Faculty & Instructors

  • What I want you to see is this…

    A group exhibition providing a glimpse into the lives of students.

    NOV 21, 2022 – JAN. 15, 2023
    Opening Reception: Nov. 25 from 4 – 7 p.m.
    Hallway gallery, adjacent to the MIW Theatre

    If you had 2-3 minutes, and you wanted an audience to know what it was like, in 2022, to be you, as a student, what would you say/display? What demands does the academic institution place on you?

    Encouraged to address the challenges they encounter at university, and taking inspiration from activities interlocking various concepts, participants in Social Class and Social Conflict (Criminology, Department of Sociology, Brock University) made photos of their environment and told their stories in short audio recordings. The result are short videos exemplifying individual experiences that would otherwise go unrepresented.

    The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture invites visitors to enter a respectful space, listen to these poignant testimonials, and see what the students want us to see.

    Participating artists include:

    Ahaz
    Shakur
    Blake Gowling
    Colter Styrna
    Daniel Zelazko
    Emilie Oakes
    Ermal
    Faith Westman
    Gage Mitchener
    Hiral
    Isha Brar
    Lauren
    Lee Marie
    Madelyn Sturgeon
    Maeve Martin
    Mary Oghene
    Meera
    Morgan Damery
    Nicole N. Mellor
    Nisha U
    Noor Warraich
    Rashika
    Sara Ourga
    Zonny Boateng

    and two anonymous contributors.

    Curators: David Vivian, Catherine Parayre, and Miles Howe
    Assistant Curator: Gertrude Brew


    Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise

    Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise is a rotating exhibit of material culture in two display cases situated in the east alcove on the second floor between the theatre entrances of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The program consists of five exhibits, including objects and evidence of course outcomes and workshops delivered by special guests (including a Walker Cultural Leader for 2022-23). “Boîte-en-valise” is an expression coined by avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp to refer to the aesthetic value of collecting and assembling.

    The small thematic curated exhibitions will have a duration of 4-6 weeks up to 4 months duration. The onsite program will rotate to display cases of the James Gibson Library when possible and will be amplified and celebrated in related communication pieces and image galleries posted to the STAC website.

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  • Small Walker Press’ newest publication: Cloud

    The Small Walker Press announces our new publication, Cloud, by Donna Szőke with essays by Stuart Reid and Emily Rosamond.

    Cloud (10 Oct. 2015–17 Jan. 2016) and Satellite (19 Oct.–28 Nov. 2015) were two parallel exhibitions by artist Donna Szőke, held respectively at Rodman Hall Art Centre and, on the other bank of Twelve Mile Creek, at the Art Gallery of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University. Curated by Stuart Reid, they echoed each other, but were also conceived as two independent projects. The present catalogue focuses on Cloud, an exhibition whose apparent simplicity or incongruity elicits an adroit treatment of complex facts.

    56 pages, 18 illustrations
    e-book, free access

    Donna Szőke. Cloud
    Stuart Reid. Essay
    Emily Rosamond. Essay
    Graphic design by Lauren Wickware
    ISBN 978-1-990208-19-5

    brocku.ca/miwsfpa/stac/small-walker-press

    Published through generous support provided by Rodman Hall Art Centre, Ontario Arts Council, Office of Research Services at Brock University, and Centre 3 (Hamilton).

    This e-book was launched on Oct 04, 2022 at the SWP Book Launch for 2022 and is available in the digital repository of the Small Walker Press at dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/16730

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  • Small Walker Press publications examine colonial histories, love poems

    The Small Walker Press held a book fair in the James A. Gibson Library for the students and public to explore and learn about their publications.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022 | by Charles Kim

    Brock’s Small Walker Press (SWP) has launched its newest publications.

    On Oct. 4, as part of its Walker Cultural Leaders Series, the SWP and Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) hosted authors, editors, artists and the public to mark the release of BENEATH A VELVET MOON: Early Love Poems and Possible Grounds: Redrawing Relations in Toronto.

    The SWP publishes collaborative work that brings together authors and artists from the Niagara region as well as the Canadian or international contexts. Fields covered include all disciplines and creative practices taught and researched at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts as well as creative writing.

    Possible Grounds: Redrawing Relations in Toronto features artists Adrian Blackwell (settler) and Bonnie Devine (Anishinaabe), who share their thoughts on and experiences of mapping the complex colonial histories of these lands, and question the region’s historical records. Blackwell and Devine also offer commentary on their works exhibited in 2018 and 2019.

    In BENEATH A VELVET MOON, Early Love Poems, Canadian artist Landon Mackenzie selects nine poems by E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake, and reimagines the amorous relationship between the Mohawk poet and the artist’s settler great-grandfather, Michael Mackenzie, in the 1880s. For these autofictional explorations, Mackenzie takes her title from one of Johnson’s early love poems in The White Wampum, first published in 1895 by John Lane’s Bodley Head publishing house.

    The launch event featured guest speaker Derek Knight, Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture and founding co-editor of the SWP, who led a lecture exploring the text, images and connections some of the publications shared with the Niagara region.

    Following the launch, the SWP also held a book fair in the James A. Gibson Library. Many students stopped to explore the SWP collection and learn more about the press and the academic opportunities with STAC. Catherine Parayre, Editor of the SWP and STAC Professor, shared her insights on the publications and introduced many students to the details each book had to offer.

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  • Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise

    Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise is a rotating exhibit of material culture in two display cases situated in the east alcove on the second floor between the theatre entrances of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The program consists of five exhibits, including objects and evidence of course outcomes and workshops delivered by special guests (including a Walker Cultural Leader for 2022-23). “Boîte-en-valise” is an expression coined by avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp to refer to the aesthetic value of collecting and assembling.

    The small thematic curated exhibitions will have a duration of 4-6 weeks up to 4 months duration. The onsite program will rotate to display cases of the James Gibson Library when possible and will be amplified and celebrated in related communication pieces and image galleries posted to the STAC website.

    Q: What-happened-Then

    A: This Happened: Stories and Masks

    Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise

    Sept 14, 2022 – Nov 20, 2022

    Second Floor East Alcove between Theatre Entrances

    The learning in, research about and presentation of material culture and curatorial practice is at the core of the academic program of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture and the activities of the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture (STAC). Courses in curatorial practice (STAC 3P40 and 3P41), writing and language about the arts (STAC 1P96, 1P97, 3P99), Critical Practice and Embodied Text: Art Beyond the Artifact (STAC 2P93, 2P94) are some of the scheduled learning opportunities in this subject field for students at STAC. This learning and research is part of all three Concentrations at STAC:  Concentration in Languages, Arts and Culture; Concentration in Cultural Transmission and Heritage Studies; and the Concentration in Cultural Management.

    Following upon the learning of STAC 3P42 (2021-22) where students explored the concepts of the ‘micro-museum’/vernacular curating/everyday museum(s) STAC proposes a project that would invite students to curate a small space, bi/weekly/monthly. This would allow students to engage with material culture (integrating with a courses in STAC and VISA/HAVC), as well as explore conceptual and oscillating notions of contemporary curating, while running as an ongoing and evolving project within the walls of the school – a sort of extension of the gallery, conceptually, and to offer students a small exploratory space. Students would explore objects/themes of interest, conceptual brainstorming and participate in a short exercise in writing. This would become a student experience to support professionalization of their learning and practice of curation, providing a ‘micro’ curated piece/project, associated with the school/department, to be added to their CV. Components of the student learning experience include assisting with the development of documentation/photographing their own tiny exhibitions, and assisting with creating content to share, and/or perhaps developing an Instagram page dedicated to this project, planning forward for a renewed annual project and incorporating a catalogue and related best practices.

    Photo Credit: Stephanie Dancer

    Stephanie Dancer

    I’ve been busy. My busyness is partially a learned behaviour, and it doubles as a coping mechanism for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), a mental health condition that I’ve struggled with for fifteen years.

    I like to describe CPTSD as drowning with a straw in your mouth. If you stop struggling you can get a few wisps of air, but it’s never enough to stop the sensation of drowning so inevitably you begin to struggle and flail for more air again.

    In March 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdowns started in Ontario, I was already in poor mental health. A major relationship had ended months prior in a traumatic way and I was completely alone for the first time ever.

    At this time I was just returning from a frantic trip from the US back to Canada. I returned to an empty home and had to quarantine, followed by shutting down the business that I had worked so hard for. It remained closed for a year and a half. I was devastated.

    I then experienced one of the most interesting and disturbing experiences I have ever had, unregulated CPTSD symptoms. For the first time, I saw myself as myself. I had nothing and no one to use as a regulation tool and I was suddenly experiencing the unbridled waves of this condition.

    Along with intense flashbacks, extreme anxiety, and paranoia to name a few of the long list of symptoms this condition brings, dissociation is among the worst of them. Being in a dissociative state sometimes feels like just waking up from a dream or being far away and watching your life happen down a hallway. There are moments of lucidity but it’s mixed in with all of the other symptoms, so they are heartbreakingly fleeting.

    Time loss in these states is one of the most insidious parts. It feels like the panic you experience when you wake up and realize you’ve slept too long. Where did the time go? What did I do? How did that happen? I tried hard to not let that happen.

    During a particularly intense bout of dissociation, I fell and broke my foot. I was ashamed of myself. My broken foot made everything harder. I have an eating disorder that requires proper maintenance and I struggled to shop for groceries and make food. Cleaning became an almost impossible task. My knees and back became increasingly sore from crawling my staircase and traversing my house.

    I am fortunate and privileged to have a psychotherapist. Luckily, she had the foresight to recommend triple the amount of therapy during this time. I am forever grateful for that.

    My life became a series of symptoms, pain, management, sprinkled with flecks of tiny improvements.

    The mask I have made represents the pain that I experienced during this time. I used straight pins to represent the depth of pain and sorrow I was experiencing internally. The pins penetrate the mask and create a bed of sharp ends, while the heads of the pins create a colourful mosaic that is appealing and unassuming for any person who would see me adorned in this mask. These pins rest on my face as I read this poem, threatening to cause me pain and some succeeding.

    Explore More from this Project

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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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  • First Studies in Arts and Culture certificate recipient making mark in industry

    Skye Rogers, the first recipient of Brock University’s Certificate in Arts and Culture Studies, will debut her project ‘PLAYGROUNDS: a joyful happening’ on Saturday, July 16 at In the Soil Arts Festival.


    Originally published in The Brock News | WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2022 | by 

    For the first recipient of Brock University’s Certificate in Arts and Culture Studies, the sky’s the limit.

    Skye Rogers, who received the first certificate from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) this spring, has been using the knowledge she amassed at Brock to further her career.

    The one-year certificate program was a draw for the St. Catharines native, who returned to her hometown in spring 2021 upon completing her studies at Randolph College for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

    “It was a perfect time to get some more learning under my belt,” Rogers says. “The STAC program really allowed me to dive deeper into my interests in art history and the flexibility that I had in my course selection allowed me to continue my more hands-on learning in dramatic and visual arts.”

    Rogers says she found her time with STAC “academically enriching.”

    “The program set me up well with more of the entrepreneurial skills needed to be an artist,” she says. “Applying my knowledge was really significant for me and getting to research my own interests for our final project was crucial.”

    With her newly acquired skills and knowledge, Rogers is now flourishing professionally.

    “I’m so excited to be involved in some artist residencies this summer, including the Nest Residency with Suitcase in Point and In the Soil Arts Festival,” she says. “I’ve been developing a project called ‘PLAYGROUND: a joyful happening’ that’s centred around rekindling childlike joy, connecting with strangers, and reclaiming city spaces through play.”

    Her new project will debut at Nest Fest on Saturday, July 16 as part of the In the Soil Festival Summer Series. Nest Fest will also include participants from Suitcase in Point’s Electric Innovations Theatre Intensive. This two-week intensive theatre program will be hosted at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    Reflecting on her studies, Rogers says it’s the connections she made during her time at Brock that she cherishes most.

    “All of my in-person group projects were especially profound. Art is all about connection for me, and that element must be kept sacred,” she says. “I could chat with a classmate, or even a professor, and develop a friendship with our shared interests.”

    More information on the Certificate in Arts and Culture Studies program is available on the STAC website.

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  • Spring and Summer learning at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture

    The Centre for Studies in Arts in Culture (STAC) is excited to welcome students for the Spring and Summer sessions of 2022.

    THE CULTURE OF NOISE: STAC 1P99

    Offered annually as a Spring/Summer course by STAC at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), STAC 1P99 explores the role of noise in music, art and social spaces. Students explore discursive issues concerning the value of sound studies. This is an online asynchronous course taught this year by Fan Wu, a sound poet who collaborates with Toronto musicians Prince Nifty, Vibrant Matter, and other sound artists.  Fan is based in Toronto and Kingston and is the cofounder of the Toronto Experimental Translation Collective.

    In May 2021 the course was taught by Ryan Bruce, ethnomusicologist, jazz historian and saxophonist. Learn more about the previous offering of the course and listen to some of the students’ projects. In previous years the course has also been taught by Marlie Centawer, a photographer, artist, writer, musician, and archivist now based in the UK.

    SPORTS IN ARTS AND CULTURE: STAC 3V91

    From paintings of the Olympiads in Antiquity, to the photography of today’s sports events, through to the history of popular street games in Canadian art, music, festivals and opening ceremonies at the games, aesthetic gymnastics and athletic performances. Sports has a long, rich cultural tradition.

    Learn about sports, arts and culture during the historic 2022 Canada Summer Games hosted at Brock University in Niagara. An Interdisciplinary approach to the representation of sports and sport events in the arts, the course has an emphasis on Canadian production. This is an online asynchronous course taught by Andrew Tye, a celebrated Niagara educator and creator of the course. The course runs from July through August.

    The courses can be found on the university timetable. For more information, please contact: stac@brocku.ca

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  • Student-run podcast provides guidance, inspiration for future artists

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines is home to the student-run podcast, Dear Marilyn, named in honour of the late textile artist and philanthropist.

    Originally published in The Brock News | TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2022 | by 

    What started as a passion project for two Brock University students in search of career tips has become a robust podcast series providing invaluable insight to the next generation of creators.

