Sound bites

Vancouver launches Arts and Culture Policy Council

As of May 23, the City of Vancouver officially has a new arts committee comprised of both artists and directors of non-profits arts organizations.

In February, Mayor Gregor Robertson approved the creation of the Arts and Culture Policy Council (ACPC) to support and strengthen the arts community, and the idea was well-received by the  community due to a need for a direct channel to the City Council. The ACPC will identify local issues, provide advice on civic arts programs and services, gather public feedback, and engage in public outreach.

The ACPC is composed of 15 voting members serving for specific lengths of time. Members selected represent a broad spectrum of performing, visual, and literary arts. One of the committee members is SFU’s Katherine McManus, director of the Writing and Publishing Program.

The council will be supplemented with non-voting liaisons from City Council, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, the Vancouver Board of Education, and City staff. An existing council for public art will be absorbed as a subcommittee, and one of the first issues to be discussed is restructuring public art funding to better serve specific neighbourhoods.

– Monica Miller

SFU grad-directed doc wins several awards

What began as a Ph.D project turned into an award-winning documentary. People of a Feather, directed by Joel Heath, who completed his doctorate at SFU in 2007, captures the intimate relationship between eider ducks and the Sanikiluaq community in the Arctic.

While installing underwater cameras around the Belcher Islands to document the eider ducks, Heath discovered that populations were declining due to habitat destruction caused by the construction of hydroelectric dams by Hudson Bay. Footage was collected over seven winters, including underwater recordings, and the documentary premiered at Hot Docs 2011.

People of a Feather has since been warmly received at film festivals the world over. It has won several awards, including a Leo for Best Documentary and Best Screenwriting, Best Feature Film in New Zealand, and the Jury Award in Seoul’s Green Film Festival.

The contemplative documentary shows that both the effects of climate change and the path to reversing it are wrought with complexity.  Heath contrasts modern technology and Inuit knowledge of different generations in a way that expands the story’s accessibility beyond the eco-conscious.

– Esther Tung

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