Shauna Oddleifson

Communications and Marketing Specialist

Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Office: CCS 177
Phone: 250.807.9864
Email: shauna.oddleifson@ubc.ca


Responsibilities

Faculty promotion and development of promotional material.
Working toward increasing the faculty profile and increasing student enrolment and retention.
Student Recruitment.
Promotional Support for Events in FCCS
FCCS websites, social media.

 

Lindsay Diehl completed her doctoral degree in the summer of 2018, and until this fall, she was teaching first year English in the Department of English and Cultural studies. She was recently awarded the W.P. Bell Postdoctoral Fellowship at Mount Allison University, and has moved across the country to continue her academic career.

As the WP Bell Postdoctoral Fellow, she will teach in Mount Allison’s academic program in Canadian Studies. She will also be involved in the Centre for Canadian Studies, planning special guest speakers and events that contribute to the Centre’s outreach, scholarship, and co-curricular efforts.

Her research continues to look at topics in Asian Canadian Studies. She is working on an introductory volume on Asian Canadian Literature for a Routledge series on Canadian Studies, which is edited by Lorraine York and Robert Lecker. Additionally, she is planning a second creative-critical project, entitled Reading Outside of the Frame: Commemorative Projects on Early Chinese Canadian Women, which examines commemorative and familial accounts of early Chinese Canadian female experience.

Lindsay Diehl classroom

Lindsay Diehl working with students

We talked to Lindsay to find out a bit more about her research and the road to earning her degree.

Tell us about the road to earning your UBC degree.

The interdisciplinary nature of UBC-O’s PhD is unique, and it allowed me the creativity and freedom to explore ways of productively merging my interests in creative writing and critical scholarship.

I would particularly like to thank my supervisor, Dan Keyes, for always believing in my imagining of a creative-critical project. He was constantly available to provide feedback, guidance, and encouragement; since the completion of my PhD, he has also written several letters to support my various applications, and he unswervingly emphasizes the innovation and value of my creative-critical approach to research.

Are there any professors that stand out as having made a difference to you and helped you along the way?

Dr. George Grinnell has been a generous and supportive mentor. For most of my PhD, he was my GTA supervisor when I was working in the English department. Through his engaging lectures and understanding demeanor, he provided me with a valuable role model. Indeed, from him, I learned productive ways of planning a course, running a classroom, encouraging participation, and communicating with students. Beyond his role as my GTA supervisor, George has always offered me invaluable research/writing/professional guidance, helping me to navigate not only the completion of my PhD, but also, more recently, the submission of my book proposals and postdoctoral applications. Whenever I write George with questions about how to advance my academic career, he consistently responds with detailed and useful tips; he has been a reliable and trusted mentor, helping me to plan my future and understand the next steps.

Were there any campus resources that contributed to your experience?

The Centre for Scholarly Communication (CSC) is an amazing resource, which all graduate students should take advantage of. The CSC runs several graduate workshops on how to write SSHRC applications, prepare CVs, get published, come up with a writing schedule, etc. In addition to these workshops, it also allows graduate students to meet with CSC advisors in weekly one-on-one sessions.

My meetings with Amanda Brobbel, the CSC coordinator, were crucial to my success as a PhD student. She helped me to edit articles for their submission to peer-review journals, as well as devise workable schedules to keep my dissertation-writing on track. Indeed, she kept me “progressing” on my dissertation chapters, instead of “obsessing” over each line and paragraph. My meetings with Amanda kept me accountable (i.e. I would set goals with her, and by the next meeting I wanted to show her that I had met those goals), and ultimately she helped me to stay motivated throughout the long, grueling process of writing a dissertation.

How did your UBC experience prepare you for the fellowship?

During my PhD, I received the Doctoral Teaching Scholarship, which served to develop my instructional expertise. This scholarship allowed me to participate in IGS 630: Teaching in Higher Learning, taught by Dr. Peter Arthur. This course provided me with leading-edge practices in strategic course design and evidence-based teaching/learning activities.

After completing my PhD, I was able to work as a sessional in the English program, and this experience further helped me to develop my teaching philosophy and confidence/experience in the classroom.

