Five Questions With Hillary Webb

Emily Alert Landscape

By Rumnique Nannar

Posted on May 09, 2024 | Updated May 09, 2024, 10:11am

In our 'Five Questions With' series, we get to know members of our community and their invaluable roles in making Emily Carr a great place to learn, work, and teach.

This month, we’re chatting with Hillary Webb, Systems + Technical Services Librarian, on how the Reading Room events come together for The Show and the energy in the air this season.

What do you most like about your role within the ECU community?

What I’ve always loved in my 12 years at Emily Carr is that I collaborate with people across the entire institution. I get to work on projects in the research area, with graduate studies, and then within our own Library team. We’re all equally trying to get projects off the ground and help each other see them to fruition. One of my favourite parts of my job is the institutional repository, which I administer. In the beginning, the repository was more about digitized archives, but now I’m trying to collect more faculty and staff research outcomes, which I really love.

What kind of preparation goes into pulling off the Reading Room events?

The library likes to keep things pretty casual and flexible, and we pride ourselves on being an alternative exhibition space for students and ECU community members. The Reading Room started because we wanted to offer space during the annual grad show for text, paper-based ephemera or books made by our graduating students. These books might be a part of their grad show installation, or they might be a totally different project. For the Reading Room didactics we use an old-school library checkout card inside each book as a nod to our past!

We’ve also created a lounge-style environment, so people feel welcome to come and sit and admire the materials. The salon portion is a fairly new event. Last year, we activated the Reading Room differently and offered the opportunity for students who have submitted work to come and give a mini artist talk or read from their book. We had snacks and tea, and it was very supportive. This year, the library is piloting a low sensory area in the library for opening night visitors who might need a moment of respite. It will have reduced lighting and comfortable furniture, and we're requesting that folks using the area speak quietly and refrain from entering with food or drinks or if they are wearing too much perfume.

In terms of being a participant, what’s your favourite part of The Show or Convocation season?

I love the energy around the school right now. We go through that period after the term ends where it’s quiet, and now the energy is picking up again, and it’s very contagious. Seeing the works installed is so exciting. It’s such a celebration of our graduates.

So, if we set you loose in the Reading Room Salon, what would you do your talk on?

So, I studied material art and design at OCADU and have an art practice based on ceramics and textiles. I could always talk about natural dye processes and utilizing local natural materials to make art. We’ve had past examples in the Reading Room of works discussing these topics, and I find it exciting to see students continuously interested in natural dye.

What’s one of the best concerts you’ve ever been to?

I go to a lot of live music shows! I saw Feist perform on Valentine’s Day this year, and it was one of the best shows I’d ever been to. It’s very hard to top because it was like a performance art piece, and she had this way of creating a real feeling of connection in the room. The entire experience was full of surprises and unexpected moments, and it blew my mind. I think my favourite shows are the ones you didn’t know you wanted to see, and they surprise you in a way that you hold with you forever.