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.

 

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies along with alumni UBC are seeking art submissions for the UBC Okanagan Coloring Book. Art therapy is used for meditation and as a relaxation technique, and coloring books are a fun way to help adults destress and relax, and improve mental health and wellbeing.

UBC Okanagan student and alumni artists of all levels are invited to submit an original work for a colouring book page in any style within the UBCO Homecoming 2021 theme Spirit of Okanagan. Submissions may be a re-creation of an existing work, or a new piece for this book. From personal sketchbook drawings, pop art designs, portraits, landscapes, we want to see your creativity and what the Okanagan means to you.

Submission Details

  • Must be created by a UBC Okanagan student or alumni from any program or degree.
  • Size: 8.5”x11”
  • File type: ai, eps, psd, tiff or jpg
  • Resolution: vector or 300 DPI

If you do not have access to a high-resolution scanner, you can deliver or mail your artwork with a postage-paid return envelope to:

alumni UBC
Development and Alumni Engagement
1138 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC  V1V 1V7

The coloring books will be launching as part of UBC Okanagan Homecoming (September 24-25, 2021) celebrations and will be available for sale with all proceeds benefiting the UBCO Alumni Bursary Fund supporting students. Final pieces will be selected by a Selection Committee. Featured artists will receive a complimentary copy of the colouring book.

Deadline for submissions: May 31, 2021

Submit Now

By submitting artwork, the submitter agrees they own the right to recreate or reproduce the piece.

Jessica Beaudin

Incoming Masters of Arts in English student, Jessica Beaudin. Photo credit: Angeline Simon Photography

Jessica Beaudin is an incoming student to the MA in English program for 2021. She completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Lethbridge with a focus on Modernist and Contemporary literature. Upon returning from an exchange semester abroad in Magdeburg, Germany she adopted a Great Pyrenees Golden Retriever cross. Her relationship with her dog made her think more deeply about their connection and how they responded to one another when things got tough. This sparked an interest into discussions around posthumanism, critical animal studies, Holocaust theory, and fictional cloning ethics.

We asked Jessica about what led her to UBC Okanagan’s MA in English program.

What drew you to UBC Okanagan?

Kelowna was always a sun-bathed summer treat for us; my family trekked out every year for a full week of sandy showers and pool handstands. I kept returning as I got older for getaways with friends, bachelorettes, the like. I didn’t even think about UBCO as an option really, until I did, and it properly clicked. I researched the faculty and found that there was a great community of thinkers with massive experience in the area I want to pursue. It’s the city, the scholarly community, and Sprout Bread on Cannery Lane that really do it for me.

Why did you choose to apply to the MA in English program?

 I want to write something that matters to me. I see literary criticism as a magical hybrid form of academic and creative writing styles, and while I’ve flirted with the idea of other humanities, I think that by being deliberately unreal, literature is so much closer to an experience and to a truth that I understand. Dr. Jodey Castricano was gracious enough to agree to supervise me, I am so grateful and excited to work with them.

Tell us about your thesis topic and your plans for that research.

My thesis will examine the discontinuities of ethics and responsibility in regard to euthanasia practices for human and nonhuman animals. In particular, I ask how posthuman literature understands death of the nonhuman animal with the knowledge that for reasons economic, consumptive, and environmental, human animals are necessarily tied to the decision. While posthumanism is distinguished from the transcendent intentions of biomedical transhumanism beyond death as limit, its troubling of ontological boundaries and “will-they, won’t-they” departures from humanism leaves discussions of individual death vacant. How euthanasia practices bleed into notions of the mercy kill or ‘coup de grâce’ as well as non-interference methods of letting die highlight the disproportionate responsibilities human animals self-assign at the point of death as opposed to in life.

I want to research responsibility, and think about different ‘kinds’ of animals and the responsibilities we take on with regard to them. I have a lot of catching up to do in the critical animal studies area, as well as digging in deeper with the posthuman conversation. I also want to read and watch a lot of dystopian and science fiction! I hope to work significantly with Dr. Castricano and Dr. Garrard for starters, but have my eye on a few others as well.

Where do you hope this degree will lead you? 

