Future Students

  • ‘Someone Lives Here’ – Free Community Screening and Panel Discussion

    SOMEONE LIVES HERE – Free Community Screening & Panel Discussion
    presented by Rad Snax and hosted by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Saturday, November 18, 7:00 pm

    Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON L2R 0B5,
    Room MWS 156.

    Ground level with elevator and accessible washrooms. Event is free. No childcare. If you have additional accessibility needs, please reach out to us.

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    Throughout the COVID pandemic, Toronto has seen a catastrophic increase in homelessness. Sick of seeing his city unable to care for its unhoused people, Khaleel Seivwright quit his job as a full-time carpenter and dedicated himself to building insulated shelters—called “tiny shelters.”

    Innovatively using body temperature for heating, Khaleel’s efforts garnered international media attention, leading Toronto to propose a possible partnership—only to reverse its decision a week later.

    Capturing the ups and downs of Khaleel’s brilliant intervention, Someone Lives Here also features the voices of those experiencing homelessness, including the articulate and philosophical Taka. The film poignantly captures the City of Toronto’s costly $1.9 million clearance of Toronto’s park encampments, asking all the right questions: What makes Toronto unable and unwilling to address this humanitarian crisis? Why are people like Khaleel being prevented from trying to find solutions?

    Who do we prioritize in this city? A sobering and maddening watch.
    Film description by Hot Docs programmer Aisha Jamal.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt27366407/

    Winner – Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2023

    Winner – Bill Nemtin Award for Best Social Impact Documentary, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, 2023

    —- This presentation is organized by Rad Snax with the participation of community partners.

    Guests include Khaleel Seivwright who will participate in a panel discussion after the film with:

    Patty Krawec, an indigenous author and activist, moderator

    https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2107428931725

    Alicia Marshall, a local social service provider and advocate for unhoused folks
    https://twitter.com/Aliciaadvocate

    Sabrina Shawana, Anishinaabe Nation, Eagle Clan, tireless advocate for her People, and who established the Strong Water Singers in 2015.

    Brock grad and researcher Sarah Lukaszczyk, who has just returned from the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference, previously with Housing Help Centre, and who has written about the City of St. Catharines rhetoric of compassion, exposing participation in the Compassionate Cities movement as hollow municipal marketing.

    among others.

    See the FB posting for more info: https://fb.me/e/1ANjJFyH9


    Approximately 100 people participated in the evening program.  Seen below (l-r) are Sarah Lukaszczyk, Alicia Marshall, Khaleel Seivwright, Sabrina Shawana and moderator Patty Krawec during the post-screening discussion. Thank-you to Hilary of Game Theory Films for the opportunity to share this film with the community.

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • STAC at the Makerspace with workshops to teach creative technologies skills

    Makerspace Assistant and fourth-year Studies in Arts and Culture student Christy Mitchell removes a model from a 3D printer. The Brock community is invited to participate in an Intro to 3d Printing workshop on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. in the Makerspace.

    published in the Brock News on Friday 03, November 2023

    The Brock University Library Makerspace is providing students, staff and faculty with opportunities to develop new skills in 3D printing, modelling and animation as well as podcasting through a series of upcoming introductory workshops.

    The free in-person sessions, held in RFP 203, are intended to help participants build their confidence working with 3d Studio Max, a professional 3D modelling, animation and rendering application, and Blender, an open-source 3D creation suite.

    “All of the workshops teach participants from scratch,” says Makerspace Technician and Facilitator Zak Mason. “No previous experience is required; however, for optimal learning, we recommended participants commit to doing both in the same week when sessions are offered in two parts.”

    Also offered this semester are drop-in times for miniature painting and musical jam sessions.

    “Come hang out with like-minded people and make some new friends,” says Mason. “We supply everything you need except the appetite to learn new skills.”

    Upcoming workshops include:

    Introduction to Podcasting

    • Monday, Nov. 6 at 11 a.m.
    • Monday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m.
    • Monday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m.

