Alumni

Alumni
AHVS alumna Alison Ross is now the owner of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers in Victoria, as well as their appraiser and auctioneer. Her MA focused on Northwest Coast art. Photo credit: Times Colonist

Graduates from the Department of Art History & Visual Studies (formerly History in Art) have a varied skill set that leads to careers in the cultural heritage sector; museums and galleries; consultancy work for collectors, auction houses and art dealers; teaching roles in universities and colleges, and many other occupations using visual research as a primary focus. As you can see from the success stories below, our graduates build exciting career pathways. 

Administrator

Cynthia Foo

B.A. Economics (UBC)
B.A. Transfer Student (UVic)
M.A. (York University) 

Areas of research:

  • Contemporary Art
  • Photography and Performance
  • Specialization in race and globalization

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
Tremendously: the faculty support I received and thorough grounding in art history enabled me to successfully apply to, then obtain an MA (Art History) degree and subsequently pursue a PhD (Visual and Cultural Studies) degree. I taught art history courses at York University (Toronto) and at Parsons (New York), and even while ultimately deciding to shift to the non-profit sector and work as a fundraiser, I still use my industry connections and training to enrich my fundraising work.

Brief Biography
Cynthia Foo currently serves as Grants Manager for Environmental Defence, the leading national organization working to inspire change in government, business and individuals for a better environment for all Canadians. Cynthia received her Bachelors in Economics from the University of British Columbia, honours coursework in the History in Art program at the University of Victoria, and completed her Masters in Art History from York University. She has also completed several years of graduate work at the doctoral level in visual and cultural studies from the University of Rochester, which led her to work as a sessional instructor at York University (Toronto), and a two-year teaching stint as part-time faculty at Parsons, the New School of Design (New York).

She has been published in AfterImage (2011), In/Visible Culture (2009), FUSE magazine (2007, 2004), and Revue d'art Canadienne/Canadian Art Review (2006). She has presented papers and posters in Canada and the UK, was an invited guest lecturer at York University, Toronto (2007), and an invited guest speaker at Valentine Willie art gallery, Malaysia (2007). Cynthia has worked in a variety of cultural institutions, ranging from the National Archives of Canada to artist-run galleries, and has served on a number of committees, including as Chair of the Board of Directors at A Space Gallery (Toronto, 2008), and on a number of committees at Gallery 44: Centre for Contemporary Photography. A number of her exhibition catalogue essays have been published by Toronto-based artist-run galleries (2007, 2004, 2003).

In her free time, Cynthia enjoys keeping active with her dog Chauncey, and teaches in the summers on Lake Ontario as a kayak and stand-up paddleboard instructor.

 

Archivist/Special Librarian

Lara Wilson

M.A. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Electronic records preservation
  • Transgender archival collections
  • Artists archives (contemporary art)

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
Following my MA thesis on the photo album of Nellie McClung held by BC Archives, I decided to do an archival studies Masters at UBC. I am now the Director of Special Collections & University Archivist at UVic - I wouldn't be where I am today without HA and wide variety of courses that allowed me to discover my true interests.

Brief Biography
Lara Wilson is the Director of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Victoria, and has worked in the areas of private records acquisition, access & privacy, and records management for 12 years. She holds a Master of Arts from the University of Victoria, and Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia. She is the past president of the Archives Association of British Columbia, and chair of the Canadian Council of Archives.

 

Art Appraiser/Art Dealer

Joseph Rumi

B.A (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Modern, Post-War& Contemporary Canadian, American & British Art

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
They have been tremendously helpful and integral to my career as a fine art dealer specializing in Canadian, British and American works of art by masters of the 20th century.

