Articles tagged with: humanities

  • Community voices expressed through Brock art exhibitions

    Curt Richard, a student in VISA 3M90, surveys the exhibition that he and 52 other students have completed over the course of the semester. Manifestos in a Room is a collaboration between students in French, Visual Arts, and Studies in Art and Culture. It will be on display at Rodman Hall Art Centre until Dec. 30.


    (From The Brock News, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 | By: Alison Innes)

    Two Brock art exhibitions now on display are working to celebrate and amplify community voices.

    Manifestos in a Room and Sauti za Afrika/African Voices/Voix Africaines were each created to engage with Northern Oracle, an exhibition by Heather Hart currently being featured at Rodman Hall Art Centre.

    Through the exhibition, which includes an indoor rooftop installation, Hart asks visitors what they want to say to the world and advises them to shout it from the rooftop.

    Reflecting on Northern Oracle, 53 students in Visual Arts, Studies in Arts and Culture, and French came together to create their own statements, whether poetic, absurd or political. The expressions — in both English and French — were used to create Manifestos in a Room, on display in Rodman Hall’s Studio Gallery.

    Students worked throughout the fall semester to bring the exhibition, curated by Associate Professor Catherine Parayre and instructor Donna Akrey, to life.

    Jean Ntakirutimana, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, demonstrates the talking drum used to send messages over long distances in Cameroon. With careful training, a person could use the different tones produced by the drum to send messages. The drum is just one of the items on display in Sauti za Afrika/ African Voices/ Voix Africaines, an exhibition celebrating voices of Niagara’s African diaspora community.

    “It really helps to collaborate in one’s art practice,” said Akrey, whose art students were involved in the project.

    “We also did an assembly line production to create some of the work, which was fun and rewarding. I was impressed with how the 3M90 students embraced this project and made sense of it for the viewing public.”

    For the participating French students, the exhibition was a “great opportunity to practice writing constraints for fun,” said Parayre. “Students produced facetious manifestos, writing eloquently on a light-hearted topic. It allowed all of us to put our creative forces together and share a common space.”

    The exhibition includes a visual component as well as a three-minute audio track created by the students.

    Over at Brock’s main campus, the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures (MLLC) is hosting Sauti za Afrika/African Voices/Voix Africaines, an exhibition meant to amplify the voices of the African diaspora in Niagara. Featuring 12 different languages, the exhibition combines modern writing with ancient traditions of communication.

    The display features instruments and figurines used for communication, such as a conch shell, similar to the one used to call for revolution in Haiti, and miniature replicas of Burundi drums used by royalty to communicate with their people.

    Also included is an intricately carved cow horn used to call people to come and hear the chief speak in certain regions of Africa, said Department Chair and Associate Professor Jean Ntakirutimana.

    Ntakirutimana worked with members of Niagara’s African diaspora and Sofifran (Solidarité des femmes et familles immigrantes francophones du Niagara) to collect people’s hopes, dreams and concerns to include in the display. Members have also loaned their personal objects for the exhibition.

    The display is a precursor to an event by the same name coming up in February. Co-hosted by Sofifran, MLLC and Studies in Arts and Culture, the event will be held at Rodman Hall and will also engage with Northern Oracle.

    Sauti za Afrika/African Voices/Voix Africaines is a part of the Museum in the Hallway project, curated by Parayre. Located in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Mackenzie Chown A-block), the project features rotating monthly displays.

    Both African Voices and Manifestos in A Room will be on display until the end of December. Northern Oracle will be at Rodman Hall until March 3.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Public French-language tour to be held at Rodman Hall

    Associate Professor Peter Vietgen and teacher candidates from Brock University’s Faculty of Education explore the Northern Oracle exhibition by Heather Hart at Rodman Hall Art Centre.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday November 14)

    A public tour will lead French-speaking art enthusiasts through the exhibitions of Rodman Hall Art Centre on Saturday, Nov. 17.

