Celebrating Black Achievement through the Arts and Design
Civil Rights activist and author Angela Davis once noted that Black History recognitions too often focus on history as if the struggles toward equity were exclusively in the past, relegated to history.
As we collectively work towards positive change across AMPD, York University and beyond, we recognize the need to remember the historical legacies of Black history in Canada and to celebrate contemporary achievements. The arts and design play vital roles in reminding us of our collective histories while cultivating spaces for makers, performers and designers to create new histories, together.
Through our community’s Black History Month activities, I look forward to remembering, reflecting and learning from Black histories both in the past and in the making. Amongst the diverse array of community connections and events taking place across campus, I would like to highlight three important events happening at the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD).
Oscar Peterson Artist-in-Residence
From February 7 to 9, we welcome acclaimed jazz drummer and 2022 York University Honorary Doctorate recipient, Terri Lyne Carrington, as the Oscar Peterson Artist-in-Residence. Every year, the Oscar Peterson Residency recognizes exceptional global jazz artists and celebrates the legacy of Peterson’s own influence at York University.
As part of her Residency, Carrington will speak to students in the York University Music program about her work on jazz and gender justice and will conduct masterclasses and workshops. On February 9, Carrington will take to the stage in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall with a performance open to AMPD students and the wider community.
Word, Sound, Power: Black Artistic Expression
On February 8, AMPD’s very own York R&B Ensemble and Oscar Peterson Scholarship Ensemble under the direction of Professor Mike Cadó, and the York University Gospel Choir under the direction of Professor Karen Burke will take to the stage at Word, Sound, Power: Black Artistic Expression. The performances, hosted by the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, will also welcome Spoken Word artists from local high schools to emcee the event.
Black Ice Film Screening and Q&A
On February 13, York University will host a public screening of the award-winning documentary Black Ice, produced by York alum Vinay Virmani (BA ’08) with cinematography by AMPD Cinema & Media Arts alum Chris Romeike.
A powerful account of the history of Black hockey players in Canada, the film screening will include a panel discussion with Virmani, Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis and Canadian hockey player, Saroya Tinker, who appears in the film. We are excited to host this important film on Canadian history and to celebrate great Canadian filmmaking today.
I hope you will join me at one or more of these and other events happening across the York University campus as we celebrate Black History Month. Let us also continue to celebrate the impact of Black arts, media, performance and design throughout the year in the AMPD Year of the Arts.
With warmest wishes in these chilly months,
Dean & Professor
School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD)