Intersectionality in Classics: A Conversation with Professor Allison Glazebrook

Have you ever wondered how professors come to study the topics they do?

Keegan Bruce, a fourth year Classics major and a volunteer Social Media Ambassador for the Faculty of Humanities, interviewed Professor Allison Glazebrook to find out how she came to research gender and sexuality in the ancient world, and to get some advice on her own career path.

Dr. Glazebrook has been a professor at Brock since 2003. Her lengthy list of publications include Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016) and, most recently, she has co-edited Themes in Greek Society and Culture.

You can read more about Dr. Glazebrook and her work on her department profile.

Dr. Allison Glazebrook of the Department of Classics with two of her edited volumes, "Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean" (2011) and "Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World" (2016).

If you had asked me at the end of last year what I wanted to spend my life doing, I’d have had no idea what to tell you. If you were to ask me now, I’d laugh that terrified laugh all master’s applicants have and say, “I want to make Classics more intersectional.” Do I know exactly what that means yet? No, absolutely not, but I know that I want to do it and I have the beginnings of an idea.

Generally, intersectional approaches to research consider the sub-groups within groups and the differing experiences of different groups of people. I want to actively challenge the white male western-centric thinking so prevalent in the past and today’s scholarship. I believe that it is the responsibility of the scholar to challenge biased interpretations. Our own assumptions and biases must be examined so that the message put forth is not one of continued harm to underrepresented groups, but of genuine analysis. Which, wow, that’s a big thing to fit into the narrow pocket of the ancient world.

For guidance, I turned to Dr. Allison Glazebrook, who was kind enough to sit down and talk with me over a coffee. Dr. Glazebrook has been looking at Classics from an intersectional perspective since her Master’s degree in the 90s which, as she will tell you, was not exactly a mainstream approach. She researches gender, sexuality, and slavery within the ancient world, specifically sexual labour (in which all three converge).

She didn’t start out that way. As an undergraduate student, she was mostly exposed to military and political history and it was not until she read Ovid’s Heroides that something sparked: “he was writing from a female perspective, giving a voice to what was lost. I was drawn to that.”

From there, the spark grew. When in her Master’s she gave a presentation on Roman education, something far outside her field at the time, she discovered an interest in the education of women. “I went to my supervisor and told her what I wanted to do and she was very excited; she’d been waiting for someone to research women.” When she learned that, generally, the only women educated in the Greek world were high ranking sex slaves, she grew more interested.

It was in her PhD candidacy that the spark became a flame.

“We were looking at sex slaves from the wrong perspective,” she says, “women were static, they were in categories. It was about male access to those categories rather than the female experience. I wanted to start reading texts from the other side and I found that the experience for women was varied and so much more than porne (common sex worker) vs hetaera (upper class sex worker).”

Since then, she’s been interested in “flipping the perspective”.

“Greeks love binaries,” she says, “us and them. But the reality wasn’t binary, it was a spectrum. Scholars, myself included, had been thinking in these binaries too, porne vs hetaira, but the reality was so much more complex. Hetairai were fetishized in the research, there was a fascination with them that really didn’t reflect the diversity of sex workers in ancient Greece.”

When she started this research, she was met with confusion.

“People questioned my sexuality, my past,” she says. “like, ‘you must be different for looking at this’”.

She tells me about a job interview: “They said to me, “okay, that’s fine as a side-interest, but what’s the real history that you do?’” She laughs. “People were so offended at the concept of brothels in Athens! Like they couldn’t exist! It didn’t fit with their ideas. But Greece and Rome are just cultures, like ours is a culture, just like other cultures from all over the world throughout time. It’s no better or worse, it’s just different.”

Dr. Glazebrook tells me how people were uncomfortable and defensive about her area of study. “It was very marginal at the time. It affected how I did my scholarship. I’ve done some edited volumes that focus on the brothel instead of the hetaira. It helps to make the topic mainstream, the more people you get working on it. I had to build a community because there was resistance to the topic. You need to build a community. I organized conference panels, attended conferences, included senior and junior scholars in edited volumes to make it more mainstream. And now it is.”

Dr. Glazebrook looks at other areas of study in her research. She took a class on feminist theory as a PhD student and her focus shifted from a historical perspective to a socio-cultural one: “I started thinking about constructed categories, which was very helpful.”