    Catherine Parayre, Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, will lead the French-language tour and related discussion while moving through the historic St. Catharines building.

    The event, Maisons de l’art: Conversations en français et visite des expositions, begins at 2 p.m.

    Current Rodman Hall exhibitions include Up Close and In Motion: Selected Works from the Permanent Collection, curated by Emma German, and Northern Oracle by artist Heather Hart.

    Northern Oracle features a rooftop installation rising from the gallery floor and mixed media drawings. The work considers ideas of Black history, access to home ownership and the significance of having a place to call home. Gallery visitors are invited to interact with the installation by accessing the rooftop and its floor-level attic space.

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  • DART prof wins national award for theatre criticism

    (From The Brock News, Tuesday Oct.30, 2018 | By: )

    Karen Fricker is getting rave reviews from a respected national audience.

    The associate professor in Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts is being honoured with the 2018 Nathan Cohen Award for excellence in critical writing by the Canadian Theatre Critics Association.

    Fricker won the award’s short category for her 2016 Toronto Star review of Michel Tremblay’s classic Hosanna, as revived by Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre.

    Fricker, whose research areas include Quebec theatre, said the play is a complicated touchstone of Quebecois culture.

    “A big challenge of writing this review was trying to use the research-based knowledge I had about the play without being overwhelmed by it,” she said. “It was a really hard review to write, so it’s gratifying that it’s being recognized.”

    Fricker has a long history with theatre criticism, having written for outlets including The Guardian and Varietyas well as being the founding editor-in-chief of Irish Theatre Magazine, a publication that operated from 1998 to 2014. She has written for the Toronto Star since March 2016.

    Fricker joined Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts in 2013. Her research interests include contemporary theatre and globalization, popular performances of nation and cultural identities, and theatre criticism. Recent projects have included work on circus performance.

    “The benefits between my work at Brock and at the Toronto Star flow both ways,” Fricker said.

    “I try to connect students in my courses to what’s happening in GTA theatre, and we learn from each other’s responses to the work. When we publish their edited reviews on the DARTcritics website, their voices enter the broader dialogue.”

    As part of her interest in arts criticism in the digital age, Fricker established the blog DARTcritics.com to provide students with an opportunity to publish their work. The site grew from a space for student coursework to a year-round source of quality arts criticism in Niagara. The site now includes reviews and features by students and graduates who are paid for their work.

    The Nathan Cohen Awards were established in 1981 and are given out every two years to honour outstanding critical writing about theatre and performance in print or electronic media. The awards are named after legendary Toronto Star and CBC critic Nathan Cohen.

    A history of the awards and past recipients may be found on the CTCA website.

    Fricker will receive her award in December at a special luncheon in Toronto.

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  • MIWSFPA calls for donations to revive zine culture on campus

    Learning Commons Co-ordinator Lesley Bell, left, and Visual Arts graduate Victoria Reid are asking students and the public
    to submit their self-made zines to their new collection at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, which will
    officially open Aug. 30.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) is calling on the zine-making community to help expand its collection of eclectic self-published books.

    The school’s Learning Commons currently has a small, informal collection of zines (short for magazines) that were made by students of Visual Arts instructor Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea. With other libraries and post-secondary intuitions in North America now creating dedicated zine collections and hosting zine fairs, the MIWSFPA decided to do the same.

    Brock Visual Arts graduate Victoria Reid, is spearheading a project to catalogue the zines and gather donations alongside the school’s Learning Commons Co-ordinator, Lesley Bell.

    “I’m excited to be working on this because I think it’s something we’re going to see popping up in a lot more libraries,” said Reid, who will be studying library and information science in the fall.  “A lot of people have become really excited about zines in the past year.”

    Zines can be traced back to the early 1930s, experiencing their peak popularity through counter-culture movements and the punk music scene of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

    The publications, which come in a variety of styles, sizes and cover a range of subject matter, are seeing a resurgence again today and students are embracing the chance to self-publish their ideas.

