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New Bader Chair to help Queen's become a world leader in art conservation

Queen's to recruit a top scholar to the university to work in imaging science, an emerging field that is revolutionizing art conservation.

A new research and teaching chair at Queen’s University is going to help the next generation of art conservationists better preserve our history and heritage. 

“Art is a window into the struggles, ambitions, hopes, and ideals of people living eons ago, just as it is for people today,” says Dr. Norman Vorano, head of the department of Art History and Art ConservationIt allows us to understand each other, and who we are as a nation.  

“If Canada is serious about protecting our cultural heritage and who we are in the world, it has to train the best art conservators in the worldSo the new chair is not only exciting for Queen’s, but for the country.”  

Queen’s is announcing a $3-million (USD) gift from Dr. Isabel Bader, LLD’07, to establish the Bader Chair in Art Conservation that will help students and researchers become world leaders in imaging science, an emerging field that is revolutionizing art conservation. 

“Art conservation is seeing a technological shift and imaging science allows us to look below the surface of paintings and other works of art in ways that were never previously possible,” says Dr. Vorano. “The new Bader Chair will put our students on the forefront of training in this field. Very few places around the world will be able to offer the kinds of training and experiences that a student can get at Queen’s.” 

The university recently received a $1-million gift from The Jarislowsky Foundation, giving it several pieces of cutting-edge technology that can examine art at the atomic and molecular levels. It allows researchers to better understand how art is deteriorating and come up with better conservation techniques. In North America, the technology is found in only a select few institutions, such as Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  

The gift from Dr. Bader will allow Queen’s to recruit a top art conservation scholar to the university and create unparalleled opportunities for research and teachingThe new chair will help the Master of Art Conservation program open up a fifth stream of study, imaging science, which will complement painting conservation, paper conservation, object conservation, and conservation science. The new chair will also give the program the ability to accept more students, allow Queen’s to work toward expanding graduate and undergraduate offerings in art conservation, and help the university access new opportunities for grant funding.  

Dr. Vorano sees the new chair as an innovator, growing not only the department but helping the university become an international leader in conservation imaging and helping to preserve Canadian history. 

Queen’s Announces Investments in the Arts 

The gifts to the Department of Art History and Art Conservation from ThJarislowsky Foundation and Dr. Bader are among a number of philanthropic investments Queen’s is announcing in support of the arts this month. Follow Queen’s Alumni on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest news. 

Revolutionizing art conservation at Queen's

A $1 million donation from the Jarislowsky Foundation allows Queen’s to acquire leading-edge technology that will be the only of its kind in Canada.

A $1-million gift from The Jarislowsky Foundation will bring leading-edge technology to Canada and help to preserve some of the country’s most important works of art.  

“The donation will create opportunities for Queen’s students and researchers to better understand the materials and techniques used to create artworks and other cultural objects,” says Patricia Smithen, assistant professor (Paintings Conservation) at Queen’sThe equipment will allow us to start new research programs, establish partnerships with leading art museums and collectors, and attract top students to study at Queen’s.”    

Queen’s is purchasing five pieces of equipment, some of which is highly sought-after technology used by the world’s top art institutes such as the Getty Conservation Institute, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  

These powerful new tools will impact art historians and students in many ways, such as being able to more accurately analyze the type of materials used in works of art. This will lead to better preservation strategies. 

Queen’s will be the only museum or institute in Canada to have Bruker M6 Jetstream, a highly advanced form of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology that allows researchers to scan paintings and create an elemental map of the surface. This instrument was recently used to scan Rembrandt’s famous painting, The Night Watch, at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, allowing conservators and scientists to identify pigments and reveal the artist’s working process, including changes he made to the composition.  