This is always a complicated question for students of literature! To my parents’ dismay, I hold tight to a mantra of ‘I’ll figure it out’. Which is to say that I trust entirely that at the end of this program, I’ll know if I want to continue in academia and pursue my PhD. However, I’m also very comfortable with being much more than any one thing–I could be a nurse with a Masters in English, or perhaps co-run that pipe-dream coffee shop with a gallery space for my best friend. Most of all, I hope that this degree will lead me, perhaps feet dragging, into a healthier relationship with my writing.

Why we capitalize the ‘I’ in Indigenous

On April 1, Dr. Kerrie Charnley gave a talk, Why we capitalize the ‘I’ in Indigenous: Guidance on writing with and about Indigenous Peoples. Dr. Charnley discussed writing with Indigenous Style, from land acknowledgement to land back and why we use the capital “I” in Indigenous.

What is the most respectful way to communicate with—and about—Indigenous Peoples and individuals? In this webinar, participants will be introduced to guiding insights from Gregory Younging’s Elements of Indigenous Style (2018).  These insights will help us to understand the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action, and particularly, in educational contexts.

In the presentation link below, Dr. Charnley shares “cutting edge,” recently published resources on writing, curriculum and pedagogy, for indigenizing the academy, classroom and beyond.

WHY WE CAPITALIZE THE I IN INDIGENOUS SLIDE PRESENTATION

The Apple Box Exploratorium AR Tour

Augmented reality (AR) game and interactive historical guide developed by BMS student Chloe Chang

Chloe Chang is a student in her fourth year of the Bachelor of Media Studies program here at UBC Okanagan.

For her final capstone project, she has developed The Apple Box Exploratorium AR Tour, an augmented reality (AR) game and interactive historical guide, in collaboration with the Kelowna Museum Society.

This project will be up at the Laurel Square, outside of the Laurel Packinghouse, from April 7 to August 31, 2021.

Visitors to Laurel Square are invited to experience a virtual world full of multimedia information about the Okanagan apple industry. When visitors first approach the square, they should look for the big Apple crates/boxes where they will find a QR code to scan using their phone. The scanning will trigger a web AR tool or the option of download an app powered by Onirix.

The AR tour includes an apple game, as well as a glimpse into the Okanagan’s past – referencing historical imagery of the apple picking process. By using augmented technology, users can browse various multimedia information assets (audio narration, moving pictures), while seeing the site through the exciting lens of the AR world.

To make this project. Chloe Chang has created several 360 photos of the interior of the museum, scanned historical objects, and created promotional material (photo, video and posters).

This Capstone project forms the final part of the 4-year degree requirement of the Bachelor of Media Studies. Our 2021 Capstone students are the first graduates of our Okanagan campus program, they develop their projects for a full academic year, and they work with community partners to achieve their project goals.

Visit www.chloewhchang.com to find out more about Chloe and her other projects.

Project Team

Chloe Chang. Experience Design and Technology Developer

Amanda Snyder. Curatorial Manager, Kelowna Museum Society

Shelley Weber. Narrator, Kelowna Museum Society

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) is pleased to share the finalists of the 2021 Okanagan Short Story Contest.

The Okanagan Short Story Contest awards the best new short stories by fiction writers in the Southern Interior of British Columbia: east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the US border and south of Williams Lake. Past winners have gone on to publish with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press, and NeWest Press, as well as numerous magazines and journals nationally and internationally.

A total of 140 short story entries were submitted for the adult category, and 82 stories for the high school category.

“We were blown away by the number of submissions this year,” says FCCS professor Nancy Holmes. “It goes to show how many new and emerging writers we have in the region.”

Shortlisted authors: adult category

  • Steven Defehr – Kelowna, B.C.
  • William Arndt – Kelowna, B.C.
  • Chris McMahen – Salmon Arm, B.C.
  • Kathryn Gamble – Kelowna, B.C.
  • Kelly Fosbery – Westbank, B.C.
  • Carol Zuckerman – Kelowna, B.C.
  • Jorie Soames – Kelowna, B.C.
  • Cliff Hatcher – Kamloops, B.C.
  • Cheyenne Bergenhenegouwen – Vernon, B.C.
  • Kristin Burns – Vernon, B.C.
  • Tressa Ford – Nelson, B.C.
  • Daniel Tracy – Kelowna, B.C.

