Friday Afternoon

1:15–2:25 PAPER SESSION 5


Room 210


This presentation explores some conceptual bases of contemporary functional pottery in ethics, compassion, and the divine. Art theories based in modernism and post-modernism have emphasized interpretive approaches that range from disinterested amorality to anti-object and anti-material conceptualism. Through an exploration of contemporary writings on compassion, theism, craft theory, and the Ethical Pot movement of the 1940ʼs, I will make an ethical and moral case for the individual production of functional pots in the 21st century. Relevant theory is based in contemporary craft thinking which emphasizes materiality, process, function, and the object itself as opposed to fine art practice which is material and process agnostic, rejects physical function, and communicates through semiotics. Heideggerʼs thoughts on the nature of objects as physical entities will also play a role. The content and concept in functional pottery is primarily based in the service of food as a communicative act of kindness and compassion. Through this, we are encouraged to make room for ʻthe other,ʼ and, by extension, God. Texts providing the basis for the research include: Armstrong, Karen. Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Kearney, Richard. Anatheism: Returning to God after God. Leach, Bernard. A Potterʼs Book. Risatti, Howard. A Theory of Craft. Watson, Oliver. Studio Pottery: Twentieth Century British Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The presentation is illustrated with images of historic and contemporary functional pots, including those produced by the author, along with video and audio clips of historic and contemporary thinkers in the field of craft, functional pottery, and religion.

Stephen Grimmer grew up in southern Illinois near the moraine separating the Great Plains from the Mississippi Delta. He holds degrees from University of Iowa, Kansas City Art Institute, and University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and has held positions in Ohio, Illinois, and the University of Manitoba. Steve is an avid cook, a maker of functional pots, and is a strong believer in the transformative powers of good pots on domestic life. When not teaching and making pots, he enjoys hiking, bicycle riding, and fishing. Steve has a loving wife, three beautiful children, and a mortgage.


In Mausoleum: Red List Lament, fourteen paintings of red list plants of British Columbia are suspended amidst hanging piano scrolls. Both the fragile, antiquated piano scrolls and the faded paintings on vellum allude to the vulnerable state of red list plants; plants that only make it to this list if they are endangered or threatened of extinction. The suspended scrolls with their history of loss become the lamenting choir, closing ranks and protecting the plants. While player piano scrolls are still in existence, the piano itself is rare. This makes the scrolls that were dependent upon the piano/infrastructure/system virtually useless, existing mainly in antique shops and museums. Similarly, the plants on the red list can be grown from seeds saved from the plants, but they can’t survive if the ecosystem is destroyed. The plants become museum objects that exist in research gardens and other limited environments. Mausoleum: Red List Lament is a reflection on displacement and loss.

Doris Hutton Auxier has practiced in Princeton, NJ, Chicago, and in Tucson, AZ. She is committed to artist-run collectives and is part of such a gallery where she now lives in Fort Langley, B.C. Auxier’s paintings and drawings are represented in more than 50 private and public collections. For the past 10 years, Auxier’s work has primarily focused on fragile and protected environments in western British Columbia. The Langley Bog and Colony Farm were the subject matter of a 2010 collaborative exhibition Transformation and Memory: Endangered Spaces at Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam. A 2009 exhibition centering on the Langley Bog, was presented by The Fort Gallery, The Pacific Parklands Foundation, Metro Vancouver, and the Derby Reach/ Brae Island Parks Association. Another 2010 exhibition, Protected Spaces: New Myths again focused on the Langley Bog, which is by the Fraser River near Fort Langley, British Columbia. Work on the same theme of fragile environments was represented at the Fraser Valley Biennale 2011 at The Reach Gallery Museum in British Columbia.


Room 201


Over the past two decades, American opera companies have widely expanded their educational outreach programs. Many of these initiatives—such as special abridged productions and curricular materials—target elementary school children, ostensibly serving to nurture an early interest in the art form and stimulate learning in general. Such outreach strategies are common among music organizations; however, unlike most symphonic or chamber genres, Western opera explicitly dramatizes ethical or moral dilemmas, many of which might be categorized as “mature content,” though opera production has no regulatory rating system analogous to those used for television, film, and video games. Re-branding canonical operas as “family entertainment” poses distinct ethical challenges including which operas to highlight and, more importantly, how to present these works (i.e. staging, translation and revision, educational resources, and even marketing materials). This presentation examines the intersection of ethics and opera education for young people, focusing on a perennial favorite, Bizet’s Carmen, and particularly the San Francisco Opera’s abbreviated “Carmen for Families” (2011–12 season). The SFO’s detailed educational materials for Carmen also offer a provocative case study for considering the ethical responsibilities of arts organizations. Designed for teachers and students grades k–12, these materials—covering the major curricular areas, including Health—offer an impressive variety of prompts for exploring the opera (i.e. class politics, the dangers of alcohol and tobacco) and link explicitly to items in the official Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools. Despite their breadth and seriousness, however, the SFO curricular resources conspicuously limit or circumvent discussion of Carmen’s fatal stabbing and relevant contemporary issues (even those included in the official health-education standards), such as harassment, violence in dating, and violence specifically against women.

