Current Students

  • Health Sciences students learn to confront personal biases

    Though she may have appeared to be relaxing on a bench, Larissa DellaVentura was hard at work trying to see the world through the eyes of those around her.

    The third-year Medical Sciences student recently completed an observation exercise where she evaluated the behaviours of people while sitting in a public space and maintaining physical distancing. However, her preparation to complete the exercise started a few days earlier from the comfort of her home office.

    To become accustomed to observing the actions of others while also factoring in circumstances that are not initially obvious, DellaVentura and her Health in Canadian Society class completed an online experiential learning activity designed to heighten their perception of people’s body language as well as their own unintentional biases.

    In order to ensure the activity was completed in a physically distanced manner, local theatre company Mirror Theatre, which is mostly comprised of Dramatic Arts students and alumni, led the class through a virtual exercise that involved analyzing prepared photos and the body language of participants, while also attempting to make assumptions based only on what they had seen.

    “It really demonstrated how we have our own biases and our own unique perspectives,” said DellaVentura of the exercise. “Even as we were looking at the same pose on our screen, some interpreted it as embarrassed, while others believed the person was praying.”

    The course’s instructor, Assistant Professor Valerie Michaelson, said the lessons of empathy and self-reflection the exercise promoted are critical for aspiring health professionals.

    “When we are in professions in the health and medical sciences and don’t take the time to examine our biases, it can very literally be deadly,” she said. “This observation assignment also helps us to see how easy it is to make assumptions about why people have the health experiences they do. When we start to really pay attention, we see that some neighbourhoods have access to safe parks and fresh, affordable produce, but others just don’t. We start to consider how health is about a lot more than self-discipline, and that some of the most important health choices we make are often shaped by matters that are outside our control.”

    In addition to the broadened perspectives experienced by students taking part, those leading the exercise were also able to participate and grow.

    “We successfully accomplished our goal to assist us all in playfully and critically exploring our implicit perspectives on how we read the world,” said Mirror Theatre Artistic Director and Brock Professor of Drama in Education and Applied Theatre Joe Norris. “Feedback from a number of participants indicated that they became more aware of the assumptions that they make.”

    Mirror Theatre member and Brock graduate Bernadette Kahnert (BA, BEd ’19) said her team learned valuable lessons about their own assumptions when it came to online instruction.

    “The workshop was very informative of what can be done online,” she said. “It showed me that remote learning can open up doors I would not have in a traditional face-to-face atmosphere and has given me hope that I can still deliver an in-depth, reflective and educational experience.”

    Once the online portion wrapped up, DellaVentura put the reflective skills she learned to the test in a north-end St. Catharines plaza.

    As an aspiring physician, she said the exercise has encouraged her to look within herself while also being more aware of the circumstances of those around her.

    “We all have our own implicit biases that we may not even be aware of,” she said. “As a health-care professional, it’s important that we confront those biases and not let them influence our decisions.”

    Along with DellaVentura, some members of the class have chosen to safely visit outdoor public spaces, while others have decided to observe from their windows or through other means.

    Regardless of where they chose to conduct their observation, Michaelson is confident that the exercise will have a lasting effect.

    “These exercises light a flame in people, and it grows into something that is long-lasting and transformative,” she said. “We want our students to be leaders in the health-care system who have the skills to identify inequities so that they can then participate in the urgent work of dismantling them.”

    To learn more about Brock’s experiential education programs and in-class workshops, visit the Experiential Education website.

    Mirror Theatre is recruiting new participants from the Brock community with an online orientation meeting on Wednesday, October 7 from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact Norris at jnorris@brocku.ca for login instructions.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock hosts virtual arts conference for future teachers

    Image description: The 10th annual Arts Matter event took place online this year, bringing together approximately 40 teacher candidates for additional professional development in dance, music, drama and visual arts.

    (Originally published in The Brock News TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 | by 

    Brock University’s annual Arts Matter: Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum conference is a highlight of the year for teacher candidates. This year, the opportunity to dig into the arts may be more meaningful than ever.

    Designed to give teacher candidates additional professional development in teaching four art forms, Arts Matter is the only conference of its kind in Canada. It was launched by Shelley Griffin, Peter Vietgen and Kari-Lynn Winters, who are all Associate Professors in the Faculty of Education.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the three to reconsider holding the event, now in its 10th year, they decided to hold it online because of how important the arts are both in the classroom and in times of crisis.

