Action Talk #3: Highlights

Action Talk #3: Highlights

By: Kevin Day | Professional Development Advisor, School for the Contemporary Arts
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View the original event poster here.

On November 19, the third Action Talk was held at SFU Woodward’s, featuring four notable SCA alumni who have, in various ways, been very prolific in their respective fields. The four artists shared the various projects they have been working on and the particular balance of artistic practice and employment they have achieved.  

The evening began with Heather Lamoureux, a recent SCA graduate from the dance program with a minor in business. For Heather, the pursuit for the business minor stemmed from a realization that often comes near graduation: that perhaps one is not well-equipped enough to be entrepreneurial. Seeing a gap in Vancouver for a particular type of arts platform, Heather initiated the Vines Festival, an ecologically-conscious, outdoors, interdisciplinary arts venue, which undoubtedly, entailed a steep learning curve. Heather oversaw the entire operation, and named fundraising as perhaps one of the biggest challenges. The ambitious project certainly does not generate enough revenue to pay the artist herself. Without knowing anyone within the organization too well, Heather also proposed to work for the PuSh Festival through an Early Career Development Grant from the BC Arts Council. Together with other employment in the service industry, this position remunerates Heather while acts, certainly, as a highly beneficial networking opportunity and chance to arm one with work experience in the arts.

Nancy Tam, a recent MFA graduate from SCA, spoke at length about her artistic practice and her diverse artistic output. Nancy’s wide range of artistic and technical capabilities and her penchant for collaborations have led her to be part of numerous artistic projects. Additionally, her large network of peers and collaborators has often led to paid freelance work, which assists in supporting her practice. Lastly, Nancy noted that she has also previously held managerial and coordinating roles at various arts organizations.

Deneh’Cho Thompson talked excitedly about how he is now facing a wealth of opportunities, which all came from doing a study/residency where he met some key stakeholders in the Indigenous theatre field. Unlike the other presenters, Deneh is technically not an alumni, as he has not officially graduated yet. Frustrated with the pedagogical structure and having been presented with professional opportunities, Deneh is taking an indefinite hiatus from his studies. Admitting that he may have said yes to too many invitations, Deneh is now the producer for the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and associate producer for Full Circle: First Nations Performance, all of which, he claimed, to have come from doing this one project for the right audience. Deneh is working in more administration than he would prefer, but it has allowed him to leave the service industry he was previously employed in, while working on the ambitious production of his own play.

Another SCA MFA graduate and current SCA sessional, Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte noted the isolating nature of the Vancouver visual art field, and how her experiential learning opportunity, a co-op placement with the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC) while she was pursing her MFA, has really assisted her in obtaining subsequent research projects with other arts organizations. Most recently, she obtained a research project with the Canadian Artist Representation (CARFAC) and the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA). During her time with PAARC, Mariane also proposed to teach a course at SCA, which was successful, and has given her an opportunity to pursue teaching subsequently. In addition to Mariane’s various on-going projects with the Canadian artist-run community and her artistic practice, she is also employed within the medical field in a communications capacity.

As the four artists finished sharing their diverse experiences within the arts community, Nancy noted that there seems to be a similarity in that all four of them have either been employed in or had to deal with arts administration in one form or another. They also commented on how an artist’s practice necessarily touches upon administration, accounting, management, coordinating, and other skillsets traditionally not associated with artistic practice. Coupled with tenacity, networking, initiatives, and an openness to unexpected opportunities, the artists are able to successfully combine, to various personal degrees, their artistic practice and employment.

Presenter biographies:

Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Vancouver. She completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University. Her artistic and curatorial projects have been shown both nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions and performances include: Coalesce Performance Festival (Ottawa, 2015); Through a Window, Audain Gallery (Vancouver, 2015); Deformes Performance Biennale (Valdivia, Chile, 2014); Intersite Festival (Calgary, 2014); Langague/Language (Arprim, Montréal, 2014). Recent curatorial projects include: Acts of Spatial Decolonization, Decoy and Balcone (Vancouver, 2015); Glissements de terrains, Capture Photography Festival (Vancouver, 2015); and Collective Walks/Spaces of Contestation, UNIT/PITT (Vancouver 2013-14). She has contributed articles to Inter: art actuel, Decoy, Esse: art & opinions and C Magazine and recently published the artists’ book Tracts through Publication Studio Vancouver. She is an active member of the Canadian artist-run community and since 2011, has worked in various capacities leading development and research projects for national and regional artist-run associations including the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC), the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA), and the Pacific chapter of the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA). She has been a member of the Board of Directors of VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver) since March 2014. She has also been employed as a sessional instructor at the Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts since 2012.

Heather Lamoureux recently graduated from Simon Fraser University with bachelor’s degree in Dance and Business. Since graduation, she has worked in administration and produced performances with MascallDance. This fall she began working at PuSh International Performing Arts Festival with a focus on curation and communication. She continues to dance in projects including works in 12 Minutes Max, Dancing In Vancouver and Oscillations in ISEA: International Symposium on Electronic Art. She has also been working on her own creation, Vines Art Festival Society—a local, outdoor, interdisciplinary eco-art festival that had a successful inaugural festival in August 2015. When she is not working she spends as much time as she can outside—hiking, biking, stargazing, you name it. Heather is also passionate about volunteering and is currently volunteering with Greenpeace and BC Crisis Centre.

Nancy Tam is a composer/sound-artist/performance artist whose work includes musical composition, multichannel sound installation for live and fixed media, audio walks, and sound design for site-responsive theatrical performances. She is an active and founding member of the Toronto based Toy Piano Composers composer collective, and the Vancouver based performance collective A Wake of Vultures. Nancy’s work have been produced by various organizations such as: Performance Studies international (PSi) (Cardiff, UK), Arraymusic, Soundstream Canada, OpenEars International Sound and Music Festival, NUMUS: New Music Now (Ontario), Ensemble Paramirabo (Quebec), and Nextfest (Alberta), Leaky Heaven Performance Society (BC.) and more. In December 2014, Nancy won Aarhus Unge Tonekunstnere’s Open Call competition resulting in the world premiere of her composition Desperately Standing Upright in Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark. Her composition Envoi toured across Canada with Ensemble Paramirabo to Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and most notably in Banff at the Banff Centre where the ensemble rehearsed and premiered the piece during their residency. In January, Nancy sound designed and performed for Fight With A Stick’s debut show, Steppenwolf, a featured Main Stage show at the PuSh Festival 2015. Nancy’s current research focuses on the triangulation of sound, body, and space, and continues to investigate the choreography of human mobilization through listening and walking in her work. Nancy holds a MFA from Simon Fraser University and a BMus from Wilfrid Laurier University. Visit her website here.

Deneh’Cho Thompson (Dene) is an aspiring director, actor, playwright and producer based in Vancouver. Since 2009, Deneh has been developing an artistic practice that uses devised theatre as its principal component, often blurring the lines that define the roles of director, actor and writer. Deneh's recent directing credits include The Dudes of My Life, a devised piece, and The Governor of the Dew, by Floyd Favel. Deneh trained at Capilano University and, more recently, Simon Fraser University. Deneh is Producer for the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and Associate Producer for Full Circle: First Nations Performance and The Talking Stick Festival. In 2015, Deneh joined both the Full Circle Ensemble and the Urban Ink Collective. 

Posted on May 27, 2016