Patty Wellborn

Email: patty-wellborn@news.ok.ubc.ca


 

A photo of Jean Baird and George Bowering

Canadian writer George Bowering listens while his wife Jean Baird talks about the contribution of his writings and recordings to UBCO’s special collections library and digital humanities lab.

The generosity of a pair of Canadian literary dynamos allows for the addition of two remarkable contributions to UBC Okanagan’s special collections library and digital humanities lab.

Earlier this fall, UBCO students, faculty and staff welcomed Canadian writer George Bowering and collector Jean Baird to campus for the official opening of the Baird Bowering Collection Exhibition. A UBC alumnus, Bowering has a long-standing relationship with the university, having received his bachelor’s degree in 1960, master’s degree in 1962, an honorary doctorate in 1994 and the UBC Alumni Achievement Award in 2011.

The literary duo—co-editors, as well as husband and wife—have donated Baird’s compilation of Bowering’s published materials to UBCO. This collection is composed of Bowering’s works across several genres and formats, including multiple editions of his Governor General award-winning titles Rocky Mountain Foot, The Gangs of Kosmos and Burning Water.

“A reflection of Bowering’s enduring fondness for small literary presses, this collection contains many rare and ephemeral publications, including chapbooks and broadsides,” says Paige Hohmann, UBCO Archivist.

The collection also features the unique Tinhorn Creek wine barrel lid gifted to Bowering by his hometown of Oliver, BC in celebration of his appointment as the first Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada in 2002.

UBCO’s collection is considered among the most complete in the world, with only Yale, the University of California, Berkeley and the Library and Archives Canada holding comparable collections, explains Hohmann.

Dr. Karis Shearer, a Canadian Literature Professor with UBCO’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, says Okanagan residents are fortunate to have such a unique collection at the university.

“Many literary archives and special collections are located in urban centres such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver,” she adds “To be able to access a unique literary collection by one of Canada’s best-known authors right here at UBC Okanagan is of immense value to our students and community members who wish to study a writer’s works and the social life of books.”

The event also celebrated Bowering’s 2019 donation of a collection of his personal recordings on cassette tapes to Shearer’s AMP Lab.

“This cassette collection offers us a chance to hear the relationships and sociality behind the writing life, providing insights we typically associate with a writer’s literary correspondence,” says Dr. Shearer. “We hear him talking with his daughter, introducing talks by other major Canadian writers such as Sheila Watson, and conversing with literary friends Roy Kiyooka and Warren Tallman.”

At the special event earlier this fall, those in attendance had the opportunity to listen as Bowering read from his Okanagan-based poem “Desert Elm.” The audience also listened to a special 1974 recording of a much younger Bowering composing on cassette tape with his then four-year-old daughter Thea, now also a writer.

Both the Baird Bowering and Bowering cassette collections are now featured in an exhibit currently mounted in the Okanagan Special Collections Corbishley Family Reading Room.

“Jean Baird, as a compiler and a bibliographer, is a co-creator of this particular corpus of Bowering’s works,” Hohmann adds. “Not only are the books autographed, many are inscribed to her. We’re grateful to both Bowering for writing these, and to Baird for collecting and then contributing to our library.”

English and creative writing students Sarah Cipes, Megan Butchart and Xiao Xuan Huang, worked alongside Shearer and Hohmann to curate the exhibit. Hohmann notes it’s a good example of the way students are engaging with the collection.

Student assistants from the AMP Lab and UBCO special collections have also co-written a short essay about the two contributions. Dr. Shearer says the tapes in the AMP Lab’s SoundBox Collection provide the perfect complement to the Baird-Bowering collection.

“For Baird and Bowering, this was a homecoming for the collection to a place and landscape that influenced Bowering as a writer,” says Shearer “The geography that features in so much of his writing is evident in his collection Writing the Okanagan.”

The exhibit will remain open until the end of January. Members of the public, along with the university community, are invited to visit the exhibit which is located inside the UBCO library building.

“We are just so excited this collection is now part of UBC Okanagan, and that students are reading these materials,” says Baird. “The Okanagan is engrained in Bowering’s work—you have to learn the postage stamp on which you live—and Bowering has done that for the Okanagan.”

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Rehtaeh Parsons funeral

Moving moments, such as the family of Rehtaeh Parsons gathered at her funeral, will be shown during the screening of Backlash, Misogyny in the Digital Age at UBCO Tuesday, December 6.

