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Updated: 11 hours 6 min ago

The backbenchers’ calculus and the Fair Elections Act

Ottawa Citizen, Wed Apr 16 2014
By: Stewart Prest
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The Conservatives’ proposed changes to Canada’s Fair Elections Act is a “risky political ploy,” says UBC PhD political science candidate Stewart Prest.

“For one thing, it is a potent potential mobilizer for the opposition,” he writes. “Polling on the issue so far suggests that while most Canadians are not engaged on the issue, the more they know about C-23, the more they dislike it. A limited set of amendments will not change that calculus.”

Categories: Faculty News

Study: Crew that sailed with Columbus suffered scurvy

USA Today, Tues Apr 15 2014
By: Traci Watson
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The crew accompanying Christopher Columbus on his journey to the New World had scurvy, according to a new study.

But UBC anthropologist Darlene Weston says conclusive signs of scurvy can only be found if the crewmembers’ skulls are examined.

Categories: Faculty News

Best places to experience Native American culture

CNN, Wed Apr 16 2014
By: Dana Joseph
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UBC’s Museum of Anthropology is named as one of the best places to learn about Aboriginal history and culture by CNN.

Categories: Faculty News

Compulsory voting is counter-productive

Ottawa Citizen, Mon Apr 14 2014
By: David Moscrop
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Today, elections are on the mind of many Canadians with the Fair Elections Act and the upcoming 2015 federal contest. Again, there has been talk of adopting compulsory voting in Canada.

Political Science PhD candidate David Moscrop discusses why he believes compulsory voting is counter-productive and won’t fix structural inequalities that cause low voter turnout.

Categories: Faculty News

UBC Vancouver Events Commemorating The Komagata Maru Incident

Performing the Komagata Maru, Theatre and the Work of Memory | Saturday May 3, 7:30pm &  Sunday May 4, 2pm

Theatre at UBC takes part in upcoming events held throughout Vancouver commemorating the The Komagata Maru Incident. In 1914, a ship named the “Komagata Maru,” carrying 376 South Asian would-be immigrants to Canada, was turned away from Vancouver as a part of a larger movement against Asian immigration at that time.

Saturday May 3, 2pm

Symposium | Performing the Post-colonial: The political work of theatre

St. John’s College, UBC


This symposium is associated with the theatrical and scholarly program Performing the Komagata Maru: Theatre and the Work of Memory. Featuring a panel discussion by the playwrights included in the program – Sadhu Binning, Sukhwant Hundal, Sharon Pollock and Ajmer Rode. The event also includes remarks from Rahul Varma founder of Teesri Duniya Theatre or “Third World Theatre”, Nandi Bhatia from the University of Western Ontario and a key-note address by Rana Nayar, Professor of English at Panjab University, Chandigarh and well-known translator of modern Punjabi literature.

Refreshments during the event and light dinner to follow.

Free! | Ph: 604.822.8788 | E: sjc.reception@ubc.ca | Web: http://stjohns.ubc.ca

Saturday May 3, 7:30pm & Sunday May 4, 2pm

Theatre | Performing the Komagata Maru, Theatre and the Work of Memory

Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC

Admission: $10

Join us for an intellectual and theatrical commemoration of the centenary of this incident to explore how and why the Komagata Maru Incident has been remembered by Canadian playwrights in Punjabi and English. The fully bilingual program will feature the performance of selections of plays by Sadhu Binning, Sukhwant Hundal, Sharon Pollock, and Ajmer Rode by UBC students and members of Rangmanch Punjabi Theatre. Sets for the production were produced by artist Raghavendra Rao K.V. and students from Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore.

Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC | Admission $10, Book online at www.theatre.ubc.ca

Note: This event will also be staged May 9 at the Surrey Arts Centre at 8pm.

