Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies: What’s new for 2013-2014

August 23, 2013

Creative Writing students Michelle Grahame, Logan Saunders, Natalie Rice, Daniel Vineberg, Amy Stetzl, Kelly Shepherd and Karen Meyer

UBC Creative Writing students Michelle Grahame, Logan Saunders, Natalie Rice, Daniel Vineberg, Amy Stetzl, Kelly Shepherd and Karen Meyer display some of their creations based on Kelowna’s North End neighbourhood for their Dig Your Neighbourhood project, a package of art and activities that will introduce residents to the cultural and environmental past, present, and future of their neighbourhood.

Visiting artists, authors and new seminar series highlight exciting year

New Programming

We have developed several new courses that introduce students to critical scholarship while providing them with innovative, hands-on experiential learning opportunities. Our courses in Digital Humanities will provide students with experience in computer applications for cultural, visual art, historical, language and literary research. They include:

DIHU 200—Introduction to the Digital Humanities, which addresses the construction of digital resources in the context of humanities research;
DIHU 301—The Self-Conscious Text, which covers computational methods for student-led humanities research, including visualizing, mapping, and encoding
DIHU 302—The Programmed World, in which students work in the context of fine arts and humanities research, studying and applying programming principles in physical and virtual environments.

We have also developed fourth-year Creative Writing courses that focus on Publishing and Editing; Writing for Media; and Writing and Community Learning. As part of the Writing and Community Learning course, we are partnering with the Uptown Rutland Business Association and the Welcome Wagon to create a Dig Your Neighbourhood package of art for the Rutland neighbourhood.

Upcoming Events and Activities

  1. Book Launch:  There will be a launch of Patricia Ainslie’s book, Okanagan Artists in their Studios (Frontenanc House, 2013) on September 5, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. The book features 13 well-established professional Canadian artists who live in the Okanagan valley and who have made a contribution to the development of the visual arts in Canada. Among them are FCCS professors: Briar Craig, Fern Helfand, Byron Johnston, Jim Kalnin, Gary Pearson, and Bryan Ryley. Please, join us for the event and a reception in the FINA Gallery of the Creative and Critical Studies building.
  2. Performances: The University Theatre will once again play host to a variety of performances throughout the year. Furthermore, through a partnership between the Department of Creative Studies and the Rotary Centre for the Arts, there will be a series of performance by visiting performers at the Mary Irwin Theatre that will provide experiential learning opportunities for our Bachelor of Fine Arts students. Look out for further information on the FCCS and Creative Studies websites.
  3. Exhibitions: In October, we will host an exhibition and a panel discussion on “Art and Representations of the Body: Exploring the Boundaries between Sexual Exploitation, Creative Practice and Critical Commentary.” There will also be the ever popular “Art on the Line” fundraiser in December and the crowd-pulling end-of-year BFA Exhibition in April.
  4. Seminars: In partnership with Green College, on the Vancouver campus, our monthly “Emerging Visions: Digital Media and Culture” seminar series will engage with the impact and implications of new digital tools and technologies on contemporary creative practices, critical scholarship, and socio-political issues. A group of innovative artists and scholars from UBC and elsewhere in North America will share their thoughts in back-to-back discussions every month, starting on the Vancouver campus on the first day, followed by the Okanagan campus the next. Among topics to be discussed between September 2013 and April 2014 are: embodied sensibilities, gaming technology and climate change, the digital botanical garden, digital media and music, and the perils and pleasures of digital scholarship. Please, watch for dates and topics.

Visiting Authors/Artists and Writer-in-Residence:

The Department of Creative Studies will welcome the following authors to our campus and to our city this academic year:

David Chariandy – Canadian writer and one of the co-founders of Commodore Books. His debut novel Soucouyant was nominated for 10 literary prizes and awards;

Stephen Collis – a Canadian poet, Collis is the author of five books of poetry, including the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize winning On the Material (Talonbooks 2010);

Camille Martin – a Canadian poet and collage artist, author of four volumes of poetry;

Sheila Heti – a Canadian writer and editor who has authored five books, Heti will also be a Writer-in-Residence;

Chantal Neveu – a Canadian writer, author of three books and an interdisciplinary artist;

Mariko Tamaki – a Canadian artist and writer who has produced several works of both traditional written fiction and non-fiction.