Due to little published research on sexual labour in ancient Greece when she started, she read texts from Rome to the Early Modern period to the modern day. She read the work of Margo St. James, Maggie O’Neill, and about prostitute discourse theory, getting the perspective of sex workers on sex work. There was a divide between feminism and sex workers at that time so what she needed wasn’t in her classes. She read Denise Riley’s Am I That Name, “a critique on feminism and the idea of ‘women’ as a single historical category, as opposed to the true complexities of the term in relation to other categories. Woman is not a static category.”

To Dr. Glazebrook, looking beyond your experience is crucial to research and it’s something she tries to teach her students.

“We all have perspectives,” she says and her voice shifts to the ‘professor’ tone I’ve heard many times, “No one is objective, there’s always an element of subjectivity. We are enclosed in our own time period. The job of the historian is to be aware of that and try to break out of that.”

She tells me of the time she read a book written by a man on ancient women in 1956: “It was horrifying! He couldn’t see that he wasn’t making a helpful analysis—he was just objectifying the figures presented. It didn’t make sense.”

She hopes to prevent her students from being close-minded to alternative ideas and becoming stuck in their own perspective. “They need to challenge their perspectives. It’s a lifelong journey; we have to keep reexamining and understanding how our background affects how we think about things and interact with things. We have to try to break out of that.”

I asked her for advice. How can I be intersectional? How can I respect the voices I’m looking for? Her reply:

“Read widely. Be open to different types of evidence. Be aware of the aspects of culture. Read from other time periods and fields, even in the modern day. How are other areas approaching your topic? Not that the modern day is equal to the past, but it can help you formulate questions.”

And above all, shift the perspective.

Dr. Glazebrook encourages her students to view history from different perspectives.

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IASC/GAME students take their capstone project on the road

Students in the Interactive Arts and Science (IASC) and GAME program will be taking their work to a provincial competition April 4. The Level Up Showcase displays work by the most talented game, animation, and computer science university students in Ontario. Students will show off their work to their peers, judges, and industry professionals.

The public is invited to check out the latest tech and design at this year’s competition at the Design Exchange, Bay Street Toronto, on Wednesday, April 4, 5:00-10:00 pm.

Our social media ambassador Ellen Thornton interviewed some of the students involved in this year’s project.

Updated April 5, 2018: We are pleased to report that the students won the People’s Choice Award!

Interactive Arts and Science students from the 4L00 capstone course competed in the Level Up Showcase in Toronto on April 4, where they won the People's Choice Award.

Interactive Arts and Science students from the 4L00 capstone course competed in the Level Up Showcase in Toronto on April 4, where they won the People's Choice Award.

The Interactive Arts and Science (IASC) program has always stood out among other programs because of its emphasis on project-based assignments and experiential learning.  All of this leads to the fourth-year keystone course: IASC 4L00, Collaborative Practicum in Interactive Media Design and Production.

According to the Undergraduate Calendar, IASC 4L00 is described as “Planning and production of a collaborative interactive media project”, which is a very vague description of what students will be doing in the class.  This is because the course is the project, and it is up to the students to take the lead.

This year, the class has been spending the year creating their video game Stop Running!

Stop Running! is a 4-player party game where, contrary to the name, the goal of the game is to not stop running.

Players attempt to outlast their opponents by running away from a boss character chasing them, while also utilizing different interactables that can move themselves to a different part of the map, or hinder their opponents.  The longer a player lasts in one round, the more points they receive, and the player with the most points at the end of three rounds is the winner.

“We wanted it to be more like a Mario Party game where you are usually dealing with something, not directly each other”, says student Jeremy Bone, a member of the Design team in the course, “we wanted to emphasize that this is about escaping and avoiding the enemy, not fighting them head-on.”

In addition to designing the game narrative and characters, students also had to market their game.

Another thing that’s unique about the game is that it plays on traditional game plots.  As Kelly Waldbillig, the Lead Sound member explains, “(it’s) almost a reverse of Pac-man, where instead of being chased by 4 ghosts, you are instead playing as the ghosts being chased by Pac-man when he has the power ball.”

Because the 4L00 course revolves around the students’ project idea, the course is really directed by the students themselves.  While there are 2 instructors that facilitate the course, they aren’t giving lectures or handing out assignments like a traditional course.