Faculty member at the Colburn Conservatory of Music since 2003, Kristi Brown-Montesano is currently Chair of Music History for the undergraduate program. She received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, with a specialization in 18th-century western European music. Her book The Women of Mozart’s Operas (Univ. of Calif. Press, 2007) offers a detailed study of the female characters of the Da Ponte operas and Die Zauberflöte, re-evaluating common critical tropes and assumptions. Brown-Montesano has presented and published essays on opera, film music, trends in marketing classical music to children, and contemporary cultural associations between Bach, violence, and technology.


When the musical experience is outside our socially determined understanding of music, there is a tendency to disengage from the experience critically. A tendency to predetermine the meanings of the piece(s) by means of generalization, categorization and in a sense, domestication. Twentieth century western art music is one of the greatest victims of this trend. When the populace hears Schoenberg or Penderecki they automatically categorize it as horror film music, smooth jazz as elevator music, or even baroque as study music. They find a unique social niche for the music, and in a sense predetermine the meaning before first contact. This paper engages case studies, German romantic thought, and mass media as conduits for this pattern change sociologically dealing primarily with German sociologist T.W. Adorno.

Ricky Stephen is a fourth-year Music major with a minor in Christianity and Culture at Trinity Western University. He is a jazz guitarist, composer, and currently serves as a research assistant for Dr. Jeff R. Warren’s project on the ethics of timbre. He hopes to further his studies at the graduate level sometime in the near future and avoid a lifetime of tire sales.

2:45–4:30 PAPER SESSION 6


Room 210


The intersection of aesthetics and ethics has a long history in philosophy. Kant wrote The Critique of Judgement as means to use aesthetic judgment to reflect how an ethical judgment could be both universal and particular. However, in contemporary environmentalism, there is still much ambiguity concerning the relationship between aesthetics and ethics in actual practical modes of existence. Through aesthetic engagement the relationship with nature is located at a level of immediate experience, where each human being is charged with making a commitment and enacting a responsibility to the landscape. An aesthetic engagement with the landscape is a form of questioning. The word “engagement” itself is significant as part of this neologistic phrase. The etymology of the word “engagement” stems from the French word “engager” meaning to pledge, commit, involve, encourage, hire or enlist. The invented fictions utilized in aesthetic expression create a relationship with the environment that has personal meaning, draws the individual in and engages. This paper examines how these fictions facilitate the confluence of aesthetics and ethics in an engagement with the landscape. By doing so, the assertion is made that contemporary environmental discourse is left hindered and encumbered by a deficient collaboration with artistic practice.

Gregory Blair was born and raised in Alberta, Canada and is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. Gregory is also a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts based in Portland, ME. His dissertation title is: “The Locus of Thought: Place as a Focus for Thinking.” His interests lie in post–1960 interdisciplinary art practices, environmental aesthetics, social based practices, continental philosophy, ecocriticism, poststructural-ism, being human and philosophies of place. Some of the things that currently receive heavy rotation in Mr. Blair’s consciousness are spatial theories, back yard fire pits, pangrams, blogs, teaching, and most of all, his wife, son and daughter.


“The art of living,” according to philosopher Georgio Agamben “is the capacity to keep ourselves in harmonious relationship with that which escapes us” (The Last Chapter in the History of the World, 114). In the visual arts, that which escapes us, that which we do not presume to know, can be thought of as negative space. Beginning students of drawing often come to their introductory drawing class full of presuppositions about what a hand or face looks like and how it is drawn. However, they are quick to discover, as they learn to observe negative space, that the hand, which was once banal and commonplace, is suddenly altogether unfamiliar to them. Though we may claim to know what a hand looks like no one ever presumes to know the particularities of the negative space surrounding that hand. Thus, negative space provides us with a productive metaphor for thinking through the ethics of encounter. Informed by insights from philosophy, pedagogy and artistic practice, this slide-illustrated lecture will explore the operations of negative space and strategies of distance in a recent series of performance based-videos, drawings and animations. These artworks, either literally or figuratively, take up negative space as a way of making strange the familiar and drawing attention to that which escapes us; a world of subjectivities, which are perpetually beyond our grasp. This lecture will conclude with the artist’s reflections on how the ethics of negative space might play out in a creative process which often includes the participation of others. How might an artist/director maintain “zones of non-knowledge” or negative space in collaborative situations, while at the same time maintaining creative autonomy? What is the artist’s responsibility to those whose image is employed in the creation of the artwork? And how might artistic practices create opportunities for ethics to be enacted? These questions and others will be explored in relation to the artist’s experience of creating performance-based artworks.

