Media Releases

  • Visual Arts prof’s work seen across Time and The Atlantic

    The Atlantic’s online publication of Amy Friend’s image, taken from Friend’s Assorted Boxes of Ordinary Life series.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2023 | by Charles Kim

    Amy Friend has gained widespread recognition for her unique and captivating photography.

    The Brock University Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts has been commissioned to create images for some of the world’s most notable publications, including The New York Times Magazine in March and more recently, Time magazine and The Atlantic.

    Heavy is the Crown,” an article written by Eliana Dockterman featured in Time, highlights the resurgence of interest in the late Princess Diana’s life following the airing of the fourth season of the popular Netflix series The Crown. The article examines the implications the show may have on the public reputation of King Charles and the monarchy.

    3. A full-page magazine featuring a sliced-up image of King Charles with a painting of Queen Elizabeth II in the background.

    Time’s feature of Amy Friend’s image. (Source Photo: Tim Graham — Photo Library/Getty Images)

    Friend was approached by Time magazine photo editor Whitney Hollington Matewe to create a visual image to accompany the article. She began the process by sifting through a library of stock pictures made available to her by the editorial team.

    After collaborative discussions, the editorial team and Friend selected a shot of young King Charles in front of a painting of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

    “What I love about the portrait of Charles is the painting of the Queen quietly behind him, watching,” says Friend. “It places Charles as the new head of the royal family, with the legacy of the Queen following him.”

    Friend created cuts through the image, shining light through the perforations to allow windows of illumination into the final product.

    “Working with the print and slicing into the image is a bit unsettling. I’m destroying a photograph of a king,” says Friend. “It made me consider the power of imagery, especially portraiture. The royal family has always edited and controlled the photos released to the public with great scrutiny.”

    Following the assignment with Time, Friend was contacted by The Atlantic, which hoped to publish her works alongside an article written by MIT physicist and novelist Alan Lightman.

    How the Human Brain is Wired for Beauty,” published Dec. 5, discusses recent research on how the human brain processes beauty. It also visits the idea of atoms and how they can be traced back to stars from the galaxy’s past. This connection reveals how every particle can be linked to not only the past but also the future.

    Friend says there was a deep connection with many elements of the article and she found herself drawn to Lightman’s research, particularly the connections between stardust and history. Caroline Smith, The Atlantic’s Creative Director, felt Friend’s work was a good fit for the subject.

    1. A woman with brown hair smiles with a white backdrop behind her.

    Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Arts Amy Friend’s latest commissions now appear in The New York Times Magazine, Time magazine and The Atlantic. (Photo courtesy of Amy Friend)

    “Some of the featured visuals are a part of my Assorted Boxes of Ordinary Life series, says Friend. “One piece of work depicts family whom my mother had captured on Super 8 film. I projected this film clip onto old mirrors covered in dust.

    “The article suggests that we all come from stardust,” she says. “I imagine the specks of dust as remnants of the stars. I used these dust particles in a visual manner to represent our presence and our absence.”

    Friend says working on editorial commissions is always a fresh and exciting experience. She found that each project had diverse outcomes that are not always expected. Each commission, she says, provides the space to reconsider her work and evaluate the visuals that audiences encounter in editorial publications.

    “When you work with an editor, there’s a lot of back and forth that goes on. Ultimately, we come to an agreement on the final product, but in the process of doing so there’s learning that I take back and that is distinctly important for me.”

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  • Brock faculty honoured for local arts impact

    St. Catharines Arts Award winners (clockwise from front left) Emily Oriold, Monica Dufault, Kathyrn Sinopoli, Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Amy Friend and Frank Goldspink were recently honoured by the City of St. Catharines. (Photo courtesy of the City of St. Catharines)


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The impact of faculty from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is being felt in the local community.

    Amy Friend, Associate Professor and Department of Visual Arts Chair, and Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Music, were each recently honoured during the St. Catharines Arts Awards and recognized for their respective contributions to helping the arts thrive locally.

    Friend received the Established Artist Award during the awards celebration held Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Her work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, explores various methodologies through photography, installation and community-based collaborations. The focus of her work fluctuates with investigations relative to history, time, land memory, dust, oceans and connections to the universe.