    3D Modelling in Blender – A two-part series

    • Part 1: Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m.
    • Part 2: Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 1 p.m.
    • Part 1: Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m.
    • Part 2: Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m.

    Introduction to 3d Studio Max

    • Part 1: Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.
    • Part 2: Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.
    • Part 1: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.
    • Part 2: Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

    Introduction to 3D printing

    • Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.

    Miniature Model Painting

    • Friday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.
    • Friday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.

    Jam Sessions

    • Thursdays Nov. 9, 16, 23, 30 and Dec. 7 starting at 1:30 p.m.

    To learn more or to register for a workshop visit ExperienceBU.

    Drop-in hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

    Additional learning resources, such as self-directed tutorials and an online tour of the Makerspace, are available on the Brock University Library Makerspace website.

    Questions about workshops and the Makerspace can be emailed to makerspace@brocku.ca

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, STAC Courses, Uncategorised

  • Thousands of prospective Brock students to explore campus Sunday

    Originally published in the Brock News, November 01, 2023.

    Brock will welcome thousands of potential Badgers and their families to campus Sunday, Nov. 5 to get a glimpse of the University’s renowned student experience. Representatives from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture will be present.

    Academic programs, extracurricular activities, student supports and campus services will be among the highlights of Brock’s annual Fall Preview Day, which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both the University’s main campus and the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

    The University’s largest on-campus recruiting event will offer visitors a chance to attend Faculty- and program-specific presentations, explore residences and various labs and facilities, attend an 80-booth information fair and tour the scenic campus on the Niagara escarpment as they learn about all that Brock has to offer.

    “This year, Fall Preview Day comes on the heels of Brock employees and volunteers making connections with students across the province at the popular Ontario Universities’ Fair in Toronto, previously held in September,” says Kara Kelly, Manager, Recruitment Operations and Communications. “We’re excited to see that momentum continue as students arrive to experience campus for themselves and learn more about Brock’s outstanding academic offerings, its dedicated faculty and staff, and the wealth of supports available here to help them on their path to success.”

    In addition to a packed schedule of presentations, dozens of tours and drop-in opportunities will welcome prospective students into labs and classrooms across campus, visiting a variety of spaces such as Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, the newly opened Black Student Success Centre, Nursing Clinical Simulation Lab and Brock Functional Inclusive Training Centre, where health sciences students lead exercise and wellness programming for local seniors. A shuttle will also be available from the main campus for visitors interested in exploring Brock’s downtown arts school.

    While many of the attendees are typically high school applicants, the day will also feature information for transfer and mature students interested in pursuing their studies at Brock.

    “Brock offers a variety of pathways to higher learning, and we encourage people interested in finding out more to come out on Sunday and speak with our knowledgeable staff,” Kelly says.

    The MIWSFPA-specific program includes:

    Sunday, November 5,11 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

    Information Fair, Ian Beddis Gymnasium
    MIWSFPA tables
    11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

    Humanities presentation
    South Block 202
    11:15 a.m.- noon.
    Meet the Dean and Associate Dean of Humanities, to learn about the first-year experience in the Humanities. Information will include departments, programs, and key contacts.

    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts presentation
    South Block 202
    12:15-12:55 p.m.
    Meet the Dean and Associate Dean, Fine & Performing Arts to learn about the first-year experience as students in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Information will include departments, programs, and key contacts, followed by a tour of MIWSFPA downtown.

    Experience Humanities (Walking Tour)
    Meet outside of South Block 202
    1 p.m.
    Visit each department in the Faculty of Humanities on our main campus, with students from many programs in attendance to convey real-life experiences. There will be drop offs at Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Centre for Digital Humanities, English, History, Philosophy, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Canadian Studies, and Classics. Learn more about student spaces, faculty office hours, and how to get involved in special Humanities events.

    Experience MIWSFPA (Tours)
    Gather at the Brock Statue
    1 p.m.
    You’ll be taken via bus downtown to the MIWSFPA, and a shuttle will take you back to main campus at 2:45 p.m.