In addition to the Bruker M6 Jetstream, the other equipment includes: 

  • X-radiography Suite with New Mid-range Source 225 KV, Gantry and Tracer-Fluorescence Spectroscopy Unit 

  • Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR, Portable) 

  • Foster and Freeman VSC 8000 Multispectral Document System 

  • Instron Tensile Tester 

The Jarislowsky Foundation was created by Stephen Jarislowsky, LLD’88, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid art collector. 

 

Fostering the next generation of artists

Queen's, Bader Philanthropies, and the CBC are teaming up to put a spotlight on future classical music stars in Canada.

Photograph of a person playing the cello.
The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is connecting people with live music through high-fidelity online concerts.

Young artists often need encouragement and an opportunity to build their reputation. Eight Canadian classical musicians will soon be getting both through the Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition, which takes place June 24-27 and will stream live across the country on CBC Music.

This event is funded by Bader Philanthropies, Inc., the charitable foundation of the Bader family. And it is presented by the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The competition is bringing together some of the most talented Canadian cellists between the ages of 18 and 29.

“I am delighted to welcome such outstanding talent to the Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition at Queen’s University, inspired by Isabel Overton Bader and made possible through the generous support of Bader Philanthropies, led by Daniel Bader,” says Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “These extraordinary young artists undoubtably have a promising future and together, we show how powerful music can be at a time when the world longs for creativity, inspiration and above all, optimism.”

Connecting people to live art online

While the competition was originally slated to take place in the incomparable acoustics of the Isabel’s concert hall, the COVID-19 pandemic has moved the event to a virtual venue. But this doesn’t mean that listeners will have to accept second-rate sound quality. The Isabel team has collaborated with the CBC to ensure that the stream will feature nearly concert-level sound.

To help make this possible, the Isabel is sending high-quality WARM stereo microphone kits to each of the eight contestants. This state-of-the-art equipment will enable the Isabel and the CBC to capture a full range of sound as the musicians play. After the competition, the artists will be able to keep the microphone kits for future performances and recordings.

“The silver lining for the Isabel in the current situation is that we’ve accelerated our plans to improve the digital delivery of our live performances. I think people are really missing live art as they practice physical distancing, so it’s been important for our whole team to innovate by having these talented musicians reach national and international audiences on new digital platforms with high-fidelity sound technology,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. “In collaboration with CBC, Queen’s is hoping to make Canadians feel connected both to the arts and to each other.”

Prizes for the winners

Thanks to donations from the Overton family, many of whom are Queen’s alumni, the musicians will be vying for prizes that mix further artistic opportunities with financial rewards. The first-place winner will be awarded The Marion Overton Dick Memorial Cello Prize, which comes with $20,000, a future engagement to perform with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, and a future engagement to perform at the Isabel that will be recorded by CBC Music for national broadcast. The second prizewinner will receive the Clifford Overton Prize for $6,000, and the third prizewinner will receive the Margaret Foster and Heather Dick Prize for $4,000. After the three finalists perform, the online audience will also get to vote for the winner of the Bader Family Audience Prize, which comes with $1,000.

This cello competition is the second in the Bader and Overton series. The inaugural competition was funded by Isabel Overton Bader in 2017 in memory of her late sister Marion, who played the violin. The winner of that competition, Yolanda Bruno, will be hosting this year’s contest.

Tuning in to the competition

To learn more about the Bader and Overton Cello Competition, visit the Isabel’s website and Facebook page. To listen to the competition, tune into CBC Music on June 24, June 25, and June 27 at noon.

For more live online musical events over the summer, see the Isabel Digital Concert Hall

Re-imagining the world of theatre

Queen’s professor says when the pandemic has passed, the theatre world will be born anew.

West Side Story actors dance.
The world of theatre has ground to a halt but Queen's University professor Michael Wheeler is confident it will return. (Photo by Tim Fort; Winner in the 2019 Art of Research photo contest)

The theatre world has ground to a halt. Stages are dark and seats are empty. Queen’s University researcher Michael Wheeler is exploring how, in 2020, thinking has shifted from how digital was impacting live performance to how digital can keep the practice of the arts meaningful during a pandemic. 