    “The award is a wonderful nod to the work artists accomplish in this community and there are many of us,” Friend said. “I have grown as an artist in this region and have had opportunities to collaborate with many people. I would like to see even greater and consistent support for the arts in our community and schools. There is an abundance of amazing work happening here, but much more is possible.”

    Rensink-Hoff — Conductor of the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers — was presented with the Arts in Education Award.

    Her contributions to the local arts community have resulted in many performances and partnerships, including the co-ordination of a performance by the Brock University Choir, Avanti Chamber Singers and Sora Singers under the leadership of guest conductor, Kanaka Maoli artist, activist and cultural bearer Jace Kaholokula Sapan.

    “It is a joy to be a part of a thriving arts community here in St. Catharines and I am humbled by this recognition, particularly on the heels of a challenging two and a half years,” Rensink-Hoff said. “I have seen in my students and singers just how life-giving their participation in the arts can be. Their passion and dedication to making music throughout the pandemic has been such a tremendous source of inspiration.”

    A full list of recipients of the St. Catharines Arts Awards is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Student, alumni art exhibition explores time through photography

    Give us a Moment, a Brock student and alumni art exhibit, is on display until Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Visual Arts Gallery of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Using analogue and digital photography, Brock artists are sharing their creative interpretations of memory and time in the University’s latest exhibition.

    Presented by the Department of Visual Arts (VISA), ‘Give us a Moment’ combines these themes, and the etched traces of daily life, through photographs that use old, new and experimental processes.

    Laurie Morrison, both a Brock University Librarian and student in the VISA program, says her work showcased in the exhibition is “intended to bring to mind how the past shapes the present moment.”

    She produced her images through an analogue method, which she describes as both slow moving and unpredictable. It was the uncontrollable nature of the process that she most enjoyed.

    Typical analogue photography consists of film and the use of chemicals to create a reaction producing an image. In this exhibition, the artists explore different methods of production as well as diverse materials for their works.

    “These processes are also erratic and prone to many unexpected results,” Morrison says. “Some artists may find this frustrating, but I find it heightens my interest. The unpredictability becomes part of the journey.”

    For alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22) the exhibition’s title brought with it two separate interpretations.

    “An audience giving their time to examine and explore the artwork validates the artist’s status, and by asking the audience to give us a moment, we are referencing the politics of viewing that dictate an artist’s success,” she says. “Yet in the context of the work each of us are creating, the title takes a new meaning. Each of our works references the past and the passage of time. The title becomes a question asked by the forgotten moments and memories contained within these images.”

    Luth’s inspiration for her experimental processes comes from her endless ambition to discover, create and explore development of photographs.

    “Understanding what makes a photograph is crucial. We can see that photography is all around us and has been throughout all of history,” she says. “There is no single photographic process, but many to be explored — each with their own history and thematic implications.”

    VISA student Emily MacDonald’s work focuses on the time-based photographic process and examines time itself.

    “This show reminds the viewer of the existence of time, whether it is the time they spend with the images or the time that goes into these pieces, as majority of the images are created through a time-based photographic process,” she says.

    MacDonald’s creations revolve around time, memories and space that are significant to her. She applies both analogue and digital processes for her work, noting a distinctive difference with each image she creates using analogue methods.

    “With digital photography, you can shoot a photo as many times as you want. With analogue photography, you must think about the images you take. I sit and look through my viewfinder, observing my subject and the surrounding area until I feel ready to take the photo.”

    Give us a Moment, which is open to the public, will be exhibited until Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, please visit the Current Exhibitions web page.

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  • Local arts awards give nods to Brock faculty

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts Associate Professor Donna Szoke engages with a class in her Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games exhibition space.


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    The nominees for this year’s St. Catharines Arts Awards include some familiar faces from the Brock community.

    Associate Professors Rachel Rensink-Hoff, from Brock’s Department of Music, and Amy Friend and Donna Szoke, from the Department of Visual Arts, have each been recognized for their contributions to the arts.

    Rensink-Hoff, who conducts the Brock University Choir and Sora Singers, and is the Artistic Director of the Avanti Chamber Singers, was nominated for the Art in Education Award. The past Vice-President of Programming for Choral Canada and past President of Choirs Ontario, she maintains an active career as an adjudicator, workshop clinician and juror both locally and across Canada.