    “Making and sharing zines is all about sharing your opinion without being filtered and being able to self-publish on your own terms,” explained Reid, who has made a few zines herself. “They are all about freedom of thought and the free sharing of ideas.”

    The small-circulation, self-published periodicals are often traded for little to no money and vary from micro-sized journal-style publications, with hand-stitched bindings, to large, glossy art books.

    Students and the public can donate their zines and Reid and Bell stressed there will be no restrictions on the zines they will accept. They are encouraging those in disciplines outside of the arts and humanities to participate, as well.

    “Anybody can make a zine and it’s important to not put a box around what we’re accepting and what we’re not,” said Reid. “It’s also a good tie between the main and downtown Brock campuses because it encourages people from other programs to create their work and show it here. I’d love to see people from other programs submit things to us.”

    There will be a grand opening celebration for the collection hosted in the MIWSFPA Learning Commons on Aug. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. in room 226.

    Everyone is welcome to attend and try their hand at making buttons and a zine of their own.

    “There’s something attractive and energetic about publishing your own thing,” said Bell. “You are really going to experience something between those covers, it’s about discovery.”

    The opening will also serve as an informal goodbye to Bell, who is retiring from her long-standing post with Brock at the end of August.

    If you are interested in donating a zine, please visit the grand opening event’s Facebook page to download a donation form. You can also drop your zine donation off at the Learning Commons between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, or contact vreid2@brocku.ca for more information.

     

     

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  • Exploring family history through art

    Chidera Onyegbule and Osaze Usuanlele make cyanotypes, an early type of archival photography, using images from their families’ histories. Fifteen youth aged 14 to 18 have been participating in the week-long workshop, which is a partnership between Rodman Hall Art Centre, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the City of St. Catharines.


    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    Old family photos were given new life during a special Brock workshop held last week.

    Fifteen young artists from St. Catharines spent the week working with Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend to explore their family history and create new works of art.

    During the workshop organized by Rodman Hall Art Centre, participants used camera-less photography techniques on their familial documents as they conceptualized, planned and executed their artwork.

    “The program takes key ideas from Rodman Hall’s summer exhibition Carry Forward, such as how social and political biases get carried forward into how history is recorded, into the everyday lives of youth living in Niagara,” says Elizabeth Chitty, Rodman Hall Programming Officer.

    Chitty worked with community organizations and teachers to invite young artists from culturally diverse backgrounds to participate.

    Students spent several days at Rodman Hall exploring the ideas presented in Carry Forward, such as the complex history of documentation and power relations, engaging with colonialism, propaganda and authenticity.

    Participants were asked to consider how Rodman Hall itself is an archive, Friend says.

    “Students were encouraged to think about what an archive is, what it means to look at documents related to their own lives and how to use the archive as an art form to explore histories not well known.”

    Fifteen young artists from St. Catharines spent the week working with Visual Arts Professor Amy Friend to explore their family history and create new works of art.

    Working in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts darkroom as well as outside, the young artists used cyanotypes, silver gelatin prints and mixed media to engage with their own histories.

    Ness Griffin never met her grandparents or her extended family. Her family’s connection with their Haudenosaunee culture was cut in the Sixties Scoop.

    Working with reproductions of family photos that she made during the workshop, Griffin scratches out faces to represent her loss of connections with extended family.

    “It was a hard decision to make to cut up the photograph because it is deeply personal,” she said.

    Chimera Onyegbule also worked with photos of family she never met. Her great grandfather was born to a British father and Nigerian mother in the colonial era in Nigeria.

    “I call this piece The White Flag,” she says. “He’s like the white flag in a war between two sides.”

    The Grade 11 student at Holy Cross Catholic High School recently visited an aunt in London, England, where she learned more about her great grandfather.

    “I’ve always wanted to know more about my family history,” she says. “It’s important to keep stuff like this alive.”

