Creative Arts and Production program brings new opportunities and experiences to the FIMS community

Jeremy Dutcher concert bannerBy FIMS Communications Staff

The launch of the undergraduate Creative Arts and Production (CAP) program in September 2022 was a happy occasion in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. The program’s arrival, and its multidisciplinary focus on community arts and collaborative creativity, has already facilitated new experiences and opportunities for FIMS students, staff and faculty.

The CAP program has supported three great events this term that add complexity and depth to what FIMS is able to offer its students, and the rest of the community. In January, Juno Award-winning musician Jeremy Dutcher came to campus to both perform a public show, and to collaborate with and mentor students via a special workshop. And earlier this month, FIMS welcomed playwright and musician Beau Dixon to campus for an open workshop on creativity. CAP will continue to offer public performances and workshops. We thank our campus collaborators and especially the Norman and Margaret Jewison Foundation for their support.

Jeremy Dutcher performance at Alumni Hall

On January 19, 2023, performer, composer, activist, musicologist and Juno Award-winner Jeremy Dutcher travelled to London to perform at Alumni Hall. Eight hundred free tickets were distributed to the Western and London and area communities, with the cost covered by FIMS, the CAP program, Western University, and the Norman and Margaret Jewison Foundation. A full and enthusiastic audience welcomed Dutcher on stage that night as he performed, taught, and interacted with people in the crowd. After his show concluded he stuck around on stage to chat with people and take photos. A member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Dutcher is a classically trained tenor who draws on many musical influences and was awarded the Polaris Prize for his debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa in 2018. His Western performance was a great debut event for CAP and contributed artfully to the University's commitment to decolonization and reconciliation.

Scenes from the workshops

Top row: Jeremy Dutcher and Bimadoshka Pucan workshop; Bottom row: Beau Dixon creativity workshop

Jeremy Dutcher workshop at the Wampum Learning Lodge

The morning following his musical performance, Jeremy Dutcher returned to campus to lead students and faculty from across Western in a workshop that touched on issues around Indigenous music, language, and finding one’s voice. The workshop was held in the Indigenous Initiatives’ Wampum Learning Lodge on Friday, January 20, and was moderated by Western alumna Bimadoshka Pucan (now an Assistant Professor at Concordia University). The group talked about Indigenous curation and recovering ancestors from museums and other collections and rematriating them to Indigenous communities. Dutcher also spoke to the importance of language preservation, and the process of finding one’s own voice as Indigenous people in a university setting. Dutcher also performed on piano and sang in Wolastoqey and English.

Beau Dixon Creativity Workshop

On March 15, FIMS welcomed another artist of note when award-winning actor, musician, playwright, music director, and sound designer Beau Dixon visited the FIMS & Nursing Building to host an open workshop on creativity. Known for his musical cabaret Freedom: The Spirit and Legacy of Black Music and for co-founding Firebrand Theatre, among other things, Dixon brought talent, stories, and enthusiasm with him to campus. As a local personality born in Detroit, he was able to authentically connect with the audience when talking about his background. Playing a piano and with some additional accompaniment on guitar, Dixon sang and spoke to an audience made up of students from across campus about his path through the arts industry and his own creative process and approach to work. The workshop was facilitated by Professor Basil Chiasson, who teaches in the Creative Arts and Production program.

The Creative Arts and Production program is jointly hosted by the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, and the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University.