Feature

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, TARA BURSEY (CRITICISM & CURATORIAL PRACTICE)

Tara Bursey at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Tara Bursey at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Tara Bursey's project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue. Image by Tara Bursey.
Part of Tara Bursey's project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue. Image by Tara Bursey.

Tara Bursey’s medal award-winning project Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue is an interdisciplinary publishing project highlighting stories of immigration, language, labour and adaptation. Here’s how she describes it:

My project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue, is a research and interdisciplinary publishing project. Taking inspiration from diverse approaches and disciplines such as oral history, critical pedagogy, community art practices and new working class studies, the project centres on two artist books I produced in collaboration with my parents that highlight their respective stories of inmigration and immigration, language, labour and adaptation. Compiling their convergent stories and elevating them through the production of both publications and works of art, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue addresses the importance of integrating overlooked voices —specifically those of immigrants and working classes — into the cultural landscape.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned to trust myself and trust the collaborative process more. Early in the project, I would ask myself: What the hell did I get myself into?  What is even going on here?  A big part of the collaborative process is learning to balance critical thinking with flexibility. I also learned to be a better listener.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I’m amazed and proud that my parents and I were able to work on a multifaceted project as a family! It is thrilling to learn firsthand that anyone can become a cultural producer and bring their important lived experiences to creative projects. I’m proud there is something quietly subversive about this work, and that through the project I was able to bring art production and self-publishing a little further afield.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was at work on my lunch break when I got the news — one of my thesis advisors called me to let me know. I remember having some really important work to do after lunch that I just couldn’t concentrate on because my mind was racing. I called my boyfriend and my mother.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

The support and feedback of my thesis advisors Jennifer Rudder and Andrea Fatona. They are both so amazing and knowledgeable — an awesome pair who bring so much heart and smarts to the CRCP program. Also, the support, intelligence and feedback of my peers in CRCP thesis class helped and stimulated me —  their projects were unique, diverse and inspiring.

What are you planning to do next? 

I am currently working as an Administrative Assistant at Toronto School of Art and a Researcher for the Artscape Youngplace project. I have been working as a Contributing Curator at Gallery 1313, and am co-curating an exhibition that opens in August called Fear of Punk//Fear of Art that will be a part of the programming around Zine Dream, an annual Toronto small press art fair that is the brainchild of OCAD U alum Jesjit Gill. Finally, my partner and I have plans to relocate to Hamilton in the fall, which we’re looking forward to!

Find out more about Tara Bursey:

Portfolio

Blog

LinkedIn Profile




Tara Bursey at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Tara Bursey's project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue. Image by Tara Bursey.

Tara Bursey’s medal award-winning project Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue is an interdisciplinary publishing project highlighting stories of immigration, language, labour and adaptation. Here’s how she describes it:

My project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue, is a research and interdisciplinary publishing project. Taking inspiration from diverse approaches and disciplines such as oral history, critical pedagogy, community art practices and new working class studies, the project centres on two artist books I produced in collaboration with my parents that highlight their respective stories of inmigration and immigration, language, labour and adaptation. Compiling their convergent stories and elevating them through the production of both publications and works of art, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue addresses the importance of integrating overlooked voices —specifically those of immigrants and working classes — into the cultural landscape.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned to trust myself and trust the collaborative process more. Early in the project, I would ask myself: What the hell did I get myself into?  What is even going on here?  A big part of the collaborative process is learning to balance critical thinking with flexibility. I also learned to be a better listener.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I’m amazed and proud that my parents and I were able to work on a multifaceted project as a family! It is thrilling to learn firsthand that anyone can become a cultural producer and bring their important lived experiences to creative projects. I’m proud there is something quietly subversive about this work, and that through the project I was able to bring art production and self-publishing a little further afield.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was at work on my lunch break when I got the news — one of my thesis advisors called me to let me know. I remember having some really important work to do after lunch that I just couldn’t concentrate on because my mind was racing. I called my boyfriend and my mother.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

The support and feedback of my thesis advisors Jennifer Rudder and Andrea Fatona. They are both so amazing and knowledgeable — an awesome pair who bring so much heart and smarts to the CRCP program. Also, the support, intelligence and feedback of my peers in CRCP thesis class helped and stimulated me —  their projects were unique, diverse and inspiring.

What are you planning to do next? 

I am currently working as an Administrative Assistant at Toronto School of Art and a Researcher for the Artscape Youngplace project. I have been working as a Contributing Curator at Gallery 1313, and am co-curating an exhibition that opens in August called Fear of Punk//Fear of Art that will be a part of the programming around Zine Dream, an annual Toronto small press art fair that is the brainchild of OCAD U alum Jesjit Gill. Finally, my partner and I have plans to relocate to Hamilton in the fall, which we’re looking forward to!

Find out more about Tara Bursey:

Portfolio

Blog

LinkedIn Profile