrative around climate change.

And back in June, Visual Arts professor Kelly Richardson brought her environmental vision to the world when she was selected as one of six international artists by the UN Convention on Biodiversity to participate in the Instagram takeover of @withnature2020.

Guest speakers

Fine Arts was fortunate to host a remarkable range of guest speakers this past year, most hosted by our long-running Orion Lecture Series and many of which are still available for viewing on our Orion playlist. Guests range from celebrated nonfiction author JB MacKinnon, who explored society’s problematic relationship with consumerism, to musical scholar Gayle Young, who offered a unique workshop on microtonality and tuning. Notable among our many other speakers were Islamic curator Fahmid Suleman, multidisciplinary painter Manuel Mathieu and Indigenous actor Gary Farmer, to name but a few.

Online exhibits

Plays and concerts weren’t the only things to shift online: this year also saw the annual BFA exhibition shift into an online virtual reality walkthrough format. “Any limitations have only inspired innovation,” noted supervising Visual Arts faculty member Jennifer Stillwell. The exhibit, titled The End, proved that even a pandemic can’t keep art down as 30 graduating students filled much of the Visual Arts building with their creations.

Livestream and live performances

dead man's cell phone posterLast March, Problem Child became the sole public main stage production of the 2020/21 Phoenix Theatre season due to COVID—prompting a major technological shift as students learned to live stream their first major production. But this fall saw audiences return to the Phoenix Theatre mainstage with a production of the highly entertaining Dead Man’s Cell Phonewith more to look forward to in spring 2022.

Alumni activity this fall

Looking for a good example of the interdisciplinary impact of Fine Arts alumni on the local arts scene? Consider the recent CRD Arts Champion Summit held in December, which included presentations by a wide range of our alumni including Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Writing), Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde (Visual Arts), Sarah Jim (Visual Arts), Regan Shrumm (AHVS) and Tiffany Tjosvold (Theatre).

But that’s just one event our alumni have been involved with. Read on to discover much more alumni activity this fall.

Art History & Visual Studies

Dorian Jesse Fraser was featured as part of the Alumni Relations webinar Pop Goes The Art! on Oct 19, which was hosted by AHVS chair Marcus Milwright and featured Legacy Gallery’s Caroline Riedel. The webinar was part of the current Legacy Maltwood exhibit Eric Metcalfe: Pop Anthropology, a career retrospective of 2021 honorary doctorate and Visual Arts alum Eric Metcalfe. Fraser was also interviewed in the fall issue of The Torch, UVic’s alumni magazine.

Laura-Beth Keane led the creation of Giving Tuesday’s “Add Sprinkles” sculptural installation in UVic’s quad. The creation of this brightly coloured installation was assisted by current AHVS Masters candidate Sophie Ladd and Museum Studies minor Jade Guan, along with four other community volunteers.

There’s plenty of alumni now at Open Space arts centre, where Amena Sharmin is the new operations manager, Dani Neira returns as the curatorial assistant, and India Rael Young has taken up the position of acting board president.

Keane adds sprinkles

Sad news, however, in the loss of former sessional and MA/PhD alum Dr. Gillian Mackie, who recently passed away at the age of 90. A scholar of Early Christian art and iconography, Mackie’s PhD thesis won her the Governor General’s gold medal and her book Early Christian Chapels in the West is a standard reference. She was also an accomplished potter and some of her stoneware and porcelain pieces are in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the UVic Art Collection.

School of Music

Marion Newman has been named the new host of CBC Radio’s venerable Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. Following the retirement of longtime host, Ben Heppner, A mezzo-sporano Newman who recently appeared in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Missing. Now based in Toronto, Newman—a member of the Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations—is the sister of Impact Chair Carey Newman.

Distinguished Alumna and celebrated pianist Eve Egoyan returned to campus this fall to work with students and present a guest lecture about recent piano projects involving a physical modelling synthesizer, which she also demonstrated.

UK-based composer Cassandra Miller has just been signed to an exclusive publishing agreement with Faber Music, while clarinetist Heather Roche has remained active with performances despite the pandemic, including this recent interview in The Guardian.