    “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how children, parents and caregivers were creating art in all of its forms to help cope with the anxiety we are all continuing to experience,” said Vietgen.

    “In these uncertain times, we are committed to the needs of our teacher candidates and to continued teaching and learning in the arts,” added Winters. “The arts make us human. During these historical moments, we need humanity more than ever.”

    The organizers hoped the conference would allow teacher candidates to tap into the arts for their own benefit while also building their capacity to teach these subjects in the future. On Sept. 16, approximately 40 teacher candidates participated in dance, music, drama and visual arts sessions. The sessions, which took place on Microsoft Teams, were facilitated by Ontario educators who are experts in teaching the arts.

    “We commit to exposing teacher candidates to all these art forms through additional professional development early in the instructional year so they can integrate their learning into their Bachelor of Education program and their practicum experiences,” said Griffin.

    Through these sessions, teacher candidates explored integrating the arts across the curriculum with a special focus on teaching and experiencing the arts through distance learning and using technology in teaching of the arts.

    “I chose to participate in this conference because I wanted to understand how the arts could be taught in an online platform,” said Elwin Anthonypillai (BA ’20), first-year Consecutive Teacher Education student.

    He thinks the Arts Matter sessions helped prepare him as a future teacher by providing resources to consult when writing lesson plans as well practical experience of how to blend different course materials with the arts in meaningful and exciting ways.

    “I feel much more confident in my future as a teacher because I feel I have a great foundation to build on with art courses, regardless of if my classroom will be online or in person,” he said.

    Building the confidence of teacher candidates is one of the goals of Arts Matter. The teacher candidates who participated will teach the arts as grade K to 6 or 4 to 10 teachers. This can be intimidating for those without experience in the arts.

    “I knew I had to step outside my comfort zone and become more knowledgeable on arts topics,” said Kailey Peirson (BSM ’18), second-year Consecutive Teacher Education student. “I have added more lessons to my teacher toolkit and feel as if I could walk into a classroom of any grade and teach at least three concepts from [the session],” said Peirson.

    Each session included just 10 participants to ensure everyone had a chance to interact. In some sessions, teacher candidates were able to work in groups of three or four in virtual breakout rooms.

    As well as engaging in activities, teacher candidates were also able to learn new tools or innovative practices using familiar tools to create engaging lessons for future students.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Upcoming: The Department of Music virtually attends Royal Conservatory of Music College & University Music Fair 2020

    The Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University is excited to virtually host future musicians at their online booth! The Royal Conservatory College & University Fair is going virtual this year. Set for October 3, 2020, registration is FREE. It has never been easier for future students to learn about the programs offered, admission requirements and much, much more. See you there!

    Register for free: https://bit.ly/2ZS1cLR

    To learn more about the programs offered through the Department of Music at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, drop by our degree programs page.  

     

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Welcome to the MIWSFPA: Orientation for 2020!

    Brock University is launching the first-ever Virtual Welcome Week.
    During this year of the pandemic the Orientation activities are all online.
    Watch the welcome below and visit the official Orientation page for all the details!

    (screenshot)


    The Department of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture are all part of the Faculty of Humanities.

    The Associate Dean, Dr. Neta Gordon, Professor of English, welcomes you to Brock University! She’s prepared an 11 minute video to introduce to you to the Faculty of Humanities:


    Michael Gicante is your Academic Advisor for studies at the MIWSFPA.
    He prepared this video for the April open House:


    Koreen McCullough is the Experiential Education Coordinator for the Faculty of Humanities.
    Watch her 3 minute presentation about Experiential Education opportunities at Brock University:


    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, the MIWSFPA is home to four academic programs. We are right next door to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on the main street of St. Catharines, St. Paul.

    Each program at the MIWSFPA is offering a special welcome to their students.  For example, if you are a beginning your studies as a major in Dramatic Arts, check out what that Department has scheduled for you and plan to join in the fun.  You are also welcome to join the activities of each program at the School even if you are only taking one course or beginning a minor program.  The activities and welcome messages from each program are listed below.