“Theatres are facing an incredible amount of uncertainty about if and when they can resume regular activities,” says Wheeler (Dan School of Drama and Music). “Major institutions like the Stratford Festival have been forced to lay off much of their staff and it is unclear when they can resume operations. Part of this calculation is due to the uncertainty about the pandemic, and part is concern about when audiences will feel safe enough to return in significant numbers.” 

Wheeler also is questioning whether the artists themselves will recover as the already precarious nature of performer’s life means many will have few savings to rely on and, because of the pandemic, no restaurants or bars to work at in the downtime. 

Despite all the doom and gloom, the Queen’s professor has hope for the future – and that hope rests in the digital world for nowSpiderWebShow.ca is the first and only nationally-driven performing arts website of its kind in Canada. The site features CdnStudio, Canada’s first virtual rehearsal hall. In the wake of COVID-19, CdnStudio was relaunched as a space for artists to rehearse, experiment, and create with collaborators across distance. 

SpiderWebShow is also producing FOLDA (Festival of Live Digital Art) June 10-13 for the third timePreviously held live at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, collaborators were able to change and re-focus the works to be delivered online through FOLDA. It is a national festival that includes partnerships with The Theatre Centre (Toronto), The National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Luminato Festival (Toronto) and PUSH Festival (Vancouver.) The work comes to audiences in many forms: audio walks, livestreams, radio broadcasts, Zoom calls, and social media tools.  

While experiencing the theatre and art digitally is the new reality for now, Wheeler, who also works as a director in the theatre, says nothing can replace live theatre. 

“Something a livestream can't provide is running into your friend at the bar, or the buzz of the lobby or even the chance to ride the subway to the theatre so there are social and experiential reasons people go to the theatre that may not be satisfied,” he says. “I also believe the risk of 'live' is part of why audiences engage with this evolving art form. When it is safe to return to the theatre, I do believe it will be more popular than pre-March 2019 as we appreciate what we had anew.” 

All FOLDA events June 10-13 are available to be experienced via folda.ca free of charge. 

Spotlight on a new virtual music festival

The inaugural Ballytobin Live From the Isabel Online Summer Music Festival will bring live concerts to music lovers in Kingston and around the world.

Ballytobin Live From the Isabel Online Summer Music Festival

With large gatherings banned as part of the efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is still looking for ways to bring live concerts to music lovers.  

The result is the creation of an online music festival where Kingston musicians perform live at the Isabel at Queen’s University for a worldwide audience.

The inaugural Ballytobin Live From the Isabel Online Summer Music Festival showcases live performances at the Isabel by fabulous musicians of many different genres, streamed by the Isabel team on its new Isabel Digital Concert Hall from May to August, 2020. The Isabel Digital Concert Hall will be accessible starting May 16.

“There is no doubt that Kingston loves music, and musicians want to make music during this difficult period of isolation. This festival is a musical initiative of tremendous passion and enthusiasm,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel. “The community collaborators have created a wonderful and varied summer program for Kingston’s music lovers and beyond. The irony of social isolation is the increased collaboration and goodwill in the arts. I am grateful to all our partners, the Ballytobin Foundation for making this festival possible, and technical director Aaron Holmberg and arts stage technicians Jesse MacMillan and Noah Sullivan for working tirelessly to bring about a high fidelity live online festival.”

All online concerts are free for all audiences with a voluntary donation requested.

“In these interesting times, we are so pleased to support this innovative arts initiative that ensures that a vast array of live music continues in Kingston and is shared with the community through its new Isabel Digital Concert Hall,” says Joan Tobin, Ballytobin Foundation. “There is such determination in Kingston to ensure that the music does not stop, but rather, continues to flourish in this music-loving city. I congratulate the entire community programming team and all the artists and collaborators who, together, have created a wonderful festival for all to enjoy.”

