In the Media

  • PROJECT: Soundscape, on exhibit September 24

    IMAGE CREDIT: REINHARD REITZENSTEIN

    Music, Noise, and Soundscape: Gayle Young and Ryan Bruce in Conversation

    Created in 2021, Music, Noise, and Soundscape: Gayle Young and Ryan Bruce in Conversation is a virtual project of the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture homed in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC) at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University. It includes an interview, performances and demonstrations, as well as an outreach activity.

    Gayle Young is a composer and musician based in the Niagara region who creates her own instruments and performs music for them, often employing unusual tunings. She has also performed and recorded works by John Cage and Yoko Ono. Gayle composes works for voice and chamber instruments and creates electronic sound for film and visual art installation. Many of her compositions include environmental sounds recorded through tuned resonators that she invented to integrate harmony and soundscape.

    Gayle wrote The Sackbut Blues, the biography of pioneering electronic instrument inventor Hugh Le Caine (1914-1977), who invented several instruments for electronic music, including the Sackbut, an innovative touch-sensitive keyboard instrument first recorded in 1946. As editor of Musicworks Magazine for over two decades, she presented an inclusive gaze on the world of experimental music.

    Ryan Bruce is an ethnomusicologist, jazz historian and saxophonist. His research concentrates on the transition of jazz styles from the 1950s–1960s (bop and the jazz avant-garde) with investigations in jazz historiography, improvisation, musical analysis, and interdisciplinary comparisons to other avant-garde art forms. His work includes special focus on collaborating with performers to create digital resources for teaching jazz history, improvisation, and world music traditions.

    Ryan holds a PhD in Music from York University and has published articles on jazz criticism, musical analysis, and specific musicians for the current Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is also an active teacher and performer of jazz and free improvisation on saxophone. In 2021, Ryan is teaching STAC 2P93 Critical Practice in the Fine and Performing Arts.

    Experience the ‘Soundscape’ exhibition by visiting the Brock University Digital Scholarship Lab

    Please note the virtual exhibition is best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer. Headphones are recommended.

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  • Brock community members nominated for St. Catharines Arts Awards

    Image caption: Artists and Instructors from Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Curtis Tye (left) and Barbara Worthy (right) are among the nominees for the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards.

    Originally published in The Brock News WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 | by 

    The City of St. Catharines is gearing up to celebrate the local arts scene and those who champion it — including members of the Brock community.

    Among the City’s recently released nominees for the 2021 St. Catharines Arts Awards are several individuals and one group who are connected to the University.

    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) instructors Curtis Tye and Barbara Worthy were nominated for the Arts in Education Award and Making a Difference Award, respectively.

    Other Brock nominees include alumna and musician Kathryn Sinopoli (BA ’13, BEd ’13), who received the nod for the Emerging Artist Award, and social, economic and environmental justice organization OPIRG Brock and retired Visual Arts faculty member Jean Bridge, who were both nominated for the Making a Difference Award.

    Tye, who has been an Instructor with the Department of Dramatic Arts (DART) since 2013, is honoured to be nominated for the second year in a row in for the Arts in Education Award, which celebrates individuals and groups committed to engaging residents through arts education.

    “I have always believed learning through the arts is a collective endeavour — there is no single individual that makes that successful,” he said. “I am someone who helps facilitate group and collective success, and I believe in a common goal for learning.”

    Tye currently teaches DART 2P21 Drama in Education II and DART IP95 Creative Play for Education. Along with teaching and a successful career as a corporate public speaking and leadership coach, Tye also serves as a committee member for Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute.

    Worthy, a MIWSFPA Instructor famous for her energetic class warm-ups and always having her little white dog at her side, has taught in DART since 2006 and teaches at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture. Currently, Worthy is teaching DART 3P92 Scriptwriting, to students in the Dramatic Arts, English and Creative Writing, Film and GAME programs. An experienced creative producer and writer, Worthy is also thrilled to be a part of the awards celebration.

    A former longtime producer for CBC Toronto and former actor with Shaw Festival, Worthy’s teaching philosophy is informed by her professional career in the arts and a strong belief in the importance of experiential learning.

    “What truly makes a difference to communities everywhere is the power of art, the power of drama and the power of the written word,” Worthy said. “Making a difference to me means providing students with access to the real world, specifically their local communities, where they can truly experience the arts for themselves.”

    The St. Catharines Arts Awards will be presented online Sunday, Nov. 21, livestreamed from the stage of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC).