    Professor David Vivian, of the Department of Dramatic Arts (he teaches design and production for theatre), is the Director of the School:

    David will be hosting office hours on September 8, 2020, from 12-3:00 pm on Teams.
    Drop in and say hi! (click here)


    THE DEPARTMENT OF DRAMATIC ARTS (DART)

    Dr. David Fancy, Professor of Theatre Praxis, is the Chair of the Department:

    “I wish you a warm welcome to this new academic term, one that DART staff, faculty, and instructors have been carefully preparing for over the spring and summer. And now, with all of its adjustments and changes in delivery, this term is upon us.
    Please know that we are here to support you, to encourage you, and, perhaps most importantly: to collaborate with you to create contexts where much creativity, inquiry, and service will take place.
    Can’t wait to see you, virtually, and perhaps eventually otherwise, soon!
    Vive le théâtre!”

    Join Dramatic Arts Faculty on Tuesday, September 8th from 12 noon to 1pm for a drop-in session about Dramatic Arts. Non-Majors are especially welcome. Dramatic Arts Chair, David Fancy and David Vivian, Director of the Marilyn I Walker School and DART Faculty, will talk informally about the Department. David Fancy will answer your questions about how to take courses as a non-Major and should you how to achieve a Minor in Dramatic Arts. Find us on Lifesize. (click here)

    All Major students are invited to JOIN US at the Annual DART Orientation!
    Tuesday, September 15, 6:00 – 7:15 PM

    Online at :  https://brocku-ca.zoom.us/j/83578938305

    Meeting ID: 835 7893 8305
    (also available via telephone and mobile! contact dvivian@brocku.ca for details)

    The DART community is cordially invited to our 2020 online departmental orientation. This invitation is especially extended to DART first year students: We look forward to seeing you at the Orientation so that you can meet faculty, staff, and fellow students, and learn about the many opportunities for engagement – from auditions to performances to clubs – at DART.

    First-year students who visit at least three of the DART Orientation Zoom breakout rooms will be entered into a draw to win a $50 Brock Campus Store gift card!

    Be it online or face-to-face, DART is a vibrant and welcoming community, and we can’t wait to see you on Tuesday, September 15.


    THE DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC (MUSI)

    Dr. Karin Di Bella, an accomplished pianist and educator, is the Chair of the Department:

    Dr. Di Bella will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Teams.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)

    Reminders from your Music professors:

    • Check Sakai and your Brock email for info about your first class
    • Choir: if you still need to do your choir audition, please look here for more information:
      Sing at Brock!
    • Lessons: if you still need to set up your lesson, contact Dr. Di Bella kdibella@brocku.ca
    • For all other inquiries please contact the Music Office and we’ll be happy to direct you to the right place. nfedj@brocku.ca

    Classes start Wednesday, September 9th! Have fun! We are happy you’re here.

    PS. Our MUSI student yearly welcome/orientation for all new and returning MUSI students will take place on the first Tuesday@Noon.  Ask Professor Di Bella for details.


    The Department of Visual Arts (VISA)

    Welcome new VISA students to our asynchronous orientation video! It’s always nice to put a name to face, so we took some time to prepare this video, so that you can get acquainted with some of the awesome people in the Department of Visual Arts. We look forward to meeting you in person in the near future. Stay safe, VISA.

    Professor Shawn Serfas, Chair of the Department will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Teams.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)


    The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC)

    STAC Major student, Maya Meyerman has prepared this welcome message for you:

    Dr. Catherine Parayre, Director of the Centre, will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Lifesize.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)

    Additional Office hours will be:

    • Tuesday 15 September, 3-4 pm
    • Wednesday 7 October, 2-3 pm
    • Tuesday 17 November, 3-4 pm
    • Wednesday 2 December, 1-2 pm

    Interiors, a curated virtual platform has been launched!  Interiors is the home of various creative projects by Affiliates of STAC’s Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture, also with student exhibitions. Check out our Outreach Activities: participate and be published on the site!

    ti< is an online journal (ISSN 1929-4336) that publishes creative work combining text and image. It is primarily interested in creative work by students, their instructors, as well as by artists and writers whose work combines literature and the visual arts. All languages are welcome, including endangered languages. No translation is needed. Next issue: March 2021. Submissions accepted until 15 February 2020. Please send to cparayre@brocku.ca https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/ti

    Check out the Advising Letter for more news about exciting opportunities at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture!

    STAC Majors: more info and regular updates are available on Sakai on the tab titled… ‘STAC Majors’.  Add this tab to your Sakai courses.


    We all wish you a very successful year at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock Choir sings new tune for virtual 2020-21 season

    (including content published THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2020 | in The Brock News by )

    Choir at Brock University will look a little different this fall by moving to a virtual rehearsal format.

