Faculty & Instructors

  • Avanti Chamber Singers to give a cappella performance

    The Avanti Chamber Singers will perform an a cappella concert at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. (Photo: Julie Hoff)


    (From The Brock News, February 15, 2019 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    Guests at the upcoming concert performed by the Avanti Chamber Singers are in for a surprise.

    Voices Raised, led by Rachel Rensink-Hoff on Saturday, Feb. 23, is a chance for Brock University’s choir-in-residence to celebrate the raw power of the human voice.

    The group will be performing an a cappella concert, with pieces ranging from early classical works to contemporary repertoire. The show promises to be the most diverse concert to date, with everything from open-throated chant singing to spoken word poetry.

    Members of the Avanti Chamber Singers have been working hard since their performance last November to build confidence with pitches and tuning, since there are no accompanying instruments this time around.

    “I am proud of what Avanti has accomplished in the short period of time since our last concert,” said Rensink-Hoff. “We can’t wait to share this program with our audience next week.”

    The group will also be performing a bit of beat-boxing and a deeply moving text by Indigenous poet Rita Joe titled I Lost My Talk. The singers will also be premiering two new compositions — one by Niagara-based composer James Moffett and the other by Laura Hawley.

    The Avanti Chamber Singers will also be inviting the audience to join in a singalong during the concert.

    Seating at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church is limited and guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets as soon as possible.

    Voices Raised takes place Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Advanced tickets are available through the Avanti Chamber Singers website, at Thorold Music and Booksmart, or from choir members for $20 for adults and seniors. Tickets at the door are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. A $5 ticket is available for students and eyeGo program members.

    Rensink-Hoff is also the conductor for the Brock University Choirs, which includes both the chamber choir and the new women’s choir. Their next performance is Saturday, March 30.

    For more information about upcoming choral performances, visit the Brock University Music website.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • MIWSFPA faculty, alumni nominated for 2019 St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Visual Arts alumna Kylie Haveron (BA ’18) is among the nominees selected for the Emerging Artist category for the 2019 City of St. Catharines Arts Awards.


    (From The Brock News, January 31, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Congratulations are in order for the numerous faculty members and alumni of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) nominated for the 2019 City of St. Catharines Arts Awards.

    The awards recognize and celebrate excellence in all areas of artistic creation and seek to increase the visibility of St. Catharines’ artists and cultural industries, honour cultural leaders and their achievements and cultivate financial and volunteer support for the arts sector.

    Visual Arts alumna Kylie Haveron (BA ’18) is among the nominees selected for the Emerging Artist category, while Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris and Assistant Theatre Professor Danielle Wilson were both nominated for the Arts in Education award.

    Nominated in the Established Artist category are Wayne Corlis (BA ’05, MA ’12), who majored in Visual Arts and earned a master’s in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts, and Colin Anthes (BA ’14, MA ’16), who completed a combined Psychology/Dramatic Arts degree with a minor in Philosophy and a master’s degree in Philosophy. Anthes currently works as a part-time instructor in Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts.

    Nominated in the Making a Difference category is alumna Emma German (BA ’14), who majored in Visual Arts and worked as a curator at the City of St. Catharines and Brock’s Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    Also nominated in the same category is the Willow Arts Community, a non-profit arts organization based at Rodman Hall that provides free artistic training and exhibition opportunities to community members with lived experience of mental health and addiction.

    The recipients of the City of St. Catharines Arts Awards will be recognized at a reception on Friday, May 3 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Tickets will be available in March.

    A full list of nominees is available online.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Alumni, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Brock faculty and staff to shine during next Music@Noon concert

    Percussionist Devon Fornelli will perform during the next RBC Foundation Music@Noon concert on Jan. 29 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.


    (From The Brock News, January 25, 2019 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    A group of Brock’s own faculty and staff will bring their musical talents to the stage next week in the next instalment of the RBC Foundation Music@Noon recital series.

    Percussionist Devon Fornelli, pianist John Sherwood and guitarist Max Holten-Andersen will come together to perform on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    Pianist John Sherwood will perform Jan. 29 during the next RBC Foundation Music@Noon concert.

