Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS
These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision
Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.
In June 1968, at the University of Vienna, artists Otto Muehl and Gunter Brus staged a radical action called Art and Revolution using the body and its most base processes, instead of traditional media, as primary material. Following the failed revolutions of 1848, Richard Wagner, composed an essay bearing the same name, arguing for the unifying potential of a total artwork. The purpose of the University action was to question the role of art under advanced capital, while denouncing the repressive hypocrisy of civilizing processes, with the whole, I argue, amounting to a collision between the material body and aesthetic practice as political action. This dissertation examines the Vienna Actionists’ reaction to the limitations imposed by painting, within the longue durée of 1848, as a response to a historical trajectory which eroded the political weight, or “mattering,” of the finite body. It situates them in relation to their inheritance of an aesthetic discourse which privileged totalization in the midst of a modernist narrative that mirrored this aforementioned corporeal erosion through its insistence on abstraction. This study resists an argument which posits the development of modernity as driven solely by the pursuit of pure reason, viewing the Romantic critique of Enlightenment as an equally vocal note in the elaboration of aesthetic and political modernity. I view the Actionists’ focus on the body’s finite materiality in the aftermath of fascist violence, in the midst of a postwar rise in consumer culture, and in relation to a modern discursive obsession with estrangement, as an attempt to call attention to the political stakes of a historically contingent corporeal alienation. I understand, however, their act of total refusal to be diluted by their operation within the limits and language of a masculinist established order. VALIE EXPORT, in response to her male cohort, I argue, occupied a more suitable position to expose the brutality of processes of subjugation based on bodily difference, further exposing a corporeal imperative to collective cohesion. I posit her refusal, however, to be limited by her own normative subject position, thus exposing a repeated myopia toward the totality of fragmented social ties.
Master's Student Supervision
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
In her 1992 publication Atget’s Seven Albums, Molly Nesbit opens with an introduction subtitled The Document. She compellingly defines the document by situating its relationship to photography, the archive, and visual art. Nesbit’s tremendously important identification of the intersection between art and the archive is where I will situate the focus of this paper. Through this intersection, I will demonstrate a rereading of the status of the document by considering the extended relationship between art and the archive. In particular, I will look at the status of the document as artwork and the ways in which contemporary art of the 21st century comes to stand in for the document. I will establish this point by examining the ready-made subject of archival structures as well as the overlapping spheres of the document and art. I will perform a rereading of the status of the document by tracing its trajectory from the discourse of empirical facticity to a more complex dimension of mnemonic production. This rereading will consider the document and memory as resources available for extraction and activation. Throughout, I will set specific limits for this research by positioning previous scholarship in relation to a selection of films and performances by artists Deanna Bowen, Felix Kalmenson, Divya Mehra, Krista Belle Stewart, and Casey Wei. Within these limits, I will examine the politics of these artists’ works with attention to formalism and historicity.
Nearly two decades ago, Rosalind Krauss famously stated that the “industrialized museum” engendered a “technologized subject”—someone whose experience of the museum is intense, fragmented and spatial. Using this dictum as a starting point, this project looks at how the omnipresence of technology has affected the architecture of contemporary art museums, using the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, designed by the architectural firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, as the focal case study. By investigating the critical framework the studio uses to inform their practice, and by contextualizing that practice through the lens of visuality and the scholarship of Alexander Galloway on interface theory, this thesis argues that the architecture of the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art acts a valve which regulates the viewer’s experience of the space by navigating between two competing models: the exterior, in which the envelope of the building acts as an interface between the world and the institution, and the interior, in which the mediatheque room at the ICA then become an internal interface to this exterior. Furthermore, this allows visitors to reconsider what can be classified as a “digital” space by showing that the virtual must be accessed through the real. While the architecture does attempt to navigate between these ideological roles, it becomes clear that the building struggles with its potential slide into a totalizing system. The high degree of controlled choreography needed to make the ICA's programme ideologically coherent further enmeshes ancillary services into the visitor experience, and the building then begins to be less of a critical lens and more of an entertainment complex. Ultimately, the goals of the building do not succeed because of the architecture’s permanence in the face of the speed of technological change; the building is embedded in the specific socio-technological dialogue of its time and as a result, cannot anticipate what changes the rapid development cycle of technology will bring.