    “Given the known risks of singing together in groups, we will not attempt to do what we normally do until health guidelines permit us,” says Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor of Music and Choir Director.

    While not being able to safely gather and practice in person together is a challenge for those in choir, Rensink-Hoff sees it as an opportunity.

    “We have a unique opportunity to get to know and learn from one another in new ways through online discussion and active engagement.”

    Rensink-Hoff will focus the choir on pursuing some of the things they haven’t usually had time for, such as building individual skills in vocal technique and stage presence, analyzing music as a vehicle for storytelling, and reflecting on the historical and cultural contexts of songs. There will also be a “Shared Perspectives” series of guest interviews and workshops with conductors, composers and vocal-choral specialists from across Canada and the U.S.

    Choir members will need headphones, a video recording device such as a phone, computer or tablet, as well as internet connection.

    The Treble Choir (sopranos and altos) will rehearse together virtually on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m., and the Mixed Voices choir (sopranos, altos, tenors and basses) will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

    “Our work will emphasize the process, rehearsing, over the product, performing,” says Rensink-Hoff. “This is a tough transition for those of us in the arts, but it is also a chance to for us to strengthen our performance skills and to reflect on the significance of live performance to individuals and communities.”

    Choir auditions are open to Brock students, faculty, staff as well as members of the wider Niagara community. Both new and returning choir members may book their auditions online before the deadline on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Michelle Pressé, Brock University Communications, mpresse@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4420 or 905-246-1963


    SING@BROCK ONLINE EDITION: audition for choir 2020-21

    Open by audition to all students, faculty, staff and members of the Niagara community!

    For the 2020-2021 academic year, choir will be fully online until guidelines allow for other forms of gathering. As such, the course will be less about performance outcomes and more about the process of learning, connecting, exploring and innovating as key elements of ensemble participation.

    Singers will engage with a diverse body of choral repertoire in sessions on vocal technique and choral skill development, explorations of movement and stage presence, analysis of music and text, workshops with guest artists, and collaborations through innovative singing projects. Rehearsal and performance skills will be developed in the context of a supportive community that promotes cross-cultural understanding and self-expression.

    Previous singing experience and ability to read music is required.
    For more information contact:
    Rachel Rensink-Hoff, rrensinkhoff@brocku.ca
    SEE >>> brocku.ca/sing

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, News, Uncategorised

  • Assistant Professor in Visual Arts (Digital Media and Design): Candidate Research Presentations

    The Brock and wider community are warmly welcomed to attend the online presentations by the short list of candidates for this position.

    Each will give an hour-long presentation and engage in discussion about their current research interests and focus upon their contributions.

    GUSTAVO CERQUERA BENJUMEA

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 20TH, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3327547/cf3bdaf1-eac4-4aa9-8116-3fdc308ebef8

    Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a Colombian Canadian Toronto-based digital media artist, animator, music video director, and teacher. He specializes in computer animation, video installation, and drawing. His work explores psychedelia, plant biology, and Latin American histories. His work has exhibited internationally including at: Slamdance Film Festival, Glas Animation Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Art Spin Toronto, the Niagara Artist Centre, Summerworks Festival, Nuit Blanche Toronto, among others. He has directed music videos for Lido Pimienta and Chancha Via Circuito. He is the current programming chair at the Toronto Animated Image Society. Gustavo teaches at OCADU and Brock University.

    TROY DAVID OUELLETTE

    THURSDAY, MAY 21ST, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3327527/6fd67857-4515-484b-9d04-9ea9ea756a71

    Troy David Ouellette is an artist/researcher specializing in Assemblage Theory. He received his PhD, in Visual Arts, from York University in 2014 and his M.F.A. from the University of Windsor in 2007. He has taught Design, Sculpture and undergraduate courses, at various universities and colleges, in Southern Ontario. From 1999 until 2005 he was the Sculpture Facilitator at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Ouellette is a founding member of the London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) and the sound art collective Audio Lodge. His work has been included in several solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Australia and  the United States. He resides in Hamilton, Ontario.

    GWEN MACGREGOR

    FRIDAY, MAY 22ND, 2020
    Research Presentation 1:00pm (1:00 – 2:20pm)
    stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/3326867/e156311e-7437-4e53-a009-eada0c2fcfff

    Gwen MacGregor is a visual artist and geographer working across the disciplines of installation, video, photography, and geographic scholarship. She has artworks in collections such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Oakville Galleries and the Royal Bank Collection. Recent exhibitions include The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario and Phoenix Projects Athens, Greece. She has exhibited extensively internationally and has also participated in numerous international art residencies including the International Studio Curatorial Program in New York. She is a Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Award holder and is represented by MKG127 in Toronto. MacGregor is a PhD Candidate in Geography at The University of Toronto. Her dissertation explores the constructions and contestations of nationhood in contemporary art practices presented at art biennales.