“We view the instructors more as the boss rather than our instructors”, says student Jansen Otten.

Who keeps the class accountable and makes sure the work gets done on time?  The answer is the students themselves.  From assigning roles for everyone to creating deadlines, the students have to work together to make sure everyone has a job to do and that their work is completed on time.

“Compared to other projects where it’s mostly just independence, this you have to rely on everyone else to get their stuff done so you can get your stuff done, and someone else has to work based on your stuff”, explains Lead Producer Aaron Coomber, one of the students who’s responsible for creating the overall project schedule the class follows.

Another unique aspect of this course is that once the students complete their game, they get to participate in the Level Up Student Showcase in Toronto on April 4th.  Here they get to showcase their game to other students and potential employers.  They will also be competing against other projects in hopes of winning awards handed out by judges.

As the competition date looms closer, the students have mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness.

“We all have the date on our mind, we have a countdown on a whiteboard”, says Otten.

Waldbillig says the competition keeps the students motivated.

“This is going to be a huge opportunity for people to go and showcase it among other huge projects that other schools and teams have been doing.  It definitely pushes us to be more motivated because people from the industry that are going to be present and judges from there that could be having a handle on some of the games to further their development”, says Waldbillig.

Showing the game of in a showcase such as Level Up also forces the students to not only focus on the game, but on their presentation of the game to people as well.  As Bone explains, “There’s also the promotional materials which people have been working on.  The idea of having T-shirts for us all so that we are there as a team, posters, other things to try and promote the game, that wouldn’t be a concern if we were staying here.”

The goal of IASC4L00 is to simulate what working in a studio environment will be like for students after they have graduated, something that the students agree with and value greatly.

“This course is the best one for that,” says Coomber. “It helps you work in a very large team, and basically accurately represents what it’s like working outside of school.”

While the first three years in the Interactive Arts and Science program focus on theories and concepts, IASC4L00 gives students the opportunity to take what they have learned throughout their academic career and apply it to a project that they can put on their resumes to separate them from other graduates.

For more information about Level Up, visit their website: https://levelupshowcase.com/

Third year student Ellen Thornton captured the Level Up event on SnapChat.

Stop Running! is created and produced by students Aaron Coomber, Austin Wilcox, Harrison Fobres, Kelly Waldbillig, Anderson Ferneyhough, Jansen Otten, Jeremy Bone, Matthew Archambault, Duck Hyun Ryoo, Roger Bilodeau, Zach Cervone, Sydnee Warnock, and Liam Ferguson.

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Collaborative Student Exhibit Opens at the Niagara Artists’ Centre

By Craig Maltais

French students Jaclyn Morse, Maddy Cugini, Katie Mcginnes, Mariah Dubeau discuss their 3D-printed photographs at the opening of Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui. The art show, on now at the Niagara Artists Centre, is a collaboration between local graffiti artist Matt Vizbuli and students in Brock’s Studies in Arts and Culture and French programs.

The current exhibit at the Niagara Artists Centre features a collaboration between local graffiti artist Mat Vizbulis, Brock students in Studies in Arts and Culture and French Studies. Expressions of Today/ Expressions d’aujourd’hui, a bilingual exhibit, is one of the first of its kind in Niagara and displays a variety of alternative art forms.

The Arts & Culture students used Vizbulis’ art as inspiration to create their own paintings and collaged them digitally onto posters. These were completed with poetic sentences written by the students, later edited and selected by Professor Catherine Parayre.

The French Studies students’ work on display also features their own poetic phrases, also edited by Parayre on the subject of the title theme: ‘The graffiti dances like…’ These sentences are inspired from Vizbulis’ piece, as well as the work of French-Canadian artist-author Daniel Dugas.

French students created 3D printed photographs and wrote poetry in response to the graffiti.

The sentences join a series of 10 x 15 cm lithophanes (photographs printed in 3D) of the students in movement which demonstrates the themes of their writings.

Vizbuli describes graffiti as “using energy to express art.” He channels his energy through sweeping movements to create his art, such as the exhibit’s centerpiece An Elephant in the Room.