    “The city’s cultural and artistic community has exploded in recent years — there are so many diverse voices and visions out there,” said Kathleen Powell, the City’s Acting Supervisor of Cultural Services. “These nominees represent some of the best our community has to offer, world-class talents who call St. Catharines home and step up to build a community we can all be proud of.”

    For more information about the arts awards and how to view the celebration, visit the City of St. Catharines website.

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  • Much work to be done on live theatre’s road to recovery, says Brock prof

    Editor’s note: The following article tells about the challenges, enthusiasm for, and success in relaunching the performing arts in the Niagara Region, now 18 months into the pandemic. Students of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture may register for the course taught by Professor Fricker, DART 1P91 Introduction to Theatre and Performance, as part of their degree program.


    (above) Brock Dramatic Arts graduate Amanda McDonnell (BA ’15), who is part of the front of house team at the Shaw Festival, welcomed audiences back this summer.

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2021 | by 

    After 17 months, the live theatrical experience is slowly making its return — but not without challenges ahead, says Brock theatre expert Karen Fricker.

    “Amidst the adversity that live performing arts have been faced with through the pandemic, a wonderful thing has happened this summer: the return of live theatrical performance, because it has been able to be outside,” says the Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Officer in Dramatic Arts (DART), who is an expert in theatre criticism, theatre theory and contemporary theatre.

    The Shaw and Stratford Festivals, two of Ontario’s most celebrated repertory companies, have been staging performances outdoors under canopies (tents with no walls) with mandatory masks for audiences in addition to capacity limits in accordance with provincial guidance. Both festivals are taking audience, artist and staff safety seriously, with COVID-19 protocols in place, says Fricker, who is also a theatre critic for the Toronto Star, writing about performances in the city as well as the Shaw and Stratford Festivals each summer.

    Although these outdoor performances do not come close to hosting the usual number of spectators, Fricker says this is a “big step in the right direction.”

    “Artists are being paid and creativity is happening,” she says, adding that while “innovative digital work has been heroic during the pandemic, experiencing live performances in a shared space is a joyous return.”

    Brock’s Dramatic Arts Department engages with the Shaw Festival in numerous ways, including the annual DART/Shaw internship and course-based experiences with Shaw artists and arts workers. A number of DART students and graduates work at the festival in front of house, producing and administration, and creative capacities.

    Seeing some of those familiar faces at Shaw this summer has been a particular highlight, Fricker says.

    While outdoor performances are a step in the right direction, Fricker says there is still more work to do. There will be limited live, in-person programming in the performing arts sector this fall, mainly due to unclear guidance from the provincial government around reopening, she says.

    In the early summer, the performing arts industry lobbied the government to address live performances in the official stages of reopening. Now that the performing arts have been included, companies have been able to plan. However, “you can’t just lift a theatre production off in a few weeks; you need a runway,” Fricker says.

    Colleen Smith, Executive Director of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) adjacent to Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, says the team at the PAC has experienced these challenges first-hand.

    “Never did any of us whose lives revolve around bringing together artists and audiences believe that we would witness the end of the age-old adage, ‘the show must go on,’” she says. “In fact, the show stopped for months at a time. It’s been an unbelievable period of disruption, heartache and loss of purpose for so many artists and arts workers.”

    Smith says that “buoyed by our partners at the City of St. Catharines and Brock University, as well as the support from our Board of Directors, we have used the first half of 2021 to develop a three-year recovery strategy that will place the PAC firmly within our community as a centre for creative and artistic experiences and learning.”

    The PAC is planning a gradual return, starting with the annual Celebration of Nations gathering, which will be in a hybrid format in September.

    Among the local theatre organizations taking important steps to make innovative work and engage the public in Niagara safely is the young people’s theatre company Carousel Players, which is focusing on new play development in August and September.

    “We are experimenting with a range of forms, including clown, puppetry and mask,” says Artistic Director and Brock graduate Monica Dufault (MA ’11). “We want to offer new pieces that are dynamic and theatrically alive when we meet our audiences again.”

    The company will present an outdoor performance, The Giant Puppet Party, for Culture Days in October, a new digital play for ages 12 to 17 called Meet Chloe starting in November, and a school touring production of The Velveteen Rabbit for ages four to seven in March 2022.

    Suitcase in Point, another St. Catharines-based theatre company, recently announced the launch of a reimagined In the Soil Arts Festival running Friday, Aug. 27 to Saturday, Sept. 25. The festival includes opportunities to see live, original theatre, new music, comedy acts, installations and participatory workshops. All-inclusive festival passes are available for purchase online.

    DART graduate Deanna Jones (BA ’02), the Artistic Director of Suitcase in Point and In the Soil, says the limits of the last 17 months have been a “unique test on our arts organization and the arts community at large.”

    “We knew this 13th edition of our annual In the Soil Arts Festival would be different, and we were determined to find inspired ways to get off of our screens and offer artists and audiences safe ways to connect — in person.”

    During In the Soil, artists from Essential Collective Theatre will be set up on James and St. Paul Street interviewing community members about their pandemic experiences. Working on this initiative are DART graduates Jordine de Guzman (BA ’20), Kristina Ojaperv (BA ’19) and Ren Reid (BA ’20). The project will culminate in the Pandemic Stories Project, a new play to be read at St. Catharines’ Culture Days in early October.

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  • Celebrated Canadian artist Michael Snow’s contribution to Brock revisited in new documentary

    A still image from the new documentary short Timed Images premiering Friday, Aug. 20 at the Mighty Niagara Film Fest. The film was produced and researched by Lesley Bell with video work and direction by Tracy Van Oosten.

    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2021 | The Brock News | by 

    The legacy and impact of artwork created for Brock University in 1972 by internationally regarded Canadian artist Michael Snow has been captured on film and is being premiered Friday, Aug. 20 at a local film festival.

    Part of the Mighty Niagara Film Fest presented by Niagara Artists Centre (NAC), Timed Images is a new documentary that intimately explores two works of public art created by Snow when he was engaged by Brock University and architect Raymond Moriyama during the construction of Brock’s Mackenzie Chown Complex in 1972. Snow holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brock University received in 1974.

    The short documentary is produced and researched by Lesley Bell, artist and retired support staff for the Department of Visual Arts (VISA) at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA), and directed by Brock graduate Tracy Van Oosten (BA ’10), artist, filmmaker and current VISA Instructor at the MIWSFPA.

    Bell, who managed Brock’s Fine Art Collection for 18 years, was drawn to Snow’s work and wanted to uncover the story behind his pieces and appreciate how they found their home in St. Catharines.

    Bell and Van Oosten, a filmmaker and artist who works with text, video and installations and explores moving images within immersive contexts, collaborated to create an artistic documentary that retraces Snow’s innovative art that delighted the University population in 1972.

    “In order to tell the story about these two artworks by Snow, I envisioned a video document. I had no understanding of the process,” Bell said. “With patience and skill, Tracy Van Oosten crafted the information that I found into an intelligent and visually stimulating artistic video work. This has been a satisfying collaboration.”

    Timed Images screens Friday, Aug. 20 at the RiverBrink Art Museum in Queenston, Niagara-on-the-Lake. Doors open at 8 p.m., with the screening scheduled to start at sunset. The documentary is part of an art-inspired program at NAC’s film fest called ‘An Ode to Escarpment School Films.

    For more information about Timed Images and to purchase tickets, visit the Mighty Niagara Film Fest website.

    This project is supported by David Vivian, the Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, and Dean Carol Merriam of the Faculty of Humanities, through the Dean’s Discretionary Fund (2020). An installation for the public to view Timed Images at the MIWSFPA and online is currently in development.


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  • Small Walker Press launches publications exploring music, choreography

    Image caption: The Small Walker Press has announced two new spring publications: Arc, a choreographed poem and Improvising Places / Improvising Time.

    Originally published in The Brock News on TUESDAY, MAY 04, 2021 | by 

    The Small Walker Press (SWP) is announcing two new spring publications with an online book launch page.

    With in-person book launches still on hold due to public health restrictions, the innovative publishing house within Brock’s Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) opted for a virtual celebration.

    The online launch page features two new books: Arc, a choreographed poem written by Paul Savoie with accompanying choreography by Mélanie Mesager, and Improvising Places / Improvising Time with music notation by Devon Fornelli, creative writing by Thomas Ayouti and essays by Derek Knight and Matthew Royal. Graphic design for both publications was done by Bernhard Cella.

    The concept for the books, “music and choreography,” was outlined by Small Walker Press editors Catherine Parayre, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, and Derek Knight, Associate Professor of Visual Arts. The creative texts were inspired by these themes, drawing on inspiration from participating artists incorporating dance, music and creative writing.

    The book launch page features excerpts from the publications as well as notes from both SWP editors.

    To learn more about The Small Walker Press, please visit the website.

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  • STAC’s journal ti< listed on Mir@bel

    STAC’s online, free-access journal ti< A JOURNAL OF TEXT-AND-IMAGE CRITICISM/CREATION – UN JOURNAL DE CRITIQUE/CREATION TEXTE-ET-IMAGE publishes creative work by students, their instructors, as well as by artists and writers whose work combines literature and the visual arts.

