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

Beadwork as resistance

When it comes to beadwork, a design is created bead by bead, row by row: it’s much the same in writing, where poems and stories are created word by word, line by line. But for award-winning poet, memoirist and University of Victoria writing professor Gregory Scofield—also a traditional Cree-Metis beadworker—the two art forms are intimately connected through his creative practice and teaching.

As a child, Scofield recalls how he would sit with his auntie at her kitchen table while she was beading, learning Cree and listening as she shared family and traditional stories. “As I listened and learned, I became interested in beadwork and creating something—so I’ve always linked the act of creativity to storytelling,” he explains. “There’s something quite sacred about listening and working with your hands at the same time.”

Current awareness of beadwork

With archaeological evidence dating back thousands of years before European contact, the practice of Indigenous beadwork has never stopped—yet is flourishing in contemporary media, and the exhibit On Beaded Ground at UVic’s Legacy Gallery until September 18, 2021.

“There’s definitely more awareness and appreciation of beadwork,” he says. “But it’s important to keep in mind that it isn’t just a homogenous Indigenous expression: people work in the mediums of their own nations.”

Cree-Metis floral beadwork

As a Red River Metis of Cree, Scottish and European descent, Scofield practices traditional 19th century Cree-Metis floral beadwork. An example of his own work is seen here on the right: a Cree-Métis panel/fire bag using all traditional materials. 

“Towards the end of the 19th century, there were huge changes for Indigenous and Metis people . . . there were incredible obstacles, and communities ended up completely impoverished. Women were sewing as supplemental income to support their families, and a lot of those pieces ended up in the tourist trade.”

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.

 

“Because everything happened for me at that kitchen table . . . I wanted to be able to bring that mental, emotional and tactile experience to students, who really have very little understanding or knowledge of Indigenous history or the impacts of colonial violence toward Indigenous women,” he explains.

“I teach my students how Indigenous women used beadwork as a way to resist colonial violence, as a way of maintaining and preserving identity—but also as a way of telling stories. It’s beadwork as a form of resistance.”

Repatriating beadwork

Another form of resistance is Scofield’s history of repatriating beadwork pieces—a practice which began years ago when he noticed a beaded pocket-watch holder in a Royal BC Museum display mislabeled as “Victoriana,” when he recognized it as a piece of 19th century Cree-Metis beadwork. He holds many such pieces in his own collection (seen in photo above). 

“I often refer to myself as an ‘unintentional curator’ because a lot of specifically Cree-Metis pieces are folded into other First Nations or Victoriana exhibits, because curators haven’t any idea about us as a people and our unique artforms,” he says. “By misidentifying them, the stories and geography are stripped away, and communities are stripped of their identity too.” 

Ever the poet, Scofield sees this as more than just repatriation. 

“It’s about giving these pieces their stories back.”

Gregory Scofield: fast facts

  • Scofield traces his ancestry back to the fur trade era and the Metis community of Kinosota, Manitoba. In March 2021, he was named a recipient of the Order of Gabriel Dumont, one of the Métis Nation’s highest civilian honours. He has donated many pieces of repatriated beadwork to organizations like the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research.
  • One of Scofield’s poems—“The Sewing Circle”, from his 2011 collection Louis: The Heretic Poems—is permanently installed at the Batoche National Historic Site, where Louis Riel was defeated during the North-West Rebellion of 1885.
  • Scofield’s first memoir, Thunder Through My Veins, was selected for CBC’s 2021 Canada Reads longlist. The author of nine books, he is also the recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the $25,000 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, given to an accomplished mid-career poet.
  • Scofield has just released wapihkwanîy: A Beginner’s Guide to Métis Floral Beadwork (with co-author Amy Briley) through the Gabriel Dumont Institute. “I’m so proud of this book, and to be able to share all my aunty taught me,” he says.
  • See beautiful examples of Scofield’s own beadwork via his Instagram page: @metisboi.
  • Earlier this month, Gregory Scofield participated in “Kitchen Table Talk: The Beauty of Beading” as part of Legacy Gallery’s On Beaded Ground exhibit.