When asked about being featured along side growing artists, Vizbulis said he was gratified to be the inspiration for so many young artists. He also congratulated Brock University for reaching out to the local community to find home grown artists and to exhibit graffiti art in a gallery.

Expressions of Today / Expressions d’aujourd’hui is on exhibit at the Niagara Artists Centre in downtown St Catharines from March 3rd – 16th 2018.

***

L’exposition au Niagara Artists Centre présente l’artiste de graffiti Mat Vizbulis et les œuvres collaboratives crées par Catherine Parayre de l’Université Brock et de ses étudiants d’Etudes en Arts et culture, ainsi que ses étudiants des Études en français. Cette exposition bilingue d’art alternative et de graffiti est une des premières de son genre dans la région de Niagara.

La collaboration est le thème global de l’exposition. Les étudiants d’Arts et  culture se sont inspirés de l’art de Vizbulis dans leurs propres créations qu’ils ont associées à des phrases poétiques, plus tard éditées par Professeure Parayre.

Le travail des étudiants d’Études en français contient lui aussi des phrases poétiques, également éditées par Professeure Parayre, au sujet du thème : « Le graffiti danse comme… ». Ces phrases sont inspirées de l’œuvre de Vizbulis et du recueil de l’artiste-auteur franco-canadien Daniel Dugas . Elles accompagnent des lithophanies (photos numériques, impressions 3D) de 10 x 15 cm des mêmes .

En discutant de l’impact d’être l’artiste central exposé en même temps que des artistes débutants, Vizbulis s’est montré flatté et content d’avoir influencé tant d’étudiants. Il a aussi félicité l’Université Brock d’avoir recherché non seulement un artiste local, mais aussi un artiste de graffiti pour exposer en galerie. En parlant du point focal de l’exposition, An Elephant in the Room, l’artiste dit utiliser toute son énergie dans de grands gestes en arc pour créer son art.

Expressions of Today / Expressions d’aujourd’hui est présenté au Niagara Artists Centre à St Catharines du 3 au 16 mars 2018.

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Finding Value in Being Vulnerable: A Q&A with English grad Lydia Collins

Today’s post is by Clarisa Morales, a student in English and Con-Ed and one of our Social Media Ambassadors.

Entering Brock as a student of the Faculty of Humanities can seem like a daunting and overwhelming thought. Though Brock offers specialties in a particular discipline within the humanities, there are so many facets and avenues that each discipline can take you and your learning.

I spoke with Lydia Collins, a recent graduate of the English Language and Literature program. Lydia is a writer, ambassador, advocate, and most importantly, a student who still enjoys learning. We had the chance to talk about her experiences as an undergraduate student, and how important it is to allow yourself to be vulnerable in the pursuit to create authentic and empowering pieces of work.

Lydia Collins studied English Language and Literature and Women's Studies at Brock. She talks about her experience in humanities with current student Clarisa Morales.

Can you briefly tell me about yourself and what you are currently up to?

Lydia Collins: I am a recent graduate from Brock’s English Language and Literature program with a minor in Women’s and Gender studies. Around my third year I began to get heavily involved on campus through working, volunteering, and helping with various initiatives. I had the opportunity to work for two years at Brock’s CareerZone, volunteer with Brock East African Students’ Association, the English Students’ Association and more. I currently work as the Social Media Editor for The Brock Press, the Workshops Coordinator at Brock’s Student Justice Centre, and am part of a group on campus that focuses on sexual violence prevention and education called Decolonize and Deconstruct. My academic background is clearly reflected in my work, and I couldn’t be happier about that!

Before coming to Brock, did you always know you wanted to study something in Humanities?

LC: I definitely knew I’d be studying in Humanities. For as long as I can remember I have loved reading and writing, and though I didn’t know exactly what my career path would look like (disclosure: I still don’t,) I did know that being a writer would always be a necessary and important part of my identity.

Can you briefly describe your undergrad journey? What were some of your favourite courses?

LC: My undergraduate journey was not at all clear or easy. The first two years were especially difficult for me and lead me to thinking I might want to switch my major. The thing about being in school for your art is that you have to let yourself be vulnerable, and be willing to let your work be truly critiqued.

I also struggled with the English courses that I had taken in the early years of my degree because many of them were prerequisites, or just generally classes that didn’t interest me. My focus has never really been in classic literature, so having to get through so much Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson was a little hard for me.