    Produced for students by students, the popular podcast Dear Marilyn is now in its second season of connecting the student community with professional artists, with plans to continue production on an ongoing basis.

    Created in 2021 by Dramatic Arts (DART) students Danielle Letourneau and Luca D’Amico, the podcast name honours celebrated textile artist, philanthropist and arts advocate Marilyn I. Walker. In 2008, Walker made a historic donation to Brock that led to the creation of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA).

    Letourneau, the podcast’s producer who is now in her fourth year of study with a concentration in Drama and Education and minor in History, says that she has often felt anxiety about entering theatre as a profession.

    “I started this podcast to give students like myself a resource for practical job advice,” Letourneau said. “The arts industry is not always considered the most conventional career path, but we do it because this is what we love; the arts nurture our souls.”

    Supported by Dean Carol Merriam of the Faculty of Humanities through the Dean’s Discretionary Fund in 2021, the Associate Dean of Fine and Performing Arts and MIWSFPA department Chairs, the Dear Marilyn team invites local and surrounding artists from a range of artistic disciplines to share their stories.

    Co-hosts Hayley Bando, a second-year Dramatic Arts major with a concentration in Production and Design, and Chloe Racho, a third-year Music major with a minor in French Studies, are thrilled to be part of the project.

    “We are honoured to help bring these diverse perspectives about professional journeys in the arts to the Brock community,” Bando said.

    Recent podcast guests include actor, writer and producer Thet Win, voice actor Keegan Vaillancourt and singer-songwriter Glenn Marais.

    MIWSFPA faculty have been supportive since day one, with Karen Fricker, Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts, championing the podcast idea in its early stages.

    “I was happy to support Dear Marilyn initially because it’s a great idea, and a positive student-led project during the hard time of the pandemic,” she said. “I looked forward to each episode and was entertained and educated by the hosts’ sparky exchanges with guests.”

    DART Associate Professor Gyllian Raby guided the grant proposal for Dear Marilyn resulting in the expansion of the podcast to include all four departments at the downtown arts campus (Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts and Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture).

    “What’s not to like about Dear Marilyn? It relates directly to our mission to create experiential, professionalized learning for students producing, hosting, editing and broadcasting,” Raby said. “And, it’s entertaining and insightful.”

    DART Associate Professor Danielle Wilson has been working with the team on the second season. Episodes are edited by Alex Sykes, a fourth-year DART student with a concentration in Production and Design.

    Available on Spotify, the next episode goes live this week. For the latest news, follow Dear Marilyn on Instagram.

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  • An Introduction to the Small Walker Press


    Watch this brief introduction and learn more about small press publishing
    at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture.

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  • STAC and VISA students explore curation with arts industry experts

    Brock University students from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) and Visual Arts (VISA) at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) are having important conversations with arts professionals around the curatorial function of museums, galleries, and cultural organizations.

    Students enrolled in STAC/VISA 3P42 Methods and Principles of Curating will be participating in a field trip to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum and upcoming classroom discussions with professionals from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Yale University Art Gallery.

    The events are led by Instructor Sonya de Lazzer, Gallery Coordinator at the Visual Arts Gallery & Student Exhibition Space at the MIWSFPA. Sonya is an alumni of the Visual Arts Program at Brock (BA Honours). In 2013, she obtained her M.A. in Art History from University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and is currently completing her PhD in Art and Visual Culture at Western University. Sonya brings extensive experience from the museum and art gallery world, where she worked as a Programming and Curatorial Assistant at a local art gallery and museum for several years, developing her exhibition writing and installation skillsets.


    Upcoming class events (not open to the public):

    March 7 – Exploring Experiences: Conversations Around Curating
    Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum: Shawna Butts, Assistant Curator & Education Programming
    Students will be toured through the historical society and view current exhibitions and learn about the way in which these sites collect and care for their collection(s).

    March 21 – Exploring Experiences: Conversations Around Curating
    Nick Clemens, Preparator, Royal Ontario Museum
    Preparator and museum professional Nick Clemens will be joining the classroom to share his many experiences working with art/artefacts/objects at the Royal Ontario Museum. The class will explore the need for mindfulness and respect for the object as it relates to the curatorial practice, and the care that goes into curating and presenting a work to an audience.

    March 28 – Exploring Experiences: Conversations Around Curating
    Where Collections Live: Roksana Filipowska PhD, Wurtele Study Center Programs and Outreach Manager, Yale university Art Gallery
    Dr. Roksana Filipowska joins the classroom for a virtual exploration and conversation on open and visible storage. Filipowska works as Programs and Outreach Manager at the Wurtele Study Centre, Yale University Art Gallery. Students will engage in discussing the importance of collection visibility, as well as learn about the many challenges that many collections face regarding storage.

    These events are supported by an Experiential Education grant from the Co-op, Career & Experiential Education Office.

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