UNBC To Host Public Forum on the Arts and Community Vitality

November 14, 2007
A new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at UNBC and renewed interest in building a performing arts centre in Prince George have both contributed to a growing local awareness of the link between the arts and community development. UNBC will be hosting a public forum on the topic next week that will feature keynote presentations from two residents of Northern Finland.

The attendees from Finland will be Mauri Ylä-Kotola, President of the University of Lapland, and Outi Snellman, a director of the University of the Arctic. Both are residents of Rovaniemi, a community near the Arctic Circle that has much in common with Prince George. In fact, the University of Lapland was UNBC’s first international partner.

“Rovaniemi used to be dependent on natural resource extraction, but the University – especially its programs in Art and Design – has really helped to diversify the region and attract new people and new ideas,” says Carolyn Russell, head of UNBC’s international programs. “Today, the Faculty of Art and Design is very popular with students and its success is indicative of what’s possible here.”

President Ylä-Kotola is a former Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design and has first-hand experience of how programs related to arts and culture have shaped both the University of Lapland and the northern region of Finland. Ms. