Artist, historian elected RSC fellows

- Patty Pitts

Peter Baskerville, a professor emeritus in the Department of History, and Pat Martin Bates, professor emerita with the Faculty of Fine Arts, are the university’s newest fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The distinction is considered Canada’s highest academic honour.

Described by the RSC as “one of the world’s leading historians engaged in inter-disciplinary research on the making of modern society,” Baskerville is still an active researcher. He is the co-director of the UVic-based Canadian Century Research Infrastructure Project, which is converting microfilm and microfiche data from the 1911, 1921, 1931, 1941 and 1951 censuses to computer-compatible format, and referencing newspapers, parliamentary debates and even cartoons. The team expects to finish the project by spring 2009.

The work is consistent with Baskerville’s desire to make history accessible, relevant and applicable, using the past to inform the future. Research by Baskerville and his colleagues often points out that modern social conditions—such as single parent families—are nothing new.

“I think very highly of the other fellows the society has chosen and I’m honoured to be part of such a vibrant organization that’s in touch with so many societal issues,” says Baskerville. “With this honour also comes the responsibility to engage in committees, become involved in outreach and mentoring activities which I will certainly do.”

Although based in Victoria and at UVic, Baskerville holds the Chair of Modern Western Canadian History in the departments of history and classics and humanities computing at the University of Alberta.

Bates was a long-term faculty member at UVic before retiring in 1991. Her innovative printmaking has won her many awards from a wide array of countries. A past winner of the UVic Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, Bates has served as a juror, guest artist and speaker throughout the world.

Bates learned that she’d been elected to the RSC after returning from a 60th wedding anniversary trip to Belgium where she visited her former arts academy.

“I was honoured to accept,” says Bates who claims the notification came “out of the blue. It’s quite an unusual honour to be accepted into this prestigious institution.”
“The RSC does such wonderful work with mentoring young people,” adds Bates who says she plans on becoming involved with RSC initiatives.

With these two appointments, 40 former or current UVic faculty members are fellows with the RSC.

The RSC, the country’s senior national body of distinguished Canadian scientists and scholars, promotes learning and research in the natural and social sciences and the humanities.

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Keywords: history, arts, Royal Society of Canada

People: Peter Baskerville, Pat Martin Bates

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