Marion Newman

Nashville-based recording artists and Distinguished Alumni Twin Kennedy—aka Carli and Julie Kennedy—returned to Victoria for a pair of holiday fundraising concerts with the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy at the Royal Theatre in December. Twin Kennedy were also featured on CBC Radio’s All Points West in October, speaking about their latest EP and making a life in music; in other Twin Kennedy news, their recent production Wise Woman – The Show was shortlisted for the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards in the “Country Music Program/Special of the Year” category.

Tenor Josh Lovell recently won the s’hertogenbosch Competiton in the Netherlands and the Belvedere Competition in Germany, and was the only Canadian to make it to the semi-finals of the Rolex Operalia competition in Moscow. Tenor Kaden Forsberg was a finalist in the 2021 Lotte Lenya Competition in New York City. Kaden also recently appeared in Victoria with Pacific Opera Victoria’s summer series (and has been a regular with the company since 2014). Forsberg has also started his own group, the Volare Tenors, with fellow alum Taylor Fawcett.


In one of those fascinating change-of-life stories, actor-turned-bread-man Markus Spodzieja has opened The Bikery, Victoria’s first kosher bakery.

Morgan Gadd’s new production of Dog Sees God took the stage at Theatre Inconnu this December, and was covered in this recent Martlet article—which notes how Gadd met Inconnu artistic director and longtime sessional Clayton Jevne while enrolled in Theatre. This production also features current student Tianxu Zhao in the cast.

Nicholas Guerreiro was shortlisted for the Playwrights Guild of Canada 2021 Emerging Playwright Award for his new play, Green Knight on the Frog River, which was also recently published by the PGC.  In related news, director & playwright Nicole Natrass was shortlisted for the PGC’s Bras D’Or Award

Markus Spodzieja

Leslie Bland recently rebranded the company he shares with Indigenous cultural archeological monitor Harold Joe under the new name/ brand Orca Cove Media. The story was picked up by both Deadline (US) and Playback (Canada). Their latest documentary, A Cedar Is Life, was featured in this recent article in the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle.

Ian Case directed the play The Shadow in the Water by David Elendune as part of the 2021 Victoria Fringe Festival.  Other Theatre alumni who were involved with productions in this year’s Victoria Fringe Festival include Zoë WesslerEmma NewtonArielle PermackKapila RegoRahat SainiNicholas GuerreiroCam CulhamConnie McConnellMelissa TaylorAndrew FraserLogan SwainNicholas AtkinsonShayla PreadyConor FarrellKevin Eastman and Jim Leard, plus Visual Arts alum Kara Flanagan.

Visual Arts

 While it’s not necessarily where you’d expect a Visual Arts alum to pop up, Amy Anderson is the new film programmer for UVic’s venerable movie theatre Cinecenta. She was interviewed in the fall issue of the Torch on the occasion of Cinecenta’s 50th anniversary.  

Congratulations go out to Jordan Hill on being named a runner-up in the 2021 Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize in September; one of 17 finalists nominated this year—including Visual Arts alumni Levi Glass and Graham Wiebe—Jordan wins $1,500 as a runner-up.

Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde participated in a webinar panel discussion on the State of the Arts in Greater Victoria in October, and also presented MOTHER – An Afternoon of Ten Short Films at the Belfry Theatre. Featuring a variety of Indigenous performers and performance, all these films were inspired, enacted and created on the land and waters of the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ territories.

Amy Anderson (photo: Michael Kissinger)

Ireland-based Enda Burke was featured in this August article in The Guardian, which focused on his award-winning series, “Homebound With My Parents”—where he transformed his COVID lockdown into a series of “wittily deadpan” dayglo images.

Duane Ensing was featured in this August Victoria News article about his involvement with the local architecture firm Villamar Design. “I feel as an artist or a creative person, I like to leave my mind open to the possibilities of doing something, even exploring things that I don’t even know whether we can do it, but saying, let’s explore the possibility,” he says.


Congratulations to English/Writing alum Lise Gaston on winning the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize with her heartbreaking poem, “James” —which was selected out of 3,000+ entries! She wins $6K & a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. (If the name rings a bell, it’s because she’s another of the incredibly talented children of retired Writing professor Bill Gaston & author Dede Crane.)

Congrats are also due to Sara Cassidy on winning the 2021 Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize at the recent BC Yukon Book Prizes with her latest book, Genius Jolene, and to Susan Sandford Blades on winning the 2021 ReLit Award and being shortlisted for the 2021 BC and Yukon Book Prizes Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, Fake It So Real; she was recently interviewed by Capital Daily, as well as being featured on their podcast.

Lise Gaston

Professor emeritus Lorna Crozier’s Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats) was one of the finalists for the $5,000 Victoria Book Prize this fall, alongside Kyeren Regehr (Cult Life). Also among the finalists for the $5,000 Victoria Children’s Book Prize was Melanie Siebert (Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health).

Michael LaPointe released his debut novel The Creep, and was interviewed for The Torch. Danielle Janess appeared at Planet Earth Poetry in October for an in-person reading from her new volume, The Milk of Amnesia; she also had fall readings scheduled for Olympia and Seattle.

Arno Kopecky has a new book, The Environmentalist’s Dilemma: Promise and Peril in an Age of Climate Crisis, for which he was interviewed for this Tyee article. Kopecky is a frequently contributor to The Tyee, including this new piece about UVic atmospheric scientist and former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.  Jenessa Joy Klukas has been named the new Education and Child Welfare Reporter for IndigiNews, following on her fellowship at The Tyee earlier this year.

Writing the Land, a new documentary series that arrived on CBC Gem last week, combines a travelogue concept with profiles of 12 of the country’s top authors—including Esi Edugyan, who features in Episode 1. You can stream the complete series right now.

Recent Writing MFA and Governor General’s Award winner Kim Senklip Harvey was featured in this Sept episode of the national CBC Radio show (skip to the 00:52 min mark). Harvey, now working on her PhD in Indigenous Law at UVic, was speaking about her new production Break Horizons: A Concert Documentary, as well as her work as an Indigenous playwright. As part of her GG win, Harvey was also commissioned to write G’waan, a new piece for CBC Books “Moving Forward” series, which reflects on her Tsilhqot’in land work, childhood adventures and penchant for cream soda slurpees. Theatre’s new Staging Equality series featured a staged reading of her GG winning play Kamloopa in November, and Harvey also wrote a first-person essay for the fall issue of the Torch.

Writing MFA alum Ellery Lamm presented her latest play this fall with Theatre SKAM’s Young Company: The Fates also involved Theatre alumni Anna Marie AndersonOlivia Wheeler and current student Riley Schaffner.

Busy film director Jeremy Lutter has released a new music video for local singer-songwriter Justin Hewitt. You can stream the lush “The Ways to Love You” here.

Media & faculty activity this fall

There’s been no shortage of faculty activity beyond our departments this fall, with a wide range of professors and instructors appearing in the media, participating in festivals and exhibitions, or lending their expertise to workshops and symposia.

Art History & Visual Studies

Melia Belli Bose recently participated in a presentation for UVic’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, speaking on “Artistic Journeys through Asia in Multiple Objects“, while Marcus Milwright and Menno Hubregtse spoke at the recent on-campus colloquium Bauhaus, Design, and the Livable Anthropocene.

Allan Antliff recently published “The Politics of Indigeneity, Anarchist Praxis, and Decolonization” in a special issue of Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, along with “Indigeneity, Sovereignty, Anarchy: A Dialog With Many Voices”, co-written with Gord Hill. Mitch Parry participated in Pender Island’s Crisp Festival, while Victoria Wyatt appeared in an episode of the  UVic Bounce podcast, a faculty-led initiative providing meaningful resources to support student wellness, mental health, and academic resilience.