    The pieces created through the special program will be featured during a public exhibition that will run until Sept. 2 in The Film House lobby of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The public is invited to attend the exhibition’s opening on Tuesday, July 17 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.

    Carry Forward is on at Rodman Hall Art Centre until Sept. 2.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • New grad honoured for textile artwork

    Victoria Reid was recently honoured for her artwork, which was on display at Rodman Hall Art Centre as part of the Turnin’ this Car Around exhibition in April.

    (From The Brock News, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | by Alison Innes)

    The eye-catching pieces were hard to miss.

    Made from everyday materials, the headless human forms could be seen cascaded down a wall within Rodman Hall Art Centre, drawing attention and sparking conversations among visitors.

    Created by Victoria Reid, the pieces were featured during the VISA 4F06 Honours exhibition, Turnin’ this Car Around, in April, but continue to earn the young artist praise.

    Visual arts graduate Victoria Reid has been awarded the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award. (Photo: Jimmy Limit)

     

     

    The June graduate was chosen to receive the inaugural Marilyn I. Walker Textile Art Award for her work. The honour is given to a graduating student for a piece of textile art and is intended to support the student’s continued artistic development.

    Reid’s figures, made from yarn, fabric scraps, plaster and packing tape, challenge the viewer to see bodies as objects taking up space.

    “The bodies are not human without their contents,” says Reid. “These sculptures embrace the oddity and the awkwardness of the human body, focusing on the fact that we are weird masses of matter and, together with soul, we become beings.”

    Reid says for as long as she can remember, she has been intrigued by textiles.

    “They have so much personality and can be handled with a variety of different methods to morph them into something new,” she says.

    It was her grandmother who taught her how to weave, stitch, sew, knit and crochet at an early age.

    Reid applied these more traditional ways of working with textiles to new ideas to create her award-winning work and cites Walker’s own work as inspiration.

    “Marilyn I. Walker’s piece in the first floor hall inspired me greatly this year with the variety in colour and texture, and the stitching together of different fabric patterns and materials,” she says.

    Reid’s pieces are cast from her own body and lend drama to the philosophical question of the mind-body dichotomy, writes Associate Professor Derek Knight in the exhibition catalogue.

    “References to the human body are rarely benign and Reid is no different when she describes her plaster figures as symbolizing the existential dilemma between spiritual life and physical existence,” he writes.

    Reid will be continuing her arts education this fall at the University of Western Ontario, where she is enrolled in a Master of Library and Information Science program to study Collections and Archive Management.

    “I want my future career to work with, influence and inform my art practice,” says Reid, who continues to create, show and sell her art. She is also working with Brock Visual Resources Librarian Lesley Bell for the summer.

    “Being awarded the Marilyn I Walker Textile art award means so much to me,” Reid says. “Working with textiles in my art is what I do and being awarded for something that I have worked hard on and put so much energy into is a great feeling. It makes me feel not only proud of myself, but thankful for all of the friends, family, peers and instructors who have helped and supported me along the way.”

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    Categories: Alumni, Announcements, Department/Centre News, News

  • Youths to get taste of the arts at Brock summer camps

    Young artists have the opportunity this summer to explore art and drama through day camps hosted by Rodman Hall Art Centre and Youth University. Both organizations will be hosting art camps at MIWSFPA for the first time.

    (from The Brock News, Monday, June 18, 2018 | by  )

    Young artists will have the opportunity to experience fine and performing arts through Brock University this summer.

    Youth University and Rodman Hall Art Centre will both be hosting summer programming at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts for the first time.

    “This is a great opportunity for youth to discover the school and meet faculty, staff and members of the artistic community as they start to formulate ideas about their aspirations for study after high school,” says MIWSFPA Director David Vivian.

    Students who are entering Grades 5 to 9 in September can choose from Youth University camps in arts media, performing arts, or performance props and effects, which run at various times in July and August.

