UBCO team heads to the SpokenWeb Sound Institute at SFU!


Graduate and undergraduate research assistants stand together. L-R: Lauren St. Clair (UBCO Computer Science); Megan Butchart (UBCO English Hons); Amy Thiessen (UBCO English Hons); Leah Van Dyk (U Calgary English MA); Deserae Gogel (UBCO English MA).


The two-day SpokenWeb Sound Institute (May 28-29, 2019) at Simon Fraser University was a fruitful opportunity for members from across the SpokenWeb SSHRC partnership to reflect on the past year, solidify the work of each of the SpokenWeb Task Forces, share tools and knowledge, and plan the year ahead. UBC Okanagan’s entire SpokenWeb team travelled to Vancouver, including 5 faculty members (Marjorie Mitchell, Karis Shearer, Myron Campbell, Paige Hohmann, Miles Thorogood) and 5 graduate and undergraduate Research Assistants (Evan Berg, Deserae Gogel, Lauren St Clair, Megan Butchart, Amy Thiessen).

Beyond its larger goals, the SSI provided the UBCO team the rare opportunity to spend two whole days together and see the progress its members have made in their individual projects. The institute led off with a series of student “lightning talks,” each 5 minutes long presenting a thesis or hypothesis about their research. Undergraduate multimedia artist and designer Evan Berg (BFA ’19) delivered a lightning talk on the development of the official SpokenWeb logo he co-designed with Caitlin Voth (MA English ’19) and a second talk on the research creation that led to his exhibition at Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at UBC Vancouver (June 1-4, 2019). Together, Megan Butchart and Amy Thiessen co-presented a lightning talk that made a compelling case for undergraduate research opportunities within the SpokenWeb partnership, outlining the benefits for both the research project and for the students themselves. Drawing from her experience of offering Press Play! workshops as part of UBCO SpokenWeb’s community outreach, English MA candidate Deserae Gogel theorized the impact of those events within a pedagogical framework. The newest undergraduate RA Lauren St Clair (Computer Science) led a breakout discussion as part of the Pedagogy Task Force’s workshop on ethics and student labour.

For members of such a highly interdisciplinary research project, the SSI was also a much-anticipated chance to meet counterparts from the larger transnational SpokenWeb network in their respective fields of literary studies, media and sound studies, digital humanities, library and archival science, computational analysis and design, oral history, pedagogy, and event curation, among others. For the research assistants, this meant meeting not only other student RAs whom they’d met only virtually before now, but also senior mentors from fields in which they aspired to pursue careers. Faculty researchers, librarians and archivists were also able to compare notes and share ideas with their counterparts at other institutions, forming new collaborations within the SpokenWeb partnership. Overall, the SpokenWeb Sound Institute was an immensely productive and enjoyable two days at Simon Fraser University!

Faculty researchers and collaborators pose together at Simon Fraser University. L-R: Felicity Tayler (Ottawa U, Digital Librarian), Katherine McLeod (Concordia U, poetry scholar), Marjorie Mitchell (UBCO; Librarian, Research Data Management).

A big thank you to the SFU organizing committee Rebecca Dowson, Deanna Fong, Jakob Knudsen, Linara Kosolova, Michelle Levy, Cole Mash, Kim O’Donnell, Tony Power, Melissa Salrin.