Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, School for the Contemporary Arts, Performance & Culture, Film & Video, Art & Design, Sound & Music

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Making the world a better place: criminology alumnus turned interdisciplinary artist continues academic journey

By: Jaymee Salisi

 

Beau Bridge started his studies at SFU in 2012 majoring in criminology and psychology, hoping to make change in the world by becoming a police officer. In 2016, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology and psychology, then got involved in social work. This June, Bridge graduates with a post-baccalaureate diploma in film from the School for the Contemporary Arts. He will be pursuing his master’s of fine arts in film at York University in the fall.

After working in the social services field, Bridge says, “It didn't pan out the way I wanted. So I searched for the meaning of my life through work. I naturally skewed into the artistic world with theatre.” Eventually finding a passion for theatre and film, he looked into the interdisciplinary aspects of the Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology and chose to pursue his studies in the School for the Contemporary Arts.

“I could trust SFU as a really good school, and the SCA has always had a high reputation in my mind. So when I got accepted, I was very honoured,” Bridge says.

Throughout high school, Bridge says, he participated in theatre activities, but decided to pursue Criminology “to make the world a better place. But I didn't realize that the arts were a way of actually helping make the world a better place, but in a different way.”

In a social psychology class, he was assigned to add an artistic aspect to a project to represent its topic. He chose to make a short stop-motion video which ended up being well received by his class.

“I felt like I was seen in some way that was different. My classmates seemed like they got joy from it. And then I realized there's something I can offer here.”

Bridge’s experience in the SCA has shown him that he is an interdisciplinary artist. He says he focuses on being collaborative and reflective of the world beyond his own voice. 

He says Laura Marks’ Art and the Moving Image course set the tone and foundation for what he would learn throughout the different levels of art and his program.

Noé Rodriguez’s film theory course about myths and supernatural elements towards cinema changed Bridge’s view on “how a person can literally embody themselves within a film.” He says the course taught him how watching a film is very similar to talking with someone.

The SCA taught him to “find ways to actually connect with each other more instead of trying to develop my own niche, and trying to find what the world can get for me — but rather what I can actually get for the world.”

Bridge’s proudest accomplishment during his time with the SCA has been a film called Backbone, which was his first time working as a cinematographer for a dancer director. 

Representing having a backbone in the sense of being strong within a person’s values, the film uses choreography and light to portray the journey of finding strength in vulnerability. He received positive feedback from his audience and discovered that he was able to apply his learned technical skills from the SCA to this role. 

Awarded with the 2021 FCAT Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award, Bridge has been given the opportunity to pursue research in his field of study by working with top professors in their field, gaining leadership experience, critical-thinking skills, and networking with other artists.

Most recently during his research fellowship, Bridge is working on filming The Threshing Floor in collaboration with dance artist Rob Kitsos and composer Mauricio Pauly. It’s a performance work which uses movement, light, and projected reflections to bring life to the fusion of bodies and space immersed in the textures of sound.

Bridge’s work involves documenting the choreographic work in preparation for a final film version. As the project draws on the relationship between dance, performance gesture, and cinema, Bridge says the experience has brought him a new perspective of the artistic world.

During his studies, Bridge created a non-profit theatre company called the Midtwenties Theatre Society. He says it was made for artists to discover their place in the arts as they enter or complete their studies. 

“Pursuing education is also a way of finding more collaborators and new people who are like minded. There should be a space to be able to develop these unique stories. My goals and ambitions were to reach it out to make it a space for everybody,” Bridge explains.

As the artistic director of the company, Bridge says he is openly collaborative with other artists and prefers to work in a “horizontal hierarchy instead of the vertical hierarchy model of industrial practice.”

Bridge looks forward to continuing his studies at York University this fall and to bringing his learned practices back to Vancouver.

“I've been very grateful and fortunate to get a chance to work with so many different amazing artists in the SCA,” says Bridge, “and to be able to simply meet with them in the hallways.”