Alysha Creighton is an artist and art educator from Vancouver, B.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art and Worship studies from Trinity Western University and is currently studying at the University of Alberta, working to complete her M.F.A. thesis in Drawing and Intermedia. Her current work explores notions of relationally and reciprocity through drawing, video and performance. She has exhibited her work in galleries and screenings across North America, in cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, New York and the L.A. area. She has recently been selected to participate in the 2013 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Alberta.


The French philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas once said to his son, the composer and pianist Michaël Lévinas, that "music is pure abstraction, and yet, the body makes the song." Never was this as real to Michaël than in 1970 when Emmanuel lay in the hospital struggling for breath. Fortunately, Emmanuel recovered and father and son continued discussing music and philosophy. Michaël was struck by the experience of his father's breath, and shortly after composed a piece entitled 'Arsis et Thesis ou La Chanson du Souffle' using breath as a formal element. That piece was presented to his teacher Olivier Messiaen as part of his final academy exam. At this exam, he also developed his idea of the 'instrumental' that was presented several years later at a Darmstadt summer course. Michaël argues that the instrument is an extension of the body, and also that the 'instrument instruments.' The latter idea extends a phrase used by Emmanuel in Otherwise than Being in the discussion of a Xenakis piece Michaël introduced him to. Emmanuel is best know as a philosopher of ethics, and Michaël is best known as a pianist and one of the initiators of spectralism. Taken separately, the work of Emmanuel and Michaël leave connection between music and ethics unclear. Taken together, compelling connections between music and ethics arise. In music's connection to the body and breath, traces of the other arise that require ethical response. This presentation examines the idea of breath in the thought of Michaël and Emmanuel Lévinas in the early 1970s in an attempt to gain insight into the relationship between music and ethics.

Jeff R. Warren is Associate Professor of Music and Interdisciplinary Arts at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He has presented and published internationally on music and ethics, improvisation, soundscape, modern European philosophy, and psychology. Jeff’s creative work includes jazz composition and performance on double bass. He is also a sound artist, and was commissioned to create a sound sculpture for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. He is currently working on a research grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada entitled "The ethics of timbre." Jeff has a Ph.D. in music and philosophy from Royal Holloway, University of London. More on his website at


Room 201


Grounded in theories of critical and engaged pedagogy, this paper seeks to build an engaged music pedagogy informed by an ethico-aesthetic politics of community. Two case studies on community musicking - one in Alberta, the other in British Columbia - illustrate how aesthetics serve as acoustic epistemological framework. From this, we hypothesize that the music classroom serves as one environment where community ethics are negotiated through learning community aesthetics. Through the processes of listening and musiking together, students generate and map social meanings onto sounds and build relationships through shared embodied experiences. Such relationships shape individual subjectivity and social imagination, which, in turn, guide the ways in which students relate beyond the music classroom. Individuals embrace social roles, conventions, and cultural structures which mirror their sonic perception of the world. It follows that democratic, collaborative activities within the music classroom present students with experiences which exercise the mental and participatory frameworks they need to critically participate in a democratic society.

Dr. Michael B. MacDonald is a sociomusicologist, and ethnomusicologist of popular music, at the University of Alberta. In 2011–2012, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the UofA Centre for Teaching and Learning where he worked on a research project that applied Critical Pedagogy to popular music education in an approach he calls Critical Listening. Michael’s ongoing research examines the impact of industrialization on music cultures. Michael is particularly interested in using social semiotics, critical multimedia pedagogy, and information and communications technology (ICT) to study the development of listening; and the formation of social, cultural and economic value in music.

Loribeth T. Gregory holds an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Riverside and is an independent scholar, applied music teacher, and social entrepreneur in Denver, Colorado. Her past research has focused on the role of music in the formation of generational, post-internment identities in the Japanese American community, which included theories of history and memory, performance, and nation-subject formations. Loribeth’s current research focus is on how arts education policies, economic support for the arts, and governmental arts agencies form an implicit cultural policy that shapes social values and relations between individuals, community, nation.