School of Music

Current postdoc Taylor Brook was featured in a seven-page article in the Fall issue of Musicworks magazine, which also included a CD featuring two tracks of his music. Suzanne Snizek’s new CD, Chamber Music (Re)discoveries, was released this fall on the Centaur label, while Harald and Sharon Krebs have had a set of arrangements of songs by Josephine Lang accepted for publication by German music publisher Furore Verlag.

Benjamin Butterfield and Kinza Tyrrell were featured on CBC Radio’s This Is My Music, and Butterfield’s “Art Song’s Truth” appeared in Art Song Canada online magazine. Current Music & Computer Science student Baylee Shields was featured in BC Local News and Music’s 5 Days of Action concerts were featured in the Capital Daily as well as the Martlet.


As well as welcoming live audiences back into their theatre, Phoenix’s fall production Dead Man’s Cell Phone was covered by the Times Colonist, Monday Magazine, the Saanich News and the Martlet.

Current Theatre PhD candidate Lindsay Delaronde participated in the “State of the Arts in Greater Victoria” panel discussion, organized by online media outlet Capital Daily, while Sasha Kovacs and Puente Theatre founder Lina de Guevara appeared on the CFUV radio show Postales Musicales de Latinoamérica, discussing Theatre’s new Staging Equality series and their recent presentation of Journey to Mapu.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone (photo: Dean Kalyan)

Conrad Alexandrowicz released a new book, which he instigated and co-edited: Theatre Pedagogy in the Era of Climate Crisis (Routledge) also features two chapters by Alexandrowicz, who co-wrote the introduction, as well as chapters by Sasha Kovacs and Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta, Theatre alumna Lara Aysal, plus a trialogue with Sadeghi-Yekta, Aysal and alumni Dennis Gupa.

And in his role as Ocean Networks Canada artist-in-residence, Gupa showcased his ONC AIR project Gossip With Whales twice this fall via a pair of international webinars, including the Virtual Ocean Pavilion at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26. This project, featuring five Filipino artistic collaborators plus a set of stirring string and vocal performances, was inspired by a traditional Filipino poetic form.

Visual Arts

Paul Walde’s work was featured in the September issue of Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, and his “Requiem for a Glacier” was one of three artworks discussed in the scholarly journal Sustainability 2021; his “Requiem” was also covered by the Luma Film and Media Art Quarterly and in ArtsHelp: Canada, and appeared as part of the Coventry Biennial. His work was also covered in a recent issue of Musicworks magazine and, along with alumni Rande Cook and Mike McLean, in the Galleries West review of the recent Fortune Gallery exhibit Last Stand: Ancient Forests, Collective Action

Kelly Richardson was one of just six international artists and scientists invited by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to participate in the global Instagram movement @withnature2020, a global collaborative artwork celebrating the world’s biodiversity and urge for its protection. Rick Leong presented his first solo exhibition in the US this fall with The Desired Path at Arsenal Contemporary Art in New York City, while Daniel Laskarin is the latest faculty member to present in the Dean’s Lecture series: “From a Ragged Edge, Possible Futures” was filmed in his studio and frames his practice in terms of memory, collapse and art that offers imaginative prospects for a future not yet determined. Doug Jarvis was recently named executive director of downtown’s Open Space artist-run centre, and current MFA candidate Colton Hash was featured in Luma Quarterly.

A billboard promoting Paul Walde’s “Requiem for a Glacier” at the Coventry Biennial (@wildairphoto)

It’s been a busy fall for Carey Newman, who participated in a screening and panel conversation with UBC’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, as well as participating in the “Art is Action” panel for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and a live presentation for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation; he also participated in the design and launch of Aspiration 2030, UVic new Research & Creative Works Strategy.

Sales of Newman’s 2021 Orange Shirt Day t-shirt design helped UVic raise over $60,000 for related initiatives; he also created a separate design for Cycling BC’s orange cycling jerseys. Newman was also in the news as a recipient of the City of Victoria’s Honorary Citizen Award and earned the Opera Directors Recognition Award for his volunteer on the board of Pacific Opera Victoria. More coverage of Newman continues with his announcement as UVic’s inaugural Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices, which has so far been covered by CBC Radio’s On The Island, Saanich News and others.


