A coding career composed of science and sound

When Calgary-based Logan Wood was looking for a leading post-secondary music and computer science degree program, he quickly realized that there was only real choice for him. “In comparing programs across the country, UVic stood out for me,” he says.

Despite landing squarely in the pandemic years, Wood managed to not only excel academically and creatively in his Bachelor of Science, but also complete four software-development co-op terms with a pair of tech start-ups in his hometown. His interest in music production and recording have already seen him release a mixtape album and three charting EPs—including his latest, 2022’s Pardon My Name—all of which helped him land a full-time position fresh out of classes. (Check out his work @LoganWoodMusic on Instagram, TikTok & Twitter.)

Music made the hiring difference

Now a corporate systems developer with the Calgary branch of energy company PETRONAS Global, Wood feels it was his unique combination of skills and experiences that helped him secure his new position. “I definitely got it because of my co-op experience . . . but my music background certainly helped my application,” he says. “Employers are looking for interesting, well-rounded people—not just a straight-A student whose life is all about grades—so my recording successes showed that I wasn’t one-dimensional.”

While he’s currently leaning into the computer science side of his new degree, Wood clearly isn’t giving up on his hard-earned recording skills. “Coming into the program, I knew I wanted to release music but didn’t really have a plan,” he admits. Thanks to the School of Music’s fully equipped Creative Research Technology (or CReaTe) Lab, Wood was able to learn everything he needed to record, mix and master his tracks, including producing, engineering, plug-in development and all the required hardware. “It was definitely a catalyst in bringing my music to life.”

Recording & networking

One unintentional COVID highlight was the opportunity to work with local label Cordova Bay Records on a unique recording project. “We were able to produce some ambient music for them to consider, which was really great.” (Hear Wood’s “Cloudwalker” track on the UVic Library’s “Library Lullaby” Soundcloud playlist.) “Not only did we get some professional feedback on our tracks, but it opened a window into the world of record labels and gave most of us our first experience doing ambient music, which is more of a low-fi/study-beat. My personal work is more either old-school jazz boom-bap hip hop or trappy upbeat anthem-y party vibes.”

Other degree highlights include courses in music technology and music production, and serving as communications director for the Computer Music Course Union. “I’m really happy with what the CMCU grew into—not only did we increase student involvement but the academic funding we received let us invest close to $10,000 in recording equipment, instruments, microphones and software back into the studio,” Wood says. “Looking back, those were the standouts: fun projects, great experiences, good friends.”

The experience he needed

Ultimately, Wood says he wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the program to future students. “If you’re passionate about computer science and you want to learn about music—or vice-versa—this is the program for you,” he says. “This is where you get the experience and the opportunity to network and build relationships with your peers and professors and the industry: I really don’t think there’s a better program in Canada.”

All photos by Emily Erickson-Flegg

Fine Arts well-represented at 2022 GVRA Awards

For over 50 years, Fine Arts has been an incubator for young artists, technicians, arts administrators, volunteers and audience members. And while our alumni and faculty members continue to make a vital impact on Victoria’s arts community, it’s also important to recognize the ongoing contributions made by our students.

With that in mind, Fine Arts is more than pleased to present the annual Faculty of Fine Arts Student Community Impact Award as part of the annual Greater Victoria Regional Arts Awards, presented on September 29 at a public downtown event at Club KWENCH.

Created in 2021 by the Dean’s External Advisory Committee, the $1,000 Student Community Impact Award recognizes individual achievements or outstanding efforts made by one or more full-time undergraduate students for a local arts organization. And thanks to Fine Arts donors—especially the Saanich Peninsula chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women, who donated an additional $1,000 to this award in memory of one of their members, local artist Margaret Little—we were able to present awards to two students this year.

Our first award went to Visual Arts student Tori Jones for her work organizing (Un)Expected, an undergraduate exhibit held at Sidney’s ArtSea Community Arts Council Gallery in May 2022. With less than two-month’s notice, Tori was able to coordinate 13 Visual Arts students to curate, hang and run what was, for most of them, their first off-campus exhibit; this not only offered these students an opportunity to connect with the community at large, but also provided invaluable “real world” experience in working with a community art gallery.

Our second award went to School of Music voice student Isolde Roberts-Welby for her continued work with the Victoria Children’s Choir. Isolde began singing with the VCC when she was just 10 years old; now, a decade later, she continues to perform with them and has also taken on leadership roles by conducting, teaching and leading sectional rehearsals. Indeed, her work with the Victoria Children’s Choir has directly led to her current position as a choral scholar at Christ Church Cathedral and a soloist with the likes of CappriCCio Ensemble, Victoria Philharmonic Choir and the international Pacific Baroque Festival.


