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Integrative Arts Inaugural Student Showcase Emphasizes Interdisciplinarity of the Program

Integrative Arts Inaugural Student Showcase Emphasizes Interdisciplinarity of the Program
On April 6, 2024, the Integrative Arts program held its inaugural showcase, titled “Into the Kaleidoscope,” at the 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media & Education in downtown Toronto. The event featured an array of works by Integrative Arts students as well as students from various programs within the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) at York University.

Integrative Arts inaugural showcase, “Into the Kaleidoscope” on April 6, 2024.

“This is the first year that we hosted an Integrative Arts Showcase. It was a huge success, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.” said Professor and Program Coordinator Emilia White, “The showcase was integrated into the first-year PANF 1510 Creative Methodologies course. This is a foundation course for students in the Integrative Arts program and any other students at AMPD who are interested in exploring interdisciplinary practice.”

The call for submissions welcomed projects from all AMPD students interested in interdisciplinary endeavours that push the boundaries of traditional art forms. Emphasizing themes of social justice and activism, the submissions aimed to tell compelling stories and challenge systemic barriers. Under the guidance of the Program Coordinator students curated the showcase to highlight the diversity of artistic expression within the program. Students from the class were divided into organizing teams: Curators, Technical Directors, Logistics Coordinators, Documentation, Marketing/Publicity, and Audience Engagement. The Curators came up with the event title, “Into a Kaleidoscope” to convey the idea of many different disciplines within one shared event.

Attendees were treated to a diverse range of artistic experiences, including live performances, dance, visual art, installations, digital media, sound and video art, as well as participatory art with a total of 38 projects showcased.

Nature's Attack by Sophia Koudriavtseva

Sophia Koudriavtseva, a first year Integrative Arts student who was part of the organizing team and one of the artists featured in the show said the experience made her more confident in curating a showcase and “working together on this showcase with like-minded creatives made the whole process less stressful and taught me a lot. I am now more eager to curate an exhibit of my own work and put the skills I learned through this process to use.”

Jaelyn Jones, a fourth year Dance student had the opportunity to present her piece in collaboration with dancers from the York Dance Ensemble at the showcase, “As dance majors we are always creating work for the stage but site-specific work was something I always wanted to explore more. "Isn't Everything" was originally created for the Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre in ACE so adapting it for a gallery was a really exciting challenge. The dancers and I discovered that the piece was very circular already so we decided to present it in the centre of the gallery so the audience could view it from any angle. When I watched it in this way, I got a new perspective on my own work which was really interesting. I loved seeing my piece in the context of a gallery with many other art pieces of different mediums. Because dance is a performance art, I don't usually get to see it presented this way.”

The showcase served not only as a platform for artistic expression but also as a hub for fostering collaboration and dialogue across disciplines. It provided a platform for students to push the boundaries of traditional art forms, explore interdisciplinary endeavours, and advocate for social change through their creative expressions, a goal central to the Integrative Arts program.

The Integrative Arts program distinguishes itself by offering students an interdisciplinary, studio-based approach to the arts. Students benefit from access to a wide range of courses across AMPD in Theatre, Visual Arts, Dance, Music, Digital Media, and Media Arts. Within the Integrative Arts curriculum, they develop a framework for interdisciplinary and social-based dialogue. The combination of studio resources and program flexibility empowers students to explore their individualized creativity. Ultimately, the program equips students with the skills to become interdisciplinary artists poised to create positive change.

Photos by Chifundo Thangata and Xinyi Qiu