Downtown campus hosts the Walker Cultural Leader Series

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The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) hosted a number of different events over the past week for the Walker Cultural Leader Series. The series, taking place between March 15 to March 17, included a panel, a theatrical performance and a number of publicly available workshops.

The series started off with a debut performance of In Transit: Artistic Interventions in Precarious Times, a one-person performance piece starring Kerr Mesner of Pennsylvania’s Arcadia University, featuring a range of live theatrical performance, use of multimedia and a strong use of audience participation.

The performance was based around intersections of Christianity’s contributions to anti-queer violence and queer identities as well as the challenges of embodying transgender identities within current political contexts.

It is an autoethnographic piece that combined aspects of the live performance from his 2017 piece, In Transit, with excerpts from the filmic version of his 2014 play, Intervention. Dr. Mesner is one of the Walker Cultural Leaders from the 2017-2018 year.

Next on the docket was a panel discussion on March 16 called “Tensions of Engagement in the Canadian Immigrant Theatre Context” with guest speakers Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre, Lina de Guevara of Puente Theatre as well as Brock professor Yasmine Kandil.

Howard, the founding Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre, has won awards for her work on issues of diversity. Jumblies is known for working with minority groups as well as engaging non-artists and audience participation.

Guevara, born in Chile, was the first immigrant artist to establish a theatre company that solely focused on the promotion of immigration and settlement narratives in Victoria, British Columbia. The overarching purpose of her work has been to bridge the gap between minority groups and the larger white culture within Victoria.

Kandil, an immigrant from Cairo, has worked on projects that allow immigrant youth to claim their own spaces. She is currently devising a piece that examines narratives of immigration and settlement through topics of expectations, obstacles and assimilation.

The panel discussion was mediated by Brock professor Natalie Alvarez.

On March 17, Brock was host to visiting scholars and theatre makers who ran workshops about their work.

Howard discussed her Four Lands touring project throughout her workshop followed by Guevara’s workshop which involved different tools used to research immigrant and refugee narratives.

All admission to the events was free courtesy of the Walker Cultural Leader Series.

While the Walker Cultural Leader Series may be over, Brock’s English Language and Literature Department is hosting its second annual Marilyn Rose Lecture Series, first started last year to pay tribute to Dr. Marilyn Rose who passed away in 2015. The event will be host to a reading by the award-winning poet Dr. Susan Holbrook, author of Throaty Wipes. There will also be a research talk by Dr. Elspeth Cameron called “Biography: Whose Life Is It?”

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