    Fornelli is a percussion instructor at Brock University and has extensive experience as a soloist, orchestral percussionist and chamber instrumentalist. He has performed with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the UBC Wind Ensemble among many others. His range of talent spans orchestral percussion, contemporary art music and drum set traditions from the big band era to the present.

    Sherwood began his career with a strong foundation in classical music and is now known as one of the top jazz pianists in Canada. He performs regularly with Peter Appleyard and has also worked with a range of other talented musicians including Moe Koffman, Guido Basso, Rob McConnell, Ed Bickert, Jake Hanna, Kenny Wheeler and Butch Miles.

    Holten-Andersen was born and raised in Argentina and is heavily influenced by South American harmonies, rhythms and techniques. He actively teaches guitar at his home studio as well as sound design and music programming at Brock, where he is also the Visual Arts Department’s Media Resource Co-ordinator.

    Thanks to the generous donation of the RBC Foundation, the three will join together on stage as part of the Music@Noon Recital Series, which takes place most Tuesdays at noon in the Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    For more information on upcoming performances, visit the Music Department’s website.

    Tags: , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Visual Arts prof named new Associate Dean of Humanities

    Keri Cronin, Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, will take on the role of Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Humanities starting July 1. (Photo credit Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals.)


    (From The Brock News, January 24, 2019 | By: Alison Innes)

    Keri Cronin has always been invested in sharing the research of Brock’s Faculty of Humanities in far-reaching ways. And in her new role as Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, she intends to continue down that path.

    “There is so much great work being done here in the Humanities,” says Cronin, Associate Professor with the Department of Visual Arts.

    “A lot of people hold misperceptions about what it is we do and the value and relevance of this work to the ‘real world.’ Using public platforms to highlight our stories and the excellent research being done here is, I believe, more important than ever.”

    Cronin, whose position as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities begins July 1, values making academic research accessible to a wide and diverse audience.

    “I look forward to supporting faculty and graduate students in developing knowledge mobilization plans that make sense for their areas of expertise,” she says.

    Cronin’s own research trajectory has been a blend of the traditional and the non-traditional. In addition to her academic publications, including the 2018 publication of Art for Animals, Cronin has embraced online opportunities to share her research.

    The Unbound Project, a multimedia initiative Cronin co-created with Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals, uses video, photography, interviews and social media to tell the stories of women who are working in animal advocacy.

    The Unbound Project has a very large and international reach,” Cronin says. “Using our website and social media channels, we are able to share these women’s stories widely.”

    Cronin has also curated an online exhibition for the National Museum of Animals & Society. Be Kind: A Visual History of Humane Education was launched in 2012 and is used by teachers and professors in classrooms around the world.

    Social justice and transdisciplinary work are key for Cronin. She is a faculty member in the Social Justice and Equity Studies graduate program and was a founding member of Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute, where she worked to showcase Humanities-based approaches to social justice work.

    “Dr. Cronin is an accomplished scholar and teacher, with an excellent record of service to the University and the Faculty already,” says Dean of Humanities Carol Merriam.

    “I’m very pleased that she will now put her skills and talents available to her colleagues in this new role. She is a fitting successor to Dr. Michael Carter, who has done very good work in the role since 2016.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: Announcements, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • King Ubu tickets on sale now!

    Tickets for our spring mainstage presentation of King Ubu, presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts, are on sale now!

    The show runs from March 1 to 9 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre.


    King Ubu

    Written by Alfred Jarry
    Translated by David Edney
    Directed by David Fancy
    Set and lighting by James McCoy
    Costumes by Jo Pacinda

    Alfred Jarry wrote King Ubu in the 1890’s in large part to poke fun at the idiocy, capriciousness and vanity of political and personal power. it is almost like its author could see into the future and predict the very political climate we are living in today.

    The character of King Ubu is a complete fool who talks about poop, loves himself a lot and kills everybody around him whenever he feels like it. He is a patriarch, a racist and a megalomaniac.

    His wife, Ma Ubu, is very much like Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and pushes King Ubu to increasing feats of violence and narcissism. When they are not bickering or having food-fights, Ma Ubu demands King Ubu kill off their adversaries and take over the world. They spend the show chasing their enemies all over a fairy-tale-like Poland before sailing off into a sunset.

    In short: the Ubus are the ultimate reality TV show gone wrong.

    Read more about the performance.

