Alumni Career Pathways Talks Now Available for Public Viewing


(L to R): Alex Louise Hill, Erick Jantzen, Alan Goldman and Gabrielle Burke during the 2023 ACPS Visual Arts talk. (Still from video produced by Christopher Yuen)

By Perrin Grauer

Posted on February 06, 2024 | Updated February 08, 2024, 11:50am

The ongoing panel series brings working arts and design alumni together with students to share insights about pursuing a career of choice post-graduation.

The 2023 Alumni Career Pathway Series is bringing the insights of its celebrated guest speakers to the public through a series of videos, now available for viewing online.

Launched in 2020, the series brings working artists and designers to the university to speak to students about how their careers took shape.

“We had a really great, diverse group of panelists last year, and I was very proud to be able to hire alumni moderators to bring a couple of additional voices into the room,” says Sára Molčan, Manager, Donor + Alumni Engagement at ECU. “Every year we do this, it just seems to get better. Every iteration grows.”

The Alumni Career Pathway Series (ACPS) is presented annually by Alumni Relations in collaboration with Career Development + Work Integrated Learning and the Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship. The 2023 series is hosted by Shannon McKinnon, Director, CD+WIL, and collaboratively organized by Shannon, Sára and Teresa Nieman, Alumni Relations Officer, and Cemre Demiralp and Ashley Cheah at Shumka Centre. The ACPS is generously supported by RBC.


(L to R): Designers Toby Barratt, Herman Chan and Hunter Milroy during the ACPS Industrial Design panel. (Still from video produced by Christopher Yuen)

The 2023 Visual Arts panel included artists Gabrielle Burke (BFA 2012), Erick Jantzen (BFA 2022) and Alex Louise Hill (BFA 2020). The Industrial Design panel featured Herman Chan (BDes 2005), Paula Torres (BDes 2022) and Toby Barratt (BFA 1996). And the Film panel featured Jennifer Li (BMA 2023), Kevin Eastwood (BMA 1999) and Emily Kai Bock (BFA 2008). Designer Hunter Milroy (BDes 2022) and filmmaker Alan Goldman (MA 2011) acted as moderators in 2023.

Every year, the ACPS team collects feedback from students and speakers, Sára notes. The team also gathers data on student questions and concerns from the Shumka Centre and CD+WIL office. These insights are used to continually tighten the focus of the series.

“We look for themes based on what students are currently asking about, and we look to address those specific needs for a wider audience,” Sára says. “We’re looking to close any gaps in understanding about where to go after Emily Carr and how to enter an industry.”

To ensure students receive the broadest possible range of insights, panels always include both emerging and established practitioners who operate in different corners of their respective industries. ACPS panels also include full-time practitioners as well as those who work day jobs to support their practice.


Filmmaker Jennifer Li chats with fellow guests during the ACPS Film panel. (Still from video produced by Christopher Yuen)

Sára adds that, as much as students want to hear about successes, they’ve made it clear they’re not interested in sugar-coated advice.

“They’re not looking for a highlight reel from our panelists,” she says. “They really want to know the pitfalls. And we’ve been really lucky that our panelists have been very open to sharing their failures as much as their successes. They give a nuanced, realistic and pragmatic look at what it’s like to build a career as a creative.”

Watch the Visual Arts, Industrial Design and Film panel events now, and check out all previous ACPS events via YouTube.

Students can contact ECU’s Career Development + Work Integrated Learning office to learn more about their programming, resources, and professional development opportunities.

Visit the Shumka Centre’s website and follow them on Instagram to keep up with their huge range of innovative programming.

Follow Alumni Relations on Instagram and keep your eye on ECU’s events calendar for more info on 2024 ACPS events.

Want more stories like this one delivered twice a month to your inbox?