About Lindsay’s Research

Dissertation title: When the Past Becomes Present: Storytelling, Postcolonial Autoethnography, and Asian Canadian Studies

My creative-critical dissertation creates a dialogue between my grandmother’s stories and a canon of Chinese Canadian narratives. Whereas the family stories help me to explore a matrilineal history that begins with immigration from China to Canada in 1874, the analysis of Chinese Canadian narratives allows me to investigate how this canon has been imagined and produced. In bringing together these creative and critical interests, my dissertation highlights the importance of sharing the stories of previous generations, while also uncovering some of the potential problems of such an endeavour. It examines the intersecting topics of nationalism, settler-colonialism, race, gender, and identity, in order to intervene in key debates in Canadian Studies around the “coming to voice” of a historically silenced and racialized group.

Hussein Keshani, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, is chairing the session darc Experiments in Digital Islamic Art Histories, at the upcoming 2020 Conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada, on Oct. 16, 2020. In addition to Dr. Keshani, three IGS students in the Digital Arts & Humanities (DAHU) theme will be delivering conference papers on their research.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our DAHU students to share their work on a national stage and help transform the discipline of art history, while enriching the field of Islamic Art History” notes Dr. Keshani.

“It’s a testament to the ingenuity and innovation of our students that they’ve been selected to present their research at the 2020 UAAC conference, which is the biggest such international gathering in Canada.”

Dr. Keshani will discuss how the digital turn in the Humanities and Art History runs the risk of accentuating the already marginal position of Islamic art history in the academy, particularly in Canada and present an overview of the work of the digital art history research collective (darc) at UBCO.

3D modelling image

3D modelling image

Presenters will discuss scholarly remediations of South Asian miniature paintings using 3D printing, how digital media can be used to critically narrate and interrogate UNESCO’s construction of Iranian architectural heritage and how data visualizations can be used to provide alternative perspectives on artistic collaboration and choices in Persian art. Together these experiments explore what Digital Art History can be, while illuminating what Digital Islamic Art History cannot be due to entrenched inequities.

 

Tactile Diagram Cuboid

Doctoral student, Ahlam Bavi will present her project, “Remediating Islamicate Art using 3D Printing for Low-vision Audiences”, a pilot project to explore how Islamicate Art collections can be made more accessible to low-vision visitors. This study aims to develop solutions for low-vision visitors by designing a 3D Toolkit to be used by galleries and museums.

 

Aga Khan Garden web-app

Sepideh Saffari, a second year doctoral student will present her paper, “Using Digital Media to Interrogate UNESCO’s Approach to Iranian Architectural Heritage.” This paper discusses the initial stages of her visual-centric study of UNESCO’s role in the construction of Iranian national identity through the representation of architectural heritage. While UNESCO believes that peace is based on dialogue and mutual understanding among nations, it does not sufficiently promote the cross-cultural influences nations have on each other, particularly in its representations of visual culture.

Data Visualization

Masters student, Yasaman Lotfizadeh will present her study, “Shifting Perspectives on Safavid Artistic Collaboration and Choices Using Data Visualizations,” which investigates the extent of artistic collaboration in one deluxe Persian illustrated manuscript, the Shah Tahmasp Shahnameh (also Shahnama) paintings. The study outlines a Social Network Analysis and the use of Digital Humanities tools and methods to analyze the patterns of artistic collaboration among the various artists who worked on this manuscript under Shah Tahmasp’s patronage.

Digital Arts & Humanities theme cohort, 2020 (this photo was taken prior to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements.)

About Hussein Keshani

Hussein Keshani is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in Art History and Visual Culture in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at The University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. He leads darc (digital art history collective), which operates out of the Canada Foundation for Innovation funded AMP (Audio, Media, Poetry) lab. He is also the Coordinator of the Digital Arts and Humanities interdisciplinary graduate theme and has formerly served as the interim head of the Centre for Culture and Technology. He is a specialist in Delhi Sultanates, Mughal and late-Mughal visual cultures as well as digital art history, teaches courses in art history, world literatures and digital humanities and is the recipient of multiple Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for Canada grants.

