As fourth-year student and Cultural Studies major Morgan Williams put it, “Trent is very conscious about the sciences.”
Known for its Forensic Science program, fostering a competitive Nursing program while encompassing this phenomenon where seemingly every fifth person you meet on campus is a biology major, the arts are sometimes overlooked in importance. Cultural Studies Day, which took place Thursday March 29 at Traill College, is one way the privileging of the sciences is challenged in order to celebrate the contributions and work of our talented Cultural Studies majors on campus.
This is not an article trying to create a rivalry between science and arts majors. However, as someone who is not a Cultural Studies major, I rarely consider what sort of work it entails or why it is important. Attending the Cultural Studies showcase, different media such as music, film, visual arts, theatre presentations, and written compositions were all on display in recognition of student’s hard work throughout the term. Students such as Rachel Peterson: a fourth-year Cultural Studies major who created a musical art piece entitled “Baby It’s You” for Martin Arnold’s Electronic Music class. Her piece consisted of a mash-up of three different versions of the song “Baby It’s You,” encompassing The Beatles, Smith, and The Shirelles cover to produce a completely unique sound and listening experience, celebrated in Bagnani Hall.
Peterson, sharing her opinion on the importance of this celebration of students work to bring the discipline of Cultural Studies together and connect all the different elements it encompasses. Her contribution was vastly different from that of Wes Ryan, a talented spoken word poet who performed later in the day in the Senior Common Room of Scott House; or Morgan Williams, who contributed both film and hand-drawn art pieces.
Williams spoke further on the importance of Traill College and the positive space it creates for “the arts to flourish,” as well as the benefit of having her own art on display for the first time. Williams’ favourite contribution being her films, created with a Bolex camera that displayed her love for capturing movement and nature in its own element.
Cultural Studies Day is an eye-opening experience for those who are both in the major to recognize what their fellow classmates of different specialities have been creating, while also illuminating to those who previously knew nothing about it.
Evee Nsiten, a Gender and Women Studies major, was in attendance in order to “look at and experience something different and see something new for the first time.” She expressed that even though she does not have a background in art or know much about it, the special experience to “look at someone’s art and see what it means to them and the work that they put into it” is why it’s important. Particularly appreciating the work of Brianna Fenech who contributed a painting titled “Reach,” a popular piece mentioned by many throughout the day.
The appreciation of Trent student’s hard work, creativity and contributions to this year’s Cultural Studies Day was apparent by all in attendance who admired the displays. Though the turnout was small, the day fostered a great sense of community as well as pride for the dynamic exhibit, an all-around success for the department.