2023 Brown Bag Research Series

The FCCS Brown Bag Research Series, supported by the Associate Dean of Research, is a chance to hear from our faculty and graduate students to learn what’s happening in each department. We’re looking forward to hearing presentations on research, scholarship and creative output from any and all of our colleagues in the coming months.

All speaking events will be held on Fridays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm and will be hybrid – location for in-person attendance is ART 106, Zoom for virtual attendance. Registration is required for both, we will provide free lunch to all those who wish to attend in person (vegetarian sandwiches and juice).

Register Now

Please note, the deadline to register if you want lunch included is Tuesday noon prior to the talk. 


Friday, October 13

  • Dr. Daniel Keyes, Associate Professor, English & Cultural Studies
    The Centre for Indigenous Media Arts: What Happens to Born-Digital Research when the Director Departs? Born-digital media involves loss. The following is a story of the loss of Indigenous media. In 2012 Stephen Foster, a media artist and faculty member at the University of British Columbia Okanagan [UBCO] of Haida and settler ancestry (UBCO Senate 6), creates the Centre for Indigenous Media Arts [CIMA] that includes a website. On 1 January 2020, Foster joins Ontario College of Art & Design University as the Dean of its Faculty of Arts (OCAD University). In August 2022, a search for CIMA’s homepage indicates the page is inaccessible. A search for the CIMA’s website files by the UBCO campus IT services indicates these files and files associated with CIMA were all deleted as is customary when scholars leave the institution. Today traces of CIMA can be located on Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine offering 39 captures between September 20, 2015 and April 12, 2021. The only remaining physical remnant of CIMA is a small sign perched high outside the former Centre. Yet digital traces of CIMA’s existence persist as dead links: In 2022 a webpage designed to recruit Indigenous students to UBC continues to mention CIMA and provide a link to the dead site (UBC, “Indigenous.”). Various high-level planning documents like the 2020 UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan mention CIMA as part of the institution’s steps towards reconciliation. Moreover, CIMA’s deletion is puzzling in the context of UBC Okanagan’s 2019 Declaration of Truth and Reconciliation (UBC Indigenous Strategy Plan 11) that might insist the preservation of CIMA’s digital face needs to be preserved. The 2020 UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan notes UBC has been incremental in its approach reconciliation and that “the University needs to undertake to lay an enduring foundation for the future relationship with Indigenous peoples on our campuses and beyond” (11). I assume enduring might involve a commitment to “archiving” or “preserving” Indigenous research but these terms are absent from the plan. This story of loss gives rise to many questions beyond the four below: • How can media researchers best prepare for archival loss? • Is media art performative and as such is such loss therefore acceptable? • Should UBC and by extension other research universities have a duty of care (Care Manifesto) for such material beyond the Wayback machine as a default repository? • Is there an ideal “death kit” model for flattening born-digital media when the funding runs out or personal retire or depart that see the University as perpetual custodian?

Friday, October 27

  • Dr. Greg Garrard, Professor, English & Cultural Studies
    Reading Canada’s Species at Risk Act (2002) as Bio-cultural Nationalism: The American Endangered Species Act (1973) is often described as the most effective conservation law ever passed. As Ursula Heise explains in Imagining Extinction, though, if one compares the ESA alongside conservation laws from other countries, one finds that they embody quite distinct senses of ‘why and how … communities see the fate of nonhuman species as part of their own identity and history.’ ‘Effectiveness’ cannot be determined without reference to these enculturated ideas about what is valued and conserved. We adopt Heise’s approach in a close reading of Canada’s Species at Risk Act (2002), and go on to show how bio-cultural nationalism, as much as scientifically-ascertained conservation status, affects SARA species listings.

Friday, November 10

  • Zach DeWitt, MA in English student
    Reading Indigenous literature confronts the non-Indigenous reader with many challenges, not the least of which is the epistemological difference between Western perspectives and Indigenous worldviews. While many explanations of this challenge exist in Indigenous studies, I turn to the specific relationship between story and theory in various Indigenous cosmologies to engage with the relationship between the non-Indigenous reader and the Indigenous text. Haisla and Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach offers this turn, as Robinson’s novel provokes the reader to take up epistemological considerations in their reading by explicitly directing them to consider certain aspects of Haisla thought and cosmology. My exploration of this “epistemological turn” will not only engage with Robinson’s exploration of nusa — the Haisla word for teaching traditional protocols — but also more general considerations of the coexistence of story and theory. I believe that such considerations might offer an approach for the reader to engage with the challenges of epistemological difference.