The recent announcement of Sean Holman as Writing’s new Wayne Crookes Professor in Environmental & Climate Journalism was covered in this National Observer interview, where Holman explores the role of mass media in shaping public understanding and attitudes towards the global climate crisis, as well as in Focus magazine and the Politico blog; his related COP26 media panel was also covered by CBC Radio, The TyeeGeorgia Straight and the St. Albert Gazette, while a first-of-its-kind survey of media and scientists that he co-organized was featured on over a dozen CBC Radio programs across the country.

This fall’s Southam Lecture with journalist Andrew Nikiforuk continues to be incredibly popular—covered by CBC Radio’s On The Island and the Martlet, this co-presentation with The Tyee had an original combined in-person and virtual attendance of over 1400 people, with over 5,000 further views of his lecture on YouTube. Mark Leiren-Young was the featured guest at UBC’s “Stage & Screen Writes” reading series, while his Skaana: Orcas & Oceans podcast continues to post new episodes and his current Royal BC Museum exhibit Orcas: Our Shared Future has now been extended to March 2022.

Andrew Nikiforuk’s Southam Lecture

Marita Dachsel has had one of her poems selected as one of 10 pieces that will be featured as part of BC Transit’s continuing Poetry in Transit series; the new series also features work by Patrick Friesen and alum Billeh Nickerson. David Leach spoke about the infinite ways of integrating technologies such as 3D and VR in conveying narratives at the Limitless Possibilities conference, while current Writing MFA candidate Letay Williams short film Traytown won the Audience Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Big Pitch! event. Kathryn Mockler  recently published the micro-climate story “Let’s Say” as part of the Imagining Climates project from the University of Guelph’s Environmental Institute of Environmental Research, and her recent book Watch Your Head: Writers and Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis was reviewed in Canadian Literature. 

Fine Arts

Fine Arts hosted our first Creative Futures webinar this fall with a focus on sustainability and the arts, featuring Theatre’s Conrad Alexandrowicz and Writing’s Kathryn Mockler, as moderated by Writing’s Shane Book. And Acting Dean Allana Lindgren presented the inaugural Fine Arts Student Community Impact Awards at the annual Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards in October, which also involved a number of alumni both behind the scenes and as other winners.

Thanks to donor support, we were able to present 3 separate $1,000 Community Impact Awards to recent School of Music grad Kyla Fradette, plus current students Alison Roberts (Theatre) and Dani Neira (AHVS). Visual Arts alum Sarah Jim received the ProArt Early-Career Artist Award, alumni company Theatre SKAM won the JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award, and the conVERGE IBPoC initiative led by Puente Theatre’s Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Writing alum) & Intrepid Theatre won the CRD Community Impact Award. The event was organized the ProArt Alliance including alumni Ian Case (Theatre), Doug Jarvis (Visual Arts) and Matthew Payne (Theatre), while the livestream was managed by Justin Lee (Theatre).

Finally, Fine Arts communications officer John Threlfall earned sixth place in the international, experts-level Ultimate James Bond Trivia Marathon, run by James Bond Movie Encyclopedia author Steven Jay Rubin, and hosted a popular public trivia challenge as part of the Victoria Film Festival’s screening of Casino Royale; Threlfall also recently appeared on CBC Radio’s On The Island speaking about the importance of community building during trying times.

ONC Artist-in-Residence call for grad student applications

Call for Proposals 

UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) are calling for graduate student applications for the 2022 ONC Artist-in-Residence program. 

Note: the application period closes on December 17, 2021. s

The Artist-in-Residence will ignite cross-disciplinary exchanges, interacting with Fine Arts faculty members and scientists & staff at ONC, as well as with other individuals using ONC’s world-leading ocean facilities. While ONC and Fine Arts both lead and sponsor this program, both the Faculty of Science and the Office of Research Services also provide additional financial support.

This residency is open to current Fine Arts graduate students working in any visual, written, musical or performance discipline, who have completed most of their course requirements.