Once I got into my third year, everything changed. I found so many more courses that catered to contemporary literature and I had experienced some of the best professors and courses of my life. My personal favourites were certainly Rhetoric with Dr. Andrew Pendakis and South African Literature with Dr. Susan Spearey.

Do you think that your experiences in Humanities have benefited or prepared you for where you are now?

LC: My experience in the Humanities absolutely helped me get to where I am right now in so many aspects. In regards to the lessons I learned formally in the classroom but also informally through my peers, professors, and alumni. I am grateful for my undergraduate experience and know that I made the right decision with my degree and faculty.

Can you tell me about a past or current event or project that you are passionate about?

LC: Currently I’ve been busy at the Student Justice Centre, as well as with the rest of the Black History Month Committee preparing and putting on Black History Month events. There have been workshops, films, a panel discussion, and more!

Any future goals you wish to achieve with your projects?

LC: I would like to spend more time focusing on my personal blog (www.lacollinsblogs.weebly.com) so that I can continue to share my work, but more importantly, improve as a writer.

What advice would you give a student who is just starting or about to start their Humanities degree?

LC: My biggest piece of advice for someone starting their Humanities degree is to let yourself be vulnerable, allow yourself to take criticism, and know that there are opportunities (contrary to popular belief).

There is so much to learn from a Humanities degree but what has been most useful for me is my ability to think critically, because that has been helpful in every aspect of my life. Volunteer, apply to on-campus jobs, look at summer internships, don’t give up on your art, and trust that you made such an awesome decision to be a part of this faculty!

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Brock Talks public lecture series brings scholars and community together

Department of Classics Assistant Professor Carrie Murray, left, and student Olivia Holcombe examine a fourth century BC limestone head from the Cypriote Museum collection. Murray will be sharing her research into female votive figurines at the upcoming Brock Talks installment on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Brock Talks aims to build bridges of understanding between humanities scholars and the local community.

Held six times a year at St. Catharines Public Library, the lecture series is designed to encourage the open exchange of ideas and facilitate interaction between Brock academics and the public.

During each instalment, scholars from the Faculty of Humanities share their research and answer questions from those in attendance.

“The idea was to bridge the divide that can easily and all too often does open between a university and the larger community of which it is a part,” says English Professor Tim Conley, who started the collaboration in 2012.

Conley was inspired in part by the Q&A sessions held by the physicist Richard Feynman at CalTech, during which Feynman would answer physics questions from the crowd.

“The public doesn’t necessarily know or understand what we do,” says Conley. “We wanted to share the kinds of high-quality research being undertaking at Brock, and open up a Q&A session after each lecture.”

The St. Catharines library has been a keen supporter of the series since its inception.

The first Brock Talks was given by Classics Professor Mike Carter on “The Gladiators’ Code: Life in the Roman Arena” in January 2012.

Since then, Brock Talks has featured a wide variety of speakers reflecting the broad field of study that makes up the humanities. Topics have ranged from theatre directing, to alcohol and the War of 1812, vampires and even video games.

Carter, now the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Humanities, organizes the lecture series in collaboration with the St. Catharines Public Library.

“It is envisioned as a forum for interaction between Brock Humanities scholars and the local public,” says Carter. “Brock Humanities faculty have an opportunity to disseminate our research to a general audience and showcase what we do in the Humanities at Brock.”

There are six Brock Talks scheduled each year, all following a similar format: a roughly 40-minute talk followed by a discussion period where the public can ask questions and engage with the topic. The event is always free, and many are now shared online via live tweeting with the hashtag #BrockTalks.

“It is always a really interesting time and the audience, which is quite mixed, brings a lively discussion afterwards,” says Carter.

The next Brock Talks will feature professor Carrie Murray speaking on “Female Votive Figurines: Religious Worship in the Ancient Mediterranean.” Murray is an archaeologist with the Department of Classics.

A complete list of current and past lectures can be found on the Faculty website. Upcoming lectures are also posted on the Faculty’s ExperienceBU, Twitter and Facebook pages.