More: www.surrey.ca/files/SurreyArtsCentreCalendar.pdf 


Other Vancouver events commemorating The Komagata Maru Incident include:

Thursday May 1, 7pm

FILM | An evening with Ali Kazimi and the film Continuous Journey 

Centre Stage, New Surrey City Hall


An evening with Ali Kazimi and his film “Continuous Journey”. Join in a conversation with this artist about his film, the first feature-length documentary to examine the Komagata Maru ‘incident’. Presented as part of the Surrey Art Gallery’s exhibition “Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru,” in collaboration with the Komagata Maru Foundation.

Centre Stage, New Surrey City Hall | Admission Free (limited seating) Ph: 604-501-5566


More about these events: http://www.theatre.ubc.ca/season.shtml#KomagatuMaru

Categories: Faculty News

Meet the new CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission

Business in Vancouver, Fri Apr 11 2014
By: Jen St. Denis
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A UBC alumnus is the new CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission.

Ian McKay studied political science and Asia Pacific studies at UBC.

Categories: Faculty News

In search of China’s soul

Vancouver Sun, Fri Apr 11 2014
By: Douglas Todd
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Chinese people are renewing their interest in traditional Chinese thought, says UBC Asian studies professor Edward Slingerland, who recently published his book Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity.

“There has been a resurgence of interest in traditional Chinese thought in China, partly driven top-down by the government, which is looking for a new guiding philosophy now that Maoism seems defunct. … Their interpretation of Confucian ideas about a ‘harmonious society’ fits into their governing philosophy,” Slingerland writes.

Categories: Faculty News

UBC Asia expert calls for new era in China relations

Vancouver Sun, Sun Apr 13 2014
By: Chuck Chiang
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Canada needs to develop a better strategy for engaging with China, says a UBC Asian studies professor.

“Asian countries care as much about things like security, health and the environment as they do about economics. Are we just going to be a commercial country (in the region)? We need to take the next step to signal we are in the game in a more comprehensive way,” said Paul Evans, who has published a new book on the matter called Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration, and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper.

Categories: Faculty News

Northern Gateway ups the offer to First Nations

Calgary Herald, Mon Apr 14 2014
By: Peter O’Neil
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A UBC political scientist questions the planning behind the Northern Gateway pipeline in a new article in The Calgary Herald.

“How does authorizing a bitumen pipeline accommodate the concerns of the many First Nations along the route who adamantly oppose the pipeline?” said George Hoberg.

A similar story appeared in The Province.

Categories: Faculty News

How would you reimagine the CBC?

Globe and Mail, Fri Apr 11 2014
By: Peter Klein
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A UBC professor reimagines CBC programming after major job cuts.

“Why not pull together some programs that can be broadcast through traditional radio waves for Canadians stuck in rush hour traffic? And “talk radio” is so popular on commercial broadcasts – what if we did a smarter version of talk radio, with cutting-edge, creative hosts,” writes Peter Klein, director of the UBC Graduate School of Journalism.

Categories: Faculty News

Worst scenarios can still be avoided: climate change report

CBC The National, Sun Apr 13 2014
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Greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by as much as 40 to 70 per cent by 2050 to help curb the rising global temperature, according to United Nations climate change experts.

“Economically, it is probably worth doing it, right?” said UBC geography professor Simon Donner. “And obviously environmentally and in terms of human health, it is worth doing it. The question is how is the world going to mobilize the political energy to do so? And where will that leadership come from?

Segment starts at 9:09

Categories: Faculty News

Arts on Air

The Faculty of Arts and CiTR 101.9 FM present Arts on Air.

Wednesday, April 23

Join Ira Nadel (English) as he interviews UBC’s top writers, philosophers, singers and actors in the Humanities and Creative Arts. Provocative interviews, expert commentary and the latest updates from the Faculty of Arts make for an informative and entertaining segment.

English professor Richard Cavell joins Ira Nadel on UBC Arts On Air this week to discuss the history of media studies and its increasingly important role in academia today. Cavell will also provide some insight into the new media studies undergraduate program being launched at UBC this fall.

Arts on Air is heard across the lower mainland every second week at 6 p.m. on CiTR 101.9 FM.

