Lara Haworth was an international student from the United Kingdom and she graduated with her M.F.A specializing in Performance. She was initially drawn to UBC Okanagan’s FCCS because of the university’s highly respected international standing. She was also intrigued by the location, since the city of Kelowna was much smaller than what she was accustomed to, cities such as New York City and London. In fact, one of her first memorable experiences on campus was at UBC Okanagan’s Library: “I remember standing at the library checkout desk on one of my first days and glancing out the window and being overwhelmed by the unrelenting expanse of flat-topped mountains. I couldn’t see any lights, any houses: only trees.” The culture shock, however, was short-lived: “pretty soon I couldn’t imagine not being able to cross-country ski on the weekends, or walk a trail at lunchtime on campus, or know deeply, and appreciate, the work of the brilliant people around me.”
Lara made significant use of campus resources, working as a Teaching Assistant and also a Research Assistant during her time at UBCO. At one point, she co-directed a show with Professor Denise Kenney and the Theatre 280/480 students. Lara enthusiastically noted that this project was “one of the best and most fulfilling pieces of work I’ve ever made!” In addition to that venture, Lara also helped conduct the unusual performance intervention “Woodhaven Customs and Border Patrol” in Kelowna. Lara admits, “It was very moving how important Woodhaven was to people, and this revealed something about the status of ‘nature’ in a Canadian identity . . . The media attention the show received also made me see that Kelownians, and British Columbians, aren’t afraid to think about things that aren’t always totally obvious.”
Lara’s experience with UBCO’s FCCS helped develop her skills as a professional artist and gave her the ability to discuss her craft in a substantive and productive manner. She added that “[having] a vocabulary to talk about my own practice is totally vital.” Lara, since graduating from UBCO, has gone on to initiate many fascinating art pieces across the world. These include “New National Parks” in Chemnitz, Germany, and “The Library Project” in Yokohama, Japan.
Lara Haworth represents one of many success stories for students of UBC Okanagan’s FCCS. Lara concluded: “I would say that UBCO provides a world-class education in a small, supportive context . . . It’s also a place to experiment. I worked with some of the most extraordinary faculty there, who taught me more than they perhaps know. I’ll always be so grateful for that.”
This story was written by Brandon Taylor, English major in FCCS. Brandon is a Research Assistant in FCCS, contacting alumni to find out about their experiences here at UBCO.