    Program Specific Tours for Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Art, and Studies in Arts and Culture.
    15 Artists’ Common, downtown St. Catharines (main Lobby doors)
    1:30-2:30
    Tour the classrooms, studios, and rehearsal spaces that you will be learning in during your time at MIWSFPA. Your Program Chair or Director will be available for questions you may have, along with students to convey their real-life experiences at the School. Parking also available on-site.

    MIWSFPA Open Tour
    15 Artists’ Common, downtown St. Catharines (main Lobby doors)
    3:00-4:00
    Tour the classrooms, studios, and rehearsal spaces that you will be learning in during your time at MIWSFPA. Parking available on-site.

    For more information or to register for Fall Preview Day, visit the event website.

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Future Students, In the Media, News, Uncategorised

  • Join us on Nov. 2 for Lan ‘Florence’ Yee: Sharper Tools for Unripe Fruit

    Image: Lan ‘Florence’ Yee

    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture and Walker Cultural Leader Series:

    Lan ‘Florence’ Yee: Sharper Tools for Unripe Fruit

    Online and onsite artist talk
    STAC 2P93 — Critical Practice in the Fine & Performing Arts
    Thursday, Nov. 2 from 7 to 9 p.m.

    Spanning media from textiles to signage, Lan “Florence” Yee’s interdisciplinary practice uses text and labour-intensive creation. Inspired by the socio-political and personal history of Cantonese displacement, Lan explores what Desmond Wong calls “the intersection of filiality and arrival.”

    The public is invited to join us in MWS 156 to attend Lan Yee’s virtual presentation or to join us on zoom.
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts
    Art and Val Fleming Smart Presentation Classroom
    MWS 156, MIWSFPA , 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines

    The presentation is also available to view online,
    please register ahead of time via Zoom.

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  • Derek Knight: PLACES, A Flâneur’s Eye opens October 27 at the MIWSFPA

    Photo credit: Derek J.J. Knight, Gaston Lachaise, Floating Figure, 1927 (cast 1935), Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (© dk 2018).

    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture presents

    Derek Knight: PLACES, A Flâneur’s Eye
    October 27, 2023 to January 13, 2024

    Exhibition opening: Friday, October 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.
    Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise
    (2nd floor by the Theatre entrance), MIWSFPA
    15 Artists Common, St. Catharines

    Museums and galleries draw prestige from their architecture, geographic locale or historical significance, while compelling works of art, performances, and public expressions of creativity galvanize the diversity of art both within sanctioned institutional spaces and the ‘non-spaces’ that have the capacity to take on resonance.

    Derek Knight: PLACES, A Flâneur’s Eye documents Knight’s museum visits over the last decade in North America and Europe.

    Curators: Catherine Parayre and David Vivian
    Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture

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  • An excellent year of learning for students in Studies in Arts and Culture

    Faculty and instructors teaching courses in the STAC program are planning for an exciting year of courses in the fall/winter 2023-24 sessions, including those offered by the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture and those offered by affiliated programs, namely Canadian StudiesCommunication, Popular Culture and FilmDramatic ArtsGeography and Tourism Studies, Goodman School of BusinessHistoryModern Languages, Literatures and CulturesMusicSociology, and Visual Arts.

    If you are seeking full-time or part-time learning opportunities beginning in September, please reach out to the academic advisor Elizabeth Maddeaux rmaddeaux@brocku.ca or the Director of the Centre, David Vivian dvivian@brocku.ca for more information.

    Many of the courses on offer have minimal prerequisite requirements, and in every case we are happy to provide permission to register for students who bring appropriate alternate learning and experience to the courses.

    We look forward to meeting our students in September!


    Spectating the arts in Niagara – Fall 2023

    STAC 2P93 Critical Practice in the Fine and Performing Arts, is an interdisciplinary approach to key ideas about music, art, dance and drama through critical readings and guided exposure to selected public fine and performing art events. 2023 brings an exciting return to the galleries, theatres and concert halls in St. Catharines, the region and online.