Shortlisted authors: high school category

  • Alexandra Murphy – Vernon, B.C.
  • Erika Vanderluys – Summerland, B.C.
  • Gulbag Singh – West Kelowna, B.C.
  • Paris Phillips – Kelowna, B.C.
  • Courtney Westfall – Kelowna, B.C.
  • Judy To – West Kelowna, B.C.
  • Ainsley Dempsey – Kamloops, B.C.
  • Sierra Pardoe – Nelson, B.C.

Fun facts about a few of our finalists: Chris McMahen won the contest in 2010. Kelly Fosbery is a current UBCO student. Carol Zuckerman is our 2020 winner and a UBCO MFA alumna. Jorie Soames took second place in our 2020 contest. Kristin Burns is a UBCO MFA alumna. Daniel Tracy is a UBCO alumni, and Sierra Pardoe is the sister of our 2018 high school winner, Bethany Pardoe.

FCCS is offering cash prizes to the top three stories—$1,000, $400 and $200; the first prize winner also wins a one-week retreat at The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna. The top story by a high school student receives a cash prize of $200. Co-sponsors of the contest are FCCS, TD and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

The winners of the Okanagan Short Story Contest will be announced at a virtual event by our contest judge, Frances Greenslade, acclaimed Canadian author and English professor at Okanagan College. The event will take place on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7 p.m. To register, go to fccs.ok.ubc.ca/short-story

Rachel Stubbs

Rachel Stubbs during her thesis defence in 2020

Rachel Stubbs completed her MA in English in June 2020 at UBC Okanagan. She came to UBC after completing a Bachelor’s degree in English and History at MacEwan University. Her thesis, titled, “Dear Mr. Dumbledore: Handwritten and Printed Intraliterary Texts in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Series and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series,” examined Harry Potter as a serious contribution to contemporary children’s literature that is in conversation with Lewis Carroll’s Alice series.

“This thesis argues that Rowling and Carroll understand the texts within their series, such as the labels, signposts, letters, memorandums, diaries, and textbooks, as important and authoritative entities. This thesis addresses the readers within and outside of the series as figures whose participation is equally as important as the fictional characters. Ultimately, I show that Rowling and Carroll share an obsession with print, handwriting, and reading.”

Rachel is now pursuing an English Ph.D. at the University of Calgary where her research is focused on early twentieth-century Canadian women writers who depict and construct Indigenous girlhood.

We asked Rachel to discuss her experience at UBCO as a master’s student.

Tell us about the road to earning your UBC degree.

I chose UBC Okanagan mainly because I wanted the “big university” feel without living in a big city. Living with close access to nature is and has been a mainstay in my life, and I knew I needed to feed that in some way. When I was researching grad schools, UBCO was one of my top schools for that reason alone (I was not disappointed). I loved my experience at UBCO, but these were definitely some of the most difficult years in my personal life. Not only did I have some personal medical issues, but my father also became terminally ill while I was away. Being away from home and my support network was incredibly challenging. However, I was so fortunate to have the most wonderful and understanding supervisor, and a really close-knit cohort that truly walked through those moments with me. I would not have been able to complete my degree without leaning (sometimes falling) on them.

Tell us about your thesis.

I chose the subject for my thesis because I loved the idea of studying children’s literature at an academic level. Like many people from my generation, I had a borderline obsession with Harry Potter as a child and was so excited about the possibility of studying it as part of my graduate thesis. I also loved the strangeness of Alice and realized that very few people had read these texts together.

How did your professors support you throughout your degree?

The professors at UBCO are in my top favourite things about the university. Dr. Margaret Reeves was my supervisor during my Master’s degree and I cannot put into words how wonderful she was for me. She often reminded me to give myself grace when I needed it most and encouraged me when I felt insecure about my work. Dr. Reeves also believes in a holistic approach to supervising and was concerned about all aspects of my life during my degree, which was something I didn’t even know I needed at the time. Dr. Reeves was nothing short of irreplaceable.

Dr. Lisa Grekul was also a fundamental reason why I began to love teaching. Watching her work and then working with her as her TA was a real privilege. Dr. Grekul’s passion for the material comes through in her teaching which I believe is one of the many reasons her students adore her. She was always positive, always supportive, and always happy to hear from me.