CONCERT DATES 

  • May 16, 7 pm: Gryphon Trio (Classical). In collaboration with Ottawa Chamberfest and Chamber Music Society of Detroit
  • June 19, 7:30 pm: Frase (hip-hop/ funk / house / soul). In collaboration with the Skeleton Park Arts Festival
  • June 20, 3 pm: Sadaf Amini (Iranian santur). In collaboration with the Skeleton Park Arts Festival
  • June 21, 7:30 pm: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and her band (Indigenous multi-arts). In collaboration with the Skeleton Park Arts Festival
  • July 8, 7 pm & 8 pm: Palenai Duo (Classical)
  • July 15, 7 pm & 8 pm: Triola (Classical)
  • July 22, 7 pm: Benny Goodman Tribute Band (Jazz)
  • July 22, 8:30 pm: Jive Ass Slippers (Jazz)
  • July 28, 7:30 pm: Faculty Artist Trio (Classical) In collaboration with Queen’s Dan School of Drama and Music
  • July 29, 7 pm: Valery Lloyd-Watts (Classical piano)
  • July 29, 8 pm: Carina Canonico and David Gazaille (Classical). In collaboration with the Kingston Symphony
  • Aug. 5, 7 pm: Emilie Steele & The Deal (Indie Rock)
  • Aug. 5, 8:30 pm: Oakridge Ave. (Indie Rock)
  • Aug. 12, 7 pm & 8 pm: Kingston Cabaret Night – Musiikki Monday Night Band, Selina Chiarelli and the Firebirds (Jazz, Pop & More)
  • Aug. 13, 7 pm: Isabel String Quartet (Classical). In collaboration with Queen’s Dan School of Drama and Music
  • Aug. 19, 7 pm: Limestone Trio (Classical). In collaboration with the Kingston Symphony

 

Music teaching app connects teachers and students from home

The Cadenza practice app developed at Queen’s is a growing hit with aspiring musicians in Canada and around the world during the COVID-19 crisis.

A girl practices playing a flute
For the Cadenza app, there has been a 10-fold increase in subscribers as a direct result of people staying at home due to COVID-19. (Supplied photo)

If you’ve been on social media since the COVID-19 crisis began, you’ve no doubt seen people busy making the most of their time at home by trying their hand at skills such as cooking, sewing, painting, and other hobbies.

You can add picking up a musical instrument to the mix. The Cadenza app was developed by Queen’s University researchers in collaboration with professors and developers at Concordia University and community partners and was launched late in 2019. It works by virtually linking a music teacher with a student, or group of students. There's been a 10-fold increase in subscribers as a direct result of people staying at home due to COVID-19.

“We’ve had new users from Italy, Switzerland, and Singapore since the pandemic began,” says Jodie Compeau, Project Manager for the Cadenza Community Project.

The greatest surge of users has come from the United Kingdom, followed by Canada and the United States.

“We work with a group in the UK called The Curious Piano Teachers,” says Compeau. “They advise us and have helped to get the word out by endorsing Cadenza as an effective music teaching platform.”

The web-based app, which represents a great example of research translated to social innovation, received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and was supported by the Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation team.

As of April, 250 teachers and 3,300 students have subscribed.

“We have teachers who have dozens of students, and schools have signed on that have lots of students, so the app really is becoming a popular tool,” says Rena Upitis, Professor of Education at Queen’s and principal investigator on the project.

The app was originally developed for students 12 years of age and older, but the creators have found students as young as six are using it.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve also noticed a number of adult learners are wanting to play again,” says Dr. Upitis. She also observed that, “When we first launched Cadenza we imagined it would be a 1:1 private teacher and student ratio. But group lessons are possible now. An instructor with 10 students can create a lesson and send it out to their students or add an attachment or annotate things.”

The app’s creators say one of the most surprising things they’ve experienced since launching the service was the sense of community that has emerged through the service.  

“It is a big adjustment to learn how to teach on a screen instead of face-to face. As a result, everyone supports one another,” says Compeau.

There is a graduating scale of payment, depending on the number of students, for this web-based app.

“We weren’t expecting to be in the black until mid- 2021. Any money we have generated is going back into the app to make it better,” says Dr. Upitis. “We’ve been getting great user feedback, and if we can, we make changes.”

The Cadenza team is setting its sights on breaking into the U.S. market and has just joined forces with SPARK at St. Lawrence College to come up with a marketing strategy.

Anyone can access the app at the Cadenza website.

See the world from home

Experience art from around the globe through online collections and exhibitions with #AGNESFromHome.

Leiden, Netherlands
Leiden, Netherlands (Photo: Jose Zuniga via Unsplash)

If you are itching to take a trip, there may be no better time to do so than right now. No need to worry about COVID-19 or going against our efforts to physically distance – you can explore the cultural richness of Europe, Africa, and Canada’s far north from the comfort of your living room with #AGNESFromHome.

“There are few things capable of expanding our horizons in the ways that art can,” says Alicia Boutilier, Interim Director of Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University. “Artists energize our imaginations and illuminate our individual experiences and our shared histories. As we maintain physical distancing, we hope you can find a connection to people, past and present, through our online collections and exhibitions.”

Leiden, Netherlands

Setting foot in Leiden is said to be like stepping into the 17th century. Heralded as the “city of discoveries”, the university town has been a science powerhouse for centuries — cultivating any number of groundbreaking researchers — but it is perhaps most notable as the birthplace of legendary painter, Rembrandt van Rijn.

As part of Agnes’ Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges exhibition you can take in the vibrancy of the Baroque master’s hometown in this short documentary, and get an up-close look at some of his most memorable works. Visit an interactive map of 17th-century Leiden for a look at the city’s incredible landmarks, and to see where the artist honed his craft and helped nurture the talents of countless pupils.

Afterward, take a deep dive into the free, fully-illustrated digital catalogue (in both English and French) detailing the early careers of Rembrandt and his peers, highlighting the exhibition’s included works, and offering broader context to Leiden’s historical and cultural profile at the time.

These online assets were produced as part of Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges, a touring exhibition which debuted at Queen’s University’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre in August 2019 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death. Experience many of the pieces included in the exhibit online by visiting The Bader Collection.

Africa

African Ivory exhibit brochure cover
Ivory figure created by a Lega artist from the region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The world’s second-largest continent boasts rich cultural diversity and an abundance of natural wonder.

As part of #AGNESFromHome, you can learn about the long-running exhibition The Art of African Ivory, which explores how African communities have used ivory to teach morality, convey social standing, heal wounds, safeguard communities, and in commerce.

The use of ivory does carry baggage however, so be prepared to spend some time at the intersection of art preservation and animal conservation. Art curators across the world have the dual responsibility of protecting ‘cultural ivory’ works, while also combating the pursuit of contraband ivory. Past Director of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, spoke at Queen’s on the matter last fall—discussing historical African ivory art and wildlife conservation in her lecture Displaying Historical Ivory in Museums: Let’s Talk about the Elephant in the Room.

The Art of African Ivory exhibition features a number of pieces from the Agnes’ Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art—one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind in Canada, with over 500 works created by primarily west and central African artists. You can view much of the African historical art collection online.

Baffin Island, Canada

Drawing
Celebration and Drum Dancing from Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings from 1964

The most memorable elements of any journey are the people we meet along the way.

With the Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings from 1964 exhibition’s online interactive experience, we are introduced to Terry Ryan, an artist and arts advisor who encouraged and collected drawings by Indigenous people in the North Baffin region over three months in 1964. Traveling to three communities that had no formalized art programs—Clyde River (Kanngiqtugaapik), Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik), and Arctic Bay (Ikpiarjuk)—Ryan would distribute paper and pencils to local people at the start of his trips and purchase finished drawings on his way home. Together, the collection of drawings depicts profound perspectives of daily life, history, and memory during a time of profound social change for Inuit communities.

