Erica Grimm’s Full Professor Inaugural Lecture

Academic Events
Trinity Western University
22500 University Dr
Northwest Auditorium
Langley, BC V2Y1Y1


“Skin Boats + Paying Attention: Aesthetic Intersubjectivity in Precarious Times”

In an age of ecological precarity, subjectivity has never been more important. Distanced from nature and dismissive of sensory perception, large parts of the population experience these by-products of modernity as inevitable. Convinced this contributes to many of the entwined crises of climate change, recent social sciences and humanities scholarship has embraced subjectivity with new curiosity and seriousness. Art, like many embodied, material and active forms of research methodologies, not only acknowledges, but exercises subjectivity. This lecture extends the argument by situating art as a methodology well suited to help recover a collectivesubjectivity that is in communion/community with the more-than-human. A reframed intersubjectivity brings us closer to what Baumgarten originally envisioned with aesthetics, a sorely needed ‘science of the senses’ he called it, necessary to balance the academic curriculum. Sensorially rich, active, embodied artmaking practices–the original intent of aesthetics–can build a seedbed to grow an ethics of care so necessary in order to navigate the Anthropocene. My experience is that artmaking can be an unknowable, untameable, wildly unpredictable form of inquiry. After 30 years of making, I am surprised where it has taken me. 

Erica Grimm, Ph.D. is a Canadian artist and Professor of Art in the School of the Arts, Media + Culture at Trinity Western University. A Canada Council and SSHRC Grant holder, her material practice explores the entangled territory between aesthetics, ecology, ethics, science and art, and her written practice considers the epistemological and pedagogical implications of the process of making. For more than 30 years she has practiced attentiveness, drawing daily on paper and panels, in space, with branches, words, objects, ideas and sounds. Ever curious about saturated (inexplicable but ordinary) phenomenological experiences, her work is rooted in themes of embodiment and materiality. Fueled by environmental urgency, her recent research-creation is collaborative, creating material semiotic entanglements-sculptural installations that layer meaning making materials with scientific texts, maps, medical imagery, drawings, projected video and soundscapes. Theorizing intersubjectivity as a means to blur the subject-object divide is her current quest. In 2002 she was the Distinguished Nash Lecturer at Campion College, the recipient of the Imago National Juried Art Prize, and named U of R Distinguished Alumnae. Widely exhibited in museum, public and community galleries, she is included in private and public collections such as the Vatican, Canada Council Art Bank, and the Richmond Art Gallery. 

Hosted by the Office of the Provost.

RSVP: Holly Porra ( no later than Thursday, February 6 at Noon.