    All languages are welcome, including endangered languages. No translation is needed.

    ti< has recently been included in the Mir@bel database, an initiative by top higher-education institutions in France and Europe, such as Sciences Po and ENA.

    To submit work, please consult the website of the journal: https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/ti/index

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  • Interiors, a new online exhibit from the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, now on view virtually

    (Image: Trieste 2, Derek J.J. Knight.)

    As part of its 2020-2021 programming, the Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture opens a virtual space on the theme of interiors, interiority, and confinement, the role they play in collective life and/or how they may be contested. The exhibit seeks to explore the shifting boundaries of intimacy and domesticity in a dynamic virtual space, presenting multi-disciplinary content and critical engagement.

    Interiors features the work of various artists, authors and musicians, and invites viewers to participate in creative activities.

    Curatorial Team: Alexandra Fraser, Marcie Bronson, Derek Knight, Catherine Parayre, Nicholas Hauck

    https://exhibits.library.brocku.ca/s/interiors/page/welcome

    Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture / Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture

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  • Welcome to the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture: Orientation for 2020!

    (a screen shot from the welcome by STAC Major student, Maya Meyerman. Watch the video below.)


    Brock University is launching the first-ever Virtual Welcome Week.
    During this year of the pandemic the Orientation activities are all online.
    Watch the welcome below and visit the official Orientation page for all the details!


    The Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC)

    STAC Major student, Maya Meyerman has prepared this welcome message for you:

    Dr. Catherine Parayre, Director of the Centre, will be holding office hours on September 8th from 2-3 pm on Lifesize.
    Drop-in and say hi! (click here)

    Additional Office hours will be:

    • Tuesday 15 September, 3-4 pm
    • Wednesday 7 October, 2-3 pm
    • Tuesday 17 November, 3-4 pm
    • Wednesday 2 December, 1-2 pm

    Interiors, a curated virtual platform has been launched!  Interiors is the home of various creative projects by Affiliates of STAC’s Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture, also with student exhibitions. Check out our Outreach Activities: participate and be published on the site!

    ti< is an online journal (ISSN 1929-4336) that publishes creative work combining text and image. It is primarily interested in creative work by students, their instructors, as well as by artists and writers whose work combines literature and the visual arts. All languages are welcome, including endangered languages. No translation is needed. Next issue: March 2021. Submissions accepted until 15 February 2020. Please send to cparayre@brocku.ca https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/ti

    Check out the Advising Letter for more news about exciting opportunities at the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture!

    STAC Majors: more info and regular updates are available on Sakai on the tab titled… ‘STAC Majors’.  Add this tab to your Sakai courses.


    The Department of Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture are all part of the Faculty of Humanities.

    The Associate Dean, Dr. Neta Gordon, Professor of English, welcomes you to Brock University! She’s prepared an 11 minute video to introduce to you to the Faculty of Humanities:


    Michael Gicante is your Academic Advisor for studies at the MIWSFPA.
    He prepared this video for the April open House:


    Koreen McCullough is the Experiential Education Coordinator for the Faculty of Humanities.
    Watch her 3 minute presentation about Experiential Education opportunities at Brock University:


    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts

    Located at 15 Artists’ Common in downtown St. Catharines, the MIWSFPA is home to four academic programs. We are right next door to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on the main street of St. Catharines, St. Paul.

    Each program at the MIWSFPA is offering a special welcome to their students.  For example, if you are a beginning your studies as a major in Dramatic Arts, check out what that Department has scheduled for you and plan to join in the fun.  You are also welcome to join the activities of each program at the School even if you are only taking one course or beginning a minor program.  The activities and welcome messages from each program are listed below.

    Professor David Vivian, of the Department of Dramatic Arts (he teaches design and production for theatre), is the Director of the School:

    David will be hosting office hours on September 8, 2020, from 12-3:00 pm,on Teams.
    Drop in and say hi! (click here)


    We all wish you a very successful year at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

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  • The Small Walker Press announces its third title for 2020: Videopoetry/ Vidéopoésie, by Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc

    Dugas, Daniel H. and Valerie LeBlanc.
    Videopoetry/Vidéopoésie.

    St. Catharines, ON: Small Walker Press, 2020.
    414 pages, with illustrations, sound and videos
    Graphic design by Daniel H. Degas and Valerie LeBlanc
    ISBN 978-1-9990860-6-0
    Online, free access
    https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/14790

    The Small Walker Press announces its third title for 2020: Videopoetry/Vidéopoésie, by Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc, a volume that combines text, images, and dynamic media into an immersive experience.