About Ahlam Bavi

Ahlam Bavi is a conceptual artist, industrial designer, and digital humanist. She has studied and researched at the University of Tehran, the University of Lucerne, Switzerland and the University of Calgary, where her digital sculpture work was recognized by an award. She is trained in the Reggio Emilia Educational approach, as well as in VR and AR and digital technologies. Ahlam’s visual artworks consist of conceptual sonic sculptures, digital remediated artworks, 3D calligraphy, and algorithmic 3D printed sculptures. She also researches how museums can improve the experience of low vision visitors by re-imagining artworks through digital technology. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the interdisciplinary Digital Arts & Humanities program.

About Sepideh Saffari

Sepideh Saffari is an award-winning artist and architect currently pursuing her interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Digital Arts & Humanities at The University of British Columbia. She is also a graduate research associate of the AMP Lab and a member of the Centre for Culture and Technology. In these affiliated research centres, she has been collaborating on projects such as Aga Khan Garden web app and Water Ways. In 2006, she started her academic education in Architectural Engineering in which she ranked third and first among students in her BA and MA programs respectively. Since then she has held artistic and architectural positions, namely teaching at universities, designing constructed buildings, and working at game and animation companies.

About  Yasaman Lotfizadeh

Yasaman Lotfizadeh holds a Master of Arts in Graphic Design from Semnan University and is currently a Master of Digital Arts and Humanities candidate at UBC. She is a professional Graphic Designer and Art History enthusiast with experience as a university lecturer. She has received the Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship as well as a Faculty fellowship from UBC. She has worked as Research Assistant and Graduate Academic Assistant, affiliated with the AMP Lab and is currently the Lead Graphic designer of three UBCO SSHRC funded projects. Her research focuses on applying Digital Humanities theories and tools such as Social Network Analysis and Data Visualization in connection with the sixteenth-century Persian illustrated manuscripts. She is looking at two sixteenth-century Khamseh of Nizami illustrated manuscripts to examine how artists portrayed nature through a comparison between their visual choices and the verbal imagery in the texts they illustrated.

World Literatures (WRLD) is a new program area offered in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) at UBC Okanagan. The courses offered in this area are designed to enable students in all programs to explore how politics and ideology shape and define literatures across geographical, cultural and ethnic boundaries.

With assistance from the Aspire Learning Transformations Fund, an advisory team of five faculty members lead by Alwyn Spies and including Francisco Peña, Anderson Araujo, Francis Langevin, and Sarah Brears, is developing a major and minor in World Literature and Intercultural Communication. The proposed major and minor programs will centre around questions as to how cultural, linguistic, social and historical circumstances shape the production and dissemination of literary and artistic works in a global context.

World Literatures courses have been offered at UBC Okanagan for the last few years, allowing Bachelor of Arts students to take these courses as electives or to expand the scope of their major. Now with the expansion of these offerings, students will be able to complete a major or a minor and work to improve their knowledge of the world’s diverse literary traditions as an important medium for intercultural dialogue.

World Literatures creatively takes advantage of FCCS faculty’s range of expertise and proposes to open a dialogue between worldviews through the study of literatures from a range of cultures and historical periods, explains World Literatures professor, Francisco Peña.

“The international awareness fostered by the study of literature in global perspectives helps to prepare students to flourish academically and professionally in an increasingly interconnected world,” he says.

Combining language and global literatures in a dynamic and research-enriched learning environment will foster students who will be ideally equipped to communicate and thrive in a fast-changing global economy.

“One of our main goals is to enable students to overcome fear and judgement of otherness and to become aware of how their own socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds shape how they see, interpret, and create,” notes Alwyn Spies, professor of World Literatures.

The program, which will be housed in the Department of Languages and World literatures, will be distinctive in its fully integrated combination of literatures, languages and intercultural communication via a core focus on re-thinking difference. The courses in this area work to bridge language and literature with distinct but complementary learning outcomes.

The anticipated launch for the major and minor options is fall 2021.