Brief Biography
Joseph Rumi's passion for fine art was nurtured as a student at the University of Victoria where he majored in History in Art. During his studies, he gained hands on experience working for a local gallery and auction house.
Joseph graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History in Art and was accepted by Sotheby's Institute of Art in London, England to pursue a Masters in Art Business. He completed his MA thesis The External Influence of Collectors and Auction Houses on the Canadian Art Market in Toronto and was supervised by David P. Silcox C.M., President of Sotheby's Canada. While conducting his research, Joseph traveled extensively and met with numerous art market professionals and a multitude of private collectors.


Upon completion of his MA, Joseph was offered a position at Sotheby's Canada in the Client Services Department and became Personal Assistant to Mr. Allan Gotlieb C.C., Chairman of Sotheby's Canada and former ambassador to the United States of America. At Sotheby's, Joseph's knowledge of the art market was enhanced through his interactions with private clients, art market professionals, and members of the advisory board.


In 2007 Joseph left Sotheby's Canada to found Rumi Galleries, a private collector based gallery specializing in Canadian, American and British art by 20th century masters. The gallery is a member of the Art Dealers Association of Canada and a regular exhibitor at Art Toronto, Canada's premier international fine art fair. Joseph is a consultant for many important private collections and continues to work closely with art market professionals.


In addition to his work Joseph is dedicated to the arts and his community. He is an Executive Director of the board of Oakville Galleries and former Chair of the fundraising committee, a member of the Art Dealers Association of Canada marketing committee and is Chair of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital Art Council. He annually attends the Super Cities MS Walk as a Team Captain and is involved with several art related charities.

Curator

Layla Bloom

B.A. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • British Art

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
Great start to a career as curator. 

Brief Biography
Currently Curator of the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, UK 
Previously Curator-Fine Art, Leeds Art Gallery, UK (until 2008). 

Jaime Clifton-Ross

B.A. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Material Culture
  • Digital Heritage

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
Yes, it absolutely has! I am currently working towards my Master of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto. I am the museum studies blog co-editor-in-chief and I will be interning at the ROM this summer developing content in the web department.

Brief Biography
I am currently finishing up my first year as a Master of Museum Studies student at the University of Toronto, in the iSchool. I am passionate about the preservation of cultural heritage, and am also interested in learning about the ways in which new media can enhance visitor and user experiences of museums. I am also interested in digital museum collections and developing content for web-resources and digital applications. 

Update December 2017

Jaime is Research Curator for CRC Research, a sustainable community development program in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University.

Emerald Johnstone-Bedell

B.A (UVic)
M.A. Candidate (Queen's University)

Areas of research:

  • Material Culture
  • Canadian Studies
  • Museum Studies
  • Curatorial Practice
  • Decolonizing Methodologies

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
Upon graduating the UVic Art History & Visual Studies Program, I was accepted to Queen's University for an MA in Art History. Much of the knowledge and skills I gained through my History in Art studies have aided me throughout my Master's. Co-operative Education terms at UVic provided entry-level museum experience that helped me get my foot in the door for further museum positions.

Brief Biography
I am a graduate student weaving together museum skills and scholarly enquiry to accomplish projects through initiative, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. I strive for professional and academic opportunities that enhance my versatility across curatorial, collection and education branches of museum work to follow my passion: bridging academia and community through museums.

Update December 2017

Emerald received her MA from Queen’s University and is now Collections Inventory/Curatorial Assistant of University of Victoria’s Legacy Art Galleries.

 

Magdalyn Asimakis

B.A (University of Toronto)
M.A. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Modern Art
  • Prints & Drawings
  • Contemporary Art

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
My graduate studies in the History in Art department at Uvic prepared me for both the theoretical and practical aspects of the world of art outside of academia and, more specifically, for employment in a curatorial department of a public gallery. Both the classes and research opportunities in which I participated helped me to understand how art from all cultures and time periods informs contemporary society. Be it conducting research, editing, or thinking critically, my experiences during my time as a Masters student inform my work and my life everyday.

