It’s the end of 2019, a momentous year for AMPD. It was a year where we celebrated our 50th Anniversary, welcomed a new dean, and ranked 2nd among Arts, Performing Arts & Design universities in Ontario – according to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. Before we amp up for a new decade ahead, we want to celebrate the moments that you appreciated most on our Instagram account this past year.
Ranked #2 in Ontario by Times Higher Education
In November, Times Higher Education released their World University Rankings for 2020. Sorting by subject, we were delighted to discover that York University had been Ranked 2nd in Ontario (and 6th in Canada) for Arts, Performing Arts & Design. We were also ranked #1 in Canada for “Industry Income”, an indicator of a university’s ability to help its industry with innovations, inventions and consultancy. The category demonstrates the extent to which arts industries work with our faculty. Talk about industry connections!
Bending Gender in Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
This year’s theme for Theatre@York is “Performing Gender”, and to kick off the 2019-20 season, Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) captured hearts and split sides in this beloved feminist and gender-bending revision of two of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays.
Photos of the cast were taken by Jeremy Mimnagh. Set design by Jessica Balyk, costume design by Kalina Popova and lighting design by Julian Iacob.
Touring the set of Handsmaid’s Tale
At AMPD we are grateful for our partnership with CineSpace studios! Our student filmmakers have the opportunity to work on their projects under the same roof as professional productions, such as the Emmy Award winning series Handsmaid’s Tale. In May, a handful of our York University faculty and community members had the opportunity to tour CineSpace and see props, costumes and set pieces constructed for the series.
Award Winning Undergrad
Cinema and Media Studies student Maria Kuri was honoured with the award for “Best International Student Film” at this year’s Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival (TINFF). Her film Deceived tells the story of a teenage girl who has her life flipped on its head after she meets a young man at a club. There’s a promising future for this young filmmaker, and the same goes for all of our award winning undergrads this year!
Mystery Locker Art
It’s customary for our Visual Arts students to empty their lockers at the end of the school year, and often times there is beautiful art left behind. This year was no exception, and one mystery student took it a step further by creating an entire scene within their locker before leaving it behind. That’s dedication to your craft!
If you know who this mystery artist is, send us a message on Instagram!
Computational Arts taking our Hearts in Search for Simurgh
The 2020’s will be a decade of migratory and interdisciplinary arts practices. And at AMPD we are ahead of the curve with our inter-department collaborations. A great example of this came in August when Theatre professor Erika Batdorf teamed up with Computational Arts professor Mark-David Hosale in the performance art installation Search for Simurgh, which featured elements of theatre, dance and interactive technology. Hosale designed these biosensing interactive props for the audience to hold. The heart flashes in-time with the audience member’s pulse, creating a connection between them and the dancers.
Raising the Rafters with the Gospel Choir
Did you know that York is the first university to have a course in Gospel music? If you ever have the chance to speak to professor Karen Burke about Gospel you will quickly understand that there’s enough in that genre to fill multiple courses. Burke is an authority on the history and performance practices of Gospel music, she has worked with many major choral ensembles and organizations including the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Youth Choir, Toronto Choral Society and Ontario Choral Federation, as well as numerous schools and church congregations. In 1988, she co-founded the Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir and continues to serve as its principal director, touring nationally and internationally.
This past November the Gospel Choir had their annual Gospel Choir event, where they filled the air at a packed Faire Fecan Theatre with powerful, roof-raising voices.
Out, Loud and Proud at AMPD
AMPD is a queer-friendly space. Period.
There were many LGBTQ+ focused projects to celebrate this year, but one heartwarming example came from design student Chloe Typert-Morrison. Chloe created a helpful kit for LGBTQ+ youth called OUT, designed facilitate the conversation between the youth and a loved one that they are coming out to. The kit comes with tools designed to present information about the LGBTQ+ community in an easy-to-understand way as well as items that allow the user to explain who they are specifically and how they feel without needing to identify with a label. And if that isn’t cool enough, the box itself changes colour with heat, so when a person touches it a rainbow appears!
Winters College was winning again during Orientation Week 2019. We had 9 creative and charismatic AMPD students take over our Instagram account for each day of the week. Some of the highlights included Wasaga Beach, the downtown tours, #SELFCARE, and our first ever takeover in DRAG for the lipsync battle with Glendon College. All week long Winters students were bringing the hype, dancing their backsides off, and going bananas.
In May the Dancers Bloom
The Dance Student Association hosts an annual show called Bloom, which features choreographers and performers from York University’s Dance program. This year Bloom took place at Dance Makers theatre downtown Toronto in the majestic Distillery District. It had all of the ingredients for an amazing evening out, gorgeous cobblestone streets, beer tastings and of course our talented AMPD dancers!
New Dean, New AMPD
In the summer we welcomed our new dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. Professor Sarah Bay-Cheng has worked across a range of disciplines and institutions in her career, both in the U.S. and further abroad. She is committed to making AMPD a future-focused art school; encouraging interdisciplinary and collaborative works; and recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty complement. We are excited to see what AMPD will accomplish in this new decade under the leadership of our new dean!
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