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UBC-V Public Humanities Hub newsletter | Spring 2020
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Letter from the Academic Director

Dear colleagues and community partners,
Deep breaths. Since the COVID-19 pandemic put us all in quarantine, I have been thinking a lot about breath. Deep breaths sustain us, comfort us, and empower our voices, which allows us to share our ideas and feelings with others. While COVID patients around the world have been struggling to breathe, people around the world have been taking deep breaths and inspiring one another by singing from their balconies and via Zoom. Their voices urge us all to overcome our physical isolation and to connect with others in whatever ways we can. Under quarantine, even as we remain physically distant from others, around the world, “everyone with lungs” is connected, as poet Juliana Spahr reminds us. We breathe the same air. We are in this together.



Photo collage of faculty members and staff in conversation, Photo collage of guests, faculty members, and staff in conversation, writing, and sitting around tables with plates of food.
Photos by Oliver Mann

Thank you to the 120+ faculty, staff and community partners who came out to our Afternoon Tea on March 9th. We are fortunate we had the opportunity to celebrate with you in person.


Hub website now live

Check out for the latest news, events, deadlines, awards, programming information and more. Also, please join our mailing list to make sure you receive these thrice-yearly newsletters and check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Community storytelling project

Join us for a webinar on May 14th at 1:30 pm with Guyanese-Canadian author Tessa McWatt (University of East Anglia) as she describes CityLife, a research project that pairs student writers with community members “to uncover stories: to invigorate place and storytelling for a new way of seeing, hearing and having meaningful exchanges”. Perhaps her CityLife template can inspire a collaborative storytelling project at UBC.
Portrait of Tessa McWatt from shoulders up smiling at the camera.
Photo by Christine Mofardin

Coming soon: #HumaniReads

PHH is rolling out a new video series featuring UBC Humanities scholars giving their perspectives on “Life in a time of COVID”. We are looking for Humanities scholars willing to record a 3-minute talk on a text of their choosing. Share your thoughts about plague narratives, plague histories, or discourses of plague and contagion. Or your ideas about texts that remind us about belonging to a larger community, make us feel quintessentially human, or help us cope with isolation. Participate in the video series! Fill out the linked form, and we will follow up with you.


Inspiring Arts talks, performances, and exhibits to enjoy from home

Going to the museum or attending a concert may be off-limits these days, but luckily, there's an abundance of inspiring UBC Arts content to enjoy online.

UBC COVID-19 research portal

Are you a faculty member engaged in research or scholarship that relates to COVID-19 and its impacts? The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, is encouraging Humanities scholars in particular to submit a profile and/or project description on its new UBC COVID-19 Research website, which will help scholars, potential collaborators, and media connect.


Congratulations to our 2020-21 Public Humanities Faculty Fellowship winners

  • Nicola Levell (ANTH) “Dark Skies: Celestial Bodies, Art & Sounds—a Digital Exhibit”
  • John Paul Catungal (GRSJ) “Mentorship as Political Practice: Filipino-Canadians Organizing Against Educational Abandonment in Vancouver BC”
  • Leslie Paris (HIST) “‘Send it to ZOOM!’: A Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective”
  • David Gaertner (CIS) “Centre for Community-Engaged Documentation and Research”

Public Humanities Survey

Thank you to everyone who’s already provided feedback. We value the time you’ve taken to help shape public humanities at UBC. This survey gives us valuable information about the programming and support UBC Humanities scholars need and about how we can help scholars better engage with the community at large. If you haven’t done so already, please fill it out soon. On May 15th, we will close the survey and analyze the results.

Call for proposals: Digital Humanities conference at UBC-Vancouver

Join us October 29-31, 2020 to showcase UBC DH research and to network with DH scholars from BC and beyond. Keynotes will be Deanna Reder (SFU), PI for The People and the Text, and Tara McPherson (USC), author of Feminist in a Software Lab.
If COVID-19 affects our ability to meet in-person, we will move the conference to an online format. The revised deadline for proposals is April 30, 2020. Please submit a proposal if you have a DH project in the works you’d like to share!
Slightly overlapping circles side by side with portraits of Deanna Reder, smiling in front of a bookcase with rows of books, and Tara McPherson, smiling against a plain background in a black-and-white photo,keynote speakers of the UBC Digital Humanities conference.

Need more support for your DH research?

Dr. Megan Meredith-Lobay, Research Specialist, Humanities and Social Sciences, for Advanced Research Computing, is available for online consultation with UBC faculty and graduate students about DH projects or interests.

Call for collaborators

Close-up of two people in conversation, one speaking and gesturing, facing toward the camera, and the other listening, facing the speaker.
Vancouver International Film Festival is interested in co-writing a SSHRC Connections Grant on a series of public talks and roundtables with invited filmmakers and documentarians that can be converted into a podcasting project (potential topics include “post-truth” and environmental issues). Interested in being a PI? Contact Ken Tsui for more information at
Roedde House Museum keen to co-sponsor community programming about early-20th-century Vancouver food, architecture, culture, and history. For more information, contact
Close up of hands wearing rings, right hand holding a pen, writing on a sheet of paper on a table.
Close up of hands opening a book. The title on the cover is partially visible: "The Un[...] Exper[...] Cyborg[...]". The cover has an illustration of a head in profile with smooth brown hair and dark shading at the cheek and nose, against a colour-blocked background with black, yellow, and red shapes against a white background.
The Vancouver Art Gallery would like to hear from Humanities scholars researching Creativity and Artificial Intelligence. For more information, contact

Need support filling out your Canadian Common CV form?

The Faculty of Arts now has staff who can help you prepare a CCV for a SSHRC Insight Development Grant application.
5 members of the Public Humanities Hub team standing side by side in front of a stone wall smiling. Left to right: Sydney Lines, Gillian Glass, Alyssa Sy de Jesus, Mary Chapman, Heather Joan Tam.

Stay well, everyone!

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