Follow Arts On Air on Twitter, or visit its home site at ArtsOnAir.com.

An archive of Arts on Air episodes can be heard at this link.

Categories: Faculty News

Let’s talk about climate change

National Post, Thu Apr 10 2014
By: Simon Donner, Kathryn Harrison, George Hoberg
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The National Energy Board refuses to talk about climate change, says three UBC professors in a new National Post op-ed.

“Canadians are not served when public agencies reject pertinent scientific and expert advice,” wrote geography professor Simon Donner, political science professor Kathyn Harrison, and forest resources management professor George Hoberg. “Nor is Canadian democracy served when our government attempts to evade responsibility for matters as fundamental as our international commitments and responsibility to future generations.”

Categories: Faculty News

What is most important issue facing aboriginal youth today?

CBC News, Wed Apr 9 2014
By: Duncan McCue
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The lives of Aboriginal youth in B.C.’s Lower Mainland will be put into focus in a new CBC series next week, in partnership with the UBC Graduate School of Journalism’s Reporting in Indigenous Communities course.

The series starts April 14 on CBC Aboriginal and CBC Early Edition.

Categories: Faculty News

Marinate Me

Marinate Me | UBC 2014 BFA/BA Visual Art Graduating Exhibition | Opening  April 16, 2014

The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at UBC is pleased to present Marinate Me, this year’s BFA/BA Visual Art Graduating Exhibition at the Audain Art Centre.

For the first time, this exhibition will be housed in the Audain Art Centre.  Featuring works from both an open and closed call, the exhibition will showcase student work in the new AHVA Gallery and the 3rd Floor undergraduate studios.

Marinate Me speaks to immersion in educational theory, or intentional lack thereof. Either being thrown on the grill raw, or by reflecting their seasoned array of knowledge, students will serve up their work to a public audience.

Please join us in celebrating the graduates’ achievements and enjoy the work of emerging young talent in your city.

Opening Reception: April 16th, 5-9 PM
Exhibition: April 17th-26th. [Closed for Good Friday.]
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12-4 PM

AHVA Gallery & 3rd Floor Studios
Audain Art Centre:  6398 University Blvd.

Categories: Faculty News

The new pulse of digital music

Music is supposed to make you move, but UBC’s Laptop Orchestra takes it to a whole other level

Video killed the radio star, but Bob Pritchard thinks digital cameras and other gadgets might just save live electronic music.

Pritchard, a professor of music at the University of British Columbia, is using technologies that capture physical movement to transform the human body into a musical instrument.

Pritchard and the music and engineering students who make up the UBC Laptop Orchestra wanted to inject more human performance in digital music after attending one too many uninspiring laptop music sets. “Live electronic music can be a bit of an oxymoron,” says Pritchard, referring to artists gazing at their laptops and a heavy reliance on backing tracks.

“Emerging tools and techniques can help electronic musicians find more creative and engaging ways to present their work. What results is a richer experience, which can create a deeper, more emotional connection with your audience.”

Wii will rock you

The Laptop Orchestra, which will perform a free public concert on April 10, is an extension of a music technology course at UBC’s School of Music. Comprised of 17 students from Arts, Science and Engineering, its members act as musicians, dancers, composers, programmers and hardware specialists. They create adventurous electroacoustic music using programmed and acoustic instruments, including harp, piano, clarinet and violin.

Despite its name, surprisingly few laptops are actually touched onstage. “That’s one of our rules,” says Pritchard, who is helping to launch UBC’s new minor degree in Applied Music Technology in September with Laptop Orchestra co-director Keith Hamel. “Avoid touching the laptop!”

Instead, students use body movements to trigger programmed synthetic instruments or modify the sound of their live instruments in real-time. They strap motion sensors to their bodies and instruments, play wearable iPhone instruments, swing Nintendo Wiis or PlayStation Moves, while Kinect video cameras from Sony Xboxes track their movements.