    A blended course, with online and onsite events.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): one credit from CANA 1F91, DART 1P91, 1P92 (1F91/1F93), IASC 1F01 (1F00), STAC 1P50, VISA 1Q98,1Q99 or permission of the Centre.

    Crosslisting: also offered as CANA 2P93, IASC 2P93 and MLLC 2P93

    When? ASYNC online in D2 and with onsite programming Thursdays at 1900-2100

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_2P93

    STAC 3P01 Media Transformations in The Creative Arts
    The trajectory and influences of new media on the development of and discourses in the 20th and 21st c.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): two STAC, COMM, ENGL, IASC,MLLC, VISA, WRDS (WRIT) credits or permission of the instructor.

    Crosslisting: also offered as IASC 3P01, MLLC 3P01 and VISA 3P01

    When? ASYNC online in D3.

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_3P01

    STAC 4P01 Creating Social Value from Material Culture
    Theory and practice of creating social value from material culture.

    Restrictions: students must have a minimum 10.0 overall credits or permission of the instructor.

    Crosslisting: also offered as IASC 4P01, MLLC 4P01 and VISA 4P01

    When? At the MIWSFPA in D2 on Wednesday at 1000-1130 and with ASYNC online content.

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_4P01

    STAC 3P41 Approaches to Curatorial Practice
    Practical application of curatorial methods.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): VISA 1Q98 and 1Q99, one credit from second- or third-year VISA or STAC courses, or permission of the Centre.

    Crosslisting: also offered as VISA 3P41

    When? At the MIWSFPA in D2 on Monday at 1800-2100 and with ASYNC online content.

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_3P41

    STAC 3P42 Methods and Principles of Curating
    The museum and the role of the curator in society. Critical approaches to the presentation of cultural artifacts, artworks and new forms of media.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): VISA 1Q98 and 1Q99, one credit from second- or third-year VISA or STAC courses, or permission of the Centre

    Crosslisting: also offered as VISA 3P42

    When? At the MIWSFPA in D3 on Monday at 1800-2100 and with ASYNC online content.

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_3P42

    Become a culture producer – Fall 2023

    STAC 3P93 Producing a Performance Event, examines the planning and organization for a performance-based cultural event, such as a festival, rave, poetry-slam or community choral fundraiser. This popular course includes special guest presentations by leaders in regional arts production and management, and fieldtrips to unique cultural events. The highlight of the course is a ‘Dragons Den’ with cultural producers and presenters.  A blended course, with online and onsite events.

    Restrictions: students must have a minimum of 10.0 overall credits or permission of the Centre.

    Crosslisting: also offered as DART 3P93

    When? At the MIWSFPA in D2 on Thursday 1000-1300 and with an ASYNC online lab

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_3P93

    click to open PDF

    The beauty of making books – Winter 2024  *NEW COURSE

    STAC 3P97 Publishing: Creative Elements and Editorial Process. Working in publishing encompasses a wide variety of skills, such as editing, design, media relations, marketing, and copywriting. This new course will take introduce you to the facets of editing and publishing in our contemporary world, with experiential learning and skills-rich practice based upon the creative publishing program of the Small Walker Press.
    NEW COURSE, offered online.

    Restrictions: students must have a minimum of 8.0 overall credits or permission of the instructor.

    When? Online in D3, ASYNC and with an online SYNC component Wednesday 1500-1700

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_3P97

    STAC 4P41 Arts Management
    Effective management of arts organizations. Programming, Marketing, Financing.

    Restrictions: open to STAC, CANA, DART (single or combined), DART (Honours)/BEd (Intermediate/Senior), VISA (single or combined) and VISA (Honours)/BEd (Intermediate/Senior) majors until date specified in Registration guide.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): students must have a minimum of 12.0 overall credits or permission of the instructor.

