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Beyond the printed word

Annual lecture series welcomes award-winning author John Steffler for talk about writing, wilderness, and “the page.”

An annual English Department lecture series celebrating the act of writing and the writing life will bring award-winning poet and novelist John Steffler to campus next week to talk about wilderness and “the page.”

The Page Lectures series, launched in 2012, has a dual focus: to bring leading Canadian writers to speak at Queen’s, and to honour the late Kingston writer and artist Joanne Page, who contributed immensely to the local literary and artistic communities.

This year, The Page Lectures welcomes John Steffler, who plans to talk about wilderness and "the page" at the event Oct. 25.  

“This series is a tremendous opportunity for the Queen’s community and for anyone with love and passion for the written word to learn from some of the most exciting and innovative writers the Canadian literary scene has to offer,” says Sam McKegney, Acting Head and Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature. “For our students to be able to engage with an eminent writer such as former poet laureate of Canada, John Steffler – what a luxury!

“The Department of English is honoured to be hosting this event, alongside The Page Lectures Fund, to celebrate the memory of Joanne Page, who was such an incredible ambassador of the written word.”

Started by former Queen’s writer in residence and celebrated poet Phil Hall, the series has already attracted a diverse group of writers to give lectures – including Erín Moure, Stan Dragland, and Elizabeth Hay. This year’s speaker, John Steffler, was Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2006 to 2008, and has published several books of poetry, including The Grey Islands, That Night We Were Ravenous, and Lookout, as well as two novels and a children’s book.

“John Steffler holds dual citizenship in Newfoundland and Ontario. His poetic journal of living on The Grey Islands is a classic,” says Mr. Hall. “John knows about language & he knows about the barren out-reaches of this country. We are so honoured to have him talk with us about both.”

After Ms. Page’s death in 2015, the Department of English pledged $25,000 from its Alumni Fund to act as seed-money for a new fund that would endow The Page Lectures in perpetuity. The fund recognizes both Ms. Page’s contribution to Canadian writing and the importance of the newly inaugurated lecture series to creative writing within the department and the wider community. Stephen Page, Joanne’s husband, matched this gift, and with further support from other family members and friends, the Joanne Page Lecture Fund was established in September 2015.

This year’s talk by Mr. Steffler will take place Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2:30-4 pm, Watson Hall, Rm. 517, Queen’s University. This is a free event and all are welcome. More information available on Facebook.

An artistic vision

[Nadia Myre]
Nadia Myre, Oraison/Orison, (installation view, Oboro, Montreal, 2014) (Photo by Paul Litherland)

The Koerner Artist in Residence program aims to provide Queen’s Fine Arts students a mentorship opportunity with a professional artist, while at the same time giving the artist a venue to share their expertise.

Interaction, discussion, collaboration. A chance to learn.

Nadia Myre is the  Koerner Artist in Residence for 2016-17. (Supplied photo)

This year’s Koerner Artist in Residence is Nadia Myre a visual artist from Quebec and an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.

Her multi-disciplinary practice employs collaborative processes as a strategy for engaging in conversations about identity, resilience and politics of belonging

“The Koerner Artist-In-Residence Program is a jewel in the crown of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program and a real highlight for students. We are very excited to have First Nations artist Nadia Myre as the 2016-17 artist resident,” says Kathleen Sellars (Fine Art), adding that this month alone Myre has work on exhibit in Quebec, Edmonton and Seattle and later will be leading a professional artist residency at the Banff Centre. “What an exceptional opportunity for the BFA undergraduate students to hear Nadia speak about the trajectory of her art practice and to observe her at work in her studio, right alongside theirs in Ontario Hall.”

During her residency at Queen’s, the Queen’s community and general public will have two opportunities to see Myre’s work.

First, Myre will provide an illustrated public lecture on her sculptural work on Tuesday, Oct.18 from noon to 1 pm in Stirling Hall A. Then, on Wednesday Oct. 26 at 7 pm, she will be at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre for a public talk on her media work. A reception will follow.

Myre’s installations often employ collaborative processes as a strategy for engaging in conversations about identity, resilience and politics of belonging, Myre says of her work.

A graduate from Camosun College (1995), Emily Carr (1997), and Concordia University (MFA, 2002), Myre has received numerous awards, including the Sobey Art Award (2014), Pratt & Whitney Canada’s ‘Les Elles de l’art’ for the Conseil des arts de Montréal (2011), Quebec Arts Council’s Prix à la création artistique pour la region des Laurentides (2009), and a Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum (2003).

She has exhibited around the world and her works may be found on permanent exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, National Gallery of Canada, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Canadian Museum of History, and the Musée des civilizations (Quebec). 