About the program

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

The artist will learn from and engage with current ocean research, connecting it to the artist’s own practice—and to wider societal and cultural aspects—creating work for public presentation at the end of the residency. The artist will also be invited to contribute as a lead or co-author in scientific conference proceedings and/or journal articles.  

The residency period can start anytime between Feb 1 and May 31, 2022, and will last for up to four months. A cost-of-living stipend of $2,000 CDN/month will be paid to the selected artist, with limited additional funds to support production or materials. At the conclusion of the residency, a public exhibit of the resulting art will be displayed or performed, and will be promoted by ONC and the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Learn more about previous Artists in Residence

Previous ONC Artists in Residence include Dennis Gupa (2021) and Colton Hash (2019). Read more about Dennis’ work and watch a series of the resulting videos here, and read more about Colton’s work here.

Exploring ocean science through art

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

  • Deep Sea Ecology
  • Seabed-Ocean Exchanges
  • Coastal Ocean Processes
  • Marine Natural Hazards
  • The Ocean Soundscape
  • Arctic Ocean Observing
  • Ocean Big Data

The ONC Artist-in-Residence program is established to:

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

Proposal submissions

Interested applicants are to with the subject line “Ocean Artist-in-Residence Program,” and attach:

  1. a CV
  2. a concise portfolio of previous relevant artistic work
  3. a letter of motivation outlining the artist’s project proposal for the residency
  4. a 500-word project proposal with a separate project-costs budget.

Again, the application period closes on Dec 17, 2021.

Applications will be reviewed by representatives of Fine Arts and Ocean Networks Canada. Artists may be contacted for an interview or to supply further information before a decision is made.

Public exhibit

At the conclusion of the residency, the artist will host a public exhibit within a specified budget agreed to during the residency and depending on the type of project to be exhibited. Assistance for marketing and/or ticketing could be made available from other UVic departments (Visual Arts, Theatre, etcetera).

Two stills from Dennis Gupa’s 2021 public residency presentation, “Gossip With Whales”

About Ocean Networks Canada

Established in 2007 as a strategic initiative of the University of Victoria, ONC operates world-leading ocean observatories for the advancement of science and the benefit of Canada. The observatories collect data on physical, chemical, biological, and geological aspects of the ocean over long time periods, supporting research on complex Earth processes in ways not previously possible.

The observatories provide unique scientific and technical capabilities that permit researchers to operate instruments remotely and receive data at their home laboratories anywhere on the globe, in real time. The facilities extend and complement other research platforms and programs, whether currently operating or planned for future deployment.

With thanks also to the Vice President Research & Innovation and Faculty of Science for their support.

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

Orion Series presents playwright Marcia Johnson

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:

Marcia Johnson

“Turning Anger Into Theatre”

12:45 – 1:30 pm (PST) Friday, Nov 26, 2021

Chief Dan George Theatre, UVic Phoenix building

Free & open to the public via Zoom 

Presented by UVic’s Department of Writing

For more information on this lecture please email: 

Serving Elizabeth

Marcia Johnson has been a theatre artist in Toronto for over 30 years. Her latest play, Serving Elizabeth, premiered in February 2020 at Western Canada Theatre and is currently playing at the Belfry Theatre (Nov 23-Dec 19).

Her other plays include Binti’s Journey, an adaptation of The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis (Theatre Direct Canada/Manitoba Theatre for Young People/Black Theatre Workshop); Courting Johanna (Blyth Festival) based on Alice Munro’s “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage,” and Late (Obsidian Theatre Company). CBC Radio Drama credits include “Wifely Duty” and “The Revival Meeting” (Sounds Like Canada); “Say Ginger Ale” (The Round Up) and “Perfect on Paper” (Sunday Showcase and Monday Night Playhouse).

Johnson was also a member of Blyth Festival’s acting company with lead roles in The New Canadian Curling Club and 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt. She has participated in numerous playwrights’ groups, including the Siminovitch Prize Playwriting Master Class with Carole Frechette ,Theatre Passe Muraille, Obsidian Theatre Company, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Blyth Festival, Tapestry New Opera and Roseneath Theatre.

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