What: Documentary Film Screening: Backlash, Misogyny in the Digital Age
When: Tuesday, December 6, 6:30 pm
Where: University Theatre, ADM 026, 1138 Alumni Avenue, UBC Okanagan

For the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Espaces francophones UBCO, in association with Réseau Femmes and Inform’elles Colombie-Britannique, is presenting a film screening of the Canadian documentary, Backlash, Misogyny in the Digital Age. This screening will be presented in French with English subtitles.

The documentary is a shocking story of four female leaders whose lives are overturned by cyberviolence, says Dr. Francis Langevin, Associate Professor of Teaching in the department of languages and world literatures.

Backlash, Misogyny in the Digital Age has had an important impact in Québec, where it was produced,” says Dr. Langevin. “Espaces francophones UBCO really wanted to make it available in the Okanagan, and especially for our campus community.”

Dr. Langevin is co-director for Espaces francophones which aims to offer French-language cultural and social activities to students in the French-speaking minority community of UBCO with the goal of highlighting and facilitating spaces for Francophone socialization.

This documentary film examines technology-facilitated violence directed at women and the types of backlash that women experience for participating in public life more broadly.

“The documentary exposes what is not often discussed in the public arena—and it definitely calls for action,” says Dr. Langevin. “It’s important to have a wide reach and a public screening in order to display solidarity with survivors of gendered violence, and to also make visible the resources that are available in our community, especially on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.”

This film includes images as well as written and spoken content that touches on topics that viewers might find distressing, explains Johannah Black, Education and Prevention Specialist from UBCO’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO).

These include technology-facilitated violence and harassment, stalking, sexual violence, threats of death and sexual assault, bullying, suicide, hate speech including racial and misogynist slurs, right-wing extremist violence, slut shaming language, sharing sexual images and videos online without consent, and realistic looking but photoshopped images of both physical and sexual assault.

“These examples can be shocking and disturbing for viewers, particularly those who have their own experiences with technology-facilitated violence or sexual violence,” she adds. “For anyone who needs support during or following the screening there will be support staff from SVPRO on hand.”

After the screening, guests are invited to attend a question and answer period with Co-Director Guylaine Maroist, facilitated by Blanche Monabeka. This session will be held in French.

This event is free and open to all, but registration is required. To register for this screening and for a more detailed content description, please visit: backlashUBCO.eventbrite.com

This event is organized by Espaces francophones, with support from the Programme de français and a number of UBCO faculties and schools along with the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office , and the UBC Okanagan Equity and Inclusion Office.

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artistic firebowl outside EME

An artistic fire bowl titled For Future Matriarchs was installed at UBCO last week. It will be lit each December 6 in memory of the 14 women killed in the École Polytechnique massacre. The piece was created by internationally recognized Syilx artist Krista-Belle Stewart and Secwépemc artist Tania Willard.

What: 14 Not Forgotten memorial ceremony
Who: UBCO students, faculty, staff, members of the public
When: Tuesday, December 6, 3:30 to 5 pm
Where: Outdoor EME amphitheatre, 1138 Alumni Avenue, UBC Okanagan

UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering is hosting its annual 14 Not Forgotten memorial ceremony on December 6 to remember the 14 women whose lives were lost in the École Polytechnique massacre.

“The ceremony is held each December not only as a way to remember the young victims but to also commit to action to end violence against women,” says School of Engineering Director Dr. Will Hughes.

On December 6, 1989, an armed man walked into an engineering class at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. After forcing the men to leave, the gunman began shooting—killing 14 women and injuring ten more.

In response to this tragedy, Canada established December 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. This day serves as a reminder of the gender-based violence against women in Canada and around the world that persists today.

UBCO’s 14 Not Forgotten Memorial commemorates the École Polytechnique tragedy and also honours the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, including LGBTQ and Two Spirit people.

This year as part of the ceremony, a new art installation will be unveiled as a permanent memorial outside the Engineering Management and Education (EME) building.

“The memorial will serve as a visible symbol of the School of Engineering and UBC’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” adds Dr. Hughes. This artwork accommodates a fire that will be lit during the annual 14 Not Forgotten ceremony, adding a highly impactful performative aspect to the installation.

The piece, titled For Future Matriarchs was created by an internationally recognized Syilx artist Krista-Belle Stewart and Secwépemc artist Tania Willard, who is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts in the Creative Studies department.