This story originally appeared as part of UVic’s monthly KnowlEDGE feature in the Times Colonist newspaper on June 27, 2021. KnowlEDGE is a continuing series highlighting the research and creative practice of UVic professors and graduate students.  

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

Poetry & motion: Writing alumni Billeh Nickerson

There’s a delightful irony in the fact that the most memorable part of Joe Biden’s inauguration as the oldest president in US history was the reading by the youngest poet to ever appear at such a ceremony. Arguably the highlight of the event, 23-year-old Amanda Gorman’s impactful performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb” wasn’t lost on Vancouver-based poet and writing professor Billeh Nickerson (BFA ’98).

“Seeing a younger person—and a younger person of colour—talking about things that are important isn’t normally the case in these situations,” he says. “Was it the best poem ever done? Probably not. Was it super successful and inspiring? Totally! And, as a poet, I can tell you it is hard to write an occasional poem: I’ve done a bunch over the years and it’s not fun.”

Fresh energy

Nickerson knows a thing or two about injecting fresh energy into old institutions, be it academia or poetry itself. Currently the co-chair of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Creative Writing department (alongside fellow UVic Writing classmate Aislinn Hunter), he’s also the former editor of PRISM International and Event, two of Canada’s most respected literary journals, and has earned a well-deserved reputation for his sexy, savvy and frequently funny poetry since the debut of his first book back in 2000.

Now, with the spring 2021 publication of his sixth book, Duct-Taped Roses (Book*hug Press), Nickerson continues his career of offering playfully evocative observations on life, work, history and queer culture. “Poetry is like fashion,” he observes. “It keeps changing and is constantly evolving, but there’s something at the heart of poetry that still exists and remains relevant. The word that keeps coming up for me is resiliency.”

Consider the new poem “Love Coward”, which reflects on the experience of having an earlier poem appear—and then be vandalized—on Vancouver’s buses and Skytrains as part of the Poetry in Transit series. (“and never for the rest of my life / will so many people read one of my poems” he writes.)

“For a lot of folks, seeing poetry in transit is the biggest and most obvious source of contemporary poetry they get,” he says. “You see people sitting there, maybe moving their lips, and realize they’re reading your poem—I’ve had that experience a couple of times now and it’s really quite lovely.”

Finding poetic inspiration

Nickerson recalls that he had no thoughts of being either a professional poet or a teacher when he left his family home in Langley BC to attend UVic’s writing program. “In retrospect, it was kind of on a whim, but I’m really happy I made that decision,” he admits. “When I found out Lorna Crozier was teaching there, that was a big sell for me.” Another early influence was Geist magazine founder Stephen Osborne. “He was one of my first teachers, and the one who really opened up the possibility of the sentence for me,” he says, noting how this led to his 20-year relationship with publishing in Geist. 

Yet it wasn’t until Nickerson started appearing at local open mic nights that he began taking the idea of poetry more seriously. “I always remember Al Purdy—bless his heart—saying, ‘If you threw a rock in Victoria, you’d hit a poet’,” he chuckles. “There’s something to be said for finding comfort in numbers.”

Pre- and post-pandemic experiences

While he’s no stranger to writing about history-making events—his 2012 volume Impact explored the legacy of theTitanic—Nickerson does note that all of the work in Duct-Taped Roses was all written pre-COVID. “I do wonder what’s next. Poems written before the pandemic have become de-facto laments for our pre-pandemic experience . . . but we haven’t gotten to the post- part yet. I’m definitely curious how that will change the reader, and change the art.” 

Right now, however, he’s hoping the publication of his new book will offer a sense of renewal, even if it is in the form of Zoom readings. “The terrible irony for me is that I had started a book about airports and airlines, but that stopped—obviously—because I’m not going to be hanging out in airports right now,” he sighs. “So it’s a bit of a conundrum to figure out what the next step is.”

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.

Writing MFA Kim Harvey wins GG Award for Drama

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 UVic.