Visiting Scholars

The Faculty will host the following scholars during the year:

Tomie Hahn and Curtis Bahn from the Center for Cognition, Communication, and Culture at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York (Wednesday, September 11, 2013,  2 to 4:30 p.m., Room 142, Creative and Critical Studies building);

Don McKay, one of Canada’s most important and influential ecopoets and ecocritics (late fall 2013 or early winter 2014);

Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhqot’in), an award-winning film director, director of photography, and teacher (late January or early February 2014).

Administrative Appointments

Ashok Mathur has been appointed associate professor with tenure and Head of the Department of Creative Studies, from January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2018. He will be joining us as a faculty member on December 1, 2013. Mathur holds a PhD in English from the University of Calgary and comes to UBC from his current position as a Canada Research Chair in Cultural and Artistic Inquiry, and Director of the Centre for innovation in Culture and the Arts in Canada (CiCAC), at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). He was also an associate professor in TRU’s departments of Visual & Performing Arts; English and Modern Languages; and Journalism, Communication & New Media.

Prior to this, he was Head of Critical and Cultural Studies at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in Vancouver from 2001-05. His scholarship focuses on anti-racism inside and outside the academy. He is the author of a volume of poetry, Loveruage (1993),  and three novels – Once Upon an Elephant  (1998), The Short, Happy Life of Harry Kumar (2001), A Little Distillery in Nowgong (2009). In 2011, he was lead editor for Cultivating Canada: reconciliation through the lens of cultural diversity, published by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Mathur’s artwork, “one hundred thirty-three thousand five hundred twenty-eight words and a super-8 grab,” was part of a 2009 acquisition by the Canada Council Art Bank.

Martin Blum assumed the position of Associate Head in the Department of Critical Studies for a two-year term, starting July 1, 2013. Blum is an associate professor in the English and Germanic Studies programs and has been a member of the department since 2005.

Academic Appointments

Greg Garrard joins the Department of Critical Studies as tenured associate professor of English and Sustainability Professor in FCCS. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Liverpool (1999). He is an internationally recognized leader in the development of Ecocriticism and joins us from his previous position as reader in Literature and the Environment and director of the Writing and Environment Research Centre at Bath Spa University, UK. Garrard brings extraordinary passion, experience and expertise that will bolster our faculty’s strength in Eco-Art and Ecocriticism and enhance the contribution of the humanities to the practice and scholarship of sustainability at UBC and beyond.

Samuel Roy-Bois has been appointed assistant professor in the Visual Arts program in the Department of Creative Studies, with expertise in 3D Sculpture and New Media.  He holds an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University. He has taught as a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design since 2008.  He is an award-wining artist with a distinguished solo exhibition record at prominent international galleries. With Roy-Bois’ arrival, the Visual Arts program and our students will benefit from an expanded curriculum that deepens their understanding of the relationship between sculpture and new media technologies.

Tenure and Promotion

FCCS congratulates Virginie Magnat on her promotion to associate professor with tenure

Support Staff Appointments

Jennifer Novy – permanent appointment as administrative assistant, Department of Creative Studies.
Penny Hechter – auxiliary appointment as assistant to the Dean. She replaces Tanya Harding, who is on maternity leave.
Joanne Gervais – permanent appointment as part-time media technician (continuing)
Barb Jackson – permanent appointment as finance manager


Media Contact

Patty Wellborn
Media Relations Strategist
University Relations

UBC Okanagan
Tel: 250 317 0293
E-mail: patty.wellborn@ubc.ca

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