    A woman wearing all black leans against a wall covered in vines.

    Art in Education Award Nominee and Associate Professor Rachel Rensink-Hoff.

    Friend and Szoke were each nominated in the Established Artist Award category.

    Friend, Chair of Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, has exhibited in a generous roster of national and international exhibitions, including the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition (U.K.), Gexto Photofestival (Spain), DongGang Photography Museum (Korea) and many more. Her work has also been featured in numerous publications such as California Sunday Magazine (U.S.), Archeology of Photography – Lux (Poland), Musée Magazine (U.S.) and Wired (U.S.).

    Szoke is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been shown in public art, interactive video installation, outdoor site-specific installation, publications, film festivals and galleries in Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. She has received numerous research awards and grants for her work, including from the Canada Council for the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017, she was awarded the Brock Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

    A female holds flowers under a tropical shelter with glass and film on a table.

    Established Artist Nominee and Department of Visual Arts

    Chair Amy Friend works on cameraless images in the field.

    Friend and Szoke recently collaborated for a shared exhibition this past summer in conjunction with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. Small Movements showcased their two projects, both funded by Brock’s VPR Canada Games Grants.

    City of St. Catharines Cultural Co-ordinator Ashley Judd-Rifkin says the awards celebrate the best of the local artistic community. “The outstanding individuals and organizations that have been nominated for the arts awards are all very deserving. Their commitment, creativity and contributions have made St. Catharines a more beautiful, vibrant and exciting place to live.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be livestreamed from Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. Details for the livestream will be shared through the City’s social media channels closer to the event.

    A full list of nominees is available on the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Brock mainstage production puts human behaviour, climate crisis in spotlight

    Brock University Dramatic Arts students will explore a variety of complex topics in AnthropoScene, this year’s fall mainstage production.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) is inviting the community to experience a journey through time and place in AnthropoScene.

    The fall mainstage production explores how the alienation that results from humans’ supremacist behaviour towards one another contributes to the climate crisis, as well as engages the ethics of theatricalizing the present climate emergency.

    AnthropoScene playfully mingles elements of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, real-life figures including Toussaint L’Ouverture and various youth climate justice activists, and fictional characters across multiple locations and time periods.

    The production, which debuts Friday, Oct. 28 and continues into the first week of November, involves one of the largest groups of students, faculty and staff in recent years. Twelve DART students will perform, as 30 others assist in creative and backstage roles. This original work is written and directed by David Fancy, designed by David Vivian, and choreographed by Trevor Copp and Colin Anthes, with live music performed by Devon Fornelli.

    “I’m so pleased at the skill and talent of the many students involved in creating this production, from actors to assistant designers, directors and sound designers — the list goes on,” says Fancy, a Brock DART Professor.

    Conveying so many complex elements within the production has been no easy task, but one the cast and crew have handled impressively, he says.

    “Our Dramatic Arts students have really shown courage and insight in dealing with the challenging materials that this play covers: self-harm, racism and environmental harm,” Fancy says. “They have also brought great verve and joy to the choreography, company dance numbers and comedic aspects of the project.”

    To help immerse audiences in multiple locations and time periods, the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre has taken on a new form.

    “I imagine the audience having an experience of poetry, drama, comedy, dance, beautiful design, light and sound that will transport them to different places and times,” Fancy says. “I’ve configured the theatre differently than it usually is in order to help the audience feel they are being brought somewhere else.”

    AnthropoScene opens Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Oct. 29 and 30, and Nov. 4 and 5. All shows take place at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in Downtown St. Catharines.

    roundtable discussion, also open to the public, will take place on the production stage Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m., with a panel of experts from Brock and other institutions discussing topics related to staging planetary evolution and destruction.

    Brock Professor of Art Education Fiona Blaikie will lead the discussion alongside Fancy; Vivian; Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Brock’s Posthumanism Research Institute; Katrina Dunn, Assistant Professor in the University of Manitoba’s Department of English, Theatre, Film and Media; Lin Snelling, a dancer whose artistic practice brings the qualities of improvisation into dance, theatre, writing, visual art and somatic practice; and Priya Thomas, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts at Brock.

