News from STAC

STAC: Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture

News from STAC

An artist's rendering of the Marilyn I. Walker School for the Fine and Performing Arts showing the new theatre for the Department of Dramatic Arts.

Brock welcomes more community partners to downtown project

Published on June 20 2012

As Brock University prepares to select a contractor for its new arts school in central St. Catharines, community members are coming forward to financially back a project many people see as being a crucial bridge to future economic and cultural health.

This summer, contractors will be invited to bid on the major job of renovating and expanding the old Canada Hair Cloth textile mill into the new home for Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Work is to begin this fall.

Besides relocating 500 students, faculty and staff into the downtown, the new school will also complement and share some facilities with a public Performing Arts Centre being built by the City of St. Catharines on an adjacent lot. Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2014.

Brock’s school has a construction budget of $39.6 million. The Ontario government has given $26.1 million to the project, and the University is continuing efforts to raise more than $10-million to pay its share.

Important supporters of the Brock project were revealed today when it was announced that three donors with strong ties to the community and Brock University are making gifts totaling more than a quarter-million dollars.

Peter and Janet Partridge are giving $100,000 to the project. Art and Val Fleming have also committed $100,000. And the St. Catharines law firm of Lancaster Brooks & Welch is donating $75,000 to the new school.

Peter Partridge, Vice President and Portfolio Manager with RBC Dominion Securities and a past member of Brock’s Board of Trustees, said their gift is a way of giving back to the community.

“To have a cultural campus strategically positioned in the heart of the downtown is very important,” he said. “This is going to bring a whole new level of artistic experience not only to young performers but to an audience here in Niagara.”

The Flemings are also eager to see the Walker School flourish.

“We really believe in Brock,” said Val, a Brock graduate and past member of the Board of Trustees. “We especially want the Walker project to succeed. It’s a wonderful opportunity, and we believe the downtown will definitely be rejuvenated because of it.”

At the offices of Lancaster Brooks Welch, senior partner Dave Edwards said the law firm believes the benefits of the new school will be more than economic.

“This will change the culture of the city centre for the better by bringing students into the downtown during normal working hours,” said Edwards, a former member and chair of the Brock Board of Trustees. “It will provide an integration that’s entirely different compared to when they’re only downtown at nighttime.

“It makes you think of Kingston, and how students there are often in the downtown during the day. This will help our restaurants, stores, coffee shops, and bring a new vibrancy to the downtown throughout the day.”

Douglas Kneale, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Brock and a member of the committee overseeing the University’s downtown project, said the support is very heartening and much-needed.

“The truth is, we really are all in this together, this strengthening of the community,” said Kneale. “And when you have partners like these marvelous people, it is this kind of support that helps make these dreams come true for everybody.”


a new program from STAC and the Faculty of Business in 2011: Concentration in Cultural Management

The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) began a new program that brings together learning opportunities from two leading Faculties at Brock University - the Faculty of Business and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts of the Faculty of Humanities.

The Concentration in Cultural Management, a new collaboration with the highly-regarded Faculty of Business,began  in the autumn of 2011.  This is the ideal program for students who seek to graduate with employable skills as Cultural Managers in diverse fields of arts and culture, including music, the visual arts and dramatic arts.  Together with their interdisciplinary or single-discipline studies in arts and culture students may pursue service-learning or practicum experiences with professionals and organizations in the Niagara Region.  Required upper-level courses taken at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture include Arts Management; Arts, Heritage and Culture: Public Policy and Governance; Producing a Performance Event, or Creating social value from material culture. Courses taken within the Faculty of Business include: Introduction to Business,  Marketing Management, Organizational Behaviour and Design, Human Resources Management , Entrepreneurship, Personal Financial Planning and others related business topics.

