Colloquium Series Shines Light on the Importance of Arts and Humanities in Today’s World

Dr. Jennifer Griffiths smiles while crossing her arms.

Dr. Jennifer Griffiths, an independent scholar based in Italy and former VIU Art History Instructor, presents the first Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series lecture of the season on Friday, September 24. Photo submitted.

September 21, 2021 - 12:00pm

Lectures return to the stage at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre this fall.

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series returns this fall with an engaging lineup that explores women’s contributions within the avant-garde movement, gender roles and expectations of strong female characters and how the T. Eaton Company’s marketing strategies commodified youth culture.

The Colloquium Series began in 2009 with the aim of creating reflective and intellectually engaging presentations that demonstrate how important the arts and humanities are to understanding today’s world. All lectures are free and held between 10-11:30 am in VIU’s Malaspina Theatre before a live audience (up to a maximum of 150 people). To attend in person please register on the Eventbrite website. All in-person guests will be required to wear masks inside the venue and should be prepared to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The lectures will also be livestreamed via Zoom. To learn more about the series and access the Zoom livestream links visit the Colloquium Series website.

“The presentations in this year’s Colloquium Series really showcase the tremendous breadth and energy of the research being done by faculty in the Arts and Humanities at VIU. The series will definitely have something for everyone,” says Dr. Theo Finigan, a VIU English Professor and Chair of the Colloquium Series Committee. “We’re also really excited to be able to host an audience in the Malaspina Theatre, after delivering a wholly online series last year.”

The fall lecture series kicks off on Friday, September 24 with Women Artists and Italian Futurism presented by Dr. Jennifer Griffiths, an independent scholar based in Italy and former VIU Art History Instructor. In the lecture, Griffiths will discuss the marginalization of women’s contributions within the avant-garde movement, even though gender was a key topic and women were major players in the movement. She’ll discuss the contributions of international and Italian women artists who were involved and how and why they continue to be unknown.

“I point to the disappearance and destruction of these women’s art and archives as a major impediment to recuperative research and criticism. This dearth of material evidence has fed many misconceptions, including the idea that such women were unproductive or inferior to their male counterparts,” says Griffiths.

On October 22, Eliza Gardiner, VIU’s Theatre Program Chair, presents Great Queens: Scenes. Gardiner will present select scenes from Agamemnon by Aeschylus to explore how the queen’s qualities reflect on gender roles and the expectations of the times.

“Clytaemnestra is the epitome of an empowered female ruler, yet she is criticized for both her womanly qualities and for reigning too much like a man,” says Gardiner. 

Select scenes will be performed to explore the angst, authority and attitudes of the strong female leads who overcome an autonomy devised to serve the patriarchy.

On November 26, Dr. Katharine Rollwagen, a VIU History Professor, presents The Store for Young Canada: Fashioning the Teenaged Consumer at Eaton’s Department Store. In the lecture, Rollwagen will discuss how, for much of the twentieth century, the T. Eaton Company was Canada’s “big store” and wielded economic and cultural influence in English Canada.

“In the 1940s, Eaton’s courted a new customer – the teenager. Eaton’s ambitious marketing strategies illuminate an aspect of Canada’s business history and help us to understand the commodification of youth culture,” says Rollwagen.

To watch videos of previous Colloquium Series’ lectures, please visit the VIU Media Studies’ YouTube channel. To listen to interviews with previous presenters please visit the VIU A&H Conversations website.


Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Arts & Humanities | Malaspina Theatre | In the Community

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