    Tickets for AnthropoScene are $20 for the general public and $16 for students and seniors. For a full schedule of performances or to purchase tickets, visit the Brock University Tickets website.

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  • Dramatic Arts grad earns double Dora nomination

    Brock graduate Cass Van Wyck (right) performs in The Huns, for which she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. (Photo courtesy of Matt Hertendy).


    Originally published in The Brock News | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    For Brock University Dramatic Arts graduate Cass Van Wyck (BA ’13), two recent award nominations are about more than the potential hardware she could be taking home next week.

    The Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee believes the recognition is also a nod to the resilience of the performing arts community as it emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “When COVID hit, it was a very difficult time and there was a lack of motivation, especially given the restrictions,” she said. “As we slowly got back into it with the reopenings, the two productions I was part of were really a sign of resilience and a celebration of getting back into the rhythm of life.”

    Van Wyck said receiving two Dora Award nominations in the Outstanding Performance by an Individual in the Independent Theatre Division category for her performances in Minutes to Midnight and The Huns was “the cherry on top” and “ truly the surprise of a lifetime.”

    The Dora Awards recognize artistic excellence and unite the disciplines of theatre, dance and opera to celebrate and strengthen the performing arts in Toronto.

    Van Wyck is the Creative Director of One Four One Collective, an independent Canadian theatre and film production company that she and fellow Brock alumni launched after graduation.

    The production company’s name reflects their time at the University, where it all began.

    “We created the One Four One Collective as a way for all of us to collaborate and make productions together. The name of the company was a nod to one of our favourite rehearsal spaces in the basement of the Schmon Tower, where there was this beautiful space with floor-to-ceiling windows that looked over the escarpment,” Van Wyck said. “Although we don’t collaborate anymore, we still have a strong relationship, and they continue to be huge supporters of mine. I am constantly grateful for their lifelong friendship.”

    Van Wyck has put out a total of four productions under One Four One Collective and works as a Co-Artistic Director with the Assembly Theatre in Toronto. Both Minutes to Midnight and The Huns were collaborative projects by both production companies.

    She’s grateful for the support of the team she was surrounded by throughout the productions.

    “I was incredibly fortunate to work with remarkable artists this past year in both productions. The heart, resilience and strength are truly the reason these shows happened,” she said. “Producing and doing independent theatre work with little resources is hard in the regular world, but with a pandemic, it becomes nearly impossible. These nominations are a result of an amazing team that was able to come together. Even without the nominations, I am so proud of the work we’ve done together.”

    The Dora Mavor Moore Awards will be presented during a ceremony held Monday, Sept. 19 at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre in Toronto.

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  • Brock art exhibition inspired by Canada Games mascot, local wildlife

    Fourth-year Brock Visual Arts student and research assistant Emily MacDonald examines the camera-less photographs created for the Small Movements exhibit.


    Originally published in The Brock News | FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Many aspects of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games have inspired projects across Brock University — and the event’s mascot, Shelly, is no exception.

    The turtle’s impact has gone beyond the Games to influence two Brock projects now being showcased as part of an ongoing exhibition.

    Presented by Brock’s Department of Visual Arts (VISA), in conjunction with the Games, Small Movements highlights the work of Associate Professors Amy Friend and Donna Szoke. The exhibition was funded by the University’s VPR Canada Games grants.

    Szoke’s work, which saw her collaborate with Grade 1 and 2 students at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School in St. Catharines, creates a connection between the 2022 Canada Games, the local community and turtle conservancy.

    As part of the project, students experienced a virtual field trip to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC), where they learned about the organization’s important work and visited a hospital for recovering and resident turtles, as well as a nursery with eggs and hatchlings.

    Following their visit, students were given the opportunity to colour their own images of turtles, which were then scanned and animated by VISA fourth-year student Emily MacDonald and alumna Julie Luth (BA ’22). The scanned images were used to create an animation, which was then gifted back to the children, animators, the OTCC and the Canada Games.

    Painted Turtles from Donna Szoke on Vimeo.

    “The children’s approaches to drawing and painting are refreshing in their naiveté, gesture and palette,” says Szoke. “By inventing a platform for generating turtle images created by children, our research-creation team created a turtle animation meant to engage and inspire.”

