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McGill Reporter
October 19, 2000 - Volume 33 Number 04
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on campus

of course
Drawing to understand the world

Illustration
Illustration: Tzigane

Sitting or standing under the dormers and skylights in the attic of the Macdonald-Harrington Building, 30 students work without a peep. Only the sound of chalk or a rag on paper may be heard and the occasional word of advice from painter and adjunct professor of architecture Johanna Nash.

"Check the relationship between the feet and the hand," she says. "Which is higher, the hips or the elbow? It may look obvious, but you are best to measure with a straight line."

Some of the students take out a pencil or a wooden skewer and hold it at arm's length toward the model in the middle of the studio, one eye closed.

"Thank you Christian," says Nash to the reclining model clad in his undergarments. He's one of eight models the students will draw, among them, an actor who likes to wear superhero costumes and a self-described "old hippy" who reads aloud while students do his portrait.

"Let's take a two-minute break to walk around and see what people are doing," Nash states. After taking stock, it's back to the easel and onto another drawing, another pose. The purpose of the exercise for the second hour is to "model with light and dark." The spotlights go on.

While learning to draw the human figure may seem a long way from drawing and designing buildings, life drawing has been part of the curriculum since the School of Architecture began in 1896, even while it has fallen out of favour in many North American schools.

"The process of drawing -- all drawing -- is intended to develop in architecture students not only a love of drawing but also an appreciation for its power as a mechanism for understanding the world," says the school's director, David Covo, who is proud that the McGill program puts such an emphasis on freehand drawing. "The students get four semesters of life drawing and do two summer sketching schools."

For her part Nash notes that many students outside architecture clamour to get into her class. Drawing her own conclusions, she muses that McGill might be missing a market opportunity by not expanding its offerings in hands-on art.

Loyal to Logan

Photo

As Prime Minister Jean Chrétien continues to deal with the fallout over his controversial decision to rename Mount Logan after Pierre Trudeau, one of his most vocal opponents is an unlikely one: a scholarly geologist unaccustomed to taking part in heated political debates.

Earth and planetary sciences professor Andrew Hynes is McGill's Logan Professor of Geology and he has been a very visible defender of the man his chair and the disputed mountain are both named after.

Like many Canadians -- and all geologists -- Hynes was upset at Chrétien's announcement that the highest peak in the country would lose the moniker of one of Canada's most prominent scientists.

Hynes shot off a letter to the editor of The Globe and Mail. Then the National Post called him for his views, then CBC Radio (national and local), Canada AM, The Boston Globe, and other media outlets.

"It was an affront to the memory of someone, regardless of that person being a geologist. The issue is much more general. I mean, is it Logan this year, Terry Fox the next?" asks Hynes.

Montreal-born and educated, Logan is best known for founding the Geological Survey of Canada in 1842 and directing the organization for the next 25 years. The GSC not only surveyed the geology of a given area; in its early days, it surveyed the paleontology, mineralogy, topography and ethnography of the largely virgin land. Many of the fossils and rocks Logan collected in his early explorations are in the Redpath Museum.

To geologists everywhere, he is considered a giant, and a self-taught one at that, notes Hynes. "He is without peer in the history of Canadian geology.

"He literally put Canada on the map. You have to remember that in Logan's time, geology was the science of the day just like recombinant DNA is today."

While Logan never had an official affiliation with McGill, he was a good friend of fellow star geologist Sir William Dawson and was granted an honorary doctorate from McGill in 1856. Logan and his brother Hart later endowed a chair in geology which Dawson, McGill's first principal, was the first to occupy.

On Monday, the federal Liberals started backtracking from the decision to rename the mountain. Hynes suspects the hoopla will produce some benefits.

"There's a silver lining to all of this. No one knew who Logan was and this will increase awareness," Hynes said last week to Shelagh Rogers, host of CBC Radio's This Morning.

Scaring up some threads

Photo Catherine Bradley
PHOTO: Owen Egan

Looking for a one-of-a-kind costume to wear to an upcoming Halloween bash? Tired of dressing up as the same old generic witch or pirate year after year?

Catherine Bradley, manager of the Department of English's costume shop, may have an interesting proposition for you.

The shop is holding a sale of some of the costumes that Bradley and her students have put together for the department's plays over the years. Also on sale will be masks, costumes and accessories donated by the Centaur Theatre, Festival McGill and the Savoy Society.

The sale is to raise funds for the costume shop's future endeavours. "The budgets are so small, you have to find creative ways to cover your expenses," Bradley explains.

Deciding on what would be put up for sale wasn't easy. "It breaks my heart with some of the pieces. I remember each of the students who worked on them. I remember who wore them.

"We went with costumes that were very show specific. We have these fabulous skull headed wolf outfits, but we weren't likely to use them again."

Prices will vary on the articles up for sale. "Some will be very inexpensive and some will be a little pricier. It depends on the amount of work that went into them."

The costume sale will be held on Tuesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 26, between 12 and 4 pm in room B52 in the basement of the Arts Building.

Gooey pizza and just plain goo

Photo PHOTO: Andrew Dobrowolskyj

The Office for Chemistry and Society treated dozens of sixth grade students to pizza and hands-on science experiments last week as McGill played host to the official launch of National Chemistry Week. OCS director Joe Schwarcz gave the students a short talk on the wonders of chemistry, later reinforcing his points with a bang -- a liquid nitrogen explosion on the patio outside the Otto Maass Building.

on the move

Professor Eric Shragge has left the School of Social Work, where he taught for 26 years, in order to assume the directorship of the Graduate Program in Community Economic Development at Concordia University's School of Community and Public Affairs.

Mr. Scot DeJong has returned to Development and Alumni Relations after working for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada. DeJong is the new executive director of development for the Faculty of Medicine.

Mr. Campbell Rolian replaces Ms. Claire Heenan as the Redpath Museum's new science educator. A recent McGill graduate in biology, Rolian has already worked for two summers at the museum under the supervision of Professor Bob Carroll. He is in charge of organizing the museum's popular Discovery Workshops for children.

Professor Jay Handelman recently joined the Faculty of Management as an associate professor. His primary research is on marketing actions with a social dimension and the underlying social pressures facing marketers. His work looks at such consumer resistance activities as downshifting and consumer boycotts.

Professor Jin Nam Choi recently joined the Faculty of Management as an assistant professor. His teaching specialties include organizational behavior, team performance, and innovation management. Choi has investigated several organizational phenomena including employees' use of innovations in business organizations; group problem solving and team performance under crises, and the group's social influences on its members' attitudes and behaviour.

Professor Gordon Bloom recently joined the Department of Physical Education. His research interests include applied sport psychology and pedagogy. In particular, he is interested in team building, the psychology of coaching and sports violence. Bloom has consulted with individual and team sport athletes at all levels of competition.

Mr. Michael Head has shifted from his position as software systems manager for the Computing Centre to become consultant to the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science for the 2000-2001 academic year. His appointment is half time in each faculty. Head's expertise bridges information technology and university teaching. He is available to assist faculty on the use of computer technology in courses and administrative staff on software and networking issues (including Banner and web page development). He can be reached at 3707 or by email at michael.head@mcgill.ca.

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