What: Brock Talks featuring Classics Professor Carrie Murray on “Female Votive Figurines: Religious Worship in the Ancient Mediterranean.”
Where: St. Catharines Public Library
When: Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

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Director’s Notes: Michelle Mohammed shares insights from her mainstage experience

Each year, our Dramatic Arts students work hard to produce two mainstage productions (one in the fall, one in the spring). The mainstage gives them the opportunity to put into practice the skills they work hard at developing in their courses.

Michelle Mohammed is a fourth year Dramatic Arts major, minoring in English Language and Literature. She’s the Assistant Director for this year’s Dramatic Arts mainstage production of “Top Girls” by Caryl Churchill.

As part of her directing experience, Michelle is keeping a blog. She’s agreed to share a few excerpts with us below.

Top Girls tells the story of Marlene, a career-driven woman who is only interested in women’s success in business. It takes a critical look at women in society and considers the conflicts that come with the pursuit of success and the desire to “have it all.”

Tickets are sold at firstontariopac.ca. The show runs from March 2 to March 10 and is directed by Dramatic Arts professor Danielle Wilson.

Group of students

Students work through a thought exercise during six days of intensive workshops for this year's Dramatic Arts mainstage production of "Top Girl." (Photo: Michelle Mohammed)

I can still remember the exact feeling when I received an email from Danielle Wilson asking if I would accept the role of assistant director for the 2018 Winter Production of Top Girls — I stood, staring at my phone, and I was literally stunned – I couldn’t move, and could barely think. The actor in me was so excited that I had experienced a new feeling, and was now able to fully understand what it means to feel stunned in such a context, (and hopefully bring that into actor work one day) and the student in me was exhilarated. Since my audition for the DART Invitational in 2014, Danielle Wilson stood out to me, and I remember working with her in a workshop that day thinking, “I hope if I get into the program I can somehow, in anyway, work with that woman!” Four years later, and I get to work with Danielle in a way I never even thought I would be able to. It has always been evident to me, based on the shows I have seen her produce, that the work that interests her is the same type of work that interests me: strong writing, challenging roles for actors, and infused with some sort of a political statement….

The first order of business that is required of any show is a lot of research. Danielle and I spent a lot of time just talking about the play. She already knew that a major part of the research would have to focus on Margaret Thatcher and her influence on British politics, gender politics, and the political climate of the 80’s. In our conversation, we discovered a lot of the main themes we would often ‘circle’ back to, and from this, generated a rough list of main topics of research. With topics ranging from white feminism, to the Bechdel test, we curated a list and divvied up the research among the cast and me to share during our six day intensive before the winter break.

Read more about the first phase of production.

Dramatic Arts students work through a scene in "Top Girls." (Photo: Michelle Mohammed)

Have you ever wondered what it is like for a student to be a part of a DART Mainstage production? For every actor, being a part of a Mainstage in the Dramatic Arts program will amount to very different experiences. What most Mainstage actors have in common is that they are juggling university courses on top of a 20-hour a week rehearsal schedule. Despite the time commitment, most students are grateful for the opportunity — a Mainstage is the chance young actors are looking for – the time to start applying the lessons learned in studio classes to work on stage. But what exactly is it like being a part of the process, and more specifically, what has it been like to be a part of an all female ensemble? I sat down with a few cast members to ask them about their experiences.

Click through to read Michelle’s interviews with Meryl Ochoa, Manchari Paranthahan, and Emma McCormick.

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Introducing Colin Bruce Anthes

There’s a new face in the advising office! Colin Bruce Anthes will be temporarily advising for MIWSFPA, IASC, and GAME programs.

He can be found at the MIWSFPA campus (Room 404) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on the main compus (MCA313) Wednesday mornings.

Colin is a familiar face around Brock, as he studied both Dramatic Arts and Philosophy here. He is also currently an instructor in the Dramatic Arts program. We asked Colin a few questions about his new advising role.

Colin Anthes

Colin Anthes will be offering academic advising to students in MIWSFPA, GAME, and IASC programs.

Q: What does an Academic Advisor do?
Colin Anthes: I help students create practical roadmaps towards the education they desire. I make sure they are meeting their mandatory course requirements, while also helping them think more broadly about what kinds of courses and studies will most fulfill them, problem solving as necessary along the way. This includes helping them determine majors, combined majors, minors, and more.
I sometimes provide overrides to get students into particular courses, and work with other departments like admissions to arrange credit transfers and exemptions.
I also provide information about other departments and services that can help students achieve their goals.