Aiden Kirkegaard

Aiden working in her studio on campus during her BFA

Aiden Kirkegaard (previously de Vin) is a painter that looks at the way memories are connected to domestic spaces. Aiden graduated at the top pf her class, receiving the Medal in Fine Arts in the spring of 2020, with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Art History and Visual Culture.

When she started in first year, she notes that she had no idea what kind of work she wanted to create. She took a variety of classes and tried to be experimental, which helped her become more focused as the years went on and she learned what was working for her and what her interest were.

“I love learning what is behind work, what philosophies the artist was exploring.” She says.

In her second year, she took her first painting course with visual arts instructor Katherine Pickering, “I fell in love with colour and abstraction!” she says with excitement.

“Aiden really seemed to find a sense of confidence in her painting practice this year and from my perspective, she’s going out into the post degree world with a real sense of confidence in her artistic voice.” says Pickering.

Living in Vernon, she was keen to stay in the area to be close to home while completing her fine arts degree. She was also excited about the community aspect of being a part of a smaller faculty and the connections that could be made with classmates and clubs on campus.

Some of the highlights from her experience at UBCO are mostly around being involved in different events. She was a part of many different clubs on campus and volunteered at art related events such as Art on the Line and the BFA grad shows to connect with other students and gain some art related experience.

Since UBCO is a smaller campus Aiden says that she felt like she was able to connect with students from different years in the program. Being part of a club called “UCM” or “University Christian Ministries”, gave her the opportunity to make friends and connect with other students outside of her program.

“I’ve made some lifelong friends through the different circles I was connected to. I also loved the open studio times when I would be painting in the studio with people from different years and we could connect about all the different things we were creating.” She adds.

In her 4th year, Aiden took a practicum course where she co-coordinated Art on the Line, an annual art auction that takes place in campus to raise finances for the Visual Arts Course Union. This event taught her so much about event planning and working with the art community of Kelowna. Along with co-organizer Sara Spencer, they learned a lot about working with catering, organizing events at the university, and promoting art related events.

“Although it was a ton of work, I enjoyed getting to work with Sara on this event. I learned so many valuable skills moving forward and into the work place for fundraising and event coordinating” she says.

In the final year of her BFA degree, she created a body of work looked at childhood memories she had growing up and how those memories could be translated through paint. Moving forward, she plans to keep painting doing work that explores more domestic spaces not tied to childhood.

Now that Aiden has competed her degree, she has started work with a Christian Non-Profit organization and will continue to work on her studio art practice.

“I have a studio set up in my apartment and so I plan to keep making work and have already been doing a few commissions since graduation.”

Aiden is planning on working towards her Masters of Fine Arts and has plans to apply for some exhibitions in artist run centres across Canada, and to do some research about artists residencies that she may want to apply to.

Katherine Pickering says that she is going to miss having Aiden in the program.

She adds: “She’s one of those students who has an extremely positive effect on her classmates because of her work ethic, and also because of her sense of community and compassion for those around her.”

Aiden Kirkegaard's studio

Aiden’s studio showing her paintings

Aiden Kirkegaard paintings

Aiden’s home studio

 

Associate Professor Kyong Yoon is one of the recent recipients awarded funding through the SSHRC 2020-2021 Partnership Engage Grants COVID-19 Special Initiative.

Dr. Yoon has partnered with the Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society (OKCK), for this project which examines Korean Canadians’ collective responses to socio-cultural challenges caused by the pandemic. The project is titled, Developing Korean Canadians’ Civic Engagement Strategies in the COVID-19 Era.

Socio-cultural challenges that racialized people are facing in the COVID-19 era call for collaborative projects between academics and community organizations. Considering the urgent need to support and empower racialized people during the pandemic crisis, this partnership project explores how a Korean Canadian community organization copes with socio-cultural challenges during the pandemic and how the organization can facilitate and support racialized people’s civic engagement beyond ethnic attachments.

Drawing on community-engaged research methods, this 12-month project will examine how the OKCK copes with the pandemic crisis and develops strategies for Korean Canadians in the Okanagan to connect with other community organizations and residents beyond their ethnic bubble in the post-pandemic world.