Dean Allana Lindgren with Tori Jones (left) & Isolde Roberts-Welby

Alumni recipients

In addition to these awards, three Fine Arts alumni received recognition at the GVRAAs as well: a great reminder about the role Fine Arts continues to play in Victoria’s creative community. Congratulations go out to:

  • Andrew Barrett (Impulse Theatre) on winning the $3,000 City of Victoria Creative Builder Award
  • Mercedes Bátiz-Benét (Puente Theatre) on winning the $2,000 PARC Retirement Living Mid-Career Artist Award
  • Chelsea Kutyn (School of Music, not present) on winning the $2,000 John Mears Achievement in Music Award
  • Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre—represented by Rebekah Johnson (Theatre) & Department of Theatre professor Brian Richmond—on winning the $15,000 JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award for their production of Betrayal by Harold Pinter.
Read more about our 2021 winners: Kyla Fradette (Music), Alison Roberts (Theatre) and Dani Neira (AHVS). 

Faculty Equity Survey


UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts is conducting an Equity Review in preparation for Strategic Planning. We want to hear from members of the Fine Arts community to understand what we are doing well and what else we need to do to become a place where everyone is welcomed, included and respected for who they are.

This anonymous, 10-minute survey runs from Oct 3-17, 2022, and you can take it here.

We welcome the participation of all members of the Faculty of Fine Arts: faculty, staff, instructors, and current students. The survey asks about your experiences with oppression, discrimination, harassment, Indigenization, Indigenous inclusion and decolonization in the Faculty of Fine Arts, and covers all of our units: Art History & Visual Studies, School of Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing. We also are eager to hear your suggestions for making the Faculty a more inclusive space for all.

Full details about the survey—including how the data will be used, who will see the results, how your privacy is protected & the project timeline—can be found here on the Fine Arts website.

Thank you for your involvement in this important process. As a Faculty, we are looking forward to hearing a full range of views from the diverse members of our community. Your time and openness will help us build a more inclusive community for all.

Young Alumni Lunch & Learn sessions engage current students

While Fine Arts has no shortage of national and internationally renowned alumni at the peak of their careers, finding meaningful ways to engage our more recent graduates remains a priority for the faculty. 

With that in mind, this year we created a new “Young Alumni Lunch & Learn” webinar series, which enabled current students to benefit from the recent skills and achievements of those who have graduated over the past 10 years. 

Four separate webinars were held over both semesters, covering a range of topics designed to offer useful and practical information to upper-level students

Arts funding for recent grads

“BC Arts Council Funding 101” saw Theatre alumna and current BC Arts Council program officer Erin Macklem offering an introduction to the often-confusing world of artist grants.


Inside the Gallery

Art History & Visual Studies alumni McKaila Ferguson and Jenelle Pasiechnik to share their paths out of school and into their current positions with the Penticton & District Community Arts Council and Campbell River Art Gallery (respectively).


Are You Media Ready?

Join Department of Writing alumnus Cormac O’Brien—currently social media manager for Toronto’s Six Shooter Records—to learn insider tips on promotions, marketing and working with the media.


Finding Meaningful Work in the Arts

Did you know students and alumni both can use UVic Career Services to find work after graduation? Join current career educator and AHVS alumna Caroline Riedel, plus recent alum Caitlin Gallupe (Visual Arts) and current student Trevor Rutherford (Music), to learn more about UVic’s Coop & Career Services and their approach to employment preparations, work search transitions and career development. 


Given the unintentional pandemic benefit of increased use of video platforms and overall webinar proficiency, these sessions allowed us to work with young alumni no longer based in Victoria.

Cello donation creates a musical legacy

One of  the remarkable opportunities offered to School of Music students is the ability to perform on celebrated instruments for the duration of their studies. One such is the Ferdinand Gaglianojilus Nicolaifecit Neap cello, built in Naples, Italy, in 1779. 

Most recently owned by Marilyn Jones—who played it for more than 70 years­—the Gagliano Cello is a significant part of the Marilyn June Jones Cello Fund Endowment, which was created to support the care and maintenance of it and other cellos in the School of Music.

“The generous gift of Marilyn’s fine cello not only has, and will continue to, enhance the experience and skill of the students who will have the opportunity to play and perform on, but it will feed their sense of possibility of achievement throughout their entire career,” says string professor and Lafayette String Quartet cellist Pamela Highbaugh Aloni.

Jones, who trained as a nurse but had a lifelong passion for music, brought the cello with her when she moved her family to Victoria in 1972, where she performed with local community orchestral groups. She continued playing the Gagliano Cello on a regular basis until 2018, when health issues made performance difficult.

