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McGill Reporter
October 6, 2005 - Volume 38 Number 04
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Around campus

Tote and gloat

Courtesy I ate the sandbox

You can buy a funky tote bag from designers Nicholas Hanna and Joyce Yam (McGill architecture students, former and current) any time and feel stylish, but if you do so online in October, 15 percent of the price is donated to Rethink Breast Cancer.

Impatient to create tangible things (architects generally build late in their career), Hanna and Yam decided to turn to fashion design last February. Thing is, neither knew how to sew. They started simply with totes (coming soon: sashes!) and with the help of an expert seamstress were soon turning out sturdy and pretty bags. "We wanted to make a handbag that was small and functional - but that had a lot of personality," says Hanna.

"Our sensibility is architectural in our approach to materiality and colours," says Hanna. The two trawl cloth shops for specialty upholstery fabric, and their bags are floral, stripy, bold, and sometimes appliqu├ęd with quirky cartoon characters by Yam. Their company's name - I ate the sandbox - is a schoolyard giggle that reflects their sense of fun.

Each design is produced in a limited run, and has a series number on it.

I ate the sandbox totes are currently available at boutique GLAM and Local 23 or buy online at

Art symposium unites rivals

McGill has teamed up with crosstown rival Concordia to organize a two-day symposium on October 14 and 15 that celebrates and explores the challenges of designing new spaces for artistic endeavours.

Concordia's new Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts building
Photo courtesy Concordia University

"Creating Space for Art," the brainchild of Don McLean, dean of McGill's Schulich School of Music and Christopher Jackson, former dean of Concordia's Faculty of Fine Arts, will bring together educators, administrators, artists, architects and members of the general public. The wide-ranging topics of discussion include: the segregation of disciplines such as art history and art education, the role of electronic art, the emergence of real global connectivity on the way art is delivered, and on the very nature of art itself.

Sir Ken Robinson will deliver the keynote address. Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources, will argue that in the 21st century the practices of the arts, properly conceived, could hold the key to reimagining the purposes and dynamics of higher education as a whole.

Other notables on tap for the symposium include Bernard Shapiro, Sandy Pearlman and Phyllis Lambert.

The activities on Day One will take place at Concordia while McGill will host the events of Day Two. The symposium has been scheduled so that it will coincide with the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans (CAFAD). Tours will also be given of McGill's new music building and Concordia's new Integrated Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Complex.

Creating Space for Art, October 14 and 15. Information, registration and schedule at

Lit luminaries shine brightly at McGill

Caption follows
Franz Wright waxes poetic.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. On October 17, fans of great literature will have to choose between a pair of award-winning authors: poet Franz Wright and novelist Donna Morrissey.

At 6 pm in Moyse Hall, Donna Morrissey will be reading from her third, and newest, novel Sylvanus Now. Morrissey is the author of three critically acclaimed works - not bad for a self-proclaimed "high school dropout" who "fell into" creative writing a decade ago after being misdiagnosed with a terminal illness. Morrissey says that the subsequent good news that she was not seriously ill, "got me racing to catch up with the world."

Born and raised in Newfoundland, Morrissey has set all three of her books on The Rock. When asked by email if this makes her a regional writer, she displays her typical candour and humour. "I got to say, it used to make me feel uncomfortable being called a 'regional writer,' being labelled. But, as your wondrous writer, Roch Carrier, said once, 'All writing is regional, the Bible is regional, Shakespeare, Lawrence, Hardy, Eliott.' So, yeah, I'm a regional writer, with universal themes, which makes me like the big guys, eh?"

Caption follows
The cover of Donna Morrissey's Sylvanus Now.

At 6:30, just as Morrissey will be winding down her reading, celebrated poet Franz Wright will begin reading from his works, over in the McLennan Library's Lande Reading Room. Unlike Morrissey, who had no real background as a writer, Wright's poetry is in his bloodline. The son of influential poet, James Wright, five-year-old Franz had a special request for his birthday - that his parents go one full day without talking about verse.

Despite these early protestations, however, Franz grew up to become one of this generation's leading poets. Last year, he duplicated his father's 1971 feat by winning a Pulitzer Prize for his collection, Walking to Martha's Vineyard. This will be Wright's first appearance in Quebec.

Donna Morrissey, 6 pm, Arts Building, Moyse Hall. Info: or 398-7684. Franz Wright, 6:30 pm, McLennan Library, Lande Reading Room. Info: 278-4999 or

On the job in October

Montreal Matters

Montreal Matters is a comprehensive, revealing and thought-provoking investigation of some of the basic issues that matter most to the citizens of our fair city. Spearheaded by the CBC, Montreal Matters explores one topic per year throughout the month of October by promoting community activities and events related to the theme.

Because many of us spend the vast majority of our time on the job, this year's topic is work. Participating in its fourth year of Montreal Matters, the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women (MCRTW) will be presenting a panel, a symposium and an evening of storytelling.

On October 18, a panel will discuss the impact that sexual orientation has on jobs in "Careers and Queers." The Virginia Shadbolt Symposium, to be held on October 20, will present "Gender and Work in the Canadian Context" looking at how women from diverse work settings are negotiating equality. Finally, on October 27, the MCRTW and the Montreal Intercultural Storytelling festival are organizing "Words at Work with Cheryll Neill," a rollicking evening of traditional and contemporary stories about women's work as told by spoken word artist Cheryll Neill and friends.

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