Status Report: SCA Plans for Fall

Dear new and returning students at the School for the Contemporary Arts,  

We are working hard to ensure that the Fall 2020 term will be a rewarding experience for everyone, especially those of you who are first-year students.

Last week, B.C.’s Ministry of Education recommended all BC Universities continue to deliver instruction through remote methods in the Fall. We recognize that online instruction is not an ideal method for fine arts education, but we are embracing the opportunity to deliver alternative ways to teach our students while ensuring the safety of everyone.  

By remaining online, you can enrol and participate in classes from your home, whether that is in Vancouver, elsewhere in British Columbia, a different province, or even a different country. Not only will this ensure the safety of everyone, it will also alleviate some of the economic difficulties many of our students face by allowing them to remain home with family.

We are actively exploring additional learning opportunities for the fall term. We are especially excited about workshops, master classes, and guest talks by professional artists and performers who would normally be too busy to engage with students. These will be fantastic opportunities for our students to interact directly with professionals in their fields.

We are also planning to supplement some of our online teaching with safe in-person rehearsal and/or performance opportunities at the school. How that will actually play out is still to be determined, and we also want to make sure that you will not need to be present in Vancouver to fully participate in classes.  

Finally, our faculty are focused right now in determining not only how we meet with students, and how students can interact with one another remotely, but also what it is that we are hoping to impart to you. We acknowledge that we may not be able to teach craft using traditional methods, but we are looking at new ways of exploring fine arts creation and performance that are emerging worldwide during this situation. Furthermore, we want to use this as an opportunity to talk about other aspects of what it means to be an artist in the 21st century, especially during the time of a pandemic.

We know being online is not ideal. Many have noted however, that this time of distancing is offering new possibilities for connection as many professional artists are also pursuing new online modes of communication and dissemination of their art. In the Fall we are taking advantage of this shifting professional landscape to offer students closer connections to professionals—individuals or companies—featuring talks and workshops by nationally and internationally recognized artists. However long the pandemic lasts, the impact this will have on art-making is going to unfold over the next few years. The conversations happening now are important ones to be part of because they will shape the next 10 or more years of what fine art and performance look like.  

The SFU School for the Contemporary Arts is one of the best places to be in at this current moment. The core of our training has always been to examine what is going on in the world, what kind of art-making is necessary to respond to the going-ons, and what kind of futures we collectively want to dream of. All of our classes will be deeply united by these urgent questions.

We look forward to seeing you – virtually or otherwise – in September.