    Crosslisting: also offered as DART 4P41 and VISA 4P41

    When? Thursdays in D2 1300-1400 at the School, and with ASYNC online content

    Calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_4P41

    STAC 4P68 Arts, Heritage and Culture:
    Public Policy and Governance Intervention in and support for the fine and performing arts and their cultural production.

    Restrictions: open to STAC, CANA, DART (single or combined), DART (Honours)/BEd (Intermediate/Senior), VISA (single or combined), SPMA and VISA (Honours)/BEd (Intermediate/Senior) majors until date specified in Registration guide. Students must have a minimum of 12.0 overall credits or permission of the Centre.

    Crosslisting: also offered as CANA 4P68, DART 4P68 and VISA 4P68

    When? Thursdays in D3 1300-1400 at the School, and with ASYNC online content

    calendar link: https://brocku.ca/webcal/2023/undergrad/stac.html#STAC_4P68

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  • Spotlight on STAC 3P93: Producing a Performance Event

    STAC 3P93 Producing a Performance Event prepares students for careers in business and the arts by focussing on the practises and procedures to produce a professional performance event.  Collaboration through teamwork and adaptability to the creative, dynamic and stimulating conditions of cultural production are just two important skills that students develop in this intensive 12-week course. 

    In a recent capstone event, each student group pitched their ideas to a trio of panellists in a time-limited competition for producing success. The presentations included a conceptual outline of the cultural experience, supported by the planning, operating, funding, marketing, staging and production components of a successful audience and community engagement event.  

    Canadians recognize that the performing arts improve their quality of life and acknowledge the impact of the arts on the social and economic health of their communities. Events that imagine storytelling, music, dance and visual arts in different spaces of community engagement, such as theatres and cafes are often proposed by the students in this course. The students share a concern for improved mental health, sustained housing security and the well-being of the individual and the community, and they propose cultural experiences that will contribute to these outcomes.

    “Do not be afraid of the art!” – Colleen Smith, CEO, First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. 

    pictures of Colleen Smith (FOPAC) and Steve Remus (NAC)

    Colleen Smith (FOPAC) and Steve Remus (NAC)

    The guest panellists, invited for their breadth and depth of experience in their professional fields, share their wisdom learned from many years of successful leadership in the arts and culture sector. In recent years this has included the CEO of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (FOPAC), Colleen Smith, the Minister of Energy, Minds and Resources at the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC), Stephen Remus, and the Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, David Vivian.  

    Students conceptualize the events through an examination of the complexities of planning and creating public productions. Each group integrates the technical and business demands with the creative experience. And what was the overwhelming advice from the panelists at a recent presentation? Keep the production – the art – at the centre of the plan. 

    Art is the most important part of an artistic event, and I realized that it’s easy to lose sight of that in all the technicalities and logistics of planning, but it’s important to always come back to it.
    Hannah Cain (Student, STAC 3P93, Winter 2022). 

    Impressed by the enthusiasm and originality of the students’ proposals, the panelists encourage students to further explore their ideas and make suggestions of how to take their work from the classroom into the community. Some students have received invitations to pursue the projects with the community partners.  

    Fleshing out a fully comprehensive plan, and then having the opportunity to pitch our performance event not only created an opportunity to apply my learning from the myriad of lesson materials but also gave me the experience of working with a team of other passionate peers whom I could see myself working with in the future…theory alone cannot teach the valuable life lessons that occur when you get your hands dirty and create something that excites you.
    Skye Rogers (Student, STAC 3P93, Winter 2022). 

    STAC 3P93 Producing a Performance Event will be available for registration in the Fall session of 2023-24. 

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  • The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture will be at Open House, April 02

    UPDATE April 3, 2023: We had a very successful Open House at the University and at the School.  It was such an excellent opportunity to meet our prospective students and to speak in detail about our programs and your opportunities to learn with us.