The project serves to facilitate racialized people’s inclusion in the process of the post-pandemic transformation of their local community, while also addressing a larger question of how the COVID-19 pandemic affects social integration, inclusion, diversity, and equity.

Find out more about the SSHRC funded projects at UBC.

Kyong Yoon

Dr. Kyong Yoon

About Kyong Yoon

Kyong Yoon is a Seoul-born media researcher. Dr. Yoon’s research focuses on digital media, migration, and youth culture. He has published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. His publications also include two research monographs on transnational Korean media– Digital Mediascapes of Transnational Korean Youth Culture (2020) and Transnational Hallyu: The Globalization of Korean Digital and Popular Culture (forthcoming in 2021). His has recently been working on a new book project titled The Korean Wave in Korean-Canadian Youth Culture. Dr. Yoon teaches in the Cultural Studies program in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan.

About the Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society (OKCK)

OKCK is a non-profit, grassroots community organization, which was incorporated by six Korean Canadians in Kelowna in 2012. It is the first and only Korean community organization in the Okanagan region.

Michael V. Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, working as a writer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing, teaching courses in writing non-fiction, spoken word, editing and publishing, and screenwriting.

We talked to Michael to find out a bit more about him and his teaching practices.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about social justice, and creative expression, and all things queer. Some of that means paying attention to how I program and curate and assign readings, so that a wide range of voices and experiences are represented. As a professor, my job allows me to facilitate art-making for students from all manner of backgrounds and experiences. I try to help people find what they really care about, and to put language to that passion. Being a prof also means I get to help shape how people navigate how they make, for whom, from what, where, and maybe even why. I’m always asking students what are the silences in their lives, meaning what stories in their experiences and cultures and families haven’t been told, where have you felt silenced, what needs sharing, how can you be the best person to share what wants to be told? Living life as an artist and being paid to do that, as well as helping others find insight and purpose in a maker’s life, well, that’s pretty much the best job around, if you ask me.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor?

I’d always wanted to teach, ever since high school. I love people. But the real impetus came around 2006. I was an artist with an active career making things, but I needed a part-time day job to make ends meet, which meant that I was working all the time. Like, daytime I was writing and then working, and evenings and weekends I was organizing events or doing more writing. So I was exhausted. And broke. I needed a better return on my time. I went looking for jobs where I could be paid to be an artist and a community organizer. Over the years, I had taught workshops or Continuing Education courses, so teaching uni was a natural fit.

What most excites you and challenges you about your field of work?

That’s a clean split down the middle. I’m most excited by my students, who are amazing. I love them. I cry at every convocation because I’m going to miss those beautiful people, and I’m so happy for them. But I’m also excited by the power of story, for its ability to re-shape what we think we know, for its ability to bring us together, for the way art is a container for a communion between the maker and the audience, and among the audiences themselves. Stories have the ability to make us better people. History teaches us that stories have also made us inhuman. There is nothing with greater potential for power than a story. That’s a huge delight, and a sobering responsibility.

What kind of learning experiences do you offer your students?

I lead very practice-based classes, so students make a lot of things manifest in the world, off the computer screen or page. We do site visits to make audio installations, students get work displayed in the Kelowna Art Gallery or Alternator Gallery, or we create videos or podcasts or Instagram projects that require site research and material collection. I also program some students in my annual cabaret, Pony, every spring. Being in the world, finding audiences, building your creative community in your own backyard and in your city is vital to art-making. I want students to realize how accessible art-making is, how stories are right here, at our fingertips, wherever we are. And I want them to see their work out there in the world, so it’s not just something they do privately, in secret. We make work, we share work, and so we love and are loved better for it.

Lindsay Kirker, Away We Go

Installation shot of Away We Go by Lindsay Kirker

What: MFA Thesis Exhibition, Away We Go
Who: Lindsay Kirker
When: September 8 to 24, 2020; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday
Where: FINA Gallery, CCS Building, UBC’s Okanagan Campus, Kelowna

MFA student Lindsay Kirker’s thesis exhibition is on now in the FINA Gallery at UBC Okanagan in the CCS building.