For more information visit the Bachelor of Fine Arts website or contact Kathleen Sellars.

The Koerner Artist in Residence Program is made possible by the generous support of the Koerner Foundation.

New art piece unveiled in Beamish-Munro Hall

  • Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kim Woodhouse welcomes former principal Bill Leggett and his wife Claire, at Beamish-Munro Hall.
    Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kim Woodhouse welcomes former principal Bill Leggett and his wife Claire, at Beamish-Munro Hall.
  • Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
    Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
  • Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
    Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
  • Adorning the front foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall, 'synapse' was created by artist Kwest, with the collaboration of a number of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
    Adorning the front foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall, 'synapse' was created by artist Kwest, with the collaboration of a number of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Homecoming this year marks the inauguration of a new artwork piece featured the front foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall.

The 38-foot-tall sculpture of steel, wood, acrylic and paint is meant to add dramatic impact to the entryway and to symbolise the intersection of art and engineering. Toronto artist Kwest completed and installed the work the first week of September.

“It’s creating something that could last at Queen’s for generations,” Kwest says. “I see it as an awesome opportunity. The space is amazing. This city is amazing. It’s been a really cool process.”

The process of creating the piece spanned six months. Earlier this spring Kwest and a group of Queen’s engineering students gathered for two days to workshop ideas. Together they visited the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Queen’s University Archives to gather inspiration. They talked a lot about engineering at Queen’s, the creative aspects of engineering design and the legacy the new piece represents.

“In most public art calls, you submit your ideas and all the work falls to you,” Kwest says. “In this case, the collaboration with students was unique. It’s one thing that really appealed to me about this installation: being able to create a piece with the students who actually go here and know what this place is about. It’s about getting a better understanding about what’s actually happening here.”

Queen’s engineering student Max Lindley-Peart is one of those who worked with Kwest in the spring.

“It was really interesting doing a bit of background research behind the piece, trying to understand what we wanted to represent,” he says. “What does it mean to be part of Queen’s engineering? What is the history of Queen’s? How is that going to play into the piece? I really enjoyed that process.”

The piece, eventually named ‘synapse,’ was dedicated, Thursday, Oct. 13 by Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Kim Woodhouse in honour of Queen’s 17th principal and vice-chancellor William C. Leggett.

“My personal favourite time to see the art is at night,” says Lindley-Peart. “I love biking by on my way home after class. It’s so wonderful with the lights. It’s a really nice introduction to the space and I can’t wait to see the plaque that explains what’s going on in it.”

The art of teaching and learning

[Creative Expressions]
Iridescent Story Pieces, an installation and performance piece created by a 2001 BFA graduate, Aleks Bartosik, will be on display in Grant Hall on Friday, Oct 14, 1-6 pm, and Saturday, Oct. 15, 8:30 am-noon, as part of the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s month-long exhibition Creative Expressions. (Supplied Photo)

A new multiple-location exhibit offered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) celebrates the role of creativity in teaching and learning at Queen’s University.

In Creative Expressions, being held Oct. 3-28, numerous artifacts such as course assignments, teaching aids and photos are viewed through a creative lens and will be displayed in spaces across campus.

The exhibit, which commemorates Queen’s 175th anniversary and the CTL’s 25th anniversary, showcases three types of creative expressions:

  • Existing Expressions – artifacts consist of student work and a variety of teaching and learning artifacts from Queen’s alumni, faculty and staff.
  • Sponsored Expressions – artifacts have been funded or partly-funded by the Centre for Teaching and Learning to create new expressions of teaching and learning.
  • Collaborative Expressions – A work of art to be facilitated by artist and 2001 BFA graduate Aleks Bartosik during Homecoming (Oct. 14-16)  that will take shape in response to the question: “What are the characteristics of your favorite teaching/learning experience at Queen’s?”

Along with Bartosik’s contribution, other interactive components will be added for Homecoming, including We Built this City at Ontario Hall and Not Just a Violin at the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts.

Exhibition booklets and passport/maps will be available for the month of October in F200 Mackintosh Corry. Tour passports can be stamped at the various exhibit locations and then returned for a chance to win one of 10 prizes, each consisting of a pair of tickets that can redeemed at a future performance at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.  Details about the draw may be found on the passport/maps.

For more information about Creative Expressions, including schedules, artifacts and where they are being displayed, visit the Creative Expressions page on the CTL website.

A round of applause

Queen’s and St. Lawrence collaborate on Bachelor of Music Theatre program.

Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College celebrated an exciting new collaboration on a one-of-a-kind Bachelor of Music Theatre program at the Isabel Bader Centre.