    Please share and post this poster in your community.

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  • Sacred Spaces: a student exhibition about mental health, at the MIWSFPA

    Sacred Spaces:Student Exhibition

    Feb. 6 to 29, 2020
    Opening reception: Feb. 12, 2020 — 5 to 8 p.m.

    VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space, MIWSFPA
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines

    The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

    With a focus on mental health, an exhibition about understanding emotional vulnerability and self-reflection, while unpacking the human need for comfort. Featuring Visual Arts students Kaitlyn Roberts and Chardon Trimble-Kirk.

    Sacred Spaces – Artist Statement
    Kaitlyn Roberts and Chardon Trimble-Kirk

    Mental illnesses often destroy from the inside out. It is a sickness that is hidden through the action of covering oneself from the world, in fear of discovery. Doctors will prescribe medication in an attempt to cure mental illness; medication that comes with dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, bruising, sexual dysfunction, and countless other side effects. All of which to shut out the voices from inside one’s mind. Voices that proclaim that you are not good enough, you do not deserve to be happy, you do not deserve to eat. I would much rather stay in bed. If I stay in bed, the medication isn’t necessary. The demons and monsters can be let out and no one will ever know.

    When living with mental illness, it is living a double life. One must hide behind a mask, only finding true relief in the intimate space of the bedroom, amongst the comfort of bedding. Only within these spaces is one truly allowed to express the realities of mental illnesses, whilst finding safety in the sacred spaces of the bed.

    Each work represents the safety and intimacy found within these spaces, whilst offering a juxtaposition between the covering and uncovering realities of the illnesses. The uncovering comes from personal texts written across these spaces, as well as the exposure of the body, and curiously the covering of the eyes in each figurative work. The text which is a direct thought, and nude figures which are an indirect representation of vulnerability, invite viewers into the sacred spaces of one’s true thoughts. The vague figures and various text will resonate with viewers, bringing awareness to mental illness, its prevalence, and its resonance within many.

    The works aim to de-stigmatize some of the most serious and misunderstood mental illnesses, all within the sacred spaces of our beds.

    download poster

    Kaitlyn Roberts is currently in her fourth and final year at Brock University, achieving an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a major in Studio Art. Her artistic education birthed an attraction to explore autoethnography. Roberts’ studio practice, specifically, surveys the complexity of mental illness translated through visual art while highlighting how it affects both the artist and the viewer.

    Roberts is currently using her practice to investigate the relationship between the mind and the body, through the artistic process of ‘mapping’. This includes research into the connections between mental illnesses and the physical sicknesses that follow, including trauma.

    Roberts has shown her work in juried shows around Ontario including, St. Catharines City Hall’s Transformations, Niagara Artist Centre’s Fortune Favours, and the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington’s The VAC 39th Annual Juried Show where she was the only student, and youngest person to be accepted. Roberts has also shown her work in exhibitions including; Niagara Artist Centre’s Small Feats, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine, and Performing Arts’ Art Block: BAC
    on the Block, as well as many exhibitions hosted by Mahtay Café.

    Roberts will be showing her thesis work titled, Dear Euodia, in April 2020 at Rodman Hall in St. Catharines, Ontario alongside co-artists Chardon Trimble-Kirk, Brianne Casey, Rachel McCartney, Zach White, Kira Pretty, Curt Richard, and Jess McClelland. Opening reception is Friday, April 3rd at 7 pm.

    Roberts is planning on pursuing a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts once she graduates from Brock University.

    Chardon Trimble-Kirk is a Canadian painter based in St. Catharines. Through the use of figuration and pattern making, themes of femininity and gender roles are explored within her work. In addition to this, Trimble-Kirk is interested in the themes of sexuality, vulnerability, repetition and mental health, and their intersections within femininity. Thematic and aesthetic contrasts are often included within the work, allowing viewers to interpret the work individually while also thinking critically about the concepts presented.

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  • An Instrument of Colour: Student Exhibition at the MIWSFPA

    A curated exhibition of student work exploring colour as language, organized by Visual Arts Professor Shawn Serfas.