This fire bowl uses symbolic design elements including the blue flag iris which is the floral emblem of Quebec, traditional plants for Syilx people and Interior Salish basketry aesthetics. The piece was funded by the School of Engineering and will become part of the UBC Okanagan Public Art Collection.

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, December 6 from 3:30 to 5 pm at the outdoor amphitheatre behind the EME building. A self-guided memorial will be inside and there will be space for reflection and refreshments after the ceremony.

artist firebowl at dusk

The firebowl was funded by the School of Engineering and will become part of the UBC Okanagan Public Art Collection. Photo by Nasim Pirhadi.

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A photo of graduating students throwing their hats

UBCO is hosting a unique fall graduation ceremony Thursday. Students who graduated in 2020 and 2021 will now have the opportunity to toss their caps in celebration like these students did in 2018.

They’re baaack!

This week UBC Okanagan’s campus will be filled with students, now alumni, who graduated and were celebrated with a virtual ceremony during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 600 are returning to campus to take part in a special ceremony on November 10. The event will recognize the accomplishments of those who didn’t have the chance to experience that iconic opportunity of crossing the stage to receive their degree at a live graduation.

This will be the first time UBC Okanagan has hosted a fall graduation ceremony and it’s a special event for those who graduated in 2020 and 2021, says UBCO Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr. Lesley Cormack. Those graduates were surveyed and many indicated they were interested in coming back to campus for a make-up graduation ceremony.

“These are students who completed their studies during a particularly difficult and disconnected time,” Dr. Cormack says. “While UBC honoured our graduates during the height of the pandemic with virtual ceremonies, nothing can compare to the distinction of an in-person event, complete with student speakers and a gym full of proud family members.”

Each ceremony will be complete with speeches from students and special moments to recognize people who received honorary degrees during the pandemic.

Evangeline Saclamacis, who graduated with an applied sciences degree in 2021, is currently working with an international renewable power generation business in Vancouver. She says there are a lot of emotions flowing as she looks forward to returning to UBCO for the ceremony and connecting with former classmates.

“I’m excited to see how the campus has changed since I was last there, and also inspired to see how much I have changed since I first started as a student in 2016,” she says. “UBCO was a place that not only allowed me to grow as an individual, but also allowed me to connect with people with similar aspirations and goals. I’m really excited to return and walk the stage, closing the chapter on my bachelor’s degree.”

Aneesha Thouli, who graduated from UBC Okanagan’s Health and Exercise Sciences program in 2020, is now back at school and is currently a third-year medical student in the Southern Medical Program based at UBCO.

“While this ceremony will look different than any of us expected, I’m grateful we have the chance finally to celebrate,” she says. “I think having been alumni for a few years gives us a unique perspective on the ceremony overall and gives us an opportunity to celebrate our successes in a totally different way than previous classes.”

Three ceremonies will take place on November 10, the first starting at 8:30 am with School of Engineering graduates. Following that, graduates in the School of Education, Faculty of Management and Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science will cross the stage. The final ceremony takes place at 1:30 pm where graduates in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Development and the Faculty of Creative and Critical studies will be celebrated.

Rain Inaba graduated with an undergraduate degree in microbiology and remained at UBCO to begin his master’s in biochemistry and molecular biology. Inaba is excited to reconnect with the many friends he made while living in residences and says Thursday’s ceremony will allow his fellow graduates to relive past moments and finally celebrate with their families, friends and faculty members.

“With these ceremonies, alumni from all faculties are welcomed back to the campus we all called home for many years,” he says. “This is a day of deserved festivities and a moment of recognition for our graduates. Let us make the ceremonies loud and memorable for each of our classmates as they cross the stage.”

As they have already technically been conferred as UBCO graduates and are officially UBC alumni, these ceremonies will be slightly different from spring convocation. However, Dr. Cormack says every student, especially those who persevered with their studies online, should enjoy the moments of being celebrated at their own graduation ceremony.

“While different, these ceremonies will include many of the traditions of graduation to honour the profound achievements and celebrate the resiliency of these students,” Dr. Cormack says. “We’re proud to have these incredibly engaged alumni who are going out of their way to come back for their graduation. I’m looking forward to congratulating each and every one of them in person.”

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A picture of Dr. Kanako Uzawa.

