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

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

New photo lab develops student skills

Thanks to cell phones, we live in an era where everyone has a camera in their pocket—but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is a photographer.

“I keep having this conversation with students as photography evolves and becomes more ubiquitous,” says Laura Dutton, an assistant teaching professor in photography with our Visual Arts department.

“We’re all used to seeing photos on digital screens, but we really want to place emphasis on the photograph as fine art. The way photography can comment is extremely important in the world of contemporary art.”

Time for an upgrade

With over 150 photography students and nine separate photo-based courses, Visual Arts decided it was past time to upgrade their facilities: the new photography finishing lab is the result of a 15-month, $300,000 renovation funded by UVic’s Capital Projects.

It includes a wide range of technology and donor-funded equipment, including a large-format print, laminator, negative scanner, projector, lighting, computer stations, custom tables and a 50-foot magnetic wall for showing work.

“The room was really lacking functionality before, but now we have a sophisticated and professional space,” says Dutton. She also notes that the new lab and equipment will help students develop new skills in their own photography practice that will transfer to art-related employment opportunities.

“The completed project is providing students with an exceptional learning and making space,” says Visual Arts chair Cedric Bomford. “The excitement to get into the room and use this equipment is exciting. It’s been a real bright spot in a challenging year for students and faculty alike.”

Theatre alum Justin Lee explores cultural hybrids

If the COVID era has shown us anything, it’s that the future of theatre continues to be written. When the pandemic forced the shuttering of performance venues, stages around the world suddenly realized they would have to adapt to survive. Enter the age of mainstage livestreams, Zoom theatre and digital hybrids as fresh as the people thinking them up—people like Justin Frances Lee, who just graduated in spring 2021 with a BFA in Theatre and a concentration in directing.

A director, playwright and actor with a self-described mission is to “make theatre as accessible as film,” Lee sees a future for himself well beyond the footlights. By the time of his graduation, he had already appeared in a number of plays both on- and off-campus, had produced his own one-act show, and worked as the camera operator and second assistant director for a student film; and when COVID hit, he pivoted to working with established playwright and producer Janet Munsil (BFA ’89, MFA ’19) on her own pandemic project, The Canadian Play Thing—a virtual 100-seat live theatre launched in March 2020, where audiences gather to hear actors read new and under-produced Canadian plays online. 

Finding opportunities

“There are opportunities out there—you just need to find them,” says Lee, who also developed the Playwright2Playwright series, supported by the Playwrights Guild of Canada, where emerging and established playwrights have an opportunity to read from their work and interview each other. “You can’t have a romanticized, unrealistic approach: you have to be willing to collaborate with directors, with actors and really push yourself.”

As an actor, Lee had memorable roles in both Phoenix Theatre’s The Drowsy Chaperone and Langham Court Theatre’s I and You, and worked as crew on the Writing department’s short film, Dream Book.

When he heard that Munsil had launched The Canadian Play Thing, Lee jumped onboard first as a volunteer and then transformed his job into a paid position via UVic’s Fine Arts Co-op Program and Intrepid Theatre. “Justin has a very discerning, artistic and creative eye,” says Munsil. “He’s also developing a really strong producer toolkit—including promotion, production, artist relations, schedule management . . . all good skills to have.”

Entering the Apartment of Writing

Once everything was rolling smoothly, Lee took things a step further by establishing his own theatre company within the Play Thing: dubbed The Apartment of Writing, Lee brought together three other student playwrights—Megan Adachi, Brianna Bock and Megan Hands—to write and produce the spelunking drama A Way Out, a narrative audio podcast directed by recent Theatre grad Kirsten Sharun.

“We were working in a TV ‘writers room’ format—where a bunch of writers all pitch ideas and story leads—so the title became a bit of a joke, because we met in the Department of Writing, but we were all working from our own apartments because of COVID,” he explains. With a strong emphasis on solid storytelling and sound effects, A Way Out is part of the new wave of narrative podcasts gaining popularity during the pandemic.

“When it comes to working in film and theatre, it’s essential to pick the right medium for the story we’re trying to tell. A Way Out wouldn’t make sense as a stage play, but it worked perfectly as an audio drama,” says Lee.

Munsil says The Apartment of Writing was “a ton of work” and all a result of Lee’s own initiative. “He brought the project to me, and it became a major part of The Canadian Play Thing; it was a huge learning experience for him, but they turned out a really great artistic product. He can now take that company and go forward to try out new experiments in theatre media.”