    Meanwhile, Friend’s project investigates and bridges a connection between sports and Niagara’s regional ecosystems, with a specific focus on turtles. Also inspired by the Canada Games mascot, the project examines watersports that take place in habitats shared with turtles. It includes camera-less photographs, water samples from across the Niagara region, a sound component and digital photography.

    Friend used analogue photo practices to produce camera-less photographs with her creative research team, including research assistants Laurie Morrison and Sarah Martin (BA ’19). Morrison, a first-year VISA student, and Martin, a VISA alumna, worked on capturing and printing the project’s images. Morrison secured light-sensitive photo paper to a kayak, allowing an interaction to take place between paper and water, while Martin collected samples from local waterways and helped to edit and print images with Friend.

    Friend’s work also includes photos that were taken at the surface of the water with a digital camera.

    “The photographs were shot at the water’s surface, precisely where the paddles enter the water and where turtles swim,” she says. “My thought process for this approach was to establish a relationship between the act of paddling or rowing through the water and the movements made by turtles as they move through the water.”

    Research assistant and recent graduate Qiushuang Xia (BA ’22) took photographs across the region’s waterways. Xia also captured the sound component that accompanies the project, recording from some of the same sites that were explored to create the images in the exhibition.

    Small Movements is open now until Oct. 1 at the Marilyn I. Walker Visual Arts Gallery and Student Exhibition Space. There will be a reception with the artists on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. More information is available on the exhibit web page.

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  • Public invited to explore Brock’s downtown arts school Saturday

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


    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, AUG. 18, 2022 | by

    The Niagara community will have the chance to explore Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) this weekend while learning about the building’s past and present.

    The downtown St. Catharines facility, which houses Brock’s Departments of Dramatic Arts, Music and Visual Arts as well as the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC), will host a series of guided tours as part of Doors Open St. Catharines on Saturday, Aug. 20. Tours will take place at 10 and 11:30 a.m., and 1 and 2:30 p.m., with no registration required.

    Adapted from the historic Canada Hair Cloth Building, the MIWSFPA is a state-of-the-art learning facility that acts as a creative cultural hub for St. Catharines and surrounding areas.

    As part of this weekend’s event, STAC will have a collection of publications on display by the Small Walker Press (SWP). SWP publishes collaborative work that brings together authors and artists from the Niagara region as well as from Canadian or international contexts.

    The works explore all disciplines and creative practices taught and researched at the MIWSFPA (arts and culture, visual arts, music and dramatic arts) as well as creative writing. For more information about the SWP and publications available at Doors Open St. Catharines, please visit the STAC website.

    A full list of places participating in Doors Open St. Catharines is available on the event’s website.

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  • Canada Games Research Spotlight: Karen Fricker

    Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Karen Fricker is leading a research team that is exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators through their project “Circus on the Canal.”


    Originally published in The Brock News| THURSDAY, JULY 07, 2022

    NOTE: This is the latest in a series of Q&A stories featuring Brock University faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games into their research projects. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games

    Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, is author of the monograph, The Original Stage Productions of Robert Lepage: Making Theatre Global, which recently won the Canadian Association of Theatre Research’s 2022 Ann Saddlemyer Award for the best book on a Canadian theatre studies topic published in a given year. She is the co-director of the international research project Circus and its Others, a theatre critic at the Toronto Star and is involved in a number of research projects about the future of theatre criticism.

    Fricker is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2020-21 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, she discusses her research project titled “Circus on the Canal: Exploring connections between water sports, circus and spectators.” 

    Please give a brief overview of your research project. 

    Circus on the Canal is a collaboration between me and circus artist and producer Holly Treddenick of Femmes du Feu Creations, who is based in downtown Welland at the Bank Arts Centre.

    This summer, we are working on the second phase of this project; this phase, and the first phase, have been funded by the VPR Canada Games Grant program. In this phase, Holly will work with two Brock student athletes — one a diver, the other, swimmer Ashley Falconer — in further developing choreography for a circus performance inspired by the athletes’ physicality and embodiment. Initial work on this choreography happened during the first project phase in the summer of 2020. The project also involves Welland-based Indigenous artist Kitsuné Soleil, who is working with Holly on incorporating knowledge about the local waterways into the performance. Hamilton-based designer Tanis McArthur is the costume designer, and a local musician will also be part of the project.

