VIU’s Arts & Humanities Colloquium Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

March 19, 2014 - 2:30am

The Arts & Humanities Colloquium Series will celebrate its fifth anniversary at Vancouver Island University (VIU) Friday, March 28 with a special event involving six faculty and a group of students. Presenters will share cutting-edge research on “Fascinating Technologies: Future Directions in the Arts and Humanities.” The celebration for the free public lecture series, from 10 am to noon in VIU’s Malaspina Theatre, will be followed by a festive, catered reception accompanied by the VIU Jazz Trio.

Faculty and students presenting on a wide range of topics represent the departments of Media Studies, History, English and Graphic Design as well as the Library.

“The worlds of visual art, poetry, literary theory, languages, books and history are not usually immediately associated with computers, software and electronic technology,” says Dr. Helen Brown, one of the event’s organizers, “but the digital revolution has already had a major impact on the way we understand and produce art, literature and history.”

Topics explored in the Colloquium will include: the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in exploring and understanding the past history of cities; the impact of video creation and presentation on student engagement in the classroom; the impact of technology on research methods in literary studies; the importance of increasing our visual literary; the use of technology in the deep analysis of literary texts; and the convergence of traditional methods of studying literature with new computing technologies.

The first Arts & Humanities Colloquium five years ago attracted a dozen people but caught on so well that topics and faculty involvement expanded. Now the series attracts up to 200 people for its presentations.

Dr. Katharina Rout, who along with Dr. Brown started the Arts & Humanities Colloquium Series, says many factors have contributed to its success: a strong connection to the ElderCollege program, faculty passion and support, and an audience keen to learn, discuss ideas and connect with each other.

“We decided early on this should be something that showcases the research that happens here at VIU, and how much it can contribute to the lives of Canadians,” Rout says. “We are very proud to be part of a lecture series that has built strong, enduring connections on campus, among colleagues, faculty, staff and students, and in the community.”

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More Details on Topics & Speakers

Here are more details on faculty and student presentations in “Fascinating Technologies: Future Directions in the Arts and Humanities”:

• Dr. Patrick Dunae from the History department will present research he’s conducted using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to explore and understand the past history of cities like Victoria and Nanaimo. “I’ve used the historical GIS of Victoria, for example, to examine diverse topics such as the sex trade, saloons, the dwellings of urban wageworkers, and ‘vanished’ urban landscapes,” Dunae says.

• Robin Davies, from the department of Media Studies and Digital Media Technology, will explore how the creation and presentation of video can increase student engagement in the classroom. “Given the increasing intelligence, portability and technical quality of today’s cameras, video production is within easy reach of the masses,” Davies says.

• English professor Dr. Dawn Thompson will join Kathleen Reed, assessment and data librarian at VIU, along with fourth year English students, to investigate how technology has impacted research methods in literary studies. “In a very short time, technology has changed the way scholarship is being conducted,” says Reed.

• Two fourth year students in the Bachelor of Arts degree program, Maria Bassett and Darcie Smith, will discuss how technology has changed the deep analysis of texts in literature, and examine the role technology can play in preserving old print versions of many texts that might otherwise disappear completely from bookstores and libraries. “Print text has so much to offer but it is quickly becoming limited in many ways due to the emergence of the e-book, and the increase in the use of technology,” the students say.

• English Professor Dr. Richard Lane, with student Deanna MacGillivray, will share their interest in bringing together more traditional ways of studying literature with new computing technologies. “We hope to use the new technologies to explore some very old critical questions, and develop new questions that haven’t been asked of literature before,” Dr. Lane says.

• Rick Conroy, Professor in Arts and Graphic Design, will examine the importance of “visual literacy,” and share research on the complexity of the visual experience.


Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443 C: 250.618.1535 E: T: @viunews

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