Cohen Explorations Program
A gift from Phyllis and Alan Cohen is used biannually to initiate a special course for the Department of Visual Arts, to be focused on promoting innovation and creative expression in Visual Arts among faculty and students. The first course offering commenced in the 2003/2004 academic year, the second took place in 2005/06; the third in 2007-08, and the fourth was in 2009/10..
The donation is used exclusively to provide $5,000 per course for a series of special topics courses. The course content and design is selected through an adjudication process prescribed below. Selected courses encourage innovation and new opportunities in visual arts.
$5,000 of the Cohen donation will be made available to the course instructor to cover such costs as:
Course Evaluation and Success Criteria
It is suggested that success of each course be viewed from the perspective of three constituent groups: students, faculty, and the Cohens, and that specific criteria include consideration of:
• assessment of the extent to which there were opportunities to “push the boundaries”,
• monitoring the extent of outside involvement, expanding the resource pool, and
• promoting the Visual Arts Department and the “Cohen Exploration Program”.
2009-10 Mapping Medievalism at the Canadian Frontier - Prof. Kathy Brush
This exploratory research and teaching project examines the rich and multidimensional impact of “medievalism” on conceptions and representations of the Canadian frontier in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “Medievalism” is a large and complex term. In this project, it is interpreted as encompassing all that relates to the Middle Ages in Europe (the era from ca. 300 to 1500 CE) as well as the post-medieval reception of the Middle Ages, which took a variety of forms. These included the Romantic cult of ruined monasteries and churches in the visual and literary media, the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Gothic novel, and medieval revival architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
2007-08 Advanced Seminar in Painting and Drawing - Prof. Sky Glabush
This is an advanced studio course open to 4th Year Honour Students and or Graduate Students interested in further developing the materially-specified pictorial language of drawing and painting. This seminar preferences concept, idea, and language over precept and expressive intuition, while exploring contemporary theory concerning romanticism, originality, modes of representation and the impact of photography. As an advanced class with limited enrolment, this seminar allows for more individual time with the instructor and visiting artists, more in-depth critiques, and an opportunity to work more intensely on individual projects. This seminar also includes a field trip to New York to visit prominent artists in the field and also to visit public and commercial galleries with a view to furthering the dialogues of theories mentioned above.
2005-06 Existence in Suspension - Prof. Dolleen Manning
The second phase of the Cohen Program presented a course that employed a comparative analysis of Western and Ojibwe First Nations’ theory on notions of existence as it relates to the formation of multiple cultural identities. The course juxtaposed First Nations approaches (both traditional and contemporary) and dominant western perspectives in order to open a critical dialogue between students from First Nations Studies and Visual Art. During the course, a First Nations elder presented ideas on the seasons and on the significance of particular material; a local First Nations emerging artist employed techniques from traditional First Nations art forms; and established internationally recognized First Nations artist, James Luna, lectured to the course participants and the public. The course was an exciting, timely and challenging opportunity for senior students from Western to engage with ideas and projects to expand their understanding of how cultural identity formation is implicated by the meeting of First Nations and western cultural theories and practice.
2003-04 Exposé 67 - Prof. Susan Schuppli
Exposé 67 offered upper level and graduate students, in both the art history and studio streams of the program, an opportunity to purse a project historically, theoretically and creatively. Using the events of Expo 67 – a “defining” moment in Canadian culture and political history – as a critical launch pad, the course provided students with a framework for conducting interdisciplinary research and production of both an independent and collaborative nature.
To achieve this aim, students first examined the literature and archival materials (textual, visual, auditory etc.) related to the period. Second, they identified a specific topic that was researched in detail using a variety of methodologies such as fieldwork, oral histories, interviews, surveys, media and archival data analysis. Third, the outcomes of their research were presented to the class in order to assist in the development a final class project. Although an important dimension of the course was collaborative group work, students also submitted individual research reports for evaluation. These reports, which incorporated multiple and diverse narrative forms were process-based, thus stressing the need to maintain comprehensive records throughout the semester. Exposé 67 culminated in a “Happening” in May 2004 at the Forest City Gallery.