You can now reveal the stories behind the drawings with #AGNESFromHome. A selection of illustrations spanning Inuit identity, land, and history, can be viewed online. Each drawing is accompanied by special video interviews with the artists’ descendants and friends, who provide an intimate connection to the people, events, and themes of the era, while underscoring the importance of cultural heritage to communities today.

To learn more about contemporary and historical media created by Inuit, First Nations, and Métis artists from Turtle Island and across the world, visit the Agnes’ Indigenous Art Collection.

Queen’s hosts Inuit artist residency

Inuit women-centred filmmaking collective explores Indigenous culture, health, and multimedia.

Oana Spinu, Before Tomorrow (production still), copyright Arnait Video Productions, 2009
Oana Spinu, Before Tomorrow (Copyright Arnait Video Productions, 2009)

Update: Due to ongoing concerns over COVID-19, today’s Arnait events are cancelled. Find general information on the university's evolving response on the coronavirus COVID-19 information website.

Queen’s is hosting the world’s leading women-centred Inuit filmmaking collective, Arnait Video Productions, for a unique artist residency, running from March 10-16. Residency events are set to include Agnes Etherington Art Centre’s exhibition Inuuqatikka: My Dear Relations special film screenings, a series workshops, and a public roundtable event and feast.

As of 2019, Arnait has produced over 20 works, including three fiction features, a documentary feature, two television series, 12 short and mid- length documentaries, one short and one mid-length fiction film, and two animated films. Queen’s University Archives is in the unique position of holding a substantial portion of the Arnait archive.

“The importance of Arnait’s residency and associated exhibition hinges on intergenerational knowledge sharing, bringing together amazing Elders and collaborators, students, and researchers, to keep the work alive and accessible,” says Susan Lord, Queen’s Professor of Film and Media, and Director of the Vulnerable Media Lab, which is hosting the residency. “Arnait’s legacy takes us deep into the process of honouring the land and all living beings—and the work women do to pass on these ways of knowing.”

If you're feeling sick, avoid attending gatherings, especially if you have a fever or a cough. To learn more, visit the Queen's Coronavirus COVID-19 Information website.

During the March 13 roundtable and feast, Arnait members Madeline Ivalu, Susan Avingaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk, and Marie-Hélène Cousineau, will lead an intergenerational conversation about Inuuqatikka: My Dear Relations (curated by Nakasuk Alariaq, Linda Grussani and Tamara de Szegheo Lang) and the process of revisiting and remediating the Arnait video archives, with the help of their translator Zipporah Ungalaq.

From March 10-12, Arnait members led a series of Unpacking the Archive/The Living Archive: Process and Pedagogy workshops at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts’ Art and Media Lab, speaking to a broad range of subjects, covering Inuit midwifery and traditional medicine, adoption and family, and filmmaking. During the workshops collective members will unpack the Queen’s archive of Arnait material in public and speak to the material they find of interest. Queen’s students will make recordings of these conversations, which will then made part of the Agnes Etherington exhibition.

Ultimately, the residency will centre on this archive and how the collective members want it treated, described, accessed, and remediated so that knowledge can be passed down to future generations in a manner that is ethically consistent with cultural practices.

“Arnait’s archive of decades of production materials are being digitized and described by students, and through conversations with the collective members,” says Dr. Lord, whose Vulnerable Media Lab is focused on the preservation, digitization, and remediation of audio-visual heritage by women, Indigenous and Metis peoples, and LGBTQ2 communities. “The Vulnerable Media Lab is a project and an infrastructure. The project is about the social ecology of both media making and the processes of preservation and access. This requires a lot of time and conversation to do in a way that is consistent with cultural practices. Numerous students are involved, including graduate students Sylvia Nowak and Valerie Noftle, and undergraduates Arvin Zhang and Ariane Grice.”