    For those of you still hoping to apply, please be aware of these deadlines, copied from this page of the academic calendar:

    Application for admission should be made as early as possible. Application forms must be received by June 1 for most full-time programs and August 1 for part-time studies to ensure consideration for September registration. International applicants intending to study on a Study Permit should apply no later than April 1. Students applying after this date, who are subsequently admitted, may be required to register late and pay the late registration fee.

    Please see this page for more information about application processes, to learn about which programs are still receiving applications, and to submit an application directly to Brock University: https://brocku.ca/admissions/apply/

    The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture is still receiving applications for f/t and p/t studies.
    Contact us at stac@brocku.ca if you have any questions.


    Plan to visit the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and Brock University for this year’s Open House on April 2, 2023.

    David Vivian, Director of the Centre and a professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts will be situated at the MIWSFPA from 11:00 to 4:00 pm, along with the Chairs and other representatives of all the programs at the MIWSFPA, the backbone of the Studies in Arts and Culture program. Because courses in Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Centre for Digital Humanities, English, History, and Canadian Studies, are also an important part of the STAC program, we suggest you also visit those units situated on main campus.


    For all information about Open house visit https://discover.brocku.ca/

    Here is a schedule of our events for Open House:

    11:15-12:45- Humanities Presentation: The First-Year Experience
    South Block 202
    Meet the Dean and Associate Deans for the Faculty of Humanities, and then get a glimpse of a first-year lecture (“Learn How to Read—Again, for the First Time”), have an introduction to MIWSFPA program structures, and engage in a Q&A with the Associate Deans about joining the Humanities communities at Brock.

    1:00- Experience Humanities Walking Tour *This is recommended for STAC applicants, unless you require the shuttle to the MIWSFPA location.
    Meet outside of South Block 202
    Visit each department in the Faculty of Humanities on our main campus. There will be drop offs at Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Centre for Digital Humanities, English, History, Philosophy, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Canadian Studies, and Classics. Learn more about student spaces, faculty office hours, and how to get involved in special Humanities events.

    Experience MIWSFPA Facilities Tour
    1:00 Shuttle to MIWSFPA
    Meet outside of South Block 202

    1:30-2:30- MIWSFPA Program specific tours (one each for Music, Dramatic Arts, Visual Arts)
    Tour the classrooms, studios and rehearsal spaces that you will be learning in during your time at MIWSFPA. Your program Chair or Director will be available for any questions you may have, as well as current students at MIWSFPA.

    2:45- Shuttle returns to main campus

    3:00-4:00- Tour of MIWSFPA *This is recommended for STAC applicants.
    Tours for those who wish to see the MIWSFPA in its entirety. Parking on site.


    If you are visiting St. Catharines, see this recent article from blogTO about things to do while you are here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    See you on April 02!

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  • Spirit of Mali: Kosar’s Corner – Part 2

    Professor David Vivian, Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) and the students of DART 3F61 Design: Theatrical Design visit Stève Viès and the exhibition. photo: Paul Jams.


    In my previous post, I provided some general information about The Spirit of Mali exhibition, including the backstage production and specific events. In this post, I intend to examine the exhibition critically and discuss its importance and contribution. 

    The Spirit of Mali brought a diverse community together for a celebration of Malian art at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, St. Catharines, from the 1st to the 10th of February, 2023. The exhibition presented textile art, sculpture, puppets, masks, musical instruments, games, and wooden crafts and immersed its audience in the art and culture of Mali. Visitors could enjoy a variety of arts and were welcomed with lectures, individual guidance, live music, dance, food, and an opportunity for socialization in an artistic space. One of the main components of this exhibition was the textiles, some of which are intended to narrate historical and mythological stories which were mentioned in my previous post. Throughout the exhibition, Stève Viès, the curator of this exhibition and a multidisciplinary artist, told the stories upon which the textiles were created. The audience, however, was invited to make their own reading from the works in the exhibition. “Not everyone connects with an artwork the same way”, said Dr. Jean B. Ntakirutimana, a professor in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Brock University, a lead partner in the production of this exhibition. In the round table discussion on February 3rd, Dr. Ntakirutimana shared the profound feeling he had when he entered the space for the first time and talked about one of the objects in the exhibition, the crocodile mask.  He stated that the aesthetics of the crocodile which was hung on a piece of white fabric stood out for him initially. He mentions that aside from the symbolism of the crocodile, which represents strength, power, and friendship, one can have their own interpretation when seeing the artifact. He encouraged the viewers to see the artifacts and feel. He added that artworks are stimuli to provoke “vibrations”, and the vibrations are different for each person. He later mentioned that for him, the exhibition connected him with a motherly source.