But Jones wanted to ensure her treasured cello would continue to be played, and was delighted to gift it—along with an additional fund to support the care and upkeep of such fine string instruments—to the School of Music, where it would support the education of young musicians.

Highbaugh Aloni feels the Jones’ generous gift sends a clear message: “Every time it’s played, it reminds us that what the students are studying and striving for in terms of a career and lifelong pursuit is valued.”

School of Music student Nicole Phanichphant playing the Gagliano Cello at the memorial service for Marilyn Jones (below), shown playing the same instrument in this archival photo

Sharing fears and truths about climate change

Crookes Professor Sean Holman (right) with Writing student Sandra Ibrahim

Recent climate-related disasters—from heatwaves and wildfires to floods and hurricanes—make it clear that we need to prepare for climate change, while also trying to prevent it. Journalists and scientists must work together to do that. By improving media coverage, the public can make the best decisions possible about the most pressing problem of our time. To help support this work, humanitarian and political activist Wayne Crookes funded a professorship in Environmental and Climate Journalism in UVic’s Department of Writing through a gift of $1.875 million.

Sean Holman, who assumed the role in September 2021, says the power of the professorship is the marriage of both teaching and research. It allows him to “involve students and members of the broader community in this research in very direct ways, so that they can take action on climate change.”

Establishing a baseline for good climate coverage

One of Holman’s first accomplishments as Crookes Professor was to co-lead the first ever Canadian study comparing perceptions of climate change coverage in three groups: journalists, climate scientists and the public. The resulting Climate Coverage in Canada Report was published in November 2021, shortly after the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The report offered recommendations for how climate change reporting could be improved, including how scientists and journalists could better work together.

“Until now we haven’t had a baseline to establish what good climate coverage should look like,” says Holman. “Now, as a result of this survey, we are getting a better idea about what climate scientists would like to see in the news media and how they would like the media to reflect the scientific evidence that surrounds climate change.”

Climate Disaster Project

Crookes’ gift extends beyond the professorship to fund other research and outreach initiatives such as the Climate Disaster Project. In the project’s manifesto, Holman writes: “We are already losing countless lives and livelihoods to climate change. That means we are all climate disaster survivors. But we don’t see ourselves in that way, so we feel alone in our experiences.”

The project brings together students at UVic and several partner universities to collect and share the stories of people who have lived through climate change-related disasters. Those stories will be published and broadcast by the project’s media partners and then added to a publicly available memory vault. The vault will also serve as a launchpad for investigative solutions journalism projects about climate disasters and a virtual gathering place for anyone who has experienced them. APTN  (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) aired the first set of stories highlighting the work of the Climate Disaster Project on June 3.

So much of the narrative about climate change has been around ‘can we stop it?’, without acknowledging that it’s happening. The hope is that by creating these stories, we can build community, and by building community, we can create hope.”

—Sean Holman

Trauma-informed journalism

UVic student Sandra Ibrahim participated in the project through her undergraduate writing class. To prepare for interviewing climate disaster survivors, students in the class learned trauma-informed interview techniques and practiced them with each other. This way of interviewing relies on gradually building trust between the interviewer and interviewee. Practices such as informed consent, providing interview questions in advance, sharing transcripts after the interview and self-care are built into the process to help the interviewee feel comfortable and confident in sharing their story.

For Holman, one of the most fulfilling aspects of the donor-funded professorship is teaching a course that combines classroom experience with a pioneering real-world project. “I’ve always wanted to be able to teach this kind of transformative course, a course that doesn’t just have an effect inside the classroom, but also outside the classroom—and is grounded in both research and social change.”

Reflecting on the class, Ibrahim says: “One of the things Sean said that I’ve taken to heart is, ‘What if the truth was a gift?’. What if sharing pain, insecurities—or grief, in my case—what if sharing that was a gift, even if it makes us feel vulnerable?”

Shifting focus

Holman believes the project could create a perceptual shift for those sharing and hearing stories. For example, for students in his class, the collective realization that they weren’t alone in their fears about the future helped foster a sense of community. Ibrahim described the process of sharing in community as “absolutely healing. It may not solve the problem of climate change, but it solves the problem of loneliness and despair and grief about climate change.”

Perhaps that’s the crux of why Crookes’ visionary gift is so important, not just to UVic, but to the world. It permits the sharing of truth—a truth belonging as much to one individual as to humankind. It shifts the focus from data and temperature percentages to empathy and shared experience, from the enormity of prevention to the reality of adaptation.

All this would never have happened without Wayne Crookes. It was his visionary concern for the humanitarian cost of climate change and his belief that society can be mobilized around this experience that made this possible.”

—Sean Holman

—Sarah Tarnopolsky

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