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UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
Victoria was born in Edmonton. She began her studies at the University of Lethbridge in 1969 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973. Victoria has remained involved with the University, initially as Assistant Curator in the Art Gallery from 1987 to 2002, and as a faculty member in the Department of Art from 1996 to the present, in the long-running Art NOW and Architecture and Design NOW series.
Victoria discusses the early days of the Art Department of the University at the Lethbridge Junior College.
The full audio interview will be made available online in late 2017. For more information please contact the University of Lethbridge Archives. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GB: Graham Ruttan, Interviewer
VB: I’d been away at boarding school for a number of years so it was sort of novel to learn about the how many people I knew that were doing it the other way around, you know, left home when they were 18 and went away to university. But not knowing particularly what to study so therefore not looking for certain departments or institutions or universities, I started taking courses here. At that time, the University was sharing the campus with the College and a lot of the offices were in the temporary buildings out on the College campus and some classes were there and the Art Department which I found my way to at some point fairly early in my studies was in the old Barn, the old Whoop-Up Barn.
GR: I think Bob Comstock called it the ‘Quonset Hut.’ I don’t think that’s entirely accurate.
VB: Not quite accurate, no. It was more grand than that. Very beautiful wooden beams and yes, it was not quite as austere as that. But I remember the initial studios were … the big space inside was divided up essentially with wooden frames that had been hammered together and sacking nailed across them to divided ceramics from drawing from painting. Art History was taught in a little loft space, up at the top at one end of the building. So, all of the classes that I was doing, the lecture classes, science classes, things like that kind were in the College facilities.
I think one of the nice things about you know having a you know kind of smallish community at that time. Well, although I mean it still of course happens is … you know, they do have those opportunities to see peoples' work and work from your instructors. Certainly, I think everyone in the department was active in terms of their own studio practice. And you know part of being an art teacher, being a teacher in many other fields, I think one of the things for students is to have those people as kind of models of practice and kind of exponents of a range of art making practices. At that time, there were stronger disciplinary divides. In recent decades, of course those kinds of notions and those more fixed divides between painting, sculpture, printmaking, those kinds of areas all that prevailed much more than it does now. People being involved in recent decades in practices that cross many disciplines. Installation often crosses a variety of disciplines, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary practices, new media and things like that kind. So, the initial course offerings in the areas of study tended to fall along those disciplinary lines ... you do Painting I and Painting II, and Sculpture I and Sculpture II. So, there wasn’t, it was a different happening, a different art world, art making context.