University Art Association Conference in Banff

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 7:30am

Title: The politics of pedagogical care today. 

Topic: How alternative teaching methodologies and compassionate learning environments directly impact productivity and help advance diversity and decolonization.


Link: Page 69 of:

Simple Functionalism

Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 5:00am to Sunday, December 21, 2008 - 5:00am

For the seminal Walter Phillips Gallery exhibition Vocation/Vacation staged in 1981, OCAD alumnus Garry Neill Kennedy developed a site specific work for which the Gallery attendant desk was altered to comply with the "Statement of Design Guidelines" prepared by The Banff Centre Aesthetic Committee. Positioned inside the gallery, the desk lends transparency to institutional practices. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of The Banff Centre, Kennedy has been invited to recreate this significant installation, providing visitors with the rare opportunity to experience the work.

Free public tours of the exhibition are offered every Thursday at 6 p.m.
Entrance to the Walter Phillips Gallery is free.

Wednesday through Sunday, 12:30 - 5 p.m.
Thursday, 12:30 - 9 p.m.

Venue & Address: 
Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre Glyde Hall, St. Julien Way, Banff, Alberta

Artist residencies, or why you really should take a working holiday

The residency — it is a common, if not ubiquitous, section on the CVs of today’s most celebrated artists. But what exactly happens in these sequestered havens of creativity? Why do these places continue to attract creative minds year after year?

A conversation with Pascaline Knight, an MFA candidate at OCAD University who recently completed a residency at the highly regarded Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, shed some light on these questions for me.

It’s where you’re at

A view of the Banff Centre's spectacular surroundings.
A view of the Banff Centre's spectacular surroundings, Pascaline Knight

View of Tunnel Mountain
View of Tunnel Mountain, Pascaline Knight

When Pascaline and I met for coffee we spent the first few minutes gushing over the Banff Centre’s magnificent alpine surroundings. Pascaline admitted that “location is usually one of the major attractions for artists looking to do a residency.”

Some residencies host artists in tree houses overlooking majestic forests. Some are on remote islands surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see. And some are even located on dormant volcanoes in the tropics. The wonders of the natural world can be a great inspiration.

Not only are these locations inspiring, but they also tend to be isolated or, at least, at arm’s-length from the hubbub of city life — offering both a change of scenery and a change of pace.

Pascaline's Studio View from the Banff Centre Cafeteria, Emily Cluett

Isolation or community?

Within the wide world of residencies, a multitude provides complete isolation where artists can be alone with their thoughts. But many others, like the Banff Centre nestled deep in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, offer group residencies. In those places, artists have private studios, but also share common spaces.

The Banff Centre is one such residency, where artists like Pascaline retreat to get away from the distracting demands of their lives in the city and settle into a new rhythm, focusing on their projects.

What goes on in these mysterious places?

Residencies provide not only unique spaces, but also unique experiences. According to my friend Pascaline, “unlike the rigid structure of school, the only deadlines are ones we create ourselves. And the only evaluation is self-evaluation.”

On the other hand, a residency is not completely unlike school because some programs, such as those at the Banff Centre, often bring in experts to give talks, meet with residents about their work or even collaborate on projects. What makes residencies so vital is the collegial, open spirit of creativity that comes from working in an environment where hierarchies dissipate and artists can work as peers in a communal setting.

Pascaline's Studio Pascaline's studio

Days and nights

Finally, a residency is a working holiday and, at the Banff Centre at least, residents know how to make the most of their time; they work hard and play hard. During the day, residents can be found experimenting in their studios or in the workshops, running ideas past their neighbours or meeting with new people to discuss potential collaborations.

Then, as the sun dips behind the nearby mountains, the networking continues. Evenings are when these creative minds get together for dinner and drinks, or perhaps a hike in their glorious natural surroundings. Even if they don’t get as much work done as they had hoped, the residency experience is nevertheless invaluable, because artists can make connections with the many talented individuals drawn to the program from all over the world.

Regardless of what happens in the woods, on an island or in the shadow of majestic mountains, there is always something to be gained from an artist’s residency. All you have to do is apply.


Emily Cluett is an emerging curator enrolled in OCAD University’s Criticism & Curatorial Practice MFA program. She recently spent a few days at the Banff Centre nourishing her creative and scholarly practice.

Emily Cluett
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grey black circular crop selection of a landscape photo
Man taking selfie using a selfie stick with others in the background on a deck
Friday, April 29, 2016 - 4:00am to Saturday, May 28, 2016 - 4:00am

Saturday, May 14, 2 to 4 PM
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom – 1214 Queen St. W

To keep (something) in position: props in contemporary photography
Gabrielle Moser in Conversation with Sameer Farooq, Bojana Stancic and Kotama Bouabane

What role do props play in contemporary photographic practice? Neither costuming nor part of a set, the prop is an inanimate but moveable object that must be activated by a human agent: a “thing” that gains meaning through the context of its use. By bringing together artists, curators, historians and performance studies scholars to consider the use of props in photographs (both historical and contemporary), this panel discussion examines the ways objects help us to write and rewrite histories.

About the Exhibition: 

We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow is a new body of work by Kotama Bouabane that explores how images are constructed, deconstructed and materialized through an experimental ethnographic approach. The exhibition builds from an image of artfully arranged coconuts from a 1970’s Kodak manual on colour correcting, which suggestively pictures the coconuts cracked open as drinking vessels. For Bouabane the dramatic presentation of the image within the banal technical manual demonstrates photography’s complacency in the exoticisation and commodification of its subject, with the coconut becoming shorthand for exotic travel locals, leisure and luxury. 

Taking its title from the Beach Boys song “Kokomo”, another shorthand for tropical destinations and a common misinterpretation of the artist’s first name, the series obsessively takes coconuts as form, medium and content. Images created from a pinhole camera made out of a coconut were processed with coconut water in the chemistry, while a cast coconut formed from coconut oil is presented atop a mound of black sand. It is in this slip between object and image that Bouabane humorously and self-reflexively attempts to recon the object within its field of representation and reengages the image as a mutable site for contemplation.

Supported in part by the Post-Residency Award presented by Visual + Digital Arts at The Banff Centre, presented in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Artist Biography: 

Kotama Bouabane

Kotama Bouabane has an MFA in Studio Arts, Photography from Concordia University, Montreal and a AOCAD from OCAD. His work has been exhibited in many galleries including Centre A (Vancouver), Parisian Laundry (Montreal), Gallery 44 (Toronto). He has received many awards and grants from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council & the Canada Council for the Arts. He lives and works in Toronto and is represented by Erin Stump Projects.



Venue & Address: 
Gallery 44 401 Richmond Street West Suite #120 Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3A8