Brief Biography
Magdalyn Asimakis graduated from the University of Victoria in 2010 with a Masters in History in Art after completing her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto. Her interest in modern art, print culture, curatorial practice, and art theory lead to her interest in working with public art collections. Magdalyn currently works at the Art Gallery of Ontario as a Curatorial Research Assistant and the Monitor of the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre. Outside of the gallery, she is a freelance writer for the pop.com and Blackflash Magazine.

Education

Tessa Hawkins

B.A Honours (UVic)
M.A. (University of Alberta)

Areas of research:

  • Print media during the Victorian era

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
I went on to complete a Master of Arts degree in Art History at the University of Alberta. I've gained invaluable skills from both degrees and independently curated my own art exhibits at prominent non-profit galleries. It has allowed me to present original research at national conferences, overcoming my fear of public speaking and meeting diverse people across Canada.

Brief Biography
I'm a West-coaster by birth, and a Library Technician thanks to my first diploma. I moved to Victoria the first time after deciding that I adore art history and wanted to get away from the mainland. I was inspired (and encouraged) during my studies at UVic to enter the Honours course and participate in the annual symposium, speaking in front of more people than I had ever imagined I would. I worked as a work-study student in the Fine Arts slide library, updating the collections from slides to digitized images. Inspired by the enthusiasm of the professors, I accepted an offer from the University of Alberta and moved to the harsh winters to complete my Master of Arts degree. While completing my thesis I worked as a graduate teaching assistant and research assistant. I won scholarships from the Ministry of Education and Graduate Student Association and presented original research at the University of Toronto's annual art history symposium while attending the U of A. I volunteered as Graduate Student Association department representative to learn about policies of the university and to have my voice heard. Along with my fellow MA grad students, we formed the Art and Design Graduate Student Association. I volunteered as chair of the curatorial committee and led a team of volunteers during the curating/installation of "Unstable Natures" at Latitude 53 in March 2012. My passion for curating was ignited, and I was fortunate to work at the Society for Northern Alberta Print-artists in the summer of 2012. My task was to curate two exhibits independently using works from the archives. I successfully executed the shows and took the initiative to run a silent auction fundraiser as well. After my defense, I left the cold winters behind as soon as possible and came back to Victoria! I'm filling up my time as an Educational Resource Assistant! at Camosun College/Social Media Coordinator for Awake Cereals! I balance life out with volunteering at the RBCM, yoga, and walking my adorable black lab. Life is pretty good - I don't have any complaints, and will never regret taking Art History!


Thesis link: http://hdl.handle.net/10402/era.31647 

Ayla Lepine

B.A. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • British and American Art and Architectural History, c1850 - present

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
I got my start at UVic and the department - especially Chris Thomas, Eric Cruickshank Dodd, Elizabeth Mulley, and Marcus Milwright - shaped and encouraged the art historical perspectives and methodologies upon which I've built a career in the field.

Brief Biography
I'm a lecturer in Art History at the University of Nottingham. I discovered Art and Architectural History at UVic and was encouraged to combine my research in the arts with my interest in theology and religious studies. Subsequently I studied at Oxford (Theology PGDip) and the Courtauld Institute of Art (MA and PhD). I held an Andrew W Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Courtauld and then went on to a Fellowship at Yale's Institute of Sacred Music before taking on a post at Nottingham. I publish and lecture widely. 

Dennine Dudley

B.A. (UVic)
M.A. (UVic)
Ph.D. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • 18th & 19th C European Art
  • Digital Art History

Brief Biography
My approach to the history of art is that of a social historian who specializes in material culture. I work on a wide variety of periods and geographical regions. One of my special interests is looking at the transmission of ideas, styles and objects across space and time (trade, collecting, historiography, traditions).

I spent most of my summers between 1991 and 2000 in the south of Jordan working on Nabataean period archaeological sites. Side trips through Syria and Egypt deepened my appreciation for the material cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean world.