Lindsay says about her work:

I paint images of construction with Nature as a way to reinterpret the world around me. This method of painting within my current body of work developed significantly after experiencing loss. I intuitively began taking pictures of construction sites, as a need for stability, manifested itself through an attraction to structure. Life felt chaotic, but I found salvation in scaffolding, cranes, and concrete. Through my artistic practice, common themes emerged: the idea of home and a sense of place, but more so, preservation, fragility, demolition, and creation. There was an immediate agency to create, and my paintings became both a response and a way to make sense of the nonsensical.

Read more about Lindsay Kirker and view more images and learn more about her thesis exhibition on our FCCS Art Blog. More of Lindsay’s work can also be viewed on her web site, lkirker.com

Note: Visitors to the gallery must follow social distancing measures which include a maximum of 6 people in the gallery at one time. Please follow the signage and instructions when entering the CCS building.

Ariane Brun del Re

Ariane Brun del Re (photo credit: Vincent Kember)

Ariane Brun del Re is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at l’Université de Montréal’s Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises, where she is co-supervised by Dr. Micheline Cambron (Université de Montréal, Département des littératures de langue française) and Dr. Francis Langevin (UBC Okanagan, Department of Languages and World Literatures).

Her research is titled “L’inscription de la francophonie canadienne dans la littérature québécoise récente (2005-2020)” (“The Place of Canadian Francophonie in Recent Québécois Literature (2005-2020)”).

Ariane shared with us some information about her research and affiliation with UBC Okanagan.

How is your postdoc connected to UBCO?

I was originally attracted by UBCO’s world literature and intercultural communication courses, as my own research looks at the contacts between different francophone communities and cultures. Given my project’s pan-Canadian perspective, involving UBCO and Dr. Langevin while conducting my research at the Université de Montréal and spending time in Ottawa allows me to be connected with a range of the diverse communities that my research focuses on as I develop my project. It also allows me to benefit from Dr. Langevin’s expertise on enunciation theories, narratology and la régionalité in recent Québécois literature.

On a more personal level, I got to spend a lot of time in Vancouver between 2012 and 2014. These trips gave me the opportunity to discover British Columbia’s vibrant francophone community. I am very much looking forward to learning more about this community, which is one of the fastest growing French-language communities outside of Québec.

Explain your research and how will you be able to conduct this research at UBCO?

I study how Canadian Francophonie is depicted in recent Québécois literature. The Estates General of French Canada, a series of conferences held at the end of the 1960s, marked a breaking point in the relationship between Québec and the Canadian Francophonie. Provincial or regional French identities emerged in other Canadian provinces and territories. French Canadian literature also dissolved into smaller provincial or regional literatures that became more or less independent from one another – the most autonomous, and also the most prominent, being Québec literature.

However, in the past 15 years, the number of Québécois novels incorporating elements of other parts of Canadian Francophonie (such as its spaces, local history, vernaculars or cultural references) has been increasing. This phenomenon, which Dr. Jean Morency refers to as “le retour du refoulé canadien-français” (“the return of the French-Canadian repressed”) hints at the beginning of a new relationship between Québec and Franco-Canadian communities.

What interests me the most about these novels is how they conceive their readership and the place they assign Franco-Canadian readers. This is important to better understand the current, and possibly even future, relations between Québec and the Canadian Francophonie in literature and beyond. These relations have been more widely studied in other disciplines but not as much from a literary perspective.

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, I have had to adapt my research program. Dr. Langevin and I originally planned on organizing a workshop at UBC Okanagan, and it might have to migrate online. We might also wait until travel is possible again.

Why did you choose that topic, and what difference do you hope your research will make?

This project follows my doctoral thesis, where I studied the inclusion and exclusion of readers in Franco-Canadian literature. It showed that Franco-Canadian literature regularly reaches out to Québec readers. This new project does the opposite: I am trying to see if Québécois literature reaches out to Franco-Canadian readers in a similar manner.

By conducting this research, I also hope to contribute to the discussion on the audience of Québécois literature. There is an idea among some researchers that French Canadian Literature (from the 18th century to the 1960s) and Québécois literature (from the 1960s) caters mostly to a local audience. I wonder if this is still true of contemporary literature.