Dr. Fransisco Peña was also a wonderful professor to work with. Dr. Peña allowed me to really grow and gave me so many opportunities to strengthen my experience and also trusted me, which was such a validating feeling as a graduate student. He was invested in my career and encouraged me to pursue PhD programs. Dr. Peña is also a wealth of knowledge, and many times we would get off track just talking about fascinating topics that arose in the classes he taught.

How did the campus community contributed to your experience?

Rachel with her dog

The community at UBCO was one of my favourite parts. My cohort was fantastic. When my father was too sick to travel and my family was caring for him and could not come to my thesis defense, my entire cohort showed up in an overwhelming demonstration of their support and even filmed it for my family at home. My cohort and I became real friends and I was (and still am) so fortunate to have them.

The university library I also found was a great resource for me, especially because some of the articles I was looking for were really niche. What I loved about the library is that they are just as excited as I was about my project!

A highlight for me during my degree was attending and presenting at Congress in 2019, which was a terrifying but rewarding experience as a graduate student!

2018 Okanagan Print Triennial at the Kelowna Art Gallery

Photo from the 2018 Okanagan Print Triennial at the Kelowna Art Gallery

Briar Craig, a full professor teaching printmaking in the BFA program here at UBC Okanagan has been organizing international printmaking exhibitions since he started here in early 1991 (then Okanagan University College).  Briar worked with printmaking colleague Mary Smith McCulloch to organize exhibitions of print works from people outside of the local community.

“The initial idea was to bring work here that we would not normally get to see in person,” notes Briar.

Briar and Mary started by organizing a couple of invitational shows inviting Canadian artists to submit work, and then opened it up to include international artists for future years. They would set up the shows in the gallery at the K.L.O. campus with the intention of ramping up to something that resembles what is now The Okanagan Print Triennial (OPT).  The university gallery at the K.L.O. campus and at the UBCO campus are just not large enough to host an exhibition of this scope and ambition and it took a number of years to find an Okanagan gallery willing to be a partner for this project.  Lubos Culen the curator at the Vernon Public Art Gallery was the first to come on board followed by Liz Wiley at the Kelowna Art Gallery.  Without the support of those two galleries the OPT would never have been possible.

Since 2009, the OPT has involved showing the work every three years alternating between the Vernon Public Art Gallery and the Kelowna Art Gallery.

The works submitted for the OPT are juried by Briar and the curators at both galleries. Each year they have submissions from between 75 to 125 artists from around the world.  In order to create an exhibition that reflects the current ideas of participating artists, all submitted work needs to have been created in the last 3 years.

“One of the things that distinguishes the OPT from many other international print exhibitions is that we want to show bodies of peoples works rather than just one piece from each participating artist.  When seeing small bodies of an artist’s work you start to get a sense of what that artists ideas are.” He also adds, “we like to have about 25 artists each show, but to do that we do need a big space, and space is limited at both of the galleries.”

Many of the works we juried into the exhibition this year were made in 2020. In the midst of a pandemic, our lens for looking at that work ‘was quite flavoured’ by social isolation, he explains. “The work is timely in its content and what it is trying to say.”

This is something that is intrinsic to printmaking, the history of printmaking in general tends to come from advertising and the spreading of information. The printed word created literacy and artists that use printmaking mediums are creating a kind of literacy for their work in a broad sense.

“Artists continue to say things about their lives through their work and an exhibition like the OPT brings that work here for us to see and investigate. We get to see a snapshot of what is happening in South Korea, or Australia or Poland. It is pretty exciting.”

Since McCulloch retired, Briar is now the only print professor, and he says that the students get only one perspective. While his perspective and experience is pretty broad, it is not all encompassing.

“The OPT exhibition is a huge benefit for students in our classes.  They get to see world class and contemporary work in person”, he explains.   The influence of seeing other people’s work, and seeing the subtleties in those works in person expands what is possible to someone who is just starting out in their art practice.

“It is fun to go through the shows with a class.  Everyone gets excited about what they are seeing, and it is so much fun as it sparks curiosity.” He says, “seeing work from other artists can give students ideas on how to express themselves and how to make use of the materials that are unique to printmaking.”