    PERFORMANCES:
    Friday, March 1, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
    Saturday, March 2, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
    Sunday, March 3, 2019 @ 2:00 PM
    Friday, March 8, 2019 @ 11:30 AM
    Friday, March 8, 2019 @ 7:30 PM
    Saturday, March 9, 2019 @ 7:30 PM

    Tickets:
    $18 Adult
    $15 Student/Senior
    $12 Group (10+) each
    $5 EYEGO Highschool Student (with Valid ID upon ticket Pick-Up)

    General Admission seating.

    Performance location:
    The Marilyn I. Walker Theatre
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts – downtown campus – Brock University
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON

    Tickets for all performances are available online through the Box Office of the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. by email at boxoffice@firstontariopac.ca, or in person in downtown St. Catharines at 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines, ON, L2R 3M2.

    Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Holiday and summer hours may vary).


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

  • Brock Encore! Series continues with hit show

    TorQ Percussion Quartet will perform as part of Brock’s Encore! Series on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Partridge Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. (Photo by Bo Huang)


    (From The Brock News, January 22, 2019  | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    It’s going to be hard to resist the beat at Brock’s latest Encore! Series performance.

    With more than 70 instruments used in their lively show, the TorQ Percussion Quartet plans to get feet tapping and the crowd moving on Friday, Jan. 25 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    Held in Partridge Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m., the concert is the second performance of the Department of Music’s Encore! Professional Concert Series.

    TorQ is a four-piece Toronto-based ensemble that utilizes everything from marimbas and vibraphones to tom-toms, cowbells and even tin cans and garbage cans in their energetic performances.

    Music Department Chair Matthew Royal is looking forward to the unique performance and invites Brock faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the community, to attend.

    “The Music Department is delighted to welcome the accomplished percussion quartet, TorQ, back to Brock,” said Royal. “The concert promises to be entertaining, informative and chock-full of inspired musicianship.”

    Formed in 2004, TorQ features the talent of Richard Burrows, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake and Dan Morphy. The ensemble has developed a dedicated following and has worked to make percussion music accessible to audiences of all ages.

    The group has performed across Canada and internationally, including shows at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in San Antonio and Indianapolis, and the International Percussion Quartet Festival in Luxembourg.

    TorQ will perform a wide variety of pieces during Friday’s concert, including some composed by members of the Quartet themselves. Guests will also hear works by Canadian composers Dinuk Wijeratne and Ken Shorely.

    Tickets to the TorQ Percussion Quartet performance on Jan. 25 are available through theFirstOntario PAC website.

    For more information on upcoming performances, please visit the Department of Music’s website.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Student to share journey from life-changing concussion to finding strength in art

    Brock Kinesiology student Chance Mutuku will lead students in an interactive keynote lecture about the connections between the arts, sports and mental wellness on Wednesday, Jan. 16 in the theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, January 11, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    Chance Mutuku was well on his way to achieving a successful career as a wrestler.

    Within five years of the loss of his father and a life-changing move to Canada from the tumultuous and violent Democratic Republic of the Congo, he had earned himself a coveted spot on the Canadian Junior National Wrestling Team and a scholarship to wrestle at Brock.

    Then, a severe concussion he suffered during a training camp two years ago halted his athletic career and forced him to reevaluate everything.

    “At the time, I didn’t clue in to how life-changing that moment was going to be,” he recalled. “It was supposed to take a few days to get back into training, but the days turned to weeks, weeks to months and now, here we are two years later — and I am still in recovery.”

    Not one to shy away from adversity, Mutuku shifted gears, instead connecting his passion for the arts with his entrepreneurial spirit to engage in new projects that both aided in his recovery and set him on a new course.

    At an upcoming lecture at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) on Wednesday, Jan. 16, he will share his inspiring story of perseverance and explore ways of bringing people from all disciplines together to promote mental wellness, enact positive change and find professional success.

    This marks the second event in the newly launched MIWSFPA Wellness Series, which offers monthly events that promote creative ways to help ease stress and promote mental well-being.

    Visual Arts Associate Professors Amy Friend and Derek Knight will also add to the discussion, and Dramatic Arts Chair Joe Norris will lead students in an interactive exercise about the ups and downs of student life.

    BioLinc and local community partners will also share career and volunteer opportunities in the arts and the health and wellness sector, and members of Brock’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Services will be on hand to discuss services they can provide to students.