This project also provides the opportunity to study some of my favourite novels, such as Nikolksi (2005) by Nicolas Dickner, Le mur mitoyen (2013) by Catherine Leroux, La petite laine (2017) by Amélie Panneton, Il pleuvait des oiseaux (2011) by Jocelyne Saucier, and Les filles de l’Allemand (2016) by Annie-Claude Thériault. These Québécois novels are all set (at least in part) in other parts of Canada or depict Franco-Canadian characters.

About Ariane Brun del Re

Ariane Brun del Re is a Franco-Ontarienne from Ottawa. She specializes in Franco-Canadian literature (from outside Québec) and recent Québécois literature. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French Literature (2010) from the University of Ottawa, a master’s degree in French Language and Literature (2013) from McGill University and a PhD in French Literature (2019) from the University of Ottawa.

Brun del Re is the co-editor of the collection L’espace-temps dans les littératures périphériques du Canada (Éditions David, 2018). She also co-edited issue 117 of the scholarly journal Tangence on “les nouvelles solidarités en littérature franco-canadienne”, and in 2015, co-founded an online space dedicated to Franco-Canadian (mostly Acadian) art criticism, which she has been co-editing since.

When she isn’t conducting her research, Ariane can be found chasing her soon to be two-year-old who is currently passionate about anything red (especially firetrucks, shoes and crayons) and enjoys books as much as she does!

Jane Everett Understory

Understory by Jane Everett, installation shot

The next time you get a chance to walk through the ADM building on UBC Okanagan campus, remember to take a moment to look up, and take in the newly installed forest of charcoal trees floating from the ceiling, a work called Understory (2018–2019) by local artist Jane Everett. The six artworks displayed were generously donated by the artist herself to the Public Art Collection, the newest addition to an ever growing collection.

Jane Everett grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and did her Fine Arts degree at Queen’s University, she currently divides her time between her home in Kelowna and her cottage on the north shore of Shuswap Lake. Jane’s artworks have been exhibited across the country, and are held in both private and public art collections. Understory is now set to be discovered and enjoyed for many years to come as part of our Public Art Collection’s campus wide displays.

Stacey Koosel – How did Understory start? What was the inspiration?
Jane Everett – When I am finished with a series and can’t settle on what to do next I return to drawing from life so this started with looking out the window of my Shuswap studio and working in charcoal. I had done a series of pastel drawings called Canopy that looked up at the tree tops, and this became a study of the next layer of the forest, the understory.

Stacey Koosel – Are the trees in Understory modelled after particular trees from the Okanagan?
Jane Everett – They are definitely particular trees, tree portraits In fact.

Stacey Koosel – Can you walk us through the technique of creating these pieces?
Jane Everett – I usually start with an underdrawing in red or ochre conte, shifting to black when I am satisfied with the composition. Because these are so large, I had to roll up the bottom of the drafting  film when I was working on my drawing board and then finish them on the floor. You can see the bottoms of the trees are less detailed. It started because of the physical process of doing a nine foot drawing in a small studio but I quickly realized that not anchoring them in the forest floor gave them a floating feeling that made me want to hang them from the ceiling. I use a spray bottle to apply watered down acrylic gel medium to the drawings which I let drip down and/or I slash at with an eraser and this is how I get the texture you see on the work. Some of them are sliced into six inch strips so they will move in the air currents.

Stacey Koosel – What future projects are you working on?
Jane Everett – I am currently working on some large oil paintings that are still landscape based but much more abstract than my previous work. I have new studio space that has allowed me to work this size. I’m also working on a collaboration with a textile artist, Lily Thorne, on an installation that involves a folding wooden boat, drawings of the shadows of cedar trees, and ‘sails’ dyed using old rusted objects and embellished with stitching. Stay tuned!

View the video below to hear Susan Belton chat with artist Jane Everett for more about the installation on campus

 

Greg Garrard is an English-sounding Canadian who lived in the Netherlands, Lebanon, England and Wales before coming to Kelowna in 2013. He is the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, and a Professor teaching courses in English and Sustainability.

Greg shared some insights on his teaching and research practices here at UBC Okanagan.