The 2021 Okanagan Print Triennial is scheduled at the Vernon Public Art Gallery from March 18 to May 19 and has 28 printmakers from 15 countries around the world. The jury for this year’s show were Briar Craig, Lubos Cullen Curator for the VPAG, and FCCS professor emeritus and art historian, Carolyn MacHardy. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition, printed with financial support from the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

There are two major awards given every year, a purchase prize, and the top artist prize. The winner of each Triennial is given a solo show at the gallery not hosting the show the third year following. This year we look forward to seeing the work of Ericka Walker who was in the show in 2018 at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Her exhibition, A decaying fort and lack of guidance, opens at the Kelowna Art Gallery on April 10.

For more information on the 2021 OPT, visit: www.vernonpublicartgallery.com/okanagan-print-triennial

Okanagan Print Triennial, 2015

Photo from the 2015 Okanagan Print Triennial at the Vernon Public Art Gallery

What is Printmaking?

The umbrella term printmaking involves a number of different methods of creating art works through the process of printing.  Typically, a print-artist creates an image, then takes that image and draws it onto a lithographic stone, or etches it with nitric acid into an etching plate or makes a stencil on a silkscreen, and then uses that process to transfer the imagery to another surface – usually paper or fabric.

Faculty Spotlight: Kerrie Charnley

Kerrie Charnley

Kerrie Charnley

The Department of English and Cultural Studies is pleased to welcome Kerrie Charnley as the newest member to join the English program. Dr. Charnley joined the faculty at UBC Okanagan in the summer of 2020. Dr. Charnley has a PhD in Language and Literacy Education from UBC Vancouver. She is Coast Salish from Katzie First Nation and over the past 15 years has taught courses in Indigenous Education, Literature, and Health at UBC, SFU, and the Institute for Indigenous Governance (NVIT).

Dr. Kerrie Charnley has been working in the fields of Indigenous writing, education, law and health for thirty-five years, since the mid-1980s.

“I am particularly interested in land-based learning and teaching in multimodal, embodied and experiential ways through literary and discourse analysis, story, performance, art and cultural-spiritual and sustainability practices. I am also interested in language revival and how language translation theory can inform and expand our understandings of communication within a given language.”

We met up with Kerrie to find out a bit more about her, her research and her teaching practices.

Why did you choose to come to UBC Okanagan?

I have long appreciated and respected Dr. Jeannette Armstrong’s epistemological and language work, and her voice, activism and leadership. Also, since the 1980s I had been impressed with Theytus Books as one of Canada’s first Indigenous owned and operated publishing houses, and then the establishment of the creative writing school at the En’owkin Centre, both in Penticton. Shortly after UBCO came into existence, while I was completing my master’s degree in 2007-2008, I happened to be working in the administration of faculty appointments for the Dean of Applied Science, Dr. Michael Isaacson, who told me about UBCO and how it came to be. From then on UBCO was on my radar. I noticed there was a growing cadre of highly respected Syilx Okanagan scholars at UBCO, such as Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Dr. Marlowe Sam, and more recently, Dr. Bill Cohen. This, along with the kind of relationship that the Memorandum of Agreement established between the Okanagan Nation and UBCO, told me that, from an Indigenous perspective, and within an Indigenous values framework, things were being done in a good way here.

Tell us about your research and any recent publications.  

My research focus has been on the holistic and multi-modal aspects of Indigenous Peoples’ land-centered literacies, epistemologies, and pedagogies, and educational programming. By land-based I also mean air and water-based.  I’ve also been interested in what Indigenous women authors have to say. Many, if not most of whom are activists. I’ve interviewed and written about some of the most influential Indigenous women writers, such as Mohawk writer and activist Beth Brant, Coast Salish and Cree author and activist Lee Maracle, and many others. Some of my work is in the first two Gatherings Journals (1990, 1991) published by Theytus Publishing, and also in feminist journals (Kinesis 1987), (Fireweed, 1991) and other Indigenous publications and a linguistics journal, Salishan Language Conference Proceedings (2008).

