Department/Centre News

  • Music@Noon is on the stage for November 12, 2019

    Today’s performance of the Walker Quartet will commence as scheduled at noon in the PAC Recital Hall.  Please join us!

    The Walker String Quartet is: Vera Alekseeva, Faith Lau (violins), Roman Kosarev (viola) and Gordon Cleland (cello)

    see the event listing: experiencebu.brocku.ca/event/132926 

    FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
    250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON

    Please drive safely!

     

    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Events, In the Media, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Visual Art professor’s work chosen for prestigious U.K. exhibition

    “Wayfinding in Cold Light from the Multi-Verse Series” by Amy Friend, an Assistant Professor in Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, is one of just 55 photographs included in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, U.K.

    (published in The Brock News TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 2019 | by  )

    Nearly 4,000 portraits by more than 1,000 photographers from 70 countries were submitted, but only 55 were chosen for this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition in the United Kingdom.

    One of those portraits is by Amy Friend, an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Art.

    The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is a prestigious annual award that attracts amateur and professional photographers alike. Only 55 of the 3,700 submissions were chosen for the exhibition. Three photos are shortlisted for the top award of £15,000 (approximately $25,000 CAD).

    “Having my work included in the Taylor Wessing Portrait Exhibition is an exciting adventure in my creative practice,” said Friend. “I had been working on this long-term project for several years, so it is uplifting to see this new work recognized. The piece has personal connections, which extends this recognition in a meaningful way.”

    Friend’s series Multi-Verse draws on her own and found photographs featuring diverse subject matter and imagery from across several time periods to explore the idea of a multi-verse. The series references both the idea of alternate realities and the numerous stories or ‘verses’ the viewer encounters in the photographs.

    She uses experimental photographic methods and manual manipulation to alter photos. While they are not overtly political photographs, her works references darker elements such as floodwaters and images of soldiers.

    “I reference the past, the here and now, the visible and invisible, literally and poetically, albeit not through overtly political photographs,” said Friend. “The medium of photography has always had a currency of possibility. In this series I work to find meaning in the chaos, to be with it and to look for an alternate story from where we are — a multiverse.”

    The exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 5 and carries through to February 2020. The exhibition will then go on tour throughout the U.K.

    In 2017, a portrait by Finnish artist Maija Tammi, who studied under Friend, won third place in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

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

  • Re-imagining power relations in Canadian theatre: A special Walker Cultural Leader event!

    (published WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2019 | by The Brock News )

    Equity, diversity, inclusion.

    We’re hearing these words more and more, as Canadian universities and other institutions strive to address historic, systemic biases and structural inequities. For the award-winning theatre director Ravi Jain, however, the language of “EDI” is already shopworn.

    “I’m not interested in using those words anymore,” said Jain, Artistic Director of the Toronto-based company Why Not Theatre. “You either do it or you don’t, and how you do it demonstrates to me how invested you actually are in the conversation.”

    For Jain, concepts such as innovation and leadership are much more interesting. He’ll be covering these topics in a keynote address, “Alternative Visions of Existence,” that he’s delivering as part of a series of events taking place from Nov. 9 to 10, co-sponsored by Brock’s Walker Cultural Leaders Series and the St. Catharines-based theatre company Suitcase in Point.

    The events also include a staged reading of Pipeline, a 2017 play by Dominique Morisseau, the title of which refers to the widespread perception of a school-to-prison pipeline for young African American men. It’s the story of a black teacher’s struggle to protect her son, Omari, after he assaults his high school teacher for aggressively singling him out to answer why a book character behaved like an “animal” and murdered a woman.

    Toronto-based actor, director and producer Lisa Karen Cox is directing a cast largely made up of seasoned and emerging professional actors, with Brock students also participating onstage and behind the scenes. Of the six-person cast, five are people of colour. Jain’s keynote runs from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, with the Pipeline reading from 4 to 5:15 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.

    The events, being presented under the title “Pipeline to a Better Way,” are spearheaded by Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) Assistant Professor Danielle Wilson and Suitcase in Point’s Outreach Coordinator Marcel Stewart, a 2007 DART graduate.

    “The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is a place of both learning and artistic creation,” said Wilson. “I felt the play was a perfect fit as part of the Walker Cultural Leaders Series.”

    Suitcase in Point’s “Pipeline to a Better Way” programming on Nov. 9 includes a forum and panel discussion around questions of power, privilege, race and theatre in Niagara.

    The Brock-based events on Sunday, Nov. 10 are free of charge, but tickets are required and can be found online. Information about the Suitcase in Point events on Saturday, Nov. 9 can be found at suitcaseinpoint.com

    This article was written by Karen Fricker, Associate Professor in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • 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.


    DARTCritics is a project of the Department of Dramatic Arts, founded by Dr. Karen Fricker.  Launched in 2013, the site originated as a practical way for students to train in the art of reviewing, and also sought to bring the artistic community of Brock University and St. Catharines closer together. The website features writing about theatre produced and seen in Niagara, Hamilton, Stratford and Toronto. Please follow DARTCritics as they continue to search for awesome theatre, meeting fascinating artists along the way.

    You can also follow DARTcritics here:

    @DARTCritics
    Facebook: DARTCritics
    YouTube: DART critics
    Instagram: dartcritics

    DARTcritics.com is partially funded by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, in support of student learning; experiential education; student professionalization; public engagement with the teaching, learning and production activities of the Department of Dramatic Arts; new ways of thinking; and the nurturing of links with our communities.

    The opinions expressed by the writers of the DARTcritics.com website are their own.

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

  • Bernhard Cella shortlisted for LA MENTION SPÉCIALE DU JURY for Queer Publishing: A Family Tree

    The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) is pleased to announce that Queer Publishing: A Family Tree designed and published by Bernhard Cella, has been shortlisted for LA MENTION SPÉCIALE DU JURY of the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation and to be awarded in November. This is a significant recognition of Cella’s important contribution to scholarship in this field. Founder of The Salon für Kunstbuch in Vienna, Austria, Cella is the book designer of the Small Walker Press (SWP), a project of the Centre and generously funded by the legacy of Marilyn I. Walker. Cella was the Centre’s Walker Cultural Leader for 2017-18.

    “In the twenty years since Horacio Fernández first wrote Fotografía Pública (MNCARS, 1999), the first landmark book to position the scholarship of books and magazines as a topic of critical importance to the photographic medium, “book about books” has become a genre of publishing unto itself. Each year, the PhotoBook Awards jury sees at least one well-researched, richly illustrated publication that presents some new facet of photobibliophilia—often using the filter of a particular region or city or even a particular thematic niche. This year, however, the jury noted a rise in the number of books about books that exceeded expectation in terms of design, like Printed Photography in Venezuela; or ventured into new territory, telling the story of a single notable magazine, like Camera Austria International: Laboratory for Photography and Theory. Each of these volumes, in its own way, adds additional detail and texture to the evolving connoisseurship and scholarship dedicated to the photobook.” (from https://programme.parisphoto.com/programme-2019/le-prix-du-livre-photographique-paris-photo-aperture-foundation/la-mention-speciale-du-jury.htm, 19/10/18)

    With the co-editors of the Small Walker Press, Professors Parayre and Derek Knight of Brock University, and accompanied by David Vivian, Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Cella presented the first two volumes of the SWP at Belvedere 21, Vienna on June 19, 2019. The books were published under the theme of environmental degradation and include Inland, by Associate Professor of Visual Arts Shawn Serfas (Brock University) with creative writing by Atlanta-based New York Times journalist Richard Fausset and an essay by Associate Professor of Visual Arts Derek Knight, and The Quarry, by Associate Professor Adam Dickinson (Brock University) and artist Lorène Bourgeois (Toronto).  The books are available for purchase from the Centre.

    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised, Walker Cultural Leader Series

  • Brock project aims to improve long-term care for veterans and brain injury patients

    Brock University alumni now with Mirror Theatre perform a scene in Understanding person-centred care: Finding dignity within the shadows, a video series as part of a research project between Brock and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

    (From: The Brock News, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2019 | by Dan Dakin)

    Two Brock University faculty members from seemingly unrelated disciplines have collaborated on a project aimed at improving the relations of those involved in long-term care.

    Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies Colleen Whyte, and Professor of Dramatic Arts Joe Norris, were at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto Wednesday, Oct. 2 for the premiere of Understanding person-centred care: Finding dignity within the shadows.

    Two years ago, Sunnybrook Professional Practice and Education Leader Leanne Hughes came to Whyte with a research idea about how to help staff and family deal with the challenges associated with two specific groups in long-term care: veterans living with dementia and patients recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

    “I’ve known Leanne for 15 years and we’ve done research together in the past,” Whyte said. “She came to me and said: This is an issue we have. How do you think we could look at researching it?’”

    “What we’re looking at are person-centred approaches,” said Hughes, referring to a growing emphasis in health care that invites patients and family members to be involved in decision-making and strategizing ways to care for individual patients from a wide-range of services. It’s a more collaborative care model than a traditional top-down medical approach to care.

    In the fall of 2018, Whyte led research that included focus groups of those working in long-term care at the Toronto hospital such as doctors and hospital staff, as well as families of those in care.

    Brock University professors Joe Norris and Colleen Whyte hand a USB drive to Leanne Hughes from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Brock and Sunnybook partnered on a research project that included a 20-part video around patient-centred care. Pictured from left are Brock alumni Nadia Ganesh, Candice De Freitas Braz and Mike Metz, Hughes, Norris, Brock master’s student Kevin Hobbs, Whyte and Brock alumni Bernadette Kahnert.

    “We interviewed people who are doing this every day,” Whyte said. “This research is about taking the principles of person-centred care and trying to see how they are translated on a daily basis, when all partners experience unexpected challenges.”

    With the focus group data in hand, Whyte then turned to Norris, Chair of Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts, who worked with the student-run Mirror Theatre to translate the conversations into dramatic action, known as ethnodrama and applied theatre.

    “We took the focus group transcripts, read them, analyzed them and created dramatic scenes,” said Norris. “The purpose is to evoke conversations.”

    The result is a 20-part video series, each dealing with a different component of the long-term care experience. They range from something as simple the challenge of what to pack when a family member is moved into a new living situation to what to do when a patient whose mind no longer has much of a filter says something that crosses a line.

    “It’s all about answering the question of ‘How do we treat each other with respect in stressful situations?’” Norris said.

    He said the Dramatic Arts students who were acting the parts in the videos — including the patients who are represented as shadowed silhouettes rather than specific people — learned about more than just acting.

    “Many cast members say they don’t only get extra-curricular experience with theatre, they get the experience of dealing with a range of topics. It’s like an extra class for them,” he said.

    With the video series now complete, the next stage of the project is to create workshops for staff and families.

    “It gives staff some insight and helps them think, ‘If I’m in this situation, let me strategize and be thoughtful about what options I have,’” she said. “It will equip new staff with possibilities and allow existing staff to be reflective about their approaches.”

    Brock University alumni Nadia Ganesh, Bernadette Kahnert, Lindsay Detta and Candice De Freitas Braz interpret a scene from Finding dignity within the shadows at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto Wednesday, Oct. 2.

    Hughes said when the final videos were shown to those working with veterans suffering from dementia and patients dealing with brain injuries, the staff were impressed with how accurate they were in reflecting the situations they deal with.

    “It has been an absolute pleasure to see students take this data and enact it,” Hughes said. “We were in awe of their ability. They did a fantastic job.”

    The project, which was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant and a Practice-Based Research and Innovation Seed Grant from Sunnybrook, will continue with the development of facilitator tools and training sessions. Those will be developed and led by Norris and Kevin Hobbs, a master’s student in Social Justice and Equity Studies, who directed the Finding dignity within the shadows series and incorporated the research into his master’s thesis.

    “They’re training videos, but not in the sense of, ‘Here’s how you give a needle,” said Norris. “It’s more of a dialogic conversation where our audiences are invited to comment on the scenes and add their own insights and stories.”

    Watch the full Understanding Person-Centred Care video below and individual scene videos can be found at this link

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    Categories: Alumni, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • The Italian Immigrant Experience Revealed, A Photography exhibition.

    The Italian Immigrant Experience Revealed, A Photography exhibition by Vincenzo Pietropaolo in conjunction with the Italian Canadian Archives Project.

    The exhibit of Vincenzo Pietropaolo has been developed for the Italian Canadian Archives Project, a national conference that will be hosted by Brock University for the first time and sponsored by Modern Languages Literatures, and Cultures (MLLC) running from Oct. 25 to 27, 2019.  For more information visit icap.ca/active-conference

    exhibition:   Oct. 4 to Oct. 27, 2019

    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.

    Artist Talk – Oct. 26, 11:30 a.m. MWS 156
    Reception to follow.

    see the ExpBU calendar listing

    (From: The Brock Press, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2019 | by Emma Kirwin)

    The Italian Immigrant Experience, A Photography Exhibition by Vincenzo Pietropaolo in conjunction with the Italian Canadian Archives Project is an exhibition that was displayed at Brock’s own Marilyn I. Walker building. The exhibition celebrates Italian immigrants in Canada.

    This exhibition features 50 photographs from the books Ritual and Not Paved with Gold, by Vincenzo Pietropaolo. Many of the photographs pictured workers on construction sites and in factories. They are accompanied by 15 photographs of Italian immigrants working on the Welland Ship Canal. These photographs pay homage to the immigrant experience and showcases their hard work, religion and happiness.

    In Not Paved in Gold,  Pietropaolo writes “My father … would inevitably point out certain buildings or sites where he had worked as part of a construction crew. And, again, he would tell me yet another anecdote about the vast quantities of bricks he carried around that site; or the overtime they were required to do, pouring cement in the wintry dark days of November; and sometimes he remembered a job site where an accident occurred because of lax or non-existent safety regulations … I began to realize that my father was not merely a worker, but a builder of my new adopted country.”

    The dimly lit photographs of factory workers, both male and female, captured day to day life for Italian immigrants. The photos are from a sock factory and the workers were surrounded by towering stacks of plain white socks, reflecting the repetitive work immigrants were usually required to do.

    Along with factory workers, there were many photographs of construction workers. Men both young and old huddled around for photos, posing with their tools on their job site. Photos of railway work, steelwork and construction show the hard, labour intensive work immigrants were willing to do for their new country. Viewing these photographs reminded attendees of the importance and value of immigrant labour. Their hard work, and exploitation, has resulted in fruitful industrial sites like the Welland Ship Canal.

    Pietropaolo balanced these photographs of immigrants toiling with joyful photos showing the rich tradition of Italian immigrants. Young girls showing off their brace-filled smiles, laughing at each other and another picture of a senior couple smiling while dancing. The contrast of ages in this collection was striking and accentuated the multi-generational dynamics of immigration.

    Religion was also a featured theme in this exhibit. Many of the photographs were filled with swarms of people surrounding religious relics and crucifixes. Other photographs showcased people knelt in prayer. These pictures highlight the heavy religious importance in Italian culture, a value that they carried with them to their new home country.

    One photograph that encapsulates the exhibition is of a hand scribing a letter. The first lines read “Canada is a democracy, the govt (government) represents the people.” This captures the immigrant experience in Canada, reminding the audience of the political liberties Canadians enjoy that many others did not have in the past and are still robbed of today. Those seeking asylum often come to Canada in order to enjoy those democratic rights, as seen in the letter photographed.

    In Ritual, Pietropaolo writes, “… it is a chapter of working-class culture and immigrant history that has long been overlooked, sometimes dismissively, for its surface colour and ethnic flavour. But herein lies the power of photography: to help you bear witness, and in so doing, becoming empowered to write a history of one’s own.”

    This exhibition was a beautiful ode to Italian immigrants. Their labours that helped create Canada and the hardships that they endured to make a new life for themselves.

    “The Italian Immigrant Experience: A Photography exhibition by Vincenzo Pietropaolo in conjunction with the Italian Canadian Archives Project” will be viewable until Sunday, October 27,  2019 at 5:00 p.m. at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space. An artist talk will take place on October 26 at 11:30 a.m. at this location.

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  • New for 2019 at the Department of Music! The Hugh and Marie Logan Jazz Series

    seen above: the first rehearsal of The University Jazz Ensemble: The Brock Big Band.Zoltan Kalman, Director.

    Through the immense generosity of Mrs. Norma Bassett, this new series offers jazz lovers three unforgettable evenings over the concert season: two end-of-term concerts by the newly minted University Jazz Ensemble, and a guest-artist concert in February. All concerts honour the memory of Niagara-based jazz enthusiast and amateur musician, Hugh Logan, and his late wife, Marie.

    Don’t miss the first concert on November 22, 2019!

    For more information see the event page brocku.ca/miwsfpa/music/hugh-and-marie-logan-jazz-series

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    Categories: Announcements, Department/Centre News, Events, Uncategorised

  • Meaningful Movements Reshape: Come to the Edge at Brock University and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    (From: The Sound, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 | by Kerry Duncan)

    Being invited into a space not built by you, or for you, offers the inherent need for trust and vulnerability. When audiences entered into the Come to the Edge Cafe on August 24/25 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, audience members were transported to a land of imagination built by, and for, wheelchair users with Cerebral Palsy (CP). This evolving storyscape replaced the traditional confines of theatre with an unlimited creation of shape and space, prioritizing the communication options for performers and participants with CP. The team working on this production aimed to foster an empathetic and reflective space for participants to sit in a potential level of unknown, discomfort, and to ultimately trust that they could not necessarily know the answers to questions like ‘Where are we? What’s it like to not know exactly what’s happening around you? What’s it like when you have to re-evaluate the things that don’t exactly apply?’.

    Come to the Edge is a collaborative development of immersive theatre, creating a new understanding of performance through dance, play, and improvisation. The central performance elements built by and for the Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team, made up of automatic and manual wheelchair users with CP. The group has been working with St. Catharines based creative collaborators from the March of Dimes Canada and the Brain Injury Community PET (Personal Effectiveness Training) Re-Entry Program to welcome audiences to trust in the idea that ‘not knowing’ is an opportunity for learning and empathy. The performances are supported by facilitators Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett from Toronto-based organization, Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), as well as a much broader team of musicians, artists, and support workers.

    With a long-standing history in St. Catharines, the ADCID has been working with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) since 2016 with the first iteration of Imagining Possibilities, the precursor to Come to the Edge. As a facility that was built under the universal standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) for inclusive physically spaces, this began a longstanding partnership for reshaping how St. Catharines builds and understands performance theatre. Professor David Vivian, Director of the MIWSFPA and an ongoing collaborator with ADCID explained that “Inviting the lead artistic team to join us and local artists in our first spring season at the MIWSFPA theatre was one of the highlights of our inaugural year in 2015-16. Come to the Edge is a long term project that has continued to develop over the years and bring together artists in a number of Ontario communities”.

    The development of the show over the past several years has taken this community and discussions about it global with performances and workshops in Toronto, Belgium, Prague, Hamilton and St. Catharines. Connecting with the Imaging Possibilities Movement through the Engaging Possibilities project at Brock University in 2015, Kris Daunoravicius has been involved with the growth and evolution of this project ever since. A local to St. Catharines and core member of the Leadership Team, Daunoravicus travelled with the ADCID team to Belgium in 2017 for a week of Envisioned Scenography workshops for the disability-focused Huize Eyckerheyde Residence. In speaking with Daunoravicus and Elaine Drover, another member of the Leadership Team, both utilized a range of augmented technology, body movement, facial expressions, and sound to showcase the range of experiences and stories that were being brought into the creative process during the years of work it took to create the latest version of this production.

    In speaking with Come to the Edge performer and ADCID collaborator, Frank Hull and long-time Leadership Team member Laura Leskur, they shared how the creation of this show was rooted in growing one another’s understandings of the other performers, and building a movement vocabulary unique to each performer and each moment of interaction. With a long-term career as a professional wheelchair dancer, Hull spoke to the multiple layers of relationality and equity between those involved in the show, “there has to be those moments where we are becoming equal together, regardless of how my ability may be different from Laura’s. But if we are moving together, we need to find a way to move together and not overpower one another”.

    As a verbal CP performer, he explained that “my world is very instant when I communicate. What I’m learning with this group is I’m facing my own ableism. It got me thinking about how from my role I have not been patient enough, not just with this group”. He elaborated on his reflections of needing to be more cognizant of not finishing other people’s sentences, but instead, learned to give people time to communicate within their abilities in order to share and explain their perspectives on the situation. Utilizing her bespoke communication board system*, Leskur also elaborated on these points, highlighting the necessity for patience as to “not miss the magical moments” and the necessity of utilizing body movements and the range of abilities in each performers arms and legs to construct meaningful exchanges.

    In discussing the necessity of moving towards an inclusive way of facilitating theatre for the performers, Sillett explained that “we created the processes with the community of those who are non-verbal in mind. There’s a lot of routes we could take which would be much easier to get an impact in the short-term, but it wasn’t our aim to go there. Our aim was to try and work honouring the deep engagement. The idea of re-establishing the relationship between the audience, and what their journey is going to be, the community making it”. Hull asserted that his role in adding the movement and dance elements to the show has been “a dream come true to work with manual and power wheelchairs to create movement together,” emphasizing the liberation of spaces focused on the lived experiences of the team rather than a more traditional methodology of prioritizing the audience.

    In reflecting on his work with the Imagining Possibilities Movement, Vivian explained how “my specific interests in working with the company lie in aspects of accessibility, universal design and the development process of improvisational, immersive performance spaces under very specific conditions. It has been a very humbling learning experience that we will adapt for my university course development and professional practice”. Breaking from the expected traditions of theatre development, the broad range of creative in communities in St. Catharines can take the fundamental ideas of change to expand who is in the audience, who is on stage, and how can we expand the experiences and interactions between these world.

    *Laura Leskur’s communication board is a bespoke system created at Bloorview and extended over the years. Laura has now memorized 1000 words with corresponding numbers. Elaine Drover and and Christine Jimenez have experience using Blissymbols to communicate. Blissymbolics is a semantic graphical language that is currently composed of more than 5000 authorized symbols – Bliss-characters and Bliss-words. It is a generative language that allows its users to create new Bliss-words as needed. It is used by individuals with severe speech and physical impairments around the world, but also by others for language learning and support, or just for the fascination and joy of this unique language representation. Elaine and Christine are both on the Board for Bliss Communication Institute Canada. See blissymbolics.org for more information.

    [The creators and producers of Come to the Edge wish to thank the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, for the generosity of their support by providing rehearsal space and technical support in the studios and the MIW Theatre through July and August 2019.

    The article was edited and amended for accuracy and reprinted with permission.]

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