Read the information sheet for this exciting new Concentration for 2011.

contact the Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture for more information Duncan MacDonald: dmacdonald at
or the Academic Advisor for the Faculty of Humanities, Alisa Cunnington: alisa.cunnington at 

Recognizing Academic Achievement and Community Engagement

Beginning in 2011 a new award is given to deserving STAC students in their third or final year of studies.  The STAC Award for Academic Achievement and Community Engagement will be given to the student who demonstrates academic achievement and/or a significant contribution to the arts and culture community of the Niagara region.  This award was established thanks to the generosity of the many donors who supported General Brock's October Soiree, and others.  Approximately $1000 (total) will be awarded to a maximum of three recipients in any one year.

Congratulations to Nathan Heuvingh and Rebecca Madamba, recipients of the award in 2011! Bravo!

The IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) 2010 World Congress Cultures of Modernity took place in July 2010 in Munich, Germany. DART Professor/cSTAC Director David Vivian presented in the conference program. See the official website for information. 

In 2011 Vivian convened the international conference Designing the Performance Spaces. This  coincided with the Prague Quadrennial 2011 of Performance Design and Space, and was presented by the Arts and Theatre Institute Prague and the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, in association with the Scenography Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. The conference is known for its creative atmosphere in which scholars and practitioners from around the world meet and engage in debates focused on both theoretical and production issues, for instance, this year scenographers as auteurs/director-designers, post-dramatic scenography, negotiating cultural codes in the performance space, scenographic analysis of performance events, scenography pedagogy, scenography of paratheatrical events and public entertainments, migrations of persons and peoples, and the intermediate stages and processes of scenographic development.
One innovation this year was the bilingual setting of the conference (English/French), giving the participants the opportunity to learn about and discuss practices and theory across languages, without a doubt an enriching experience.
The hard work and enthusiasm of STAC members greatly contributed to make the conference successful. Thanks to Professor Catherine Parayre (MLLC) and to the 2011 Research and Production Assistant to David Vivian, Josh Davidson (DART).

In the Soil: Niagara's Homegrown Arts Festival

STAC students and faculty participated in the second annual In the Soil: Niagara's Homegrown Arts Festival.

For more information click on the logo below:

In The Soil




click on the image above to watch a video about the 2010 showcase Momentum by students of the MIWSFPA (video produced by BrockTV)



Things are shakin' n' bakin' in St. Catharines


World-class cultural programming at our affiliate The Niagara Artists Centre.

STAC students participated in a fieldtrip to attend an excellent performance in April 2010 by Canada's leading poet Christian Bök. This was followed by a remarkable performance by the Canadian pioneer ensemble Canadian Creative Music Collective, a 'free music orchestra' formed in 1974. The three Governor General Award-winner musicians make music like you've never heard it before. We were delighted to welcome back to St. Catharines the celebrated Canadian artist Michael Snow, member of the CCMC. This performance was presented as part of the ECHOES celebration of Automatisme in Canada at The Niagara Artist's Centre.



October 16, 2009: Our city is alive and kicking!

This was a full night of cultural programming bliss. Check out these links for more information:
Verve! at Rodman Hall
MOSHpit opening at the St. Catharines and Area Arts Council (Suitcase In Point Theatre Company, Niagara Dance Company, Niagara Region Musicians' Association)
James Street Night of Art
Luck of the Draw at CRAM
Twin Receptions at Niagara Artists' Centre


Excellence in Teaching and Research in STAC

Associate Professor and Director of STAC David Vivian was awarded the 2009 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching (Faculty of Humanities), presented at the 2009 June Convocation.



Marilyn I. Walker 

The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

Our Department is proud to be a key recipient of the generosity of our local patron, renowned Canadian fibre artist Marilyn Walker. On November 5, 2008 the university announced that she has donated $15 million to Brock's School of Fine and Performing Arts -- the largest donation the University has ever received. With gratitude our School has been renamed the The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.  Please see here for more information about this ground-breaking and future-building event. Thank-you, Marilyn!


 Be certain to check out the news of the other Departments and Centres that are participating in the STAC project.


STAC Prof hits national airwaves this Sunday in CBC quiz

Published on June 22 2012

Humanities professor Sharilyn Ingram will put Brock University on a national stage this weekend. She’s one of three academics who will duke it out in a pre-Canada Day quiz on CBC Radio’s flagship current affairs program, the Sunday Edition.

The show was pre-taped with host Michael Enright earlier this month, though Ingram is sworn to secrecy about who prevails in the good-natured derby between herself, University of Calgary professor Rebecca Sullivan and Anthony Stewart of Dalhousie University.

She says the experience was fun, if a bit nerve-wracking. The questions cover a broad range of topics, from history to geography and pop culture.

“There are some very creative answers, and we all laughed a lot,” said Ingram, who teaches in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture. “The quiz was meant to be a light-hearted look at all things Canadian, and I think it lived up to this goal.”

Staging a quiz with contestants in three different studios across Canada has its challenges. She said each contestant was asked to bring their own noisemaker to signal their attempt to answer.

“I learned that it was most important to be the first to get the noisemaker going, and only then worry about whether you knew the answer - which accounts for some pauses, as well as some wild guesses.”

Ingram ended up on CBC through a twist of fate. At a recent social event in Toronto, a producer for the program was mentioning the search for an academic who is a good fit for a pop-culture quiz on Canada. A friend of Ingram’s was present, and the rest is history.

“One of my former employees said I would be perfect - never defeated in Trivial Pursuit.”

The quiz will air June 24 during the show’s final hour, between 11 a.m. and noon, on 99.1 CBC Radio One.


Never Lopez poster

Montreal-based artist Never Lopez
was a guest artist at STAC this season.

He spoke about his work on Monday,
24 October, at 19:30.

During the Fall session Professor Catherine Parayre will taught his book entitled Lite Sweat Crude. Its originality consists in the fact that the story is written in a 'language' invented by the artist. Born and raised in Brazil, Lopez speaks and writes fluently French, Portuguese, English, and Spanish. The "language" of his fiction is a  mix of these languages with a strong flavour of Québécois. The story is accompanied by photographs taken in North America, especially Québec and the Niagara region, and are to be understood as a visual narrative on "America in ruin." His work is remarkable for his poetic and intellectual approach based on sound and rhythm. Lopez is active as both a scholar and an artist in Canada, with a solid background in philosophy and critical theory. For more information see

Never Lopez is hosted at Brock University with the generous participation of the Centre for Canadian Studies, the graduate program SCLA: Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture.


STAC sponsored a screening at BUFS! CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS in 3-D 

"Magical.  It's almost like watching the Reinvention of the Cinematic Medium."
Andrew Pulver, The Guardian.

We hope you were at the exclusive screening sponsored by cSTAC at the Brock University Film Society/Empire Pen Centre. This is the second year we have sponsored films in this excellent program.

(W. Herzog, Canada/US/France/Germany/UK, 2010, rated G, 90 min.)

Legendary documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog makes the first and only film about the ancient cave art of Southern France. This special 3-D presentation is cosponsored by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture.

View trailer:

for more information see
on Facebook:

or watch the video above

STAC congratulates Professors Catherine Parayre (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures) and Virginia Reh (Dramatic Arts) for having achieved promotion and tenure in 2011. We are delighted to have them both teaching in the cSTAC program in 2011-12.  Reh will be premiering the DART production of Tennessee William's Orpheus Descending on November 10.  Parayre and her students will be exhibiting at Rodman Hall during the Fall season and in conjunction with the exhibit Milutin Gubash: The Hotel Tito. Bravo!

 (Pictured left to right are Professor Debra Maclauchlan and Associate Professor Peter Vietgen (Faculty of Education), Associate Professor David Vivian and Assistant Professor Virginia Reh (Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Humanities)


Associate Professors Peter Vietgen (Visual Arts Education in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education) and David Vivian (Department of Dramatic Arts and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Faculty of Humanities) were each presented with three Volunteer Recognition Certificates from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of St. Catharines, at the 23rd Annual Volunteer Recognition Night co-sponsored by the City of St. Catharines, the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce, and the Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.