“Adding movement to our creative process has been awesome,” says Kiran Bhumber, a fourth-year music student and clarinet player. The program helped attract her back to Vancouver after attending a performing arts high school in Toronto. “I really wanted to do something completely different. When I heard of the Laptop Orchestra, I knew it was perfect for me. I begged Bob to let me in.”

View a photo gallery of the Laptop Orchestra in action below or here:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

A unique musical duet

In an unconventional music partnership, the Laptop Orchestra pairs 4th year engineering students from UBC’s Dept. of Computer and Electrical Engineering with UBC musicians. The unlikely pairing is designed to better prepare students for workplaces that combine creative and technical professionals. The engineers come with expertise in programming and wireless systems and the musicians bring their performance and composition chops, and program code as well.

“It’s been a fantastic artistic and technical collaboration,” says Pritchard, noting that video game giant Electronic Arts and other multimedia companies have hired several of the music grads. “Each group has their own strengths and benefit from the skills and perspectives of the other. We want to teach them the building blocks for successful collaborations, wherever their path takes them.”

Besides creating their powerful music, the students have invented a series of interfaces and musical gadgets. The first is the app sensorUDP, which transforms musicians’ smartphones into motion sensors. Available in the Android app store and compatible with iPhones, it allows performers to layer up to eight programmable sounds and modify them by moving their phone.

Music student Pieteke MacMahon modified the app to create an iPhone Piano, which she plays on her wrist, thanks to a mount created by engineering classmates. As she moves her hands up, the piano notes go up in pitch. When she drops her hands, the sound gets lower, and a delay effect increases if her palm faces up. “Audiences love how intuitive it is,” says the composition major. “It creates music in a way that really makes sense to people, and it looks pretty cool onstage.”

Have laptop, will travel

Earlier this year, the ensemble’s unique music took them to Europe. The class spent 10 days this February in Belgium where they collaborated and performed in concert with researchers at the University of Mons, a leading institution for research on gesture-tracking technology.

The Laptop Orchestra’s trip was sponsored by UBC’s Go Global and Arts Research Abroad, which together send hundreds of students on international learning experiences each year.

In Belgium, the ensemble’s dancer Diana Brownie wore a body suit covered head-to-toe in motion sensors as part of a University of Mons research project on body movement. The researchers – one a former student of Pritchard’s – will use the suit’s data to help record and preserve cultural folk dances.

The third-year Psychology student says the ensemble’s motion technology helps non-musical collaborators feel more part of the show. “As a dancer, the music typically dictates your movements,” Brownie says. “But with this, your dancing create the sounds – so it’s been a really great experience.”

Bhumber says the program will help, artistically and economically, when she pursues a music career after graduation.

“Recording artists need to support themselves through their live shows,” she says. “It blows people’s minds to see music created this way, so the technology helps set me apart from other artists. And economically, I can work solo or in small groups, which makes touring viable. I just pack my laptop, my clarinet and some sensors, and hit the road.”

Video: Diana Brownie of the UBC Laptop Orchestra

Video: The iPhone Piano

Follow the Laptop Orchestra’s travels, videos and updates on their blog

Find other stories about: ,

Categories: Faculty News

Redback rising: How China’s renminbi is becoming a global currency

Financial Post, Mon Apr 7 2014
By: Gregoire-Francois Legault and Wendy Dobson
Link to full text

The Chinese renminbi (RMB) is the next global currency, says two academics, including a UBC graduate student.

“China would welcome a stable, prosperous nation such as Canada extending the use of renminbi in international trade,” co-wrote Gregoire-Francois Legault, an Asia Pacific Policy studies student and research assistant at the Centre for Chinese Research. “As trade continues to increase, it would also be one of the stepping stones to a deeper overall bilateral economic relationship.

Categories: Faculty News

Should Quebec become more secular?

Christian Science Monitor, Mon Apr 7 2014
By: Dylan C. Robertson
Link to full text

The Parti Quebecois (PQ) is doing some soul searching this morning after losing overwhelmingly in the election.

According to UBC professor Michel Ducharme, an expert in Quebec history, comments made by former Premier Jacques Parizeau in 1995 about losing the election to “money and ethnic votes” did not sit well with most Quebecers.