    Young artists will be encouraged to get messy and creative each day using media such as charcoal, splatter painting, clay, mixed media and paper making.

    Youth interested in theatre can develop their voice and acting techniques while exploring what it means to be on stage and how to leave an impression with an audience, or explore costume making, performance make-up, lighting, and prop and set designs using a variety of materials.

    “Our camps offer a balance of adventure, creativity and innovation, and key to this experience is the relationship they develop with our Brock student mentors,” says Michelle Leone, Program Manager of Youth University.

    “We are grateful to have developed a partnership to bring Youth University camps downtown this summer. The MIWSFPA is a stunning and inspiring facility for our young artists.”

    The camps are also an opportunity for Brock’s arts students and recent graduates to develop key professional skills as they take on instructor roles, says Vivian.

    “This is a meaningful way for the students to develop important professional and mentoring skills that will assist them in their longer-term plans for studies and professional work in the arts, culture and educational sectors.”

    For more information on the Youth University camps or to register, visit brocku.ca/kids

    While Rodman Hall Art Centre has been offering arts camps for youths for years, the art centre is also hosting digital and textile arts camps at MIWSFPA for the first time in 2018.

    Participants in the digital drawing camps, which run in July and August, will use the school’s state-of-the-art computer labs to transform traditional drawings into digital artworks.

    “This will provide our campers with the opportunity to engage with the arts in our community, in new and innovative ways,” says Camp Co-ordinator Kylie Mitchell. “I am very excited to now provide our campers with the chance to engage with a modern art practice that will allow them to experiment and explore the world of digital art.”

    Youth ages 13 to 17 also have the opportunity to experiment with textile art with artist Nancy Nigh, learning embroidery basics and weaving, and creating their own artwork using wool felting processes.

    For more information about Rodman Hall’s arts camps or to register, visit brocku.ca/rodman-hall/learn/camps

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  • MIWSFPA to host international philosophy conference

    (from The Brock News, Tuesday, June 12, 2018 | by )

    Brock will welcome philosophers from around the world this week for a conference devoted to contemporary French feminist thinker Luce Irigaray.

    Hosted by Brock’s Department of Philosophy, the ninth annual meeting of the Luce Irigaray Circle will be held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines from Thursday, June 14 to Saturday, June 16. The Circle is an interdisciplinary group of academics who produce significant scholarship on Irigaray’s philosophy and feminist thought.

    This will be the first time the event is held in Canada, making it the first Canadian conference devoted to Irigaray’s work.

    “Each meeting of the Circle is a purposively unique event, which is organized around a specific theme in order to further Irigarayan scholarship in a new direction,” says Athena Colman, conference organizer and Brock Associate Professor of Philosophy.

    “Site selection for the meeting is highly competitive and is a recognition of the organizer’s contribution to new areas of research in the field.”

    The event has previously been hosted by Stony Brook University in New York, University of Bergen in Norway and University College of London in England, among other locations.

    This year’s three-day interdisciplinary conference, titled “Horizons of Sexual Difference,” will explore scholarship and creative work inspired by Irigaray.

    The conference will look at new ways in which Irigaray’s thinking can be applied to recent philosophical and feminist discussions.

    Themes explored by the circle include analyses of contemporary social and political issues and spirituality in relation to sexual differences, as well as investigations into the role of literature and art in philosophical thinking.

    to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-irigaray-circle-2018-horizons-of-sexual-difference-tickets-45213383447?aff=es2 

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  • MIWSFPA welcomes Elizabeth Vlossak as Director

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will take on the role of Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1.

    (adapted from The Brock News, Sunday, June 03, 2018 | by )

    Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak will be become Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on July 1 when current Director David Vivian begins a year-long sabbatical.

    “I’m really looking forward to continuing to strengthen our community partnerships and perhaps develop new ones,” says Vlossak. “I’m thinking of ways to bridge the Humanities so that there is more interaction and collaboration between the MIWSFPA and other departments on the main campus.”