Dr. Kanako Uzawa, Ainu Indigenous artist, musician and scholar, performs a solo show that highlights the unique Ainu culture.

What: Reframing Ainu Indigeneity: Performing exhibit presents traditional and contemporary Ainu dance and music
Who: Dr. Kanako Uzawa, Ainu Indigenous artist, musician and scholar
When: Sunday, July 31, at 7 pm
Where: Ringo-En Orchards, 6831 Bella Vista Road, Vernon

An Indigenous Japanese scholar and musician will be the star of a solo performance that will share the music and dance of Japan’s Ainu people.

Presented by UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Department of Languages and World Literatures, visiting artist Dr. Kanako Uzawa will present a performance highlighting the unique culture of the Ainu—Japan’s Indigenous people.

Dr. Uzawa, a scholar, advocate and artist will perform an Ainu dance, demonstrate the mukkuri—a traditional Ainu mouth harp—and informally share Ainu culture and contemporary issues of the Indigenous people of Japan at a special presentation on Sunday, July 31.

Nina Langton, Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, Languages and World Literatures at UBC Okanagan, says Dr. Uzawa collaborates and engages with a number of academic and international forums, lectures and artistic work related to Indigenous identity-making.

“Dr. Uzawa’s work on traditional and contemporary Ainu culture has informed my efforts to Indigenize my Japanese language classroom,” says Langton. “She is a well-recognized scholar and artist. We are very fortunate to be able to bring her to the Okanagan.”

Dr. Uzawa is particularly active in promoting contemporary aspects of Indigenous livelihoods using her website AinuToday.com as a means of communication with an international audience.

Her current work is a curational project on the Ainu, in collaboration with the University of Michigan Museum of Art in the United States. She has also worked on an Ainu exhibition One Soul in All: Encounters with Ainu from the North of Japan at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne, Germany.

In addition to her academic and curatorial work, Dr. Uzawa performs traditional and contemporary Ainu dance and is hosting a performance at UBC Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology, presented by the Centre for Japanese Studies. Earlier this month, she attended the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Intercultural Indigenous Choreographers Creation Lab.

The public is invited to a performance on July 31 at Ringo-En Orchards in Vernon. The outdoor venue opens at 6 pm and people are welcome to bring a picnic, lawn chair or blanket. The performance begins at 7 pm.

This event is free and open to the public, no registration is required.

About Dr. Uzawa

Dr. Uzawa is an affiliated researcher at the Research Faculty of Media and Communication at Hokkaido University in Japan. She contributes to collaborative research and Ainu performing art on the multifaceted articulations of Indigenous knowledge. Her master’s thesis focused on a comparative study between the Sámi in Norway and the Ainu Indigenous people in Japan. Her PhD focused on urban Ainu livelihood and its contemporary expressions.

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A photo of Dr. Rob Shaw playing wheelchair tennis

Dr. Rob Shaw, one of Canada’s top wheelchair tennis players, is UBC Okanagan’s 2022 recipient of the Governor General Gold Medal.

Some might think it’s a bit ironic that the winner of UBC Okanagan’s Governor General Gold Medal is already a gold-medal-winning athlete.

But Dr. Rob Shaw, who graduates this week with his Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies, can quickly explain how much hard work goes into earning an honour of this calibre. Dr. Shaw is a wheelchair tennis player who won a gold medal at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Peru. He is the highest-ranked member of the Canadian wheelchair tennis team and last summer he competed in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

He didn’t get there without a lot of hard work. The same could be said of his accomplishment at UBCO.

Dr. Shaw is the highest-ranked graduate student at UBCO, an honour that has earned him the Governor General’s gold medal.

“Looking at past winners I can’t help but feel humbled by this award,” he says. “Five years ago, my supervisor and I committed to completing a PhD that would make an impact beyond the silos of academia and extend into the community to benefit people living with spinal cord injuries. I’d like to think that this award reflects that we achieved that goal.”

While earning his doctoral degree, his research focused on how peer mentorship can improve the health and wellbeing of people who have incurred a spinal cord injury. While his supervising professor Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis describes his research as exemplary, she notes he has also become an internationally respected scientist and a community leader.

Throughout his degree, Dr. Martin Ginis says he has embraced an interdisciplinary spirit, but his impact extends beyond the traditional walls of academia and into the community. His leadership and expertise are frequently sought out by local, national and international organizations, and he has an unwavering commitment to examining and resolving pressing societal issues.