“I am delighted and energized to learn that Kim has received the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama,” says Acting Dean of Fine Arts, Allana Lindgren. “Kamloopa ​resonates—particularly at this moment—with courage and hope. I deeply admire Kim’s artistic voice and look forward to following her promising career.”

Amplification of power

“It’s always been about the amplification, it’s always been about the fact that I just want people to read a play with characters of women who are full and funny and sexy and particularly brave and courageous in figuring out what it means to be Indigenous in this era,” says Harvey in her acceptance speech.

“I wrote Kamloopa to ignite the power that was within Indigenous people . . . to ignite journeys with Indigenous women that allow us to be exactly who we are in all of fullness and all of our fallibility and all of our fucking brilliance.”

Brilliant & irreverent

“Brilliance” is also a word the Governor General’s jury panel— Catherine Banks, Andrew Moodie and Kenneth T. Williams—used to describe Harvey’s work in their citation.

“The brilliance, the irreverence, the fire of Kamloopa sweeps us into the world of three Indigenous women on a mind-bending quest. The audience is seduced by the love, humour and depth of these matriarchs as they embrace and celebrate who they are in the world and with each other. A play that will encourage you to re-evaluate your relationship with Canada.”

Kamloopa had its world premiere in 2018 with a three-city tour under Harvey’s own direction. Kamloopa was subsequently nominated for eight Jessie Richardson awards, winning the 2019 Jessie for “Significant Artistic Achievement for Decolonizing Theatre Practices and Spaces”. Kamloopa was also the first Indigenous play in the history of the Jessies to win Best Production and was the 2019 recipient of the Sydney J Risk Prize for most outstanding emerging playwright. Kamloopa was published by Talonbooks in the fall of 2019.

Indigenous theorist

An Indigenous theorist, cultural evolutionist and an award-winning writer and director whose work focuses on igniting Indigenous power by creating comedic and joy-centered narratives that nourish her people’s spirits, Harvey also hosts a podcast that explores these same topics: The Indigenous Cultural Evolutionist.

She has worked across Turtle Island as a performer (highlights include the national tour of Where the Blood Mixes and the world premiere of Children of God at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa) and has participated in the Banff Residency  “Writing in a Racialized Canada”, which brought together Canada’s most exciting emerging BIPOC writers. She was then appointed as one of two artists to take part in the National Theatre School’s inaugural Artistic Leadership Program, which aims to steward in the next generation of artists to lead the major artistic institutions in this country, and participated in the Rumble Directors Lab as well as the Banff Playwrights Lab.

Harvey continues to work on innovating new methodologies for engaging and creating Indigenous stories that honours the multi-dimensionality of having our ancestors tell stories with us. She is the innovator for the Fire Creation Methodology and Salish Plateau Earthing.

Media coverage

Harvey’s GG win has been attracting a fair bit of attention, with her speaking to CBC Radio’s As It Happens in this June 1 interview. As she says to host Carol Off, her award-winning play Kamloopa shows “the power and perseverance and tenacity” of Indigenous Peoples.

“Our plight and pain is often what the narratives are structured around, but that’s not my life,” she says.

Her win was also covered in these articles by CBC Books, Vancouver Sun, Quill & Quire, Georgia Straight and others.

“I think something quite mystical is happening right now, with [fellow Governor General’s Literary Award winner] Michelle Good being from Kamloops and Kamloopa winning,” Harvey told the Vancouver Sun. “I believe this is the time to bring attention to Indigenous peoples’ lives and our stories. And to celebrate the resistance and the continued living of Indigenous peoples.”

Next steps

Harvey is currently working on the development of two television series: her Salish love story, On the Plateau, and the adaptation of her play, Kamloopa. She is also completing her first prose and poetry book, Interiors: A Collection of NDN Dirtbag Love Stories, and is in pre-production to film a musical feature of her next artistic ceremony, Break Horizons: A Rocking Indigenous Justice Ceremony.

She will also be starting her PhD at UVic Law in the fall of 2021.

“Everyone in the Faculty of Fine Arts is incredibly proud of Kim,” says Acting Dean Allana Lindgren. “Watch out! I am confident that this young woman is going to shake up theatre and society with her wise words.”