A highlight of the official signing were performances from St. Lawrence and Queen’s music theatre students from popular musicals including Pippen and The Sound of Music.

St. Lawrence College student Maddy Palmer performs a selection from 42nd Street accompanied by Queen's student Ryan Cowl on the piano.

“We are excited to be partnering with St. Lawrence College once again. Building on the recent momentum in our arts programming at Queen’s, from opening the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, to the celebration of the Dan School of Drama and Music following a $5 million donation from Aubrey and Marla Dan this past spring, the new Music Theatre program will enable our students to explore new career paths and significantly differentiates us within Canadian university and college based arts education,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University.

The Music Theatre program will provide students with theoretical and practical training in acting, singing and dancing, through a liberal arts lens. Industry-focused training through a two-year set curriculum at St. Lawrence College (Brockville campus) includes personalized instruction and coaching, group creative work, and basic music literacy complemented by a more interdisciplinary liberal arts approach in the final two years at Queen’s.

This demanding “triple threat” program will allow students to hone their skills by performing in front of audiences, in studio, main stage productions and in unique productions where students learn to create and produce original theatrical pieces. Students will also receive mentoring from faculty and guest industry professionals to become competent and job-ready for a competitive and rapidly-changing industry.

“This new partnership opens up an exciting new career path for St. Lawrence College students, providing both hands-on and theoretical learning that will help our graduates stay competitive in a dynamic and evolving field,” says Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College.

This is the third joint program between the two institutions in recent years - joining the Biotechnology and the Digital Music and Bachelor of Music combined diploma and degree programs.

A brush with success

Fine art student Kelly Baskin's work to be featured on Magnotta wine label

Queen’s University fine art student Kelly Baskin is making her mark in the art world thanks to Magnotta Winery. The Vaughan-based winery selected her artwork to grace the label of an upcoming bottle of Cabernet.

“I really entered this contest because there was no fee,” says Ms. Baskin (BFA’17) with a laugh. “It was also a great opportunity to get my work out there, to get it noticed. At the announcement there were a number of local artists I was able to connect with. I was also able to mingle with the other artists and experience their work.”

Kelly Baskin's work was purchased by Magnotta Winery and will be featured on an upcoming wine label. Supplied photo.

Ms. Baskin developed her five-foot by six-foot oil painting with a theme of “significance in a room. It’s about a feeling and an energy that carries a certain vibration and resonance that exists beneath the visible layer. A feeling of everything being more tense, more still, more heavy, with nothing to see - which ultimately fit perfectly with the description of the wine being full-bodied, dark, intense and off-dry.

For the first round, she submitted a photo of the piece and was short-listed with nine other artists for the final.

“I had to take my piece to the winery for the winery’s annual Underground Cellar Event,” she explained. “Being a student, I couldn’t afford to ship it so I drove it there in my truck and carried it in. It was the biggest piece in the room.”

As a reward for her efforts, Magnotta Winery purchased her work for $2,500. Magnotta is the only Canadian winery that owns a private fine art collection and reproduces an original piece of art on each of its labels to distinguish its more than 180 wines. The piece will remain in their permanent collection until it’s used for the label of their next bottle of red wine.

“The recognition for me was huge,” says Ms. Baskin. “I’m very passionate about my work and this shows that others also appreciate my work.”

For more information visit the website.

A season for inspiration

[Comrade Objects]
Ciara Phillips: Comrade Objects is one of three exhibitions featured for the Fall Season at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Supplied Photo)

With Queen’s University marking its 175th anniversary it is only fitting that the Agnes Etherington Art Centre be part of the celebrations.

The Agnes will be celebrating the Fall Season launch on Thursday, Sept. 15 with three new exhibitions – Ciara Phillips: Comrade Objects; Treasures and Tales: Queen’s Early Collections; and The Other NFB: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, 1941–1971.

“Two of our three new exhibitions this season are inspired by Queen’s University’s 175th anniversary,” Agnes Director Jan Allen points out. “Treasures and Tales: Queen’s Early Collections brings the past to life through the rare art, artifacts and documents that formed the foundational holdings of the Agnes and Queen’s Archives. Every item reveals the personalities, aspirations and shifting networks of influence that shaped the university and the nation itself. Ciara Phillips: Comrade Objects projects this history into the present and the future through the practice of an extremely talented alumna, who holds social forces up to scrutiny while exploding graphics across our gallery spaces.”

[Arthur Lismer]
Arthur Lismer, Quebec Village (Saint-Hilarion), 1926, oil on canvas. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University. Gift of H. S. Southam, 1949 (00-094).

A graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Queen’s, Ciara Phillips was a finalist for the prestigious Turner Award in 2014 and returned to her alma mater as the Koerner Visiting Artist last year. This year she will be on campus for six weeks as a Queen’s University Artist in Residence. Her exhibition for the Agnes, Comrade Objects, presents a new body of work that brings together energetic blocks of colour, echoing motifs, useful slogans and black and white portraits of women engaged in focused work.

At the same time Ms. Phillips is offering a new iteration of her Turner Prize-nominated Workshop (2010–ongoing), which brings screen printing equipment into the gallery to create an active space of investigation, discussion and debate.

To explore the ethics and potential of “making together,” Ms. Phillips has invited fellow Canadian artist, artist-curator and artist-publisher Clive Robertson to co-produce posters and publications.

With Treasures and Tales: Queen’s Early Collections, curators Alicia Boutilier and Deirdre Bryden mark Queen’s 175th anniversary through significant artworks and archival documents from the university’s early collections.

Produced by Carleton University Art Gallery and curated by Carol Payne and Sandra Dyck, The Other NFB: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, 1941–1971 looks at how the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) imagined Canada and Canadian identity, the role photographs played in that imagining, and how the NFB’s photographic archive was — and continues to be — used.

The Fall Season launch starts with a members’ preview from 5 to 6:30 pm with brief curatorial presentations and Ms. Phillips will introduce her work. Formal remarks will take place at 6:30 pm, at the beginning of the public reception, which runs to 8 pm. Artists and special guests will be present. All are welcome to attend.

[NFB]
Unknown photographer, Veronica Foster, an employee of John Inglis Co. Ltd. and known as “The Bren Gun Girl” in the John Inglis Co. Ltd. plant, Toronto, 10 May 1941, Contemporary print from vintage negative, National Film Board of Canada.

Ms. Allen says she is eager to celebrate and scrutinize the shows through new eyes.

“The season launch is a special moment in which the culmination of prolonged effort encounters its audience; I always learn something unforeseen about the exhibitions from our visitors,” she says. “We’re very excited to present these extremely fine new and continuing shows.”

A number of events are also being held this fall at the Agnes to mark the 175th anniversary of Queen’s. During Homecoming Weekend the Agnes will extend its hours to 10 am-5pm to welcome alumni back to the university. A special guided tour is available on Friday, Oct. 14 from 2-3pm. The Agnes will also host an Open House 175th Anniversary Party on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 4-8 pm. Visitors will be able to see the new David McTavish Art Study Room in action while selected works of art will also be brought out of the vault with Agnes curators on hand to discuss the pieces that are currently not on display.

Continuing exhibitions at the Agnes are Stories to Tell: Africans and the Diaspora Respond to the Lang Collection and Singular Figures: Portraits and Character Studies in Northern Baroque Painting. The latter features the recent addition to The Bader Collection, Rembrandt’s splendid Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo. Additional new installations are featured in the Atrium and Etherington House.

For more information visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre website.

A portrait of success

PhD student Linda Grussani named curator of Aboriginal art at the Canadian Museum of History

[Linda Grussani]A creative upbringing and a passion for art have helped Linda Grussani land the job of a lifetime.

The PhD candidate (Cultural Studies) was recently named the Aboriginal art curator at the Canadian Museum of History.

“I’ve really come full circle,” says Ms. Grussani. “I started there as an intern 16 years ago and have always been interested in this position. It’s an area of great personal interest and the museum contributes to a deeper understanding of the cultural history of Canada.”

Ms. Grussani, who is a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg – a First Nation community located 130 km north of Gatineau, Quebec – earned both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in art history from Carleton University. Her mother was also a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and her father was an Italian immigrant.

“I am incredibly proud of my heritage and have been fortunate to bring both sides into my studies.”

In 2000, she accepted an eight-month internship at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) as a master’s student. The internship was part of the RBC Aboriginal Training Program in Museum Practices. Now, she returns to where she got her start after 12 years at the National Gallery of Canada and serving as director of Indigenous and Northern Affairs’ Aboriginal Art Centre for three and a half years.

“I’m now determining what exhibitions I’d like to plan and the best way to highlight our important collections ,” says Ms. Grussani. “I also want to plan and conduct further research into the area of Indigenous art and communicate those results to a wider audience. Art can really demonstrate how Indigenous people have been here, are here, and will continue to be here.”

While she has achieved her dream job, Ms. Grussani continues to pursue her educational dream. She is completing her PhD degree part-time while working full-time at the museum. She says support from the university has been invaluable as she was able to customize her Queen’s experience to best support her busy life.

“I don’t feel like I have had to put one part of my life on hold,” she says. “My PhD work is feeding into my museum work and vice versa. I’m thankful for the people who are helping make this happen.”

Ready to debut

[Isabel Quartet]
The Isabel String Quartet, from left, Scott St. John, Gisèle Dalbec-Szczesniak, Sharon Wei and Wolf Tormann, will perform its inaugural concert at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, June 29. (Supplied Image)

A performance venue the quality of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts deserves a musical ensemble that matches its excellence.

Enter the Isabel String Quartet.

[Isabel Quartet Logo]The members of the quartet – Queen’s faculty members Gisèle Dalbec-Szczesniak (violin) and Wolf Tormann (cello), along with Sharon Wei (viola) and Scott St. John (violin) – are all experienced professional musicians at the top of the respective fields.   

Not surprising, there is a sense of excitement surrounding the quartet’s upcoming inaugural performance at the Isabel on Wednesday, June 29, at 7:30 pm.

“For many lovers of classical music, the string quartet exemplifies the epitome of chamber music and composers have certainly penned some of their finest and most intimate music for this ensemble,” says John Burge (Music), coordinator of the Faculty Artist Series.Knowing all the Isabel Quartet members personally and being in great admiration of their distinctive talents and musicianship, I look forward to hearing the results of their collaboration. What a great opportunity to be in the audience at their very first concert.”

It is also hoped that the quartet’s strength will support the Dan School of Drama and Music’s goal of developing new initiatives to enhance the recruitment of students into the school’s programs by communicating the commitment, leadership and strengths of Queen's and Kingston in support of the performing arts.

The concert will include the Burge String Quartet No. 1, Bartok String Quartet No. 3, and Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in d minor, D.810 “Death and the Maiden.”

The creation of the quartet and performance has proven to be an exciting development for the musicians as well.

“I have worked with my colleagues on the idea of establishing a quartet in residence at the Dan School of Drama and Music now for over a year. To see this idea develop and gain momentum so quickly has been one of the most exciting times in my musical career,” Tormann says, an instructor for Cello at Queen’s. “It is an absolute privilege to work with such amazing musicians like Scott St. John, Sharon Wei and Gisèle Dalbec in a string quartet setting and we would like to invite all chamber music lovers in Kingston to be part of this amazing inaugural concert.” 

Tickets are available by calling (613) 533-2424 (Monday-Friday, 12:30-4:30 pm) or online at theisabel.ca.

The Isabel String Quartet will also perform Sunday, Oct. 2 at 2:30 pm in the first of four concerts that make up the 2016/17 Faculty Artist Series. Tickets are available online.

Acting in defiance in Dionysus production

Queen’s theatre group invites members of community to become performers in show running at the Isabel

Queen’s theatre group, Chipped Off Collective, is tearing down the fourth wall with their latest production Dionysus, by inviting members of the community to become performers alongside professional artists and actors. The evening of theatre builds off the theme of defiance in the Euripides’ play The Bacchae, featuring Dionysus, the god of wine, prophecy, ecstasy and fertility.

Appearing in Dionysus are (l to r) are: Megan Hamilton, Vishmayaa Jeyamoorthy, director Kim Renders and Danielle Lennon.

Director Kim Renders (Drama and Music) explains Dionysus was the epitome of defiant in The Bacchae, and the theme of defiance really resonated with her. The new play tackles the theme through a tapestry of video art, poetry, monologues, song and dance. Each two-minute performance is given by community participants and artists from the Kingston community, many of whom are Queen’s faculty, staff and students.

“This is our fourth performance and people are now coming and asking me to perform in our yearly production,” says Renders. “We have a really good mix of people and ages. We are becoming a presence in the Kingston theatre scene.”

Appearing for the first time in a Chipped Off Collective production, Vishmayaa Jeyamoorthy is doing a spoken-word piece on defiance. For her, the two-minute monologue is personal.

“Kingston is not always friendly to people of colour,” says Jeyamoorthy. “I often thought about transferring universities because I wasn’t welcome. Kingston needs to work on that. Every day I make a choice to stay, I’m being defiant.”

Megan Hamilton and Danielle Lennon are providing the music for the production this year as part of a four-piece band. “I come from a theatre background and really enjoy performing,” says Hamilton, who also works in the Faculty of Law. “This is a great, welcoming space for people to bring their voices.”

Lennon is a member of the Kingston Symphony and also professes a love of the theatre. “I love seeing those brave people up on stage, making a statement. Chipped Off Collective also gives off a nice vibe; there is no ego and everyone is welcome.”

Chipped Off Collective is committed to building an inclusive arts community with accessible services and facilities that respect the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.

The show runs June 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30 pm in the Isabel Bader Studio Theatre. Tickets are $10.

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