Often members of the Academy might be criticized for sidestepping their ethical and moral responsibilities when promoting the degrees that they offer. Music departments are no strangers to this practice. While the presenter does not claim to have definitive solutions to this situation, he will bring forward his thoughts and research in defence of offering (and promoting) Music degrees. The discussion begins with a brief exploration of the purpose of post-secondary music education. Are we preparing professionals (classical or popular), interdisciplinary artists, teachers, audiences or consumers? What are the benefits and disadvantages of specialist degrees versus liberal arts degrees? In many institutions, the survival of a music program is achieved by aggressive recruitment. To maintain faculty positions, students must be found to fill the seats in classes and studios. If the recruitment process avoids a discussion of job prospects, who does this recruitment serve? Frequently the image associated with the study of music is that of the professional performer. Should recruitment for music schools instead focus on the learning outcomes, the skills that are developed in studying music, and their application in other portions of the market place within the field of music and beyond? Often the Academy’s perspective is different from its clients’ perspectives with regard to the expected learning outcomes of a Music degree. What can be done to bridge this gap of expectations? The market place that we are preparing our students for is considerably different from what it was in the past century, and will continue to change quickly in the future. Yet many music programs continue to offer a program that is essentially the same as what was offered 100 years ago. It may be that the Academy needn’t drastically change its curriculum or course offerings, but rather package them in a different manner. Also, we have seen many changes in the patterns of marketing and consumption of music in recent years. What new skills will our future graduates need in order to be successful?

Dr. Thorpe’s professional experience includes 16 years on faculty at TWU; 23 years of teaching music theory (Rudiments, Harmony and Aural Skills); and more than 25 years of professional performing. At Trinity Western University he enjoys a variety of responsibilities. Conducting Concert Band, coaching small ensembles, teaching music theory and a recent appointment to Chair of the Music Department are some of the roles that occupy him on campus. Off campus he has an active performing career as a professional bassoonist. This has included performances with Vancouver Opera, Pacific Baroque Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony.


The study of the visual arts offers students extensive interaction with ideas -when art instruction instead becomes primarily about art production, this potential is neglected. It is essential therefore that art education is holistic, certainly developing their artistic abilities but also shaping students’ understandings, insights and passions about a wide range of areas, including ethics. The art studio is an ideal environment for students to wrestle with ethics as they encounter an issue, form an understanding, apply principles to specific situations, analyze and evaluate and finally create an artwork that grows from these efforts. This educational development mirrors the progression suggested in Benjamin Bloom’s famous taxonomy. Creativity requires a student to synthesize all of their understandings and in this case results in an artwork. In this talk, I suggest that formative ethical education can naturally grow in the art studio via thematic instruction. I will explain thematic instruction -what it is, how it works and why it is so effective at all educational levels, from elementary through graduate. l will also lead a mini-workshop, walking participants through the thematic process. Throughout, l will consider educational insights of scholar James K.A. Smith and the Art for Life text of Tom Anderson and Melody K. Millbrandt as I build a case for holistic art education that shapes students ethical understandings.

Matt Drissell is an Assistant Professor of Art at Dordt College. He has a M.F.A. in Painting from New York Academy of Art and a B.A. from Wheaton College (IL). Matt is also a certified art teacher in the states of Wisconsin and Missouri, having taught middle and high school art for five years in Milwaukee and St. Louis. He lives in Sioux Center, Iowa, with his wife and children. There he and his family aim to live sustainably within the community.

4:45–5:45 SESSION 7


Room 210

There is growing interest in the ways that the arts relate the ecology; that is, the not just the environment but the entire natural world. In the study of sound, for example, approaches with names including ecomusicology, soundscape studies, sonic studies, and acoustic ecology explore the ways that sound shapes and is shaped by the environment, and the role sound plays in the relationships of culture and nature. These studies invariably lead to ethical questions about what should be done. For example, given the World Health Organization's claim that over half of Europeans live in noisy surroundings (often to the extent that they alter the ability to sleep), what ethical responsibilities do musicians – who make sound for a living – have? How should artists respond to development that will forever alter landscapes and soundscapes? With such serious consequences, is creating art the most effective response? Is it ethical to create art without taking these issues into consideration? What role does art have in shaping ideas about 'nature'? How do the arts contribute to the survival of humanity? These and other questions will be explored by a panel with diverse interests and expertise.

  • Barry Truax
  • Marcelle Cobussen
  • Nanette Nielsen
  • Jeff R. Warren

Barry Truax is a Professor in the School of Communication and (formerly) the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University where he teaches courses in acoustic communication and electroacoustic composition, specializing in soundscape composition.  He has worked with the World Soundscape Project, editing its Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, and has published a book Acoustic Communication dealing with all aspects of sound and technology. As a composer, Truax is best known for his work with the PODX computer music system which he has used for tape solo works and those which combine tape with live performers or computer graphics.

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