Professor Vietgen was nominated by the Niagara Artist's Centre for his contribution to the Public Art Advisory Committee of the City of St. Catharines. Professor Vivian was nominated for his service over four years as Chair of the Culture Committee of the City of St. Catharines.  Both Committees of Council are actively engaged in developing new policy, advocacy, funding, recognition and opportunities in the arts and culture sector, contributing to the creation of stimulating and sustainable culturally-rich lives in the city of St. Catharines.

Given annually, the Volunteer Recognition Awards recognize those outstanding volunteers whose unselfish and dedicated service to an organization has made a significant difference in the community. Nominations are open to youth and adult volunteers, who are presented with their awards at a banquet hosted by the Mayor and councillors in April. This year the banquet was held at the Quality Hotel Parkway Convention Centre on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

(Pictured left to right are Professor Debra Maclauchlan and Associate Professor Peter Vietgen (Faculty of Education), Associate Professor David Vivian and Assistant Professor Virginia Reh (Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Humanities)

What makes being a student at STAC different? Guest Speakers
The Winter session of 2011 will see three remarkable guests visit the cSTAC course STAC 4P68 Arts, Heritage, and Culture:  Pat Bradley of the Ontario Arts Council, David Walden - Secretary General of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO, and Bob Sirman - CEO of the Canada Council, will speak with students about trends and challenges in cultural policy.

LyricCanada handbill








 STAC was a proud sponsor of the innovative conference hosted by Brock University in collaboration with the Shaw Festival, Lyric Canada 2010. for more information see

Students of Brock, mix it up in arts and culture!

Broaden your horizons and make new connections with like-minded students and professors of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts while pursuing studies relevant to your program and area of interest. Take a look at some of the new and innovative cross-listed course offerings from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture that you should consider when planning your academic elective courses for 2010.


screenshot of cSTACalicious!








Check out our the social media network for students, faculty, and fans of the STAC project. This is a public site where you will find information about regional cultural initiatives and events, learn about new courses or opportunities at STAC and receive Brock-related news and events schedules. You may create and manage your own page, read and post to the STACalicious blog and meet others interested in arts and culture in St. Catharines and the Niagara Region. Much like Facebook, this site is a NING and is hosted on (The word "Ning" is Chinese for "peace".) cSTACalicious! is linked through to the Brock University Facebook page.


Marilyn I. Walker, Professor Derek Knight, and Dean Rosemary Hale    

Chair in Creativity, Imagination and Innovation

On February 10, 2010 Brock University announced the creation and first recipient of the Marilyn I. Walker Chair in Creativity, Imagination and Innovation. The Chair was awarded to the Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts for the duration of their term as Director.

Derek Knight, the current Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, is the first person to hold the position. The endowed Chair supports building the school’s programs, enhancing its facilities and positioning it to be one of the best fine arts schools in North America, if not the world.   

in the photo, l-r: Marilyn I. Walker, Professor Derek Knight, and Dean Rosemary Hale

for more information please read here

Published on February 10 2010

President Jack Lightstone and dignitaries in front of the Canada Haircloth Building, future home of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. taken May 22, 2009.

Niagara Centre for the Arts Receives $36 Million

May 22, 2009: The federal and provincial governments have announced $36 million for the construction of a new Niagara Centre for the Arts and recital hall in downtown St. Catharines. The city-owned Niagara Centre for the Arts will be adjacent to Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The project is “the cornerstone of Council’s vision for a revitalized downtown,” St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan said.

Brock University President Jack Lightstone hailed the announcement. “This is a day we have all been looking forward to for a long time,” he said, “not just because this cultural landmark will complement our Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, but because it illustrates how a whole community can benefit when people work together.”

more information is available here

Dignitaries in front of the Canada Haircloth Building (seen on the right; the rear facadeof buildings located on St. Paul Street of downtown St. Catharines is seen on the left), the site of the future home of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts