2000 - present | Interactive
The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design moved confidently into the virtual and actual global dialogue of the 21st century. In the year 2000, on the occasion of its 75th history, Emily Carr took a backward glance and held a huge celebration. Ada Curry, one of the original graduates from 1929, attended the events. A number of its most significant graduates from each decade of Emily Carr’s history were recognized and awarded the newly established Emily Award.
This era marked the beginning of significant growth in number of students and stature, highlighted in 2008 by the Emily Carr’s attainment of university status by government decree. The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design became the Emily Carr University of Art and Design under the stewardship of John (Jake) C. Kerr Chancellor of the University.
Looking back over the course of the decade reveals curricular changes, increased internationalization, new programs, investment in new technologies and increased collaboration with creative and cultural industries and educational institutions.
The University’s national and international reach was greatly enhanced through numerous new programs and initiatives. The development and delivery of online education in both studio and theory credit courses in art, design and media allowed the University to reach across the world. In 2009 the student exchange program matched students with 71 partner institutions in 14 countries while the University’s student body represented fifty countries. Visiting speaker programs also hosted talks by international artists, architects, designers, theorists, poets and writers.
The University developed partnerships with other universities across British Columbia. In collaboration with North Island College, the University delivered the third and fourth years of a Bachelor of Fine Art (General Fine Art major) degree at North Island College's Comox Valley campus. The University also developed an interdisciplinary four year joint degree program with the University of Northern British Columbia that connects creative writing and studio practice. The delivery of these programs has been in part made possible through a well-funded and innovation collection of online courses in studio and academic courses.
The Great Northern Way Campus, a collaborative endeavour with Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University has been acquired property east of the Granville Island property that will allow for future growth of the University’s programs.
During decade the establishment of an Aboriginal office and the initiatives of the Academic Administration saw the development of a significant number of courses that teach art and design from an aboriginal perspective.
The Critical and Cultural Studies, the academic core of the University’s degree programs, gained greater prominence as increasing numbers of academic courses were offered in Art History, Design History, English, Humanities, Media History, Science and Social Sciences in support of our degree granting status. A major in Critical and Cultural Practices was developed where students could complete more than half of their credits in academic courses. Curricular changes were also made to reflect the University’s commitment to sustainability with courses across faculties addressing issues related to ecological sustainability, green design and other environmental concerns. In addition an Illustration degree was recently launched.
The past ten years were times of significant technological innovation. The University recognized the need to train designers and artists with both the proficiency in these new developments and knowledge and ethic to approach them critically. In 2006 the Intersections Digital Studio, dedicated research centre in new technologies, was launched. Through the IDS studios, graduate students and faculty can access state of the art digital technologies. Alongside the Research and Industry office it fosters collaborative projects among students, faculty, and outside industry and community groups and secures significant funding for research from government and industry.
Another significant change was the development of the Graduate program. For some time there had been interest in a graduate program at Emily Carr and in 2006 the University was granted the authority to offer a Master of Applied Arts degree. With streams in design, visual art and media arts, the MAA program offers students the chance to advances their practices through rigorous studio, theory and research classes, critiques by established visiting artists and designers, an internship and the development of a thesis.
Finally, Emily Carr’s graduates met increasing international acclaim through a variety of sectors. Designers were recognized for their focus on sustainable design, such as Niki Dun (03) whose bicycle ambulance, designed for the use in rural communities in southern Africa, was featured in Bruce Mau’s Massive Change Exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Emily Carr’s faculty expertise in documentary practices also contributed to the success of filmmaker Jason DaSilva whose documentary on his experiences with Multiple Sclerosis was recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
A renewed focus in painting at the University led to Emily Carr graduates Etienne Zack (00), Jeremy Hof (07), Arabella Campbell (02) and Brenda Draney (MAA 09) each to win first prize in successive RBC Painting Awards, a national painting prize. Other grads from this decade who made names for themselves in the visual arts include Terrence Koh (02) with recent solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt; and Isabelle Pauwels (01) the recent recipient of the inaugural Brink Award which entails a solo exhibition at the Henry Gallery in Seattle.