“That gave quite bad press to the [separatist] movement,” said Ducharme. “The Parti Québécois tried to erase any sign of ethnic nationalism in its discourse, and tried to promote a civic understanding of what it means to be Québécois.”

A similar story appeared in Alaska Dispatch.

Categories: Faculty News

Book Release for Belkin Art Gallery’s exhibition The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana

After a successful three-month exhibition at the Belkin Art Gallery, The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana will close on Sunday, April 13. Conceived by Cuban artist, critic and UBC Visual Arts Instructor, Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Associate Director/Curator of the Belkin Art Gallery, Keith Wallace, the exhibition focuses on the social spaces and shared sensibilities of artists in this dynamic but complex city. It explores contemporary Havana from artistic, cultural, sociological and anthropological perspectives within a new social and economic reality that has made itself evident in Cuba during the past decade.

Co-produced with Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden the exhibition will run in Umeå from February 8 to April 19, 2015.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 128-page fully illustrated book, co-published with Black Dog Publishing of London, featuring essays by exhibition curators Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Keith Wallace, as well as writing by Cecilia Andersson from Bildmuseet, Umeå University. The essays provide a contextual account of Cuban art during the past three decades, as well as carefully tracing the current perspectives on some of the work and issues that have emerged in Cuba during the past decade. The artists represented share a new engagement with the current socio-economic and political changes taking place in Cuba, and the underlying anticipation about what the future will bring.

In his essay, Wallace writes: “The Spaces Between focuses on a particular city in a specific national context and affords a tangible sense of Havana, the challenges it faces, and the artistic strategies at play. But we are reminded that deficits—social, political, or otherwise—similar to those in Havana arise in other parts of the world as well, and give pause to think about one’s own circumstances. Are not all social and political systems struggling in some way, and are we not waiting for things to change?”

The book is available for purchase at the Gallery, or through Amazon.ca and all good bookshops.

The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana

ISBN13: 9781908966544

$25 CDN

More about the exhibition

The title for the exhibition and accompanying book, The Spaces Between, emerged from the receptive spaces that exist between the artwork and its viewer, the anticipatory spaces between Cuba’s actual past and its imagined future, and the ambiguous spaces between language and its ability to communicate clearly or truthfully. The exhibition features some seventy works, including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs and videos, by fourteen artists: Juan Carlos Alom, Javier Castro, Sandra Ceballos Obaya, Celia – Yunior, Ricardo G. Elías, Luis Gárciga Romay, Luis Gómez Armenteros, Jesús Hdez-Güero, Ernesto Leal, Glenda León, Eduardo Ponjuán González, Grethell Rasúa, Lázaro Saavedra González and Jorge Wellesley.

The artists in the exhibition are cross-generational; some have international reputations while others are younger and not so well known abroad. Some of the artists are teachers of other artists in the exhibition, thus there exists a legacy that threads through the exhibition. While the validity of exhibitions based around national or civic parameters have come under critical scrutiny; Cuba, and in turn, Havana, present a different context. Cuba, due to its internal political agenda and lack of physical access to the outside world for most of its citizens, tends towards an introverted and a self-conscious sense of identity within a global context. The artists in The Spaces Between are exploring ways of articulating this phenomenon both through direct social engagement and through practices carried out in the privacy of one’s studio.

The Spaces Between is the first major exhibition in Vancouver of art from Cuba since Utopian Territories that took place in seven galleries in 1997. The exhibition is curated by Antonio Eligio (Tonel) and Keith Wallace and co-produced by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, and Bildmuseet, Umeå University, with support from The Canada Council for the Arts.

Categories: Faculty News

Searching for heroes in a world of economic villains

Globe and Mail, Sun Apr 6 2014
By: Barrie McKenna
Link to full text

A UBC economist has won one of Canada’s top economic prizes.

Thomas Lemieux is this year’s recipient of the Bank of Canada’s fellowship.

Categories: Faculty News

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