The Arnait residency, exhibition, and related events are part of the Archive/Counter-Archive project, supported by a SSHRC partnership grant and led by Janine Marchessault at York University. Other funders include the Visiting Artist in Residence fund of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research); the Agnes Etherington Art Centre; the Faculty of Arts & Science, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity Fund, and the Poole Student Initiatives Fund Queen’s University; and the Leonard Schein Visiting Artist in Screen Culture in Film and Media Studies.

Learn more about the Arnait artist residency on the Vulnerable Media Lab website. Some of the residency’s film screenings are appearing as part of the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, profiled recently by the Queen’s Gazette.

James Carson appointed editor of Queen’s Quarterly

Queen’s University has appointed James Carson as editor of the Queen’s Quarterly effective March 1, 2020, following the retirement of its longstanding and distinguished editor Dr. Boris Castel.

Dr. Carson has been a faculty member in the Department of History at Queen’s since 1996 and a full professor since 2008. From 2006 to 2011 he was the associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, and from 2011 to 2016 he was the chair of the Department of History. Since 2017, he has been serving as the head of the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. He has a BA from the University of North Carolina, an MA from Tulane University, and a PhD from the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Carson will bring a unique academic record and approach to his work at the Queen’s Quarterly which, since 1893, has been an interdisciplinary journal publishing analysis, opinion, and reflection in diverse academic and literary fields.  

Dr. Carson has an extensive and distinguished record of scholarship in the ethnohistory of Indigenous North America, enhanced by creative non-fiction and interdisciplinary publications in accessible prose that communicate his research and ideas to a wider audience. As associate dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science he founded Native South, an interdisciplinary journal that focuses on the Indigenous peoples of the southern United States. 

Dr. Carson will bring academic and literary experience, editorial and leadership skills, and strategic vision to his work with the Queen’s Quarterly.

Spotlight on human rights

The Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival runs from January 23 to April 18.

Still image from Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival film "Matar a Jesús".
Still image from Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival film, "Matar a Jesús".

Humanity’s global pursuit of human rights will take to a world-class stage for the third annual Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, beginning January 23 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Through music, theatre, dance, multimedia, and film, the festival will explore poignant stories of refugees, Indigenous identity and health, protest, disability, equity, and more.

“The arts are a powerful voice in promoting awareness and action in human rights,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director of The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen's University. “We are privileged to partner with diverse artists and human rights activists who have dedicated their lives to create a fairer and inclusive future for humanity.”

The performance series will launch with a screening of Alanis Obomsawin’s Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger – one of four festival films curated by Queen’s Department of Film and Media professors Susan Lord and Dorit Naaman. The film documents the story of a young Indigenous boy who spent all five years of his life in hospital while the Manitoba and federal governments argued over who was responsible for paying for the boy’s care. More films will be screened in the following weeks, including Advocate, the story of Jewish-Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel; and Matar a Jesús, about the police’s handling of the murder of a young Colombian photographer’s father.

Among the festival’s live events will be a free performance installation entitled Firebirds in Motion, co-created by a Queen’s student and featuring collaborative contributions by Queen’s students and Kingston artists. The piece is set to explore the expansive theme of equity through dance, movement, and sound.

The festival’s live program will also feature the Art of Time Ensemble and Ralston String Quartet performing the history of protest music; dance performance The Mush Hole, a reflection on the Mohawk Institute residential school experience and; a multimedia exploration of the influence of refugee populations in their adopted countries. The Kingston Symphony will join Juno Award-winner Tom Wilson for Beautiful Scars, and the H’art Centre’s multimedia performance Small Things will look at parents’ experiences raising children with developmental disabilities.

“Nothing could be more important in this challenging political world climate, in which we are now immersed, than to inspire people to actively participate and create a political and legal environment that will protect world citizens from prejudice, hatred, and violence,” says Baldwin.

For more information on the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, visit the Isabel website.

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