    Being a historian, Vlossak says she loves how “the city’s past has been preserved in a way that is relevant to the present, while also looking to the future,” in terms of the MIWSFPA building. But the school isn’t just the building. “It’s the people — students, faculty and staff — doing incredible work that enriches Brock as well as St. Catharines and the Niagara region.”

    Vlossak’s research area is 20th century European history, with particular interest in cultural history during the two world wars, women’s history, gender and nationalism, and memory and the politics of commemoration.

    She is a founding member and Associate Fellow of The History Lab, a collaboration with the Niagara Falls Military Museum, Seedling for Change in History, and Associate Professor Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas.

    Vlossak has also consulted with the Department of Dramatic Arts on two Mainstage productions, Ring Around the Moon (2006) and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2016), sharing her research specialization with students and contributing to their successful performances.

    “The executive of the school is particularly excited by Associate Professor Vlossak’s record of community engagement through undertakings such as The History Lab,” says Vivian. “We look forward to her contribution to existing programming and relationship building with our community partners, as well as her unique new initiatives.”

    “I’m very pleased that Professor Vlossak is willing to take on the role of Interim Director of the MIWSFPA,” says Faculty of Humanities Dean Carol Merriam. “Professor Vlossak is an active, energetic, and imaginative teacher and scholar, and will bring those same qualities to the work of the School.”

    Vivian, Associate Professor with the Department of Dramatic Arts, has been Director of the MIWSFPA since 2016. Previously he was Director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture (3 years) and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts (4 years). He teaches theatrical design, production and stagecraft and has designed sets and costumes for Department mainstage productions.

    “The directorship is an unusual job involving work with faculty, staff, students and external partners, and Professor Vivian has balanced all of these demands very effectively,” says Merriam. “I wish him well of his rightly-deserved sabbatical.”

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  • New book explores the art of animal advocacy

    Associate Professor of Visual Arts Keri Cronin examines the role of visual images, such as Edward Landseer’s A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society (exhibited 1838), in animal activism in her new book,  Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870-1914.

    (Source: The Brock NewsTuesday, May 22, 2018 | by )

    It was while searching for a set of lantern slides many years ago that Keri Cronin inadvertently found inspiration for her latest book.

    The slides never materialized but what Cronin, an associate professor in Brock’s Department of Visual Arts, did find was an abundance of material on animal advocacy.

    That material has helped to form her latest publication, Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870-1914, which explores the use of visual art material in campaigns for animal advocacy.

    Art for Animals cover

    Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870-1914 is the latest book by by Associate Professor Keri Cronin.

    Influenced in part by authors who looked at visual culture in other social justice movements, such as suffrage and civil rights, Cronin’s book explores how animal advocacy images were created, circulated and consumed, and the impact that had on ideas about the humane treatment of animals.

    “Visual culture played an important role in defining campaign goals, recruiting membership, raising funds, and, ultimately, sustaining and challenging dominant ideas about nonhuman animals,” writes Cronin.

    Her biggest challenge has been locating archival material to piece together the stories of animal advocacy.

    “For so long, the history of human-animal relationships was not a particularly valued area of research, and archival collections often reflect this,” says Cronin, who hopes the book will lead people to recognize relevant print material they might have in their own collections.

    The cheap, mass-produced pamphlets created and distributed by animal advocacy groups in the late 19th and early 20th century often weren’t considered valuable enough to save.

    The field of animal-human relations, however, has recently seen an explosion of interest both within the University and the broader public. Cronin notes that although her book deals with historical material, many of the key points have relevance for how images are used in animal advocacy today.

    “It is high time we turn our attention to how animals have always been part of our stories, histories, labour and societies,” she says.

    Art for Animals asks us to think about the ways in which visual images can both shape and challenge dominant narratives about non-human animals.”

    A public book launch will be held for Art for Animals on Wednesday, May 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Mahtay Café, 241 St. Paul St. in St. Catharines.

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