Q: What does the role of Academic Advisor mean to you personally?
CA: An academic advisor is a good listener who genuinely wants each individual student to get the most out of their education. They are someone who first lets the student articulate their own concerns and desires for their studies, as well as their uncertainties. They then cater their suggestions to help that specific person build the educational experience that will most fulfill them.

Q: You are new to this role, but you’re not new to Brock. What is your connection to the Brock community?
CA: I’ve had many associations with Brock, all of them positive! After a college diploma in Theatre Performance, I undertook a combined Psychology/Dramatic Art degree with a Minor in Philosophy at Brock. Subsequently, I did my MA in the Philosophy department.
Over the past few years I’ve worked professionally as a theatre artist with a number of Brock graduates, and have worked as a teaching assistant in the Philosophy and Dramatic Art Departments.
I am currently also working as a sessional instructor in the Dramatic Art department, teaching Introduction to Performance. I’m thrilled to add academic advising to the list!

Q: What do you most look forward to in this new role?
CA: I love hearing about the different things people are interested in. To be able to help them pursue their interests is especially rewarding.

Q: Is there anything else you would like students to know about yourself or your role?
CA: Only that I truly care about education, and genuinely want each student to find the outlets that will reward them and allow them to flourish!

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Tuesday Tips

Join us on Instagram each Tuesday for #TuesdayTips! Pick up tips that will enrich your Brock experience, whether it’s improving your grades, connecting with campus resources, or focussing on your well-being!

What are your goals for 2018? Improved grades? Better study habits? Get involved around campus or in the community? Take better care of yourself? Whatever your goals, Brock has resources to help you take action. Check out BrockU4U for links to academic, wellness, and financial information and more.

cartoon worm chasing cartoon bird "The early worm gets the bird"They say the early bird gets the worm, so plan now for a successful semester! Do you know when your assignments are due? Do you understand how your final mark will be calculated? Check your course syllabus so you can be prepared. Talk to your TA or professor if you have questions.

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Essays? Bring them on!

November can be a stressful time of term, and Craig Maltais, a fourth year student studying French and Concurrent Education, knows that well. This week he shares his experience as a student in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures and offers some great tips for getting through the essay workload!


It’s that time of year! It’s the grind. It’s the final countdown. The Halloween festivities are over, and now all that is left is the bright light of freedom at the end of the semester. All there is between now and then are those final projects. For students of the humanities, that probably means taking on a number of long essays that need to be written.

For a lot of programs, the most stressful time of the semester is exam time, but that isn’t necessarily the case for humanities students. For us, the final essays can count for the bulk of our final grade which places us under a lot of stress. Unfortunately, that stress is added to the weekly routine of class and other activities. But, with all the being said, it’s something that we’ve come to expect. After all, we are humanities students!

So instead of getting down on ourselves because of all the work that we have to do this month, let’s take a look at the good things that come from essay period!

First of all I want to point out that for some of us, having big essays that are worth a lot more of our final grade means that we might not have an exam for that class! So knowing once that essay is done you can kick up your boots and relax for the first time since August is a great feeling and definitely something to work towards!

Another one of the greatest things about studying in the humanities is that not only do we get to learn from some of the greatest literary works in history, but we also get to write! Reading is fun, but writing is where we get to be ourselves and explore the things that we are passionate about. In upper year classes, especially, writing becomes a sort of academic freedom. Being able to express ourselves is a great feeling and relating it back to the subjects that we love is why we are here!

Now we do have to acknowledge that the creative process isn’t always easy, and sometimes no words come to mind to fill up that blank Word document. Do NOT worry, because it happens to all of us. Here are couple of tips to get the creative juices flowing once again!