My PhD was completed in 2004 with the dissertation “Henrietta Louisa Jeffreys, Oxford University and the Pomfret Benefaction of 1754: Vertue Made Visible”. In it I focus on the history of part of the Arundel collection of antique statues (classical, egyptianizing and ersatz) and analyze its social importance, both public and private, in 17th and 18th century England.

Outside of my research, I’m deeply interested in textile arts and pop culture art forms.

Update December 2017

Dennine is a Continuing Sessional Instructor in the Department of Art History & Visual Studies at the University of Victoria, where she teaches courses in Early Modern European Art, Visual Communication, Digital Art History, and the arts of the Near East.

Geneviève Gamache

B.A. (McGill)
M.A. (McGill)
Ph.D. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Asian Contemporary Art
  • Visual Culture
  • Cultural Studies

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
My studies in the History in Art Department at Uvic has helped me develop a holistic approach to art and creativity. The department offers a great variety of courses, including courses and areas of studies not offered at other universities. The department's global approach to Art is its strength. This has helped me approach topics from a multiplicity of perspective, including taking into account a multiplicity of viewers. This is vital in our global era.

Brief Biography
I received my BA and MA from McGill University and then my PhD from Uvic in 2010. I have been teaching in Canada and the USA, and I am now working at Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. I am interested in post-modern theories in a globalizing ‘Asia’. I am particularly interested in issues related to tranditions and localism in a globalizing context and its transformative impact on culture. I see cultural institutions and artistic practices as positive forces that local cultures can use to remain active agents in a transforming global world. 

Izmer Ahmad

Ph.D. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Contemporary Art
  • Philosophy of Drawing
  • Embodiment, Death, Vampirism

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
It has provided me with good working knowledge in research, writing and communication, which is applicable not only within academic context but also in executive administration. 

Brief Biography
Izmer Ahmad teaches studio art and art theory at the School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His current research interests and studio practice include contemporary Malaysian art, contemporary drawing and vampirism. Apart from academic activities, he also contributes regularly to the Ministry of Education, galleries and museums in various consultancy levels.

  • Academia.edu
  • Public Lecture by Sabah Carrim and Izmer Ahmad at the Schoold of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia - YouTube
  • Exploring the life of an art professor - myStarjob.com

Media/Marketing

Veronica Best

B.A. Honours (UVic)
M.A. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Public Art
  • Modern Art
  • Contemporary Art
  • Film Studies

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
My degree in HiA has given me the communication skills (verbal and written) to be competitive in any market. Throughout my Masters, I have been able to hone my critical thinking skills, develop different perspectives about the world around me, and engage in thoughtful debates about a variety of issues.

Brief Biography
Veronica Best is the Product Manager at POF (Plenty of Fish) whose involvement in many branches of company activity includes mobile app development, expansion into new markets, and various pet projects. Veronica has a Masters in Art History from UVic and is a dual citizen of France and Canada. Her in-depth knowledge of the web equates to a robust understanding of industry direction and technologies. Her education and experience provide unique insight into the online dating world, visual literacy, and the tech industry. In her spare time, she enjoys keeping up with the internet’s newest memes, when not hammering the Coastal mountains on her snowboard. She is based at POF's headquarters in Vancouver, Canada.

Michelle Cheimak

Position

Communications Coordinator

Beattie Tartan

Credentials

History in Art, minor in Film Studies - BA Honours (2013)

In her current position, Michelle acts as the first point of contact for all inquiries and visitors that enter the office space. She triages calls and delivers messages to various departments, as well as handles daily administrative tasks like purchasing supplies and creating meeting agendas or press itineraries and packages. On top of that, Michelle reports daily on any print, online, and broadcast media clippings that mention clients, and often writes media releases and blog posts on their behalf. Occasionally, she handles some social engagement and creates email marketing campaigns using MailChimp. So far, communicating and cooperating with clients, and gaining an understanding of how media relations work, has been her best and most valuable experience.

My UVic education taught me how to understand and interpret visual information. I learned to think critically and analytically, and was able to construct arguments that validated my theories and opinions. In my current position, this has served me well when it comes to conducting careful research and preparing documents on behalf of both my employers and their clients. In my career though, I think my education has helped me to navigate and evaluate the obstacles that get tossed in front of me–I think outside the box and understand that my view isn’t the only view, that art and our world is open to interpretation.

Subsequent education: Post-Degree Diploma in Business Administration (Marketing option), Camosun Collage (2017)

Museum Communications

Meg Sugrue

Position

Web & E-Commerce Specialist

Royal BC Museum

Credentials

History in Art & Anthropology - BA Honours (2012)

Meg's passion for the visual arts led her to the Art History & Visual Studies program where she developed the critical skills necessary to succeed in the cultural sector. Working with the Royal BC Museum & Archives, Meg draws inspiration from the collections to create innovative and engaging digital content. From producing promotional videos to planning exhibition interactives, her position allows her to support every department in the museum.

In addition to her work with the Royal BC Museum & Archives, Meg has had the opportunity to work with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Victoria Film Festival and the University of Victoria Art Collections.

With the program's focus on context, I was able to understand the complex social, political, historical and environmental factors that influence art. I left the program with an invaluable set of skills for analyzing and engaging with the visual world.

Program Coordinator

Tusa Shea

B.A. Visual Arts (UVic)
B.A. History in Art Honours (UVic) 
M.A. (UVic)
Ph.D. (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Modern Art
  • Social history of Modern Dance
  • History of Modern Design
  • New Media Art
  • Women in Art
  • Film Studies
  • Museum Studies

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
My studies in History in Art provided me with a foundation of knowledge that has been helpful in my work as Program Coordinator for Cultural Resource Management Programs at the Division of Continuing Studies, UVic. In order to program courses I have to constantly keep up to date on emergent issues in the museum, gallery, and heritage fields; my background in art history and my facility with research enables me to stay informed and makes this one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

Brief Biography
I completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), History in Art, in 2012.

Dissertation Title:
“Autonomy as a Temporary Collective Experience:Anna Halprin’s Dance Events, Deweyan Aesthetics and the Emergence of Dialogical Art.”

Update December 2017:

Tusa is Program Coordinator, Ecological Restoration and Restoration of Natural Systems Programs at Division of Continuing Studies, University of Victoria.

Tourism

Gwendolyn Donaldson

B.A Honours (UVic)

Areas of research:

  • Photography
  • First Nations Tourism Development
  • Aboriginal Art of the Pacific Northwest

How have your History in Art studies helped you since you graduated?
My degree in History in Art lead me to travel extensively through South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Art History teaches a very unique way of thinking about the world. I learned to think critically, research effectively and have a heightened awareness and attention to detail. Art History also taught me to think outside the box, and look at problems from all angles in order to develop comprehensive and innovative solutions to them. My Art History degree, while not always being related to my career choices and opportunities, helped shape my worldview and gave me a unique skill set that I have brought to a number of different positions. 

Brief Biography
After much deliberation, I decided not to pursue post graduate studies immediately after my BA (I may go back in the future) . Since graduating I have worked as a professional photographer in the Great Bear Rain Forest. This position lead to me take an active stance against the development of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

After leaving my position as a photographer, I went on to work for a medical consulting company in Vancouver. In this capacity, I worked with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to co-ordinate the BC-Public Access to Defibrillation (BC-PAD) Program. While this job was not directly related to my degree in Art History, many of the skills that I learned in the History in Art program were relevant to my job and initially helped me secure the position.

Currently, I am employed by the Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k:tles7et'h' First Nation. I work in the community of Kyuquot on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I am part of a team that is organizing the existing tourism-related businesses and developing new opportunities that will create a strong and financially secure future for the Nation.

My History in Art degree has played a role in my ability to secure and excel in diverse and challenging positions in a number of different companies. I am grateful for the education and opportunities that I received in the History in Art Department at UVic.

Contact Gwendolyn via LinkedIn