“An excellent scientist can produce a lot of great research. But an excellent scientific leader finds the potential in people and has the courage to inspire and support them. Rob has achieved excellence and acclaim as both a scientist and scientific leader,” she adds. “Through his research and leadership, and his outstanding global citizenship, Rob is making the world a better place.”

Dr. Shaw, however, says this award is only possible thanks to the support from Dr. Martin Ginis and others he has worked with along his doctoral journey.

“I am extremely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish, and I owe this award to her, my lab mates, my community partners, and most importantly to my participants who allowed me into their world so that I could try to make a real difference in their lives.”

Dr. Shaw has been described by Dr. Martin Ginis as an outspoken champion of equity, diversity and inclusion.

“He consistently reminds and challenges all of us to think about inclusion and accessibility in how we conduct and share our research with others.”

The importance of inclusion is also reflected in both the name and the criteria of the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. This week it will be presented to UBC Okanagan student Azzah Al Zahra Farras, who just completed her Bachelor of Arts with a joint major in philosophy, political science and economics.

Shortly after arriving at UBCO in 2018, Farras established a campus-wide chapter of Amnesty International and began hosting conferences and events to examine local and international issues. She coordinated weekly sessions where students could discuss international injustices, while creating a safe space for marginalized students to share their stories and discuss opportunities for students to engage in change.

“Through the Amnesty International chapter, we created opportunities for students on campus to share issues about human rights, protection, justice and conflicts that they care about from their own country,” says Farras, explaining the students had engaging conversations about many issues including the farmer’s protest in India, Tibetan rights to self-determination, the Palestinian rights, and democratic rights for people living in Thailand.

“I am surrounded by a very international community at UBCO and it’s something we should all look forward to in universities,” she adds. “I have a lot of friends from different countries that support me and also celebrate my culture and my beliefs and values as I celebrate theirs. That’s what I’m really happy about.”

In September 2021, she joined the UBC Okanagan Library team as a student representative of the UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan and Indigenous Strategic Plan, where she independently developed projects to highlight Arab, Muslim, Asian, Indigenous and Black voices in literature and academia. Farras built multiple book displays at the library and designed digital LibGuide sites that list resources based on each theme, granting students information and access regardless of their location during COVID-19.

Farras recalls the day when a student approached the service desk and tearfully thanked the library staff saying how encouraging it was to see students with hijabs represented at the library and it helped make her feel included.

“For me, this was a full-circle moment,” says Farras. “Although I did feel isolated in my first year, I was able to change that situation for younger hijab-wearing students. I believe these efforts transpired important representation at UBCO. It raises important conversations on institutionalized racism and discrimination against marginalized groups. I am honoured to be a part of that shift.”

UBCO Librarian Christian Isbister says Farras worked tirelessly to engage the campus community and bring awareness to diverse voices in the library collection. Her book displays were always popular and well-received, and her work on the Book Fairies project helped encourage reading of more diverse authors, including Indigenous, Black, Asian and Arab writers.

“Azzah has dedicated herself to the promotion of inclusion on our campus,” says Isbister. “At the library, she demonstrated great leadership in developing initiatives to highlight diverse voices in our collection, and foster a sense of welcome and belonging for students belonging to marginalized communities. It was a pleasure to get to work with Azzah, and her presence in the library will be greatly missed.”

Also, this week, Anna Bernath, who just completed her Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations in biochemistry and molecular biology, was awarded the Pushor Mitchell Gold Medal Leadership Prize.

The $10,000 prize is the largest donor-funded award available to graduating Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science students. The award recognizes a student who has excelled academically and demonstrated leadership while earning their degree.

Bernath joined Dr. Andis Klegeris’ Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Lab as a volunteer research assistant, and contributed upwards of 250 hours in the facility. She also conducted research studying the role of microglia—immune cells of the brain—in Alzheimer’s disease. When not in the lab or studying, she worked as a teaching assistant, acting as a liaison between faculty and students.

“I have immense gratitude for the faculty, staff and UBCO colleagues who created invaluable opportunities for growth and leadership, and I hope I made a lasting impact on junior students and excited them about research endeavours,” says Bernath.

The Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Award has been presented to a student at UBCO since 2009, explains Andrew Brunton, Managing Partner at Pushor Mitchell.