    Dr. Jean B. Ntakirutimana (left) and Stève Viès discuss last minute planning before the guided visit and round table discussion. Photo: Paul Jams.

    Nafée Faigou, a St. Catharines artist, poet and community leader, the former artistic director of SOFIFRAN, talked about the expression of every component of a work of art, saying the process of making a textile from a plant is “itself a story, which is the story of life”. She continued that “life is not just the matter, but also the spirit”. She mentioned that in this exhibition, the spirit was put into a material space. She stated that the spirit of Bogolan art is fluid and can be described in many ways and may resonate differently for everyone.

    Nafée Faigou shares her insight during the roundtable discussion. Photo: Paul Jams.

    For me, the exhibition was remarkable in the range of meaning that it offered. It encouraged the personal and symbolic interpretation of the artworks. It provided its audience with information about the artworks but asked them to reflect upon the artworks. What stood out for me in some of the textiles was the use of patterns as a way of coloring some parts of paintings. Some of the patterns, however, symbolized concepts, values, and elements. To me, the patterns seemed like the creation of an intertext in the artwork that connects it with other stories. By providing visual hints to the viewers, they also seemed to be presenting a lens to see the image, suggesting how to interpret the story that the composition depicts. The work, Spiritualité Bambara, for example, depicts an aspect of Bambara culture –  the idea of care in a community that is not limited only to humans. A community is formed by interactions between humans and other living entities. In this textile, we see patterns that symbolize marriage, a subtheme for this composition. According to Stève Viès, marriage in Mali culture is not just between two individuals;  with the tie of marriage, one becomes responsible for all their new family members. This care and responsibility is not limited to family but can also be seen in the workplace.

    From left, Maman Fété Ngira-Batware Kimpiobi, Justine Djoléi Gogoua and Stève Viès welcome the guests during the opening night ceremonies. Dr. Jean B. Ntakirutimana is seen far right. Photo: Paul Jams.

    According to Stève Viès, some of the objects such as masks and puppets presented in the exhibition are used for storytelling in performing arts traditions in Mali. They contribute to the transmission of knowledge in Malian culture. The puppets presented in the exhibition are designed by Torri Diarra for the play The Legend of Bogolan, a musical that was written and performed by Stève Viès and Isabelle Garceau. Torri Diarra has made hundreds of puppets and masks to educate young audiences on the importance of preserving nature, protecting endangered species, and planting trees.

    In the opening and closing celebrations of the exhibition on February 4th and 10th, 2023, the audience were immersed in the culture of Mali through music, dance, and food. The organizers of the project from Brock University, Dr. Jean B. Ntakirutimana (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) and  Prof. David Vivian (Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture/Department of Dramatic Arts) engaged the audience in meaningful conversations about the artworks. The group dance exercise was a joyous practice of community building. The celebration ended with notes about collective identity, a sense of belonging, and the importance of the improvement of the self. Community engagement was one of the purposes and outcomes of this exhibition, according to Dr. Ntakirutimana. 

    “After the closing ceremony”, Dr. Ntakirutimana remarked, “I started feeling a separation like the anxiety a child feels after being weaned.” He referred to Africa as a mother figure for him and the arts presented in the exhibition as the spirit of that continent. The exhibition was a moment for individuals of all ages to see art, appreciate it, discuss it, make connections, dance, and play.