    Participating artists include:

    Danielle Booker
    Sarah Cecchini
    Rea Kelly
    Lindsay Liboiron
    Ashleen Mohaupt
    Krista Nap
    Lillian Pasqua
    Taylor Sorensen
    Shania Anne Thompson
    Cree Tylee
    Blake Wilson
    &
    Various Artists Representing Geographies of Process

    exhibition:  Nov. 1 to Nov. 29

    Reception Nov. 6, 2019 — 5 to 8 p.m.

    VISA Art Gallery and Student Exhibition Space,
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts,
    Brock University

    The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 pm
    and for special events.

    see the ExpBU calendar listing

    see the video produced by YourTV

    Link to a video about the exhibition including interviews with the artists.

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  • Pipeline to a Better Way: A special Walker Cultural Leader Event!

    A series of events around questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Brock and St. Catharines theatre community and beyond, co-produced by the Walker Cultural Leaders Program at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University and the theatre company Suitcase in Point.

    Activities at Brock include a keynote address by Ravi Jain, artistic director of Why Not Theatre; a staged reading of Dominique Morisseau’s award-winning play Pipeline (directed by directed by Toronto-based actor, director, and producer Lisa Karen Cox; with a cast and creative team of professional actors and Brock Dramatic Arts students); and discussions about the St. Catharines artistic and cultural landscape.

    see the article from the Brock News

    On Nov. 9, Suitcase in Point Theatre Company presents a forum, roundtable and a cabaret in downtown St Catharines.
    Details at suitcaseinpoint.com

    Nov. 10th, 2019
    3:00pm to 6:30pm at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines ON

    3:00pm to 3:45pm  Keynote by Ravi Jain  “Alternative Visions of Existence”

    “While working in Nairobi, Kenya I learned of Ngugi wa’Thiongo. He was a pioneer of Kenyan theatre, who was exiled for rediscovering a Kenyan theatre which challenged the British rule and history of the country. Someone wrote of his work, ‘he was searching for alternative visions of existence’. That phrase has stuck with me ever since, and is the bedrock of everything I do.” – Ravi Jain

    How do we challenge the status quo and use the arts to create a vision of the world we want to see, a version of the world we want to live in? This talk will look at how artists can challenge their own assumptions of what theatre is, who gets to tell it, who it is for and what its purpose is. An exploration of the imagination, activism and the story of an artist who is always looking for a better way.

    4:00pm to 5:15pm  Staged Reading of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau
    Directed by Lisa Karen Cox

    In this play, which premiered in 2017 in New York City, a mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him. The title refers to the widespread perception of a school-to-prison pipeline for young African-American men.

    5:30pm to 6:30pm  Q & A discussion

    The event is presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts for the Walker Cultural Leader Series, generously founded by Marilyn I. Walker. The Walker Cultural Leader series brings leading artists, performers, practitioners and academics to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Engaging, lively and erudite, these sessions celebrate professional achievement, artistic endeavour and the indelible role of culture in our society. Please join us.

    Tickets are required for this free public event

    brocku.universitytickets.com

    DOWNLOAD THE POSTER

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Fluid identities onstage at DART: “The question generation” takes on Woolf and Ruhl’s Orlando

    (From: DARTCritics, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2019 | by )

    Contemporary theatre companies are making strides in representing individuals whose voices society has tried to silence, especially those who identify as transgender, or don’t identify with a gender at all. Transgender performance artist Travis Alabanza’s one-person show, Burgerz, has been getting rave reviews around Europe. Two-spirited actor Ty Defoe and non-binary actor Kate Bornstein made headlines when both made their Broadway debuts in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men. Canadian transgender artist Vivek Shraya is creating and performing in her first theatre piece, How to Fail as a Pop Star, at Canadian Stage next February. There’s clearly an increasing amount of work created by and/or featuring individuals who don’t identify as cisgender, but nevertheless mainstream theatre and the theatrical canon seems to me to still be dominated by heteronormative stories.

    I asked David Fancy, director of Orlando, Brock University’s first Mainstage production of the 2019-20 season, why he thinks much mainstream theatre hasn’t treated gender non-conformity or gender fluidity. “I think humans are continuously in survival mode and think in terms of binary logic because it’s a way of cutting to the chase, and it’s simple habituation,” says Fancy. “I think it actually takes work to think outside of that, and I think there’s a lot of energy and anger that goes into reinforcing those perimeters simply because historically, properties have been perpetuated along these patrilineal lines.” He explains that there’s “a history of privileging the cisgender hetero matrix that [Judith] Butler talks about, what she describes as the false stabilisation of certain sets of binaries, and so many cultural institutions are organized around that.”

