What We Do
Our mission is to undertake research and creative activity of the highest caliber. We are strongly committed to the continued development of a Fine Arts and Humanities-based intellectual culture on the UBC Okanagan Campus and in the surrounding region.
Our Faculty are nationally recognized, and highly regarded, leaders in creative and critical scholarship encompassing diverse historical and contemporary experiences and perspectives. We have specialized expertise in Digital Arts and Humanities, World Literature, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, Ecocriticism, Global Art History, Visual Arts, Performance, Indigenous Arts, Media Studies and Creative Writing.
We have two Canadian Foundation for Innovation funded research Centres in the Faculty along with two research Labs. Many of our Faculty members hold active Social Science and Humanities Research Council grants and benefit from Arts Council funding at civic, provincial and federal levels.
Centres & Labs
The AMP Lab houses projects that engage in the work of the humanities–adding value to cultural artifacts through interpretation and analysis–in a digital context. Broadly, all AMP Lab projects investigate code as a sustainable medium for representing cultural history. The stakes are high, as the development of sustainable, robust humanist data shapes what both scholars and the general public can know about digitized cultural history.
The Centre for Culture and Technology (CCT) was established in 2011 by FCCS professors Aleksandra Dulic and Stephen Foster to promote research that brings together art and science to develop a critical awareness of the dynamic relationship between culture and technology. As a laboratory engaged in innovative research, the CCT aims to develop content, artwork and services, support innovation processes, expand new knowledge transmission strategies for cultural expression, and communicate cultural knowledge to audiences across a range of age groups and cultures.
The Centre for Indigenous Media Arts (CIMA) is mandated to work collaboratively with artists and communities to foster the contemporary artistic practice of Indigenous media artists. The Centre focuses on research/creation of scholarly projects at the confluence of contemporary art and indigenous culture exploring new forms of media and technology in contemporary indigenous art production. CIMA is located at UBC’s Okanagan campus in the Administration Building (ADM 044).
The Research Studio for Spaces and Things (RSST) is an open platform for research and creation in the field of visual arts. The Studio is a transdisciplinary environment dedicated to the production and the presentation in 2D arts (drawing, painting, photography), 3D arts (installation, sculpture, design, architecture) and time-based practices (audio, video, performance). It will gather practitioners working across genres, disciplines and techniques. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Humanities Hub
The Public Humanities Hub (PHH) initiative coordinates and amplifies the work of humanists on the Okanagan campus so that colleagues across the disciplines and citizens in the Southern Interior can see what they bring to the table.
- The hub identifies best practices in humanities capacity-building internationally
- It builds new research connections across Humanities departments, UBC faculties and the two campuses
- It supports research culture including graduate students and senior undergraduates
- It publicizes and mobilizes humanities research in the public sphere and facilitates exchanges amongst humanists at both the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses.
The Public Humanities Hub Okanagan (PHH-O) fosters collaboration and research excellence amongst humanists at UBC, and supports public-facing research in the humanities. The PHH-O will establish governance with an academic director, reporting to the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in FCCS, and a steering committee.
Eco Art Incubator Project
The Eco-Art Incubator is an umbrella under which a variety of projects can proceed by our offering specific technical and theoretical support, providing a platform for students and artists to work as well as access to artist-friendly resources for conservation and ecological initiatives. This project is run by Nancy Holmes and Denise Kenney.
Confluence of Religious Cultures in Medieval Historiography
This project, led by Francisco Peña, positions the General e grand estoria within the multicultural context of its production and re-evaluates the role of Judaism and Islam, as well as the Graeco-roman classical traditions, in the birth of Spanish and European historical writing and the beginnings of vernacular fiction.
Ghosts of Roberts Lake
A Companion to Ezra Pound’s Guide to Kulchur addresses the formidable interpretive challenges his most far-reaching prose tract presents to the reader. Providing page-by-page glosses on key terms and passages, the Companion also situates Pound’s allusions and references in relation to other texts in his vast body of work, especially The Cantos.
Writing Today offers students the comprehensive and detailed instruction they need using a highly-praised, interactive writing style that reflects the way they read and learn: instruction is succinct; key concepts are immediately defined and reinforced; paragraphs are short and supported by instructional visuals.