My biggest writing feat is my Ph.D. dissertation (2019), which tells the story of my research journey focusing on land-based and storied Indigenous pedagogy within a specific Coast Salish, Katzie familial and educational context. The research journey traverses geographical, educational, experiential and cultural-spiritual cognitive landscapes. Other related interests include a/r/tography and arts-based research. I am also keenly interested in art practice and performance as knowledge creation and as pedagogy. I’m a painter, photographer, knitter, and runner and enjoy thinking creatively.

How did you know you wanted to be a professor?

It was a process. Given the recent history of colonization, and its impact on every Indigenous person, there were extra hurdles I faced for any goal I wished to achieve in my life. If there is one pivotal moment in terms of becoming a professor that stands out to me, it is a brief conversation that Dr. Graham Hingangaroa Smith, (UBC Distinguished Chair in Indigenous Education at the time), struck up with me in the spring of 2006 as we walked across campus during the UBC SAGE Indigenous graduate conference. He asked me questions and took it upon himself to tell me it was important for me to go on to do the Ph.D.. I was doing my masters at the time. He spoke to me with great respect, care and attention, he said the university and the students needed me and my work. He was the first person to give me that complete sense of confidence in my ability and recognize the value and purpose of my work in terms of becoming a professor.

What most excites you about your field of work?

Witnessing the transformation of students’ consciousness over the weeks of a course, and the shifts that happen in their identities – as learners, scholars and creative and critical thinking, world changing, socially just, empowered human beings – excites me. Sharing the wisdom of Indigenous scholars and elders in the readings/viewings and guest speakers with the students excites me. Stereotypical and surface thinking is a challenge and an opportunity. Even with all that I have overcome and all of my achievements, I still struggle with self-confidence and conveying that confidence in the way that I present and communicate myself. Communicating confidence is a work in progress which I think will become less of a struggle as I settle into my role.

About Kerrie

I grew up in the West End, along English Bay, by Stanley Park in Vancouver with my single mother, and in the country on two acres surrounded on three sides by a forest, above Mission City overlooking the Fraser Valley, with my English Blackburnian grandfather and my Katzie Coast Salish grandmother. Both my grandparents were fluent in our Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language. Throughout my childhood, my extended family, including my aunt, two uncles and cousins, would convoy in two vehicles to the Okanagan in the summertime. We’d travel up and down the Okanagan, visit family and friends, camp or stay in a motel, and most excitingly, go horseback riding up and down the sage brushed hills, receive rejuvenation from the beautiful Lakes, and bring home flats of tomatoes and peaches. My grandmother told stories during the drive. These are fond childhood memories that continue to sustain me today.

Skin Hunger installation

Skin Hunger exhibition installation shot, showing the work of Pip Dryden and Jorden Doody

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies is excited to announce a new exhibit, “Skin Hunger”, opening at the FINA Gallery on March 4, 2021 that will provide the community with an opportunity to explore the international issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of physical distancing through a student-organized art exhibition.

The exhibit will run until March 26, 2021 and will feature works from UBCO’s Bachelor of Fine Arts students, Masters students, and faculty members, displaying works focusing on the theme of our need for touch and the impact that social distancing is having on our “Skin Hunger”. This exhibition is a project for a curating course by Stacey Koosel, instructor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. It allows students to hone their skills into curating their very own exhibition and an opportunity to broadcast their talents.

“It’s an honour to teach the first curatorial course in the Okanagan. The students have done an amazing job at producing a dynamic, socially engaged contemporary art exhibition that explores the impacts of the Covid-19. The ten artworks selected for “Skin Hunger” play with the paradox of social distancing and the need for touch and connection. It’s a great exhibition that will have lots of online public programming to help us engage with the community.” says Dr. Stacey Koosel, Curator of UBC Okanagan Art Gallery and art history instructor.

This exhibition also socially engages with the greater community in the Okanagan amidst difficult times. Dr. Koosel is providing all students with this opportunity, and ensuring they are working safely to prepare this exhibition.

The term “Skin Hunger” refers to our universal and neurological need for touch. Touch is a vital part of both physical and mental health. It releases oxytocin, reduces stress, and calms our nervous system and currently many of us are starving for touch. Our increasingly digital existence is leaving many people alienated from the physical world. In response to this, “Skin Hunger” places art in direct response to our physical estrangement. These works will evoke a desire to “feel” the materials in the audience, while also allowing for a safe, COVID-friendly way to do so. In order to mitigate this desire, we are providing informational brochures that contain a material reminiscent of that of one of the artworks. The shift to online learning has kept many students from engaging with the artwork made by their peers, in addition to reducing the opportunities for student artists to show their works.