“Pushor Mitchell is very pleased to see another deserving student receive this award,” says Brunton.  “Our firm has been supporting this prestigious award at UBC Okanagan for 13 years now, presented to students based on both academic excellence and community leadership. We applaud this year’s recipient Anna Bernath and wish her luck with her career in neuroscience research.”

Farras and Bernath will be recognized as they cross the stage at Thursday’s convocation while Dr. Shaw will receive his medal Friday morning.

Other University of British Columbia medal (top of class) winners are:

  • UBC Medal in Arts: Abhineeth Adiraju
  • UBC Medal in Education: Anica McIntosh
  • UBC Medal in Engineering: Rachel May
  • UBC Medal in Fine Arts: Amelia Ford
  • UBC Medal in Human Kinetics: Kenedy Olsen
  • UBC Medal in Management: Jo-Elle Craig
  • UBC Medal in Media Studies: Jordan Pike
  • UBC Medal in Nursing: Camryn McCrystal
  • UBC Medal in Science: Megan Greenwood

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A photo of artist Manual Axel Strain's art installation qné7e says tá7a.

Artist Manual Axel Strain uses a variety of materials and methods including plywood, spray paint, a metal and video to create an immersive and multisensory installation. The above 2021 image is called qné7e says tá7a.

What: UBC Okanagan Gallery hosts Artist in Residence Who: Manuel Axel Strain When: Various events from June 8 to June 11, exhibition until June 30 Where:  University Theatre and the FINA Gallery, UBC’s Okanagan campus UBC Okanagan Gallery is hosting its second Artist in Residence with a special performance and display by Manuel Axel Strain. Strain is a two-spirit artist from the sacred lands and waters of xʷməθkʷəyəm, Simpcw and nk̓maplqs and lives on the traditional homelands of their q̓ic̓əy̓ and qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ relatives. Their work and practice are guided by Indigenous ways of knowing, embodied epistemologies, and ancestral collaborations that incorporate performance, painting, photography, sculpture, video, sound and installation. As the gallery’s 2022 Artist in Residence, Strain will give an talk at the annual Indigenous Arts Intensive on Wednesday, June 8 at 2 pm in the University Theatre, 1138 Alumni Avenue. Strain’s solo exhibition, puti kʷu alaʔ opens at UBCO on Saturday, June 11 at 3 pm in the Creative and Critical Studies building’s FINA Gallery. There will be an outdoor performance that day at 3:30 pm which features a collaboration between the artist, their family, drummers, the land and guests. Using materials and methods such as plywood, spray paint, a chainsaw, metal, video, and petroglyphs, along with fir, sage and wild rose relatives, Strain’s new work is an immersive and multisensory installation. The exhibition is curated by UBCO Gallery curator Dr. Stacey Koosel: “Manuel Axel Strain’s exhibition tells the story of a violent, yet absurd, act committed against the artist’s family when they inherited a building on Syilx Okanagan nation territory,” says Dr. Koosel. “What is particularly cool and unique about Manuel’s practice is the way they work with their family to remind us that ‘we are still here.’ It’s a simple but powerful statement.” Strain’s work has been featured in the Vancouver Art Gallery, Richmond Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery and across Turtle Island. They are longlisted for the National Gallery of Canada’s 2022 Sobey Art Award and their exhibition We go to the Mountains, we go to the Big Water is now on display in Kelowna at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Arts’ main gallery until June 25. Artist residencies are supported by the BC Arts Council, and Strain is the second Artist in Residence since UBCO Gallery launched the program last year with Carrier Wit’at artist Whess Harman. The gallery is working in collaboration with the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art and the Indigenous Art Intensive. Strain’s exhibition, titled puti kʷu alaʔ, runs from June 11 to 30 in the FINA Gallery at UBC Okanagan. The exhibit is free and people are also welcome to participate in an opening reception and performance on Saturday, June 11 at 3 pm. The post UBC Okanagan Gallery hosts second-ever Artist in Residence appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.
A photo of students in the Creative and Critical Studies building

UBCO’s fine arts and media studies students work together to prepare the Creative and Critical Studies Building into an exhibition space for their year-end show “When This is Over.”