  • Start early! Giving yourself plenty of time to write your paper is essential not only to keeping stress levels to a minimum, but also to getting a good grade. Once in a while, things get pushed off to the last minute. It is university after all! However, making an effort to start these assignments well in advance helps the final product, gives you a chance to overcome writers block, to do extra research, and to edit, and edit, and edit again!
  • Sometimes taking a break for a few hours is another great way find some inspiration, or to boost your motivation! If that doesn’t seem to work and things still don’t seem to be going your way with the essay, there are always other places you can go for support. Sometimes having a quick conversation with your Professor or Teaching Assistant is a great way to stimulate your mind in terms of what you should be writing about. Don’t forget that our instructors are here to help us.
  • Additionally, Brock University offers a variety of different programs that can help students with homework, assignments, and essays. Luckily for us, the James A. Gibson Library offers essay writing help.This service provides tips and tricks to master the art of writing essays. All of the formatting and proper citing is something that adds that perfect final touch to our essays. This can come in really handy in improving your paper’s grade from a B to an A.
  • Another great place to look for some extra help is A-Z Learning Services.  They offer a variety of writing workshops that range from creating a strong thesis statement to mastering MLA formatting.

November can be a tough month. But work hard, and believe in yourself!

Drink that large coffee!  Buckle down, and write something that you’re proud of. We are Humanities Students! Essays are what we do!

    Bring it on!

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Interactive Arts & Science program offers real-world skills and experiences

What is Interactive Arts and Science about anyway? This week, fourth year student Ellen Thornton shares her experience studying the digital humanities.

You can learn more about Brock’s Centre for Digital Humanities and the programs we offer here. The diverse field of digital humanities may be just the right fit for you!


As a university student, the first question anyone asks me is “what program are you in?”

For many students, this answer is very simple since most people are familiar with programs like psychology, geography, or concurrent education.  My answer, however, comes with a lot of questioning looks and follow-up questions.

My program is called Interactive Arts and Science, or IASC for short.  This program focuses on the study of interactive digital media, which can range from web design, animation, video game design, sound design, and everything in between.

The IASC program offers a unique university experience that is different from other programs at Brock.

Smaller Class Sizes

Most university students are used to the huge lecture halls filled with hundreds of people, which I personally found quite intimidating, especially in my first year.  While this is still true depending on the electives people choose, the required courses in the IASC program in contrast have a much smaller class sizes, averaging between 30-50 students.

This means that not only do I know everyone in most of my courses, but the professors know who I am, which makes it so much easier to be engaged in the material and to ask for help on assignments.  The class sizes aren’t that different from high school, which helped me make a smooth transition from high school to university.

Wide Variety of Courses

Because the Interactive Arts and Science program is so diverse, it gives students the ability to find what really interests them.  Through my electives, I have taken history and film courses that relate to my program, while my friends have taken computer science or communication courses.

The IASC program really gives students the chance to learn about a variety of different topics, and when they find something they love they can take a course that dives deeper into the subject.  It makes every university career unique and equips students with the knowledge and skills they need for their dream careers after graduation.

Experiential Learning

While on the subject of courses, it’s one thing to learn about theories and processes, but what happens when it’s time to graduate and apply what you’ve learned?

The IASC program blends theory and practice and builds it into the program to ensure that students have transferable skills that they can use when they start working.

One of the most notable courses I have taken so far is IASC 2P08: Competencies in Interactive Arts and Science.  Instead of writing essays or sitting in lectures, to earn this credit I needed to attend 30 hours of workshops, networking or volunteering events that relate to the program.  This gave me the opportunity to not only discover just how many ways my degree can be applied after graduation, but also to listen and speak to people who are working in the different fields and learn some tricks of the trade.

Plus, it makes my parents feel better that there are jobs out there after graduation!

What are Exams?

Because the IASC program focuses on applying the knowledge we learn in class, it means that most of my required courses don’t have a formal written exam at the end of the semester.  Instead, my workload includes assignments that evaluate how well we use what we have learned in a practical, hands-on setting.

The only exams I write are for my elective classes, but I have been lucky enough to have 2 different semesters where I haven’t had to write any exams at all!  Sure it means that towards the end of the semester I am juggling 4 different assignments all due on the same day, but it feels so good to be done early and have an extra 2 weeks off, and who doesn’t like that?

All in all, the Interactive Arts and Science program doesn’t have a concrete definition, because digital and interactive media is used in so many different ways.  Because of this, every student’s experience is very different.  The thing about university that I was most excited about was having more control in what courses I wanted to take, and the IASC program really embraces this individuality.  I get to learn what I am interested in and what I want to learn, which motivates me to work harder and feel like I have the skills to pursue a career that I am passionate about.

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