“Skin Hunger” features works by Jordan Doody, Briar Craig, Brittany Reizel, Avery Ullyot-Comrie, Hana Hamaguchi, Pip Dryden, Ashley Desjarlais, Bethany Hiebert, Arianna Tooke, and Jordan MacDonald. All the artists are members of the UBCO artistic community, with students from UBCO’s Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts, as well as faculty members.

“Inspiration from the pandemic has resulted with an online option for the exhibition,” explains Amber Barker, one of the students from the class. “People will have the option to view the exhibition from the comfort of their own home with an online 3D tour of Skin Hunger, as well as Zoom talks with some of the featured artists.”

The artistic director for the project, fine arts student Pip Dryden, is working closely with the gallery and other team members to ensure that this exhibition showcases the artists. They are ensuring these pieces bring a sense of connection during these isolated times, while also ensuring the exhibition a safe experience for visitors.

We encourage you all to check out the exhibition and artworks as an opportunity to feel a connection and bring a positive experience to light during this pandemic. Visitors to the gallery must follow social distancing measures which include a maximum of 6 people in the gallery at one time.

As part of the “Skin Hunger” exhibition, a panel of artists will discuss materiality in their artworks along with how the pandemic has changed or challenged their practice. Registration is now open for the panel on March 16th at 6:00 pm.

“Skin Hunger” opens to the public on March 4, 2021 and runs until March 26, 2021, in the FINA Art Gallery, 1148 Research Rd, Kelowna, BC.

Celestial Bodies projection

Celestial Bodies projection at the Rotary Centre for the Arts

On display every evening from 5:30-10 p.m. outside the Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.), Celestial Bodies is a multicultural creation of animated media that depicts ancient astrological stories, exploring the belief systems that make up Canadian and Indigenous society’s diverse fabric. The multimedia projection shows animated images of star stories— alongside world-class cross-cultural music. 

Celestial Bodies is the second projection series to be showcased in downtown Kelowna this year thanks to Light Up Kelowna — a new partnership between the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO) and UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. In addition, there are a diverse range of artists involved in the production of Celestial Bodies, including UBC Okanagan faculty members Aleksandra Dulic and Miles Thorogood who directed and co-created the show. Discover more about the research team behind Celestial Bodies HERE.

For Celestial Bodies, the artists have re-interpreted the cosmological stories and oral histories from their own cultural heritages — the Indigenous Haudenosaunee, Greek, Chinese and African culture — exploring the meeting of cultures in their collaborative process with community members, where unique stars signifying individuals’ heritage were made. Each story is connected to a season, and characters from the heavenly world travel through time and space as the night unfolds, highlighting diverse cultural beliefs. 

Those viewing Celestial Bodies will see the Big Dipper story from the Haudenosaunee Nation, the Chinese story of Weaver Woman, a Greek story highlighting the mythology of human desires and emotions through heroes and Gods and a suspenseful African story called ‘Why the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars live in the Sky?’

Kirsteen McCulloch, Executive Director at ARTSCO, can’t wait to see the show come to life:

“I’m confident that Celestial Bodies is going to be a massive hit! With rich storytelling, talented artists and a unique urban canvas in downtown Kelowna, this is the night sky as you’ve never seen it before. Ditch the couch and Netflix for an evening and join us safely and from a distance to enjoy Celestial Bodies while standing beneath celestial bodies. I’m grateful to all the skilled artists who have contributed to this project and I hope you’ll come to see the projections from Feb 5-28!”

Celestial Bodies is presented by ARTSCO in partnership with UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. It runs from February 5 to 28, 2021, from 5:30-10 p.m. every evening at downtown Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.) The showing is free and open to the public. Projections are shown on the exterior of the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Please abide by COVID-19 safety protocols while participating in Celestial Bodies.

Learn more about the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan HERE. Find out more about Celestial Bodies HERE

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the following organizations in the creation of Celestial Bodies: The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Work-Study program , Canada Council for the Arts, and the Central Okanagan Foundation.