    What do you expect will be the outcome of your research? 

    The outcome of this phase of the research will be an in-progress performance taking place Aug. 11 or 12 at the Lincoln Docks in Welland, at sunset. The audience for this free performance will include invited guests as well as any members of the community who would like to attend.

    How will this contribute to knowledge or understanding of the Canada Summer Games?  

    A central goal of the production is to explore links between high-performance athleticism and circus performance, both of which involve intensive physical training and a deep connection to the relationship between mind and body. The performance is intended to inspire audiences to consider these links and to appreciate the skill, dedication and mastery of Canada Games athletes and circus performers alike. The performance, which will be outdoors and highly visible, will heighten local awareness of the Games. The performance is also likely to enhance the experience of sports spectators and sportspeople by adding a creative and aesthetic element to the Games.

    How did you become interested in this research? 

    Contemporary circus is one of my central areas of research as a theatre and performance scholar. I am the co-director of the Circus and its Others (CaiO) international research network, which has organized three conferences (Montreal, 2016; Prague, 2018; Davis, 2021). We’re in the early stages of planning the next conference in Colombia in 2023 and are working on a co-edited special journal issue following the 2021 conference. It’s through my CaiO work that I got to know Holly, who is a dynamic producer and artist, and is passionate about bringing circus to Welland and the Niagara region, which is underserved for arts and culture.

    How do you plan on sharing your research?

    The outcome of this phase of the project is the public work-in-progress performance in August. There will be a social media campaign in the run-up to the performance that will further share knowledge and information about it.

    Do you have any advice or tips on how colleagues in your Faculty can incorporate the Canada Games into their research? 

    Be creative and think laterally!

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  • Brock’s MIWSFPA achieves Gold LEED certification

    Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts recently achieved Gold LEED certification.


    Originally published in The Brock News FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2022

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) recently joined Brock University’s list of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings.

    As a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership, LEED provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon- and cost-saving green buildings.

    LEED projects earn points by adhering to prerequisites and credits across nine measurements for building excellence, from integrative design to human health to material use. The LEED rating systems work for most buildings at most phases of development and are meant to challenge project teams and inspire outside-the-box solutions.

    While most LEED certifications are given to newly constructed facilities, the MIWSFPA was rated in the Building Operations and Management (O+M) category, as the building underwent work to improve its already existing structure.

    Construction of the downtown St. Catharines arts school, completed in 2015, included the redevelopment of the former Canada Hair Cloth Building, which dates back to the 19th century. The MIWSFPA now provides state-of-the-art studios, exhibition spaces, performance venues, digital classrooms and learning commons for students in fine and performing arts programs. Modern features have been added to the building, while still retaining as much of the character and original structure as possible.

    “The majority of the costs and environmental impacts of a building occur during the life cycle of the asset, not during construction,” says Mary Quintana, Director, Asset Management and Utilities with Brock’s Facilities Management. “By pursuing LEED O+M, Brock is demonstrating its commitment to long-term thinking as part of its commitment to sustainability and world-class operations.”

    Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and have a significant impact on health and well-being.

    According to the U.S. Green Building Council and a study conducted by the U.S Department of Energy, in the U.S. alone, buildings account for almost 40 per cent of national carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — more than both the industrial and transportation sectors combined. LEED-certified buildings have 34 per cent less CO2 emissions, consume 25 per cent less energy and 11 per cent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.

    Over the past several years, Brock’s Facilities Management team has worked diligently to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the MIWSFPA in categories such as energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, water efficiency, and more.

    There are four levels of LEED certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum. After applying for certification and undergoing a technical review, the arts school received a score of 75 out of 100, just five points shy of reaching the platinum level.

    “This is an exciting achievement for the University and its progress toward sustainable innovation and development,” Quintana says. “Achieving LEED certification is proof that the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is going above and beyond to ensure the space is operated to the highest level of sustainability, providing a healthier and more comfortable space to work and study in.”

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written by Alexandra Cotrufo, a Master of Sustainability candidate and research assistant at Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.

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