What role do the arts play in a city like Vancouver?   How to we observe/critique different art forms – theatre, dance, craft, visual art etc. – and what are the most productive ways to engage?  What conditions contribute to the flourishment of the arts in a city?   In a political and historical moment in part defined by polarization, can the arts and criticism contribute to creating new types of dialogue?  What is the relationship between our academic preoccupations and the ideas and forms produced by the art world?

In this condensed intersession offering in May/June of 2017, we will attend a series of Vancouver arts events, explore various forms of historical and contemporary criticism and engage in a broadly based “cultural conversation” with artists, critics, and other cultural actors. Drawing on the GLS Shadbolt Community Scholars and other experts from SFU and beyond, we will explore the city’s arts scene, build the skills to understand and discuss different art forms, and experiment with various kinds of critical engagement.  Students should come away from the course with an enhanced appreciation for the arts and an ability to speak cogently both about the arts and the role of critical discourse.