Examining the ways in which hypochondria forms both a malady and a metaphor for a range of British Romantic writers, Grinnell contends that this is not one illness amongst many, but a disorder of the very ability to distinguish between illness and health, a malady of interpretation that mediates a broad spectrum of pressing cultural questions.
Violence against Indigenous women in Canada is an ongoing crisis, with roots deep in the nation’s colonial history. Centring the voices of contemporary Indigenous women writers, this book argues for the important role that literature and storytelling can play in response to gendered colonial violence.
Composed over a period of profound illness, Visual Inspection is a searching reflection on poetry, power and our embodied lives. Shaped by matching elements of literary history, poetic practice, contemporary art, politics and ecology with Rader’s own experience of chronic illness and pain, Visual Inspection writes into and through what is accessible to our minds and bodies.
Works on Paper and Other Things is a catalogue from the Vernon Public Art Gallery. This exhibition of text-based artwork consists of monoprints, UV screen prints, flickering neon signs and a large magnetic board with words which can be manipulated by the viewers in order to create sentences and statements. The works highlight the concept of chance and accident as a strategic concept in creating works of art.
Our faculty members are committed to recognizing outstanding and significant contributions to research, teaching and community engagement. Find out more about our award-winning colleagues.
Featured Researcher: Emily Murphy
In her research, Assistant Professor Emily Murphy pursues ideas through technologies such as linked data, looking at how we can describe culture and the relationships between entities — people, places, things, or events. She will often look at “old” media, and attempt to understand how print, books, or archives shape our assumptions about how culture and community operate.
She is currently working on a data modelling project of an anthology of poems about the occupation of France in the Second World War.
She is not only interested in studying the finished anthology, but looking at all that was involved in creating the object, especially the vast networks of human relationships that are expressed in the form of letters, previous publications, or edited drafts of poems.
“I hope my research is headed towards more experimentation in research-creation. While I love literature and writing, the real impact I want to make is to further develop methods for research in the humanities that rely on other forms of perception — technological, embodied, visual, textual…,”
Featured Researcher: Nancy Holmes
ART, SCIENCE AND COMMUNITY IS A POWERFUL COMBINATION that helps improve our relationship with the natural world. And it is this combination and a focus on industrious little insects—bees—that’s resulting in community-driven partnerships.
A talk about bees can lead to a discussion about plants, which can quickly turn into a dialog about food, habitat, soil, air and water. Before you know it, a bee briefing can quickly turn into a conversation about an entire ecosystem.
That’s what inspired the Border Free Bees project run by Nancy Holmes, an associate professor of creative writing at UBC Okanagan, and Cameron Cartiere, the associate professor in the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art & Design.
“We work with gardening and conservation groups, public schools, university communities, kids, seniors, as many people as we can pull in,” says Holmes, an award-winning poet, writer, educator and researcher.
Featured Researcher: Allison Hargreaves
Associate Professor, Allison Hargreaves is the winner of the 2017 Gabrielle Roy Prize writing award. Her book, Violence Against Indigenous Women: Literature, Activism, Resistance, was published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in August of 2017 and was named the winning entry for 2017.
Violence Against Indigenous Women argues for the important role that literature and storytelling can play in response to gendered colonial violence. Indigenous communities have long been organizing against violence, but the cases of missing and murdered women have only recently garnered broad public attention.
The Gabrielle Roy Prize is awarded annually for the best book-length study in Canadian and Quebec literary criticism.
“I am honored by the recognition, and grateful for the attention this may bring to the issues discussed in the book,” says Hargreaves.
Featured Researcher: Miles Thorogood
Miles Thorogood, instructor of digital media and computer science, is the recipient of two outstanding awards for soundscape and acoustic communication.
The R. Murray Schafer Soundscape Award, is awarded for Thorogood’s thesis, which investigates new ways of analyzing and approaching soundscapes. The audiometaphor.ca project brings together computational systems for analyzing patterns in audio in terms of human emotion and inserts this into a soundscape generation system.
The second award, The Glenfraser Acoustic Communication Research Award, was awarded to further Thorogood’ s research in computational soundscape studies of the Okanagan. His research aims at integrating soundscape analysis, text and audio interviews, and image for building resources to foster resilient communities and art making.
Dr. Thorogood’s research into soundscape and communication as a form of artistic expression has been recognized for enriching the diversity of the program offerings within the BFA and BMS.