Exploring cultural hybrids

But Lee’s interest in cultural hybrids extends beyond theatrical mediums. “One of the reasons I became a playwright is because I wanted to see more representation in theatre, as a lot of people of colour do right now,” he says. As a result, in 2019 he wrote and directed the one-act play Ngaii Duk for SATCo, Phoenix Theatre’s fabled Student Alternative Theatre Company. And his latest play, The Open Gate—a sequel of sorts to Ngaii Duk—is appearing at Theatre SKAM’s SKAMpede Festival July 16-18 in downtown Victoria.  

“In Cantonese, ngaii duk translates to ‘the ability to handle hardship’ and the play looked at hybrid cultural identity between Canadians and the Chinese diaspora,” he explains. “As a person of Chinese origin growing up in a very westernized school system and society, I am someone who has two different cultures mixed in and I’m interested in how those different cultural identities mesh together.”

As Lee will likely find out, ngaii duk may also be the ideal motto when it comes to carving out a place for himself in the Canadian theatre industry.

Making positive change with Student Life Grants

When Black fourth-year School of Music saxophone major Baylie Adams wanted to make a community impact during February 2021’s Black History Month, she looked to her own instrument for inspiration. “We were only hearing about Black composers in terms of jazz music, so I read up on Black composers to find a more diversified repertoire,” she explains. “I’d never even thought about it in terms of classical saxophone.”

 Adams’ research led her to American classical composer William Grant Still—the first African-American to conduct an orchestra in the US, and the first to have his Afro-American Symphony performed by a mainstream American orchestra.

From there, it was a short step to gathering fellow Music students to record an online recital. In Appreciation of William Grant Still: A Virtual Benefit Concert, which you can watch on YouTube, featured a number of Still’s compositions, including one written specifically for the saxophone, performed with accompanist Yousef Shadian.

Educating herself and others

As well as educating herself and her audience, Adams’ recital with the Quartet Cantabile (right, Alex Tiller, Baylie Adams, Ayari Kasukawa, Cole Davis) raised over $900 for the Blue Marists of Aleppo, a benefit fund directly supporting those affected by the ongoing war in Syria. Adams’ efforts and the recital was also covered by the Martlet student newspaper.

Adams, who received a $1,500 Student Life Grant to finance the project (more on that below), was glad to have stepped up in this fashion. “Putting work into an event like this made me feel better about all of the injustices over the Black Lives Matter summer,” she says. “I also wanted to engage people to learn about this Black composer, as well as listen to the recital.”

Turning thought into action

People all over the world are talking about anti-racism, anti-oppression, anti-discrimination and decolonizing work. But interdisciplinary PhD student Matilde Cervantes says it’s time to move beyond conversation. She’s leading a project with HREV to encourage action at UVic through visual storytelling. “That’s the really cool thing about art,” says Cervantes. “It can be one small move from thought towards real action in meaningful ways.”

The UVic Human Rights Education Volunteers Group (HREV) invites students, staff and faculty to their creative movement for an inclusive and welcoming UVic campus by creating a visual artwork proposal (e.g. photo, painting, or any visual) that evokes social change towards a respectful, healthy and peaceful UVic campus.

Remember to include a caption that explains how your image connects to the project themes. The artwork collected will form a virtual exhibit that celebrates anti-racism, anti-oppression, anti-discriminatory, decolonizing efforts at UVic this fall.

Submit your artwork for social change to mcervantes@uvic.ca by July 30, 2021. A $25 honorarium is available for current students, faculty and staff at UVic.

About Student Life Grants

Since 2011, UVic’s Office of Student Life has provided grants to current undergraduate and graduate students in order to support extracurricular activities or unique opportunities. Applicants for Student Life Grants can receive up to $1,000 to fund student-led initiatives that engage and positively impact the UVic campus community, plus an additional Anti-Racism Supplement (up to $500) to prioritize and support initiatives that focus on addressing racism utilizing anti-racist strategies.

For her part, Adams was thrilled to receive a Student Life Grant. “It was a really simple process and it helped me pay everyone who was involved in this project,” she says. “It was a good thing to apply for.”

“The Student Life Grants are a good way to encourage us all to get more involved in promoting these positive values in our community,” adds Cervantes.

Learn more

Interested in learning more about Student Life Grants and current projects? Sign up for one of the upcoming info sessions:

  • • Friday, June 25, 2021, 11am-12pm
  • • Monday, June 28, 2021, 12-1pm

The next Student Life Grant deadline is 11:59pm Wednesday, June 30.