In the Media

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • Colourful new mural reflects Brock’s international connections

    Fourth-year Visual Arts student Chardon Trimble-Kirk completed the new International Centre Global Commons mural over 240 hours this summer.


    (From: The Brock News, TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2019 | by Mike Morrison)

    Before graduating from Brock University next year, Chardon Trimble-Kirk hoped to leave a vibrant mark on campus.

    And after committing more than 240 hours of work to a project at Brock’s International Centre this summer, the fourth-year Visual Arts student has done just that.

    Trimble-Kirk was drawn to a request for proposals posted in April that sought someone to create a mural in a commonly used community space within the centre. She had an idea, which she named “Connections,” and submitted a scaled-down version for review.

    Fourth-year Visual Arts student Chardon Trimble-Kirk worked from June to August to complete the new mural in Brock’s International Centre.

    Her vision featured chrysanthemums flowers, which are “symbolic of friendship and well-wishing,” she said. “Connecting them to a variety of countries intends to showcase the friendship that can be found in individuals regardless of their country of origin.”

    Leigh-Ellen Keating, Director of Brock International, said the design chosen for the project had to meet certain criteria, including being reflective of the entire Brock community, including faculty, staff and students from more than 100 countries around the world. It also needed to highlight the importance of internationalization and globalization, a key part of the University’s new Strategic Plan.

    After careful deliberation by a committee of Brock University representatives, Trimble-Kirk’s design was selected for the project and she began the painting in June.

    The newest symbol of Brock’s growing international community now stands more than 15 feet wide and nine feet tall in the Global Commons, a student lounge inside the International Centre that’s home to events and activities open to the entire Brock community.

    It is by far the largest project that Trimble-Kirk has ever worked on. Her previous record was four six-by-three-foot paintings for a third-year class.The experience led to a number of firsts for the artist.“

    I used scaffolding for the first time to complete the higher sections,” Trimble-Kirk said. “I had also never painted directly on brick walls and found myself learning to work with the texture rather than fight it.”

    The mural will be officially unveiled during Brock International’s Open House on Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the International Centre.

    Trimble-Kirk, who will continue doing freelance paintings after she graduates, plans to apply to a Master of Fine Arts program in the coming years.

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    Categories: Current Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Fundraising campaign launched for Brock Humanities grad impacted by shocking tragedy

    Carla Chambers Jeffreys (BA ’16, MA ’19)

    A recent Brock University master’s graduate was moving her family from Vancouver to St. Catharines this week when tragedy struck.

    Carla Chambers Jeffreys (BA ’16, MA ’19), was travelling in an SUV near Oyen, Alberta with her husband and three children when it was involved in a collision with two transport trucks on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

    Tragically, the couple’s 11-year-old son was killed in the collision. The other two children suffered serious injuries and were taken to Alberta Children’s Hospital, where they remain. Carla Chambers remains in a Calgary hospital with serious injuries.

    A GoFundMe campaign has been launched by a family friend, and in the first 24 hours it raised nearly $30,000.

    After completing her bachelor’s degree at Brock in 2016 in Studies in Arts and Culture, Chambers graduated at Spring Convocation in June with a Master of Arts in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts.

    A trained opera singer, Chambers has been an example of student success in the Faculty of Humanities and, specifically, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    “With her opera-trained voice and her master’s-level scholarship, Carla was a soaring spirit of trans-disciplinary and creative inquiry and performance during her time at the MIWSFPA,” said Director David Vivian. “She launched remarkable new initiatives of community engagement for her colleague students and faculty.”

    David Fancy, who was Chambers’ thesis supervisor for her recently completed master’s said, “the community is reeling at the very difficult news of the loss of one of Carla’s children, and of her grave injuries and those of the rest of her family.

    “As an artist and scholar, Carla’s extensive qualities of insight, persistence, passion and generosity will certainly help sustain her during this exceptionally difficult time. All our thoughts are with Carla and her family now,” said Fancy.

    Catherine Parayre, Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture ​and of the graduate program in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts said Chambers is known for her “enthusiasm, her commitment and the brilliance she brought to both programs.”

    “Our thoughts are with her and her family. We grieve the cruel loss of her child and hope with all our hearts that she, her companion and her two other children will recover,” she said.

    Anyone interested in donating to the family can find the GoFundMe campaign at gofundme.com/f/k7uj84-support 

    (Source: The Brock News, Friday, August 9, 2019 | by Dan Dakin)

    See these articles:

    Friends rally around family whose child was killed after SUV struck by tractor-trailer

    COMMUNITY DONATES MORE THAN $57,000 AFTER FAMILY TRAGEDY

    Boy, 11, dies in crash as family was heading to Niagara to start a new life

    Boy, 11, dies in crash as family was heading to Niagara to start a new life

     

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

  • Book publishing division launched by Brock’s Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture

    Brock’s Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture is launching two new books, Inland and The Quarry, through the new Small Walker Press.


    Brock’s Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) has partnered with The Salon für Kunstbuch in Austria to launch an international book publishing division.

    The new Small Walker Press will celebrate the publication of its first two books at an official launch event on Thursday, May 9 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will take place in the main lobby of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines.

    This year’s books were published under the theme of environmental degradation and include Inland, by Associate Professor of Visual Arts Shawn Serfas 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 and artist Lorène Bourgeois.

    Noelle Allen, Publisher for Hamilton-based literary press Wolsak and Wynn, will be the guest speaker for the event.

    The launch is free and all are encouraged to attend.

    “The University is the ideal place to promote book culture,” said STAC Director Catherine Parayre. “Working with different authors and artists to bring about the completion of a book project is a fully interdisciplinary challenge that is rewarding intellectually, but also a wonderful opportunity to work with expert graphic designers.”

    Headed by STAC, the Small Walker Press addresses the research and creative interests of faculty members at Brock’s MIWSFPA and engages with authors, artists and academics alike to produce small, innovative publications.

    Funded by the generous support of the Walker Cultural Leader Series and the late Marilyn I. Walker, the press publishes collaborative work that brings together authors and artists from the Niagara region, as well as those across Canada and internationally.

    Parayre and Knight serve as its editors; Bernhard Cella, from The Salon für Kunstbuch in Vienna, Austria, is the press’s book designer.

    Inland provides two distinct reflections on pollution and the consequences of human intervention on natural resources. It features work created by Serfas for his 2016 exhibition Inland, curated by Stuart Reid at Rodman Hall Art Centre, and creative writing by Fausset, whose work includes extensive coverage of the devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts of Hurricane Katrina.

    The Quarry offers a reflection on a walk that Dickinson and Bourgeois embarked upon through the Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site on the Niagara Escarpment in 2018. Dickinson contributes a poem for the book, which is accompanied by drawings by Bourgeois.

    “We are very much looking forward to sharing these books with the public at the launch on May 9,” Parayre said.

    The Small Walker Press is predicated on, and values, interdisciplinary co-operation, the exploration of image and text, and seeks to contribute to and participate in the promotion of book culture.

    Publications will include exhibition catalogues, artist’s books, chapbooks, short essay format and creative writing as well as online art folios or editions, and recorded sound work or interviews.

    Publications may be in English, French or other languages and books will be available for purchase at the launch.

    They will also be available at Rodman Hall Art Centre, the Brock Campus Store, and The Salon für Kunstbuch in Vienna, Austria.

    Learn more about the Small Walker Press by visiting the STAC website.

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

  • Celebrating the arts downtown

    Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School for Fine and Performing Arts.


    (From University Affairs, Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | By: Erika Thorkelson)

    In his 1919 “Bauhaus Manifesto,” German architect Walter Gropius laid out his plan for the revitalization of the visual arts. He believed that the salon system of art education had grown elitist and stagnant because it had lost touch with craftsmanship. Among his central principles, Gropius called for “contact with public life, with the people, through exhibitions and other activities.” While Gropius’s ideas remain influential in art and design schools, many universities in Canada have largely resisted that principle until now.

    In the past few years, a number of small to medium- sized universities – which tend to be more geographically and culturally sequestered from urban landscapes than their larger counterparts – have sought to bridge the gap between arts education and the community by moving downtown. Following in the footsteps of Simon Fraser University, which opened its School for the Contemporary Arts in Vancouver back in 2008, Brock University, Laurentian University, MacEwan University and the University of Windsor have all unveiled new arts-related facilities in city centres. Each seeks in its own way to revitalize its surrounding community while taking advantage of the unique pedagogical opportunities of its new central location.

    Preserving the past while building the future

    In 2015, Brock University opened its long-anticipated Marilyn I. Walker School for Fine and Performing Arts in St. Catharines, Ontario. Part of the city’s plan to build a “creative cluster” in its sleepy downtown, which had been emptied out by decades of deindustrialization and suburbanization, the opening was hailed as a catalyst for the rebirth of the whole city centre.

    To house its new facilities, the university chose the dilapidated Canada Hair Cloth Company Building, a former textile mill that had sat disused and in disrepair for years – a reminder of St. Catharines’ industrial past. Starting in 2008, the university undertook a massive renovation of the building thanks to a donation of $15 million from the building’s namesake, philanthropist and artist Marilyn I. Walker.

    Elizabeth Vlossak, the facility’s interim director, sees the school as a way to preserve St. Catharines’ industrial history (most recently, as a hub for auto-parts manufacturing) while moving the city toward a post-industrial future. “The building is symbolic not just of the place of the arts in the university, but the place of the arts in a community and a city, and also in the Niagara region,” she says.

    Dr. Vlossak sees the development of the creative cluster, which also includes the new FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, a partnership between the city and Brock that sits adjacent to the new satellite campus, as a push toward an “orange economy.” The term has gained a great deal of traction in South America to describe how the arts and entertainment industries can become huge economic drivers in areas that have lost their traditional industries.

    Victoria Reid was one of the first students to take advantage of the brand-new facilities that now house Brock’s dramatic arts, music, visual arts, and arts and culture studies programs. She was in her second year of a bachelor’s degree in studio art when the buildings opened, and she remembers it changing her whole relationship to the city. “Before, I kind of avoided going downtown,” she remembers. “I found it kind of scary.”

    But as students inhabited the new space, graffiti was replaced by murals and new businesses were drawn to the area. During her time there, Ms. Reid, who is now working on a master’s in library and information sciences at Western University while continuing to make art, had many chances to take part in exhibitions at those local businesses. “It gave me experience I don’t think I would have gotten removed from the downtown area,” she says. “I had a lot that I could put on my resumé.”

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