Friday, November 24

  • Miriam Cummings, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies
    Live, solo, participatory thesis performance: Drawing back the curtains to reveal an ongoing research-creation process. Miriam’s thesis performance engages the audience in techniques that build tangible, repeatable skills that they can take away into their lives, such as somatic listening and physical imagination. The performance is currently being built over a series of six invited development sessions during October-December 2023. The project asks: Can the explicit facilitation of guided somatic practices in theatrical performance enact a collective heightened presence that leads to embodied learning?

Friday, December 8

  • Tara Nicholson, PhD IGS student, Digital Art & Humanities theme
    Work-in-Progress: “Documenting Mammoths, EcoXombies & Other Arctic Extinctions: Designed to access a contemporary understanding of an active and non-static Arctic, my work documents ‘rock-star’ climatologists engaged in unravelling the effects of permafrost melt and ice sheet collapse. Spending time at remote science stations, I have become fascinated by the connections between art and science methodologies. The scientists I have spoken with employ vast forms of experimentation and nonlinear ways of working. Equally, I have also been drawn to understand the more speculative forms of climatology including large-scale techno-fixes and the increasing fascination to (de)extinction, and trophic rewilding. During the summer of 2023, I visited the University Centre (UNIS), the Svalbard Seed Bank and several permafrost monitoring sites in Longyearbyen, Norway. Part of the Norwegian archipelago, Longyearbyen is the world’s largest, most northern, continuously populated town that is attracting a growing number of tourists, researchers, and seasonal workers as it transitions from a coal mining town into an international sightseeing and research destination. Due to its location, adjacent to a warming oceanic jet stream, polar ice melt and permafrost erosion have been reported at a rate of four to six times faster than other landmasses on Earth leading to difficult challenges for the community. This intensified warming, often defined as Arctic amplification, is linked to erratic weather and the disappearance of permafrost landscape- causing landslides, infrastructure destruction and the vanishing of habitat for nonhuman animals. Amongst these catastrophic changes, Svalbard has been positioned as a ‘warming experiment,’ and the future-reality of climate crisis, as its extraordinary effects on human and more-than-human ways of life are already playing out in real-time.

Friday, January 12

  • Nikhita Obeegadoo, Assistant Professor, Languages and World Literatures
    Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres (2006) [Eve out of her ruins] is an award-winning novel that depicts the underside of the Mauritian postcard. Woven into its French prose is “krapo kriyé” [when frogs cry out] (1981), the island’s most famous example of the séga engazé (a local musical form rooted in the island’s history of plantation slavery, with lyrics in Mauritian Creole and themes of social injustice). I ask: What is the effect of such intertextuality? On one hand, I explore how any attempt to reproduce music in written format is always unsatisfactory, if not problematic. On the other, I argue that the presence of the séga engazé functions as an alternative aesthetic form that draws attention to experiences sidelined by the official Mauritian narrative. Furthermore, I propose that “krapo kriyé” acts as a both a trigger of “multidirectional memory” (Michael Rothberg) and an example of a “subversive tactic” (Françoise Lionnet and Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François) that allows Devi’s work to retain local specificities while also appealing to a global audience.

Friday, January 26

  • Emily Murphy, English and Cultural Studies
    “I will live these multiple lives”: Intermedial Narratology in Anaïs Nin: A Sea of Lies (2020): This presentation will trace the intermedial strategies of a graphic biography of twentieth-century novelist and diarist, Anaïs Nin. Léonie Bischoff’s Anaïs Nin: A Sea of Lies (2020), I argue, animates Nin, constructing an intermedial image-text at the intersection of biography and Nin’s autofictional intertexts. The comic, and the figure of Nin that it constructs, refuses to be unified at the expense of its multiplicity. This talk is early work on a chapter in my monograph on graphic or comics-form biographies. Graphic biographies have emerged as a distinct comics genre in the last twenty years, with a particular boom in the last two. In the book, I argue that these works replicate the circulation of media within their pages while engaging in the cultural memory exercise of biography.*content warning: the graphic biography explores aspects of Nin’s sexual abuse by her father, and my talk will also feature some of that material.

Friday, February 9

  • Annie Furman, MFA Interdisciplinary Studies
    Presenting on writing, designing, and producing short performances to engage audiences with tangible, local climate solutions by looking at the Climate Change Theatre Action performances I am producing with Prof. Denise Kenney in December 2023 as a case study.

Friday, March 8

  • TBC

Friday, March 22

  • Amira Ahmed, PhD IGS student, Digital Art & Humanities theme
    Presentation of PhD study on digital heritage and its implications for global citizenship education. My research investigates the use of immersive media technologies in promoting intercultural dialogue through heritage edu-communication.

Friday, April 5

  • Melissa Jacques and Allison Hargreaves, English and Cultural Studies
    Decomposition as Practice and Pedagogy