Tell us about your research interests.

In the broadest sense, I’m interested in cultures of nature: literary representations of wilderness, of animals, of wildfire, of climate change, and so on. But I also want to understand how those representations affect the things they represent. So, for example, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick embodies many of the ideas about whales and whaling that vindicated that industry at the time – that whale populations could sustain any amount of whaling, that whales didn’t feel pain. It also put some strange and discomforting ideas back into that cultural context – that the pursuit of whales could be seen as, itself, unhinged, and that there might be some unsuspected – at that time – kinship between humans and whales. Much later, in the 1960s and 70s, a huge cultural change in the West turned whaling from a major industry into a pariah profession, which in turn allowed some whale populations to rebound.

What kind of learning experiences do you offer your students?

Until COVID-19 came along, most of my teaching took place in classrooms. However, I’ve always been enthusiastic about outdoor education and place-based learning. When was a professor in the UK, I took students to the landscapes associated with Thomas Hardy, John Clare and the Bronte sisters. In Canada, I taught ‘In Pursuit of the Whale’, examining literature about cetaceans, at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island, and I’ve also taught ‘Writing the Okanagan’ in Kelowna, a course that examines regional literature in relation to the Kelownafornia myth. I’ve found that there’s something uniquely inspiring about teaching students outside a familiar environment, especially when they’re reading books that are deeply invested in specific places.

You supervise in the MA in English program. What opportunities do you offer for graduate students?

‘Place’ doesn’t map onto ‘environment’, exactly – the latter typically implies a scientific bias in terms of what belongs and what matters, whereas the former is more of a hodge-podge of geography, cultural representation and subjective value – but they do overlap in important ways. ‘Writing the Okanagan’ is a place-based course that seeks to enable students to perceive connections between the bioregion they inhabit – the Okanagan-Similkameen watershed, essentially – and the vastness of the global biosphere, where the familiar (and depressing) ‘global environmental crisis’ is understood to be happening. Through this kind of learning experience, I hope the Literature and Place-themed MA in English can help students appreciate the contemporary relevance and significance of literary study, whilst also providing a more manageable, less overwhelming context for their environmental interests and concerns.

You recently received a SSHRC Insight grant for a project titled, ‘Kelownafornia’. Tell us about that project.

‘Kelownafornia’ is (in addition to being a really terrible rap video) shorthand for the settler colonial idyll of the Canadian Okanagan. The research team, drawn from four faculties of UBC Okanagan, will look at four themes: literary and artistic representations of the Okanagan north and south of the 49th parallel; the role of the tourist economy in constructing the idyllic view; the history of petroculture in the Valley, including the dominant feature of its human geography, highway 97; the long-running dispute over the South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park; and the landscape aesthetics of different demographic groups in the Okanagan.

Environmental issues are usually understood as scientific and technical, but they can seldom be resolved in these terms alone. For example, the scientific aspects of climate change are pretty well understood, and yet this has not yielded the kind of concerted political and social response that scientists might have hoped for. The Okanagan Valley is experiencing immense pressure from property development and agriculture, and this will only intensify as the population grows and the climate warms over the coming decades. The Kelownafornia project aims to improve citizens’ understanding of where they live, and to highlight the gap between the idyll and the biological and climatic reality. We hope that’ll increase support for measures to enhance the environmental sustainability of Valley communities in the future.

 

About Greg Garrard

Greg is an English-sounding Canadian who lived in the Netherlands, Lebanon, England and Wales before coming to Kelowna in 2013. While working at Bath Spa University in the west of England, he was a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Artswork Publishing Lab and later a Reader in environmental literature. He served as Chair of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (UK and Ireland) 2004-2010 and as managing editor, later co-editor, of Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism 2008-2015.

Greg’s interests are somewhat ungovernable: his page on academia.edu collects essays on rhododendrons and Romantic poetry; Brexit and climate scepticism; Seamus Heaney, Heidegger and Nazism; air travel in climate change fiction; radical Canadian cinema, Werner Herzog and Wall-E; Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Derek Jarman, eco-pedagogy and feral dogs.