What: “When This is Over” student art exhibition Who: Graduating artists in the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Media Studies programs When: Saturday, April 23 to Friday, May 6; 10 am to 4 pm daily Where: Creative and Critical Studies Building, 1148 Research Road, UBC Okanagan Visual Arts students with UBC Okanagan’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS) programs host their annual graduation art exhibition this month. When This is Over” runs from April 23 to May 6 on campus in the Creative and Critical Studies building, which will be transformed into an exhibition space. The show includes a wide variety of student artists who specialize in photography, sculpture, drawing, painting, digital media, interactive media, design, computational art and printmaking. Due to COVID-19, it has been a few years since the annual year-end event was held in person. Graduating BFA student Candice Hughes says the 2022 exhibit promises to be an exceptional display of what the department, and its many talented students, can produce. “After having the exhibition online for the last two years, we are so excited to be back in person to show our work,” says Hughes. “Working behind the scenes and setting up the space has been such a great learning experience. We are looking forward to bringing our work together, to share with the community, in this final show.” This is the first year UBCO’s media studies students are part of this annual exhibition, joining forces with the fine arts graduates to put the display together, explains Visual Arts Instructor Andreas Rutkauskas. “The show will feature 21 BFA artists and nine BMS students who have been working tirelessly to create a diverse, original and engaging body of work to highlight the best they have to offer,” says Rutkauskas. Media Studies Program Coordinator Megan Smith is excited her students are taking part in the long-time annual tradition at UBCO. “This is only our second graduating class of our media studies program, and the first year the students will be showcasing their work in the traditional year-end exhibition,” says Smith. “We are thrilled to be able to share the work of our students from this new program alongside our visual arts students.” The students are eager to showcase their work to the local community and Hughes says this is a great opportunity for people to meet the next generation of emerging artists who reside in and around the Okanagan. “When This is Over” is a free, public exhibit and is open to the public from April 23 to May 6 daily from 10 am to 4 pm. More information can be found at: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/about/events-workshops/bfa-exhibition The post UBCO students present year-end artistic exhibit appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.
A photo of two students presenting their art

UBCO Bachelor of Fine Arts students Eve Lexi and Sara Richardson with their painting on the Town Wall at the Lake Country Art Gallery during last year’s Festival of the Arts.

As the academic year winds to a close, students at UBC’s Okanagan campus are completing final projects, experiments and prepping for exams.

For students in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS), this means completing all the painting, drawing, writing, sculpting, acting and other projects that will make up the 2022 Spring Festival.

The month-long event brings a myriad of events to campus and throughout the City of Kelowna. Many events are free and all are open to the public. Paid parking is available for the workshops and showcases happening on campus.

“The Spring Festival gives the community a glimpse of the exciting world of young and emerging artists while at the same time, building students’ understanding of their relationship, through their art, to their community. It’s a win for all concerned, and we’re so grateful for the support we received from our Presenting Sponsor—TD Bank Group, and additional community organizations,” says Creative Studies Department Head Denise Kenney.

The 2022 Spring Festival will feature events from across the many creative studies programs, with public readings from graduate students and faculty, live performances, art exhibitions and more.

The annual festival kicked off earlier this month with Art on the Line, a fundraiser and auction featuring works from students in the fine arts program, along with faculty, alumni and community members.

Many of the events will be offered with hybrid-attendance options—people can participate virtually in the 2022 Short Story Contest award ceremony on March 31 or the Annual Sharon Thesen Lecture which will be given by Creative Writing Professor Matt Rader this year on April 6.

The public is invited to campus to see what the students have been creating at the Masters of Fine Arts Studio Open House on March 30 at the new Innovation Place graduate maker space.

Graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students will exhibit their work as part of the year-end show When This Is Over, a collection of sculpture, photography, drawing, painting and more. The opening reception for the exhibition takes place April 22.

If you’re exploring downtown Kelowna this spring, you can also see student and faculty work on the Art Walk between the Kelowna Art Gallery, downtown library, and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. These are just a few of the opportunities to see what FCCS has been growing. The public is welcome to attend all events and exhibits.

The full list of Spring Festival events, and details for each, can be found at: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/about/events-workshops/spring-festival.

The FCCS Spring Festival is sponsored by TD, the Rotary Centre for the Arts, the Lake Country Art Gallery, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan and the City of Kelowna.

The post UBCO’s fine art students and faculty shine during annual festival appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

Isolation Quarantine Covid-19 stock photo

UBCO experts discuss how society has coped during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was March 17, 2020, just on the heels of the World Health Organization declaring the as-yet-un-named virus a pandemic, that BC declared a state of emergency.