    Taj Crozier and Paige Hunt-Harman in Orlando. Photos by Neil Silcox.

    Enter Orlando, a play that directly tackles questions of gender identity and how we perceive it. Orlando: A Biography was written by Virginia Woolf in 1928 and adapted into a play by Sarah Ruhl in 1998. The play follows the titular character through six centuries, starting with the reign of Elizabeth I and ending in the present day. When Orlando turns 30, they stop aging and go to sleep as a man and wake up as a woman. They stay in the biological body of a woman for the rest of the play, but nothing else about them has changed. Paige Hunt-Harman, the actor who plays Orlando, feels the character doesn’t necessarily identify as either gender: “he/she/they don’t necessarily know who they are when it comes to gender,” says Hunt-Harman. “They kind of see themselves as just this ever-flowing entity that is kind of always going to be there, always there to ask those questions, to say, ‘who am I?’ and ‘what’s to come?’ and ‘what will people think, or do I even care what people think?’”

    Orlando premiered Off-Broadway in 2010; in July of 2018, Soulpepper Theatre produced its Canadian premiere with Sarah Afful in the title role. With Brock University staging the play this year, are we moving towards a theatrical landscape (and perhaps consequently, a society) where gender fluidity is moving further into mainstream representation? Both Fancy and Hunt-Harman agree that we are. And good thing, too – especially in a university setting in which many students identify as gender non-binary or gender non-conforming, representation on the stage is important. We still live in a heteronormative society and works like Orlando are needed to disrupt and question that thinking, to advocate that people of all genders and sexualities have avoice.

    The play certainly challenges questions of gender and how we perceive it. Hunt-Harman shared the story of an early rehearsal in which Fancy asked the ensemble what masculinity meant to them, after which there was an awkward pause before someone suggested, “big muscles?” And maybe that is how many see masculinity today – the big, strong, protective man versus the frail, delicate, damsel-in-distress. But do these traits have to be separate and rigid between the sexes? This play works to blur these lines: “Orlando really starts at the beginning of the play as a very stereotypical, heroic male, the hegemonic hero of the story,” Hunt-Harman says, “and I believe by playing that up we really show the audience just how we as a society perceive masculinity — and the same goes for femininity. But throughout the play we see… that stylized gender kind of transform into something that we now are able to connect with, where it’s not necessarily one thing or the other. It’s very grey… I see masculine in the feminine and feminine in the masculine.”

    It’s not just gender that this production of Orlando addresses – it also touches on issues of racialization. While Ruhl’s adaptation has eliminated Woolf’s uses of words like “moor,” there are still remnants of racializing language that the ensemble has worked to challenge by, for example, cutting out all mentions of the word “gypsy.” When Orlando transitions from man to woman, they do so in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which is highly exoticized and orientalised in Woolf’s novel, and consequently Ruhl’s script. “There’s a whole tradition in colonial literature of white people from Europe going to a foreign place that’s exotic and they have all kinds of discoveries. This is a repeated trope in colonial texts,” Fancy explains, “and it’s left unexamined by Woolf because she takes on the question of gender, but it’s almost like it’s first-wave feminism where you have a white woman, upper class, going through these discoveries.” Without giving too much away, the ensemble has taken this scene in Constantinople and over-emphasized the racialization by being hyper-theatrical about it, before then deconstructing it.“We establish it and then just… almost campily, certainly almost cheesy, with theatrical means, take it apart,” says Fancy. “You have to make sure that if you’re foregrounding something, you’re foregrounding that it’s a construction. And you’re showing how it’s made, and how you take it apart.”

    Sid Malcolm in Orlando.

    Orlando and the questions intertwined with it come at the right time, especially with an audience likely primarily composed of university students. Young people are recognizing their power now more than ever and are questioning what has always been presented as “natural and inevitable,” as Fancy would say. “We are now the question generation,” Hunt-Harman says. “We want to ask more questions; we want to challenge the norms that society has brought upon us and I really think that this play brings that to the forefront.”

    Orlando plays at the Marilyn I Walker Theatre, 15 Artists’ Common, from October 25 – November 2. Purchase your tickets online.


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