    The event will conclude with a free lunch from Mahtay Café.

    Mutuku hopes the lecture will inspire students to find creative ways of healing and to think about how to apply their skills and interests in new and innovative ways.

    “I can’t say enough how amazing my experience was learning from all of these people around me, and I encourage everyone to get involved in the arts, because it connects us all and we can all benefit from it,” said Mutuku. “These projects I have been working on show me that there needs to be more collaborations between disciplines and we need to start coming together and learning from each other to bring new and great collaborative ideas to life.”

    The event will take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    The event is free, but registration is required at miwsfpa-wellness-series.eventbrite.ca. Brock students must also RSVP through ExperienceBU to receive credit for the Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum. A copy of your ticket and/or Brock card (if applicable) will be required at the door for admittance.

    Students can take the STC Route 316/416 bus from main campus to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts stop, located near the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    There will be event staff stationed on Brock’s main campus and downtown to guide students to the School.

    All students, staff and faculty are welcome.

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • New research shows empathy can shape drug policy

    Brock Visual Arts Professor Linda Steer’s research on drug photography has been published in the March edition of the International Journal of Drug Policy.


    In 2016, Ohio police released a photo of an American couple overdosing in their vehicle while a young child sat in the back. The image quickly went viral and attracted international attention.

    The predominantly negative conversation surrounding the image, and others like it, left Brock Visual Arts Professor Linda Steer wondering if viewing these photographs with more empathy could be key to changing discourse on drug users and altering drug policy in North America.

    Chosen for publication in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Steer’s article “Entangled empathy, drug use, and photographs of suffering” examines contemporary drug photography in the hopes of encouraging people to think outside of the box about drug use and users.

    “This research is very timely because every day we’re seeing a news story about the dangers of fentanyl or some other opiate,” said Steer, who teaches art history at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA). “There is a lack of understanding about what people that use drugs go through, and about drugs in general. It’s a kind of hysteria.”

    In the article, Steer examines the work of two contemporary photographers: Chris Arnade and Tony Fouhse. Both are middle-aged, white men, who photographed female drug users they met on the street.

    Steer looked at the artists’ work through the lens of ‘entangled empathy,’ a concept developed by American Philosophy Professor Lori Gruen. To Gruen, empathy is about more than simply being understanding and compassionate about another’s situation. Rather, it entails being responsive and responsible to that person in a way that promotes agency and positive change.

    Drawing from that idea, Steer studied how Arnade‘s and Fouhse’s photographs were created, circulated and received by viewers and compared how different settings, locations or mediums impacted the viewer’s engagement with empathy.

    “I found photographs with captions or text that worked to create a narrative had a better chance of creating empathy,” she said. “I also found that we can still have empathy when the power dynamics are quite uneven and that photographs shared on Facebook can sometimes provoke people to engage with their own experience of addiction in relation to the photograph.”

    Steer hopes the article will create dialogue about the role photographs of drug use play in shaping public opinion, and the opinion of policy-makers and government agencies.

    “Overall, photographic projects that show drug use have the potential to engage viewers with empathy and can be very useful in creating drug policy,” she said. “Policy-makers might see these kinds of photographs and notice how they can elicit empathy for people who are misunderstood or maligned. That can have a positive impact on policy.”

    Steer said having her work published in the journal is especially meaningful as this marks her first peer-reviewed article in a new field of research. The interdisciplinarity of her work is also important, she noted, as the journal typically publishes research from science-based disciplines.

    “I was really honoured for this work to be chosen as I think it speaks to how important photographs are and that we need to look more closely at the relationship between science and culture,” she explained. “Even scientific research is culture – so we’re bridging the gap between humanities and the sciences with this type of work.”

    She added that this research also showed her that “a lot more work has to be done” in this field of study.

    “Not just on empathy,” she added, “but on how it is related to politics, policy and how images create ideas about how we see others.”

    “Entangled empathy, drug use and photographs of suffering” is currently available for free download on the International Journal of Drug Policy website.

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Free recital series returns with an international twist

    Pianist Karin Di Bella will perform Tuesday, Jan. 8 as part of the Music@Noon Recital Series at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, January 4, 2019 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    The RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series returns next week with a concert blending Canadian and Maltese influences.

    On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Brock Associate Professor Karin Di Bella will be joined by Maltese-Canadian flautist Rebecca Hall in The Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    Hall holds a Doctorate of Music from the University of Malta and has performed with the Malta Philharmonic and the Cosmos Wind Ensemble.

    Hall and Di Bella first connected over their shared interest in Canadian composer Jack Behrens, whom Di Bella has been researching during her sabbatical leave this year.

    Di Bella said that connecting with Hall has been extremely beneficial to her research, given they each approach Behrens’ repertoire from different perspectives.

    “She knows everything that I don’t know,” said Di Bella. “When the two of us get together, it’s really fun to talk about what we know about Jack because we know it from different sides of his output and can learn from each other.”

    Di Bella recently had the opportunity to travel to Malta in October to give a performance with Hall at the University of Malta, featuring highlighted works by both Canadian and Maltese composers. Di Bella also gave a lecture-recital at the university, where she performed her research on Behrens.

    “Meeting in person is so important when you’re doing work like this,” she explained. “Being able to work through ideas together is really valuable because there’s only so much you can do over the phone or email and it also gets the wheels turning about future projects.”

    Di Bella is looking forward to sharing the work of Behrens with a new audience at the upcoming recital.

    “What’s interesting about Jack’s pieces is that even though they’re more modern in style, they’re still really accessible,” explained Di Bella, “He may not be a composer that most people think to go to, to learn repertoire from, but I think his pieces are great and people always like them when they hear them.”

    Di Bella is also looking forward to sharing the stage with her Maltese colleague once more, and encourages everyone to attend.

    The Music@Noon recital series is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and takes place most Tuesdays at noon during the academic year in The Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This is a free event that is open to the public.

    For more information on upcoming performances, please visit the Brock University Music page.

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Hamilton Now series highlights Brock art instructor

    Brock instructor Donna Akrey is part of the exhibition Hamilton Now: Object at the Art Gallery of Hamilton until May 20. (Photo by Taien Ng-Chan.)


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | By: Jaquelyn Bezaire)

    As Donna Akrey knows all too well, art is woven into the fabric of any strong community.

    The textile work of the Brock University Visual Arts instructor is part of a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) that celebrates an influx of new artistic talent in the city.

    Akrey’s work Hamilton Yards will be on display at the Art Gallery of Hamilton until May 20.

    The Hamilton Now series, curated by Melissa Bennett, began in June with Hamilton Now: Subject, which focused on the culture and creativity in the city and spoke to who the artists are as individuals. The exhibit ran until Nov. 18, with artists using different mediums to explore aspects of their own identity.

    The series’ second exhibition, Hamilton Now: Object focuses mainly on sculptors.

    Hamilton Now: Object, which is now on display at the AGH and features Akrey’s work, emphasizes material exploration and awareness of the physical environment. The exhibit also features an interactive digital project that incorporates a sculptural map of Hamilton.

    Akrey recently moved from Montreal, where she found herself a part of a very strong arts community. Once she arrived to Hamilton, she was pleasantly surprised by the welcome she received.

    “The community is very strong, supportive and positive,” she said. “I’m honoured to be showing work alongside other amazing Hamilton artists.”

    Akrey’s piece, Hamilton Yards, is a series of fabrics digitally-printed with a custom-made repeating pattern of photo images. Akrey spent time wandering the neighbourhoods of east end Hamilton and documenting the spots that interested her.

    “I have wanted to make textile work for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity,” she said. “Through these works, I continue to address mapping, place and location in Hamilton specifically.”

    Alongside Akrey, the exhibition includes pieces by Christopher Reid Flock, Destiny Grimm, Hamilton Perambulatory Unit, Svava Thordis Juliusson, Carmela Laganse, Laura Marotte, Taien Ng-Chan and the collective art group band Persons.

    On Thursday, Jan. 17, Akrey will be joined by Thordis Juliusson and Ng-Chan in the first of two panel events. The artists will lead guests through a series of sculptural activities, “object-oriented storytelling” and mapping exercises.

    Hamilton Now: Object runs until May 20 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The official opening is Sunday, Feb. 3. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday.

    For more information, visit the Art Gallery of Hamilton website.

    Tags: , , , , , ,
    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News