Schools were closed, offices shuttered, stores locked and people were sent home to face isolation, uncertainty and a looming sense of fear and bewilderment. And now Zoom calls, masks, vaccines and mandates have become part of everyday life across the country.

How has society coped? What has been learned? Has anything changed?

Long before Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested people be kind to each other, Dr. John-Tyler Binfet, an Associate Professor with the Okanagan School of Education, was making the study of kindness part of his daily routine. Dr. Binfet is joined by six other UBC Okanagan experts, who can field questions ranging from vaccine equity, online shopping trends, the importance of exercise and the impact of so much screen time on children.

Dr. Binfet, Director of the Centre For Mindful Engagement and Director of Building Academic Retention Through K-9s

Availability: Noon, Wednesday and all of Thursday, PST
johntyler.binfet@ubc.ca

Dr. Binfet’s areas of research include the conceptualizations of kindness in children and adolescents, measuring kindness in schools, canine-assisted interventions and assessment of therapy dogs. His new book written during the pandemic, Cultivating Kindness, will be available this summer.

Related to the pandemic, Dr. Binfet can discuss:

  • University student wellbeing
  • Being kind
  • Why kindness matters

Kevin Chong, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

Availability: Wednesday and Thursday, 9 to 11 am PST
kevin.chong@ubc.ca

Chong teaches creative writing, fiction, creative nonfiction, literary journalism, dramatic writing and different writing styles including short story, memoir, personal essay, and lyric essay. He is the author of six books, including The Plague, and wrote a book during the pandemic when the public reading of his play was cancelled due to COVID-19. Dr. Chong also established an online antiracist book club during the pandemic.

Related to the pandemic, Chong can discuss:

  • Writer’s block
  • Online book clubs
  • Antiracist associations

Mahmudur Fatmi, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering

Availability: Wednesday, most hours and Thursday, 8:30 am to noon PST
mahmudur.fatmi@ubc.ca

Dr. Fatmi is a transportation modelling expert. He can talk about how people’s travel and online activities such as work-from-home and online shopping activities have changed during the pandemic, and the implications of these changes.

Related to the pandemic, Dr. Fatmi can discuss:

  • Working from home
  • Changes to transit during the pandemic
  • Online shopping trends

Ross Hickey, Associate Professor, Faculty of Management and Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Availability: Wednesday, 2 to 2:30 pm PST and Thursday, 2:30to 3:30 pm PST
ross.hickey@ubc.ca

Dr. Hickey is an economist who specializes in public finance, fiscal policy, government expenditure and taxation. Related to the pandemic, Dr. Hickey can speak about:

  • Inflation

Susan Holtzman, Associate Professor, Psychology, Irving K Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Availability: Thursday, 9 am to noon PST
susan.holtzman@ubc.ca

Dr. Holtzman conducts research in health psychology with a special interest in stress and coping, close relationships, depression and social relationships in the digital age. Related to the pandemic, Holtzman can discuss:

  • perceived increase in screen time for young children
  • digital relationships
  • breaking or keeping digital habits after two years of screen time

Jonathan Little, Associate Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences

Availability: Wednesday and Thursday, 9 to 11 am PST
jonathan.little@ubc.ca

Dr. Little’s main research interest is on how to optimize exercise and nutritional strategies to prevent and treat health issues including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and chronic inflammatory conditions. He is also involved in interdisciplinary research within the Airborne Disease Transmission Research Cluster around mitigating risk of aerosol transmission in health-care settings.

Related to the pandemic, Dr. Little can discuss:

  • Physical activity/exercise during COVID-19
  • Impact of exercise and lifestyle on immune function
  • Aerosols and COVID-19 transmission

Katrina Plamondon, Assistant Professor School of Nursing

Availability: Wednesday, various times in the afternoon PST, Thursday, 7 to 8 am, 11:30 am to noon, 2 to 3 pm PST
katrina.plamondon@ubc.ca

Dr. Plamondon’s research focuses on questions of how to advance equity action and vaccine equity. Related to the pandemic, Dr. Plamondon can discuss:

  • Populism and social movements (e.g., convoy) and what this has to do with equity and rights
  • Vaccine equity, particularly the relationship between global vaccine equity and how we can navigate the pandemic
  • Equity considerations as we transition out of pandemic restrictions (e.g., lifting mask restrictions)
  • Equity impacts and health systems considerations

The post UBCO experts discuss what’s changed after two years of COVID-19 appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.