    Stève Viès demonstrates a musical instrument in his collection. Photo: Paul Jams.

    In order to share the art of Mali with a larger audience, Stève Viès will continue to tour the exhibition and develop a website at impressionsdeterre.com. He presents the art of Mali culture with a “positive vibration” and looks forward to bringing the artists, whom he calls brothers and sisters, to future exhibitions so that they may spark intercultural conversations and knowledge transmission.

    Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise, a project of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, situated on the second floor of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, continues a small exhibit of art and objects from Mali until the closing reception on March 3, 2023.

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  • Spirit of Mali: Kosar’s Corner – Part 1

     

    The Spirit of Mali was brought to St. Catharines to celebrate Black History and African Heritage Month. Opening on February 3rd, 2023, in the Robertson Theatre of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Center, the exhibition presents textile art, sculpture, puppets, masks, musical instruments, games, and wooden crafts.

    Stève Viès, the curator of this exhibition and a multidisciplinary artist based in Montreal, celebrates and honours the work of the artists and craftsmen Boubacar Doumbia, Mamoudo Nango, Tiorri Diarra, and Abou Konan.  The exhibition will provoke excitement and curiosity in its audience, inspire artists with the aesthetic forms practiced in Mali, and spark conversations about different ways that art explores spirituality and brings a community together.

    According to Stève, exhibition preparation takes years. The completion of some artworks in the exhibition has taken more than a hundred hours of work.  The collection of the objects has required multiple travels to Mali.  This exhibition was first planned for February of 2022 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 risk management policies in place at the time.  The installation of the exhibition, alone, took almost 22 hours! Lighting, sound and technical professionals, managers, supervisors, publicity and hospitality teams from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, and students, staff and faculty from Brock University came together to make this event happen.

    The process of preparing and installing the exhibition began late on a Sunday evening and soon after the arrival of the collection from Montreal. The first pieces to hang were the large format textiles, some measuring as large as 11’ x 19’.  These artworks tell the histories and myths of Soumaoro Kanté, a king of the Sosso people; Sunjata Keita, the first ruler of the Mali Empire; the Battle of Kirina, a battle between the Sosso king Sumanguru Kanté and the Mandinka prince Sundiata Keita. The patterns on the textiles include stories, symbols, and patterns, all painted with natural dyes and colors. The textiles were installed individually and as the background for the masks that would follow. During the guided visits of the exhibition we learn about the important role of these textiles in the presentation of objects like masks and puppets. Proper installation and effective lighting in this non-traditional exhibition space were an important part of the process. The installation planning and coordination was led by Professor David Vivian of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture/Department of Dramatic Arts, assisted by students from the Department of Dramatic Arts, staff from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, and myself!

    On February 3rd, Stève Viès led us on a guided tour by followed by a mini symposium hosted by Professor Jean Ntakirutimana of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures of Brock University. This was followed by an opening celebration on February 4th, resplendent with dance, musical performance, and discussions in theatre, accompanied by food and beverages from Mali.

    The Spirit of Mali is on exhibition until the 10th of February, with a public celebration on the closing night. Smaller elements are installed at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts as part of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture project: Museum in the Hallway / Boîte-en-valise. You may visit this exhibition on the second floor of the MIWSFPA, near the entrances to the MIW Theatre.

    In my next posting about the Spirit of Mali I will talk about some of creative and critical responses to the work in the exhibition, and the important work that is done when we invite our community to experience new and remarkable experiences from diverse places and cultures in the world.  See you soon!

    For more information: https://brocku.ca/miwsfpa/stac/2023/01/16/spirit-of-mali-visits-st-catharines/

    This is the first in a series of short postings by the STAC curatorial assistant Kosar Dakhilalian, recently a student of the Master of Arts in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts at Brock University.  Kosar will introduce you to the backstage and onstage experiences of making meaning in material culture at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture.

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