    Canadian digital artist and videopoet Valerie LeBlanc and Canadian poet, musician, and videopoet Daniel H. Dugas have been working together since 1990.

    Daniel H. Dugas was born in Montréal, QC. Poet, videographer, essayist and musician, Dugas has exhibited and participated in exhibitions, festivals and literary events in Canada and internationally. His ninth book of poetry, L’esprit du temps/The Spirit of the Time, won the 2016 Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie award and the 2018 Éloizes: Artiste de l’année en littérature. daniel.basicbruegel.com | Videos distributed through: vtape.org

    Pluridisciplinary artist and writer, Valerie LeBlanc was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has worked and presented throughout Canada and internationally. LeBlanc’s first video, Homecoming, was collected and screened by the National Gallery of Canada. She is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), a portable screening / performance device. valerie.basicbruegel.com | Videos distributed through: vtape.org

    “Their specific uniqueness within the videopoetry world also lies in the musicality of speaking two languages. LeBlanc’s first language is English and her second French; and Dugas’ is French with English second.” (Sarah Tremlett).

    Professor Derek Knight of the Department of Visual Arts remarks about this latest addition to the collection of the Small Walker Press: “The sheer volume and complexity of Videopoetry/Vidéopoésie at 400 plus pages was daunting enough, but with a keen eye, a facility for both French and English, and an unbounded curiosity for the imaginative nature of Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc’s poetry and time-based work, Catherine’s efforts have resulted in a worthy digital publication.”

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  • Industrial Niagara, a new exhibition at Rodman Hall Arts Centre, on view March 7

    (image: Shawn Serfas)

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This exhibition is unavailable for viewing until further notice. It is closed as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please check here again.

    Industrial Niagara
    March 7-22, 2020, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University
    Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. Speaker Series

    Industrial Niagara, an exhibition, brings together key works by members of the Research Centre, Studies in Arts and Culture, Brock University.

    Visual artists Candace Couse, Catherine Parayre, Shawn Serfas, Donna Szőke, and ARTIndustria share their insights by responding to the natural environs and the features that distinguish the presence, loss or history of industry in Niagara’s landscape. A combination of hinterland, cataract and escarpment, waterways and canals, hydro-electric generators and high tension wires, manufacturing facilities, factories, subdivisions and farmland, this is the first of a series of reflections or aesthetic interpretations on the meaning of locale (genius loci).

    download poster

    Curated by Derek J.J. Knight, with a speaker series programmed by Catherine Parayre, on Saturday, March 14.

    Visit the Industrial Niagara Virtual Gallery.

    See the video produced by YourTV Niagara, on March 16, 2020.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The below event has been cancelled as part of Brock University’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    Rodman Hall Art Centre will host a cultural event on Saturday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. featuring readings by award-winning authors Natalee Caple and Adam Dickinson as well as short reflections by Niagara residents on their observations, research or experience, from the impact of the Welland Canal to the generation of hydro-electric power: Clark Bernat, Derek Knight, Reinhard Reitzenstein, David Sharron, Penelope Stewart, and David Vivian.

    Open to members of the public this event is organized as part of the Research Centre’s outreach and to encourage future partnerships in an ongoing series of thematic projects.

    download the program for Industrial Niagara

    The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture acknowledges the support of Brock University: Centre for Studies in Arts and Cultures, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Studies in Comparative Literature and Arts, Dean’s Office in Humanities, Research Services, and Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    New research centre fosters interdisciplinary approach to arts and culture
    [brocknews, alison innes. MONDAY, MARCH 02, 2020]

    The Research Centre in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Culture (RCIACC) establishes a network of researchers and creators across Faculties at Brock and beyond the University. The research centre is part of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (STAC).

    “STAC has an established reputation as an interdisciplinary academic centre and it was therefore logical to home an interdisciplinary research centre in the unit,” says Associate Professor Catherine Parayre, who led the initiative with Associate Professor Derek Knight and is the Centre’s new director.

    The Centre will engage with a broad range of creative expression, including visual arts, dramatic arts, music, creative writing and translation, book and graphic design, cultural heritage, and photography.The Centre includes faculty from Arts and Culture, Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, Music, Curatorial Studies, French Studies, English Literature, Digital Humanities, and Education.

    The centre will be doing outreach at Rodman Hall Art Centre through exhibitions and talks and in collaboration with the Willow Arts Community.

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