UBC Colloquium 2018



Sounding Promise in the Present Tense
Improvising Through Turbulent Times


Friday, Saturday and Sunday—June 22-24, 2018, 10am – 4pm

UBC Robson Campus Room C420

Free to the Public


At this year’s colloquium for the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, presented in collaboration with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and Coastal Jazz, presentations and performances will address questions around what it means to improvise in a challenging and uncertain present. What roles can the improvising arts play to address cultural and social turbulence? How might improvisation both settle on and unsettle our senses of what matters now? How does improvising confront our enmeshments in a heavily mediated and diverse world? What sorts of connections and resistances does improvisation enact? How might improvisation involve practices of disruption and of reconciliation? Of protest and of healing? Of undoing, of re-mixing, of co-creation? What senses of promise can improvisations sound in a time of unease and displacement?


Friday, June 22nd

A Day in Honour of Jo-Ann Episkenew


10:00-10:45am         Roundtable 1

Socially-Engaged & Community-Driven Improv . . . in Practice!

This session brings together speakers using improvisation to respond to community needs or challenges. These projects include a strengths-based approach to addressing youth suicide and social isolation. The roundtable will discuss the challenges and strengths of this approach to research and community support. Projects discussed during the Roundtable will be explored further in the afternoon workshops!

Dustin Brass First Nations University of Canada (Saskatchewan)

Erin Goodpipe, First Nations University of Canada (Saskatchewan)

Allison Pooley, Asante Centre (BC)

Michelle Stewart, University of Regina (Saskatchewan)


10:45-11:00:am        On the Legacy of Jo-Ann Episkenew

Dustin Brass and Erin Goodpipe


11:00-11:30am         Roundtable 2

Nothing About Us Without Us: Peer-Mentoring and Improvisation using “Playing to our Strengths: A Community Improv Toolkit”

This session will bring together speakers that are adapting and evaluating a community improvisation toolkit to be used in a peer-mentoring program for individuals with a complex disability. Drawing on their own lived experiences as well as health research they have undertaken, the speakers will share how improvisation helps to deliver information about the disability in a positive and strengths-based environment. They will also talk about the critical need for individuals with disabilities to be placed at the center when developing and delivering resources in our communities.

Myles Himmelreich, Asante Centre (BC)

Krystal Glowatski, Simon Fraser University (BC)

Katrina Griffin, Asante Centre (BC)


11:30am-12:15pm             Artist Keynote

Earth Revolution

Ta’Kaiya Blaney


1:00-2:00pm                    Artist Presentation

Born of the Wild Rose Country

Blue Moon Marquee


2:00-2:30pm                      Networking Break


2:30-4:30pm                      Improvisation Workshops 

This session will bring together two different community-based improvisation projects. Each project is socially-engaged and developed specific tools or resources for use in a community setting. For each session there will be a demonstration of games followed by a discussion about the activities.


2:30pm                                Embodied Community: Embedded Improvisational Sharing

Dustin Brass, First Nations University of Canada (Saskatchewan)

Erin Goodpipe, First Nations University of Canada (Saskatchewan)


3:30pm                               Connecting, Creating, Calming: A Family Toolkit

Mia Bell, University of Regina (Saskatchewan)

Robyn Pitawanakwat, University of Regina (Saskatchewan)

Michelle Stewart, University of Regina (Saskatchewan)


4:15pm                                  Closing Remarks



Saturday, June 23th


10:00-11:00am                     Artist Talk

Improvising Community: A Free Improvisation Q’n’A

Joe Sorbara with Peggy Lee and Bill Clark


11:00-12:00pm                    Artist Talk

Can’t Lit Live! (live podcast recording)                                             

Dina del Bucchia and Jen Sookfong Lee, with Samantha Marie Nock


1:00-2:00pm                       Artist Keynote

Stretch Woven

Scott Amendola


2:00-4:00 pm                        Critical Karaoke

Critics, artists and listeners offer in-the-moment discussions of selected recordings that take exactly the timing of the tracks. Music discussed will include recordings by Mary Margaret O’Hara, Kamasi Washington, John Coltrane, Tanya Tagaq, Dálava, Childish Gambino, Nels Cline and others.



Sunday, June 24th


10:00–11:00 am                   Artist Talk

Music, Improvisation, and the Embodied Mind

Dylan van der Schyff

Exploring the phenomenon of musical improvisation through the lenses of embodied cognitive science and theoretical biology


11:00-12:00pm                    Poetry Reading and Discussion

 Walking the City

  Gillian Jerome, University of British Columbia


1:00pm-2:00pm                  Artist Keynote

Improvising from the get go

Nels Cline


2:00-3:00pm                        Artist Talk

Poetry and the Armenian Genocide

Aram Bajakian and Alan Semerdjian


3:00-4:00pm                                     Artist Talk

Letters I Haven’t Written

Gwyneth Herbert





Concerts Featuring Artist Speakers


Nels Cline & Scott Amendola                        June 23          9:30 pm         Ironworks

Cline/Amendola/Lee/Miller/Love              June 23          midnight        Ironworks

Gwyneth Herbert                                          June 24          6:45 pm         Robson Stage (free)

Peggy Lee’s Echo Painting                           June 25          9:30 pm         Ironworks

Aram Bajakian & Julia Ulehla                       June 27          11:00 pm       China Cloud

Mary Margaret O’Hara                                 June 27          7:30 pm         Performance Works

Davis/Bajakian/van der Schyff                   June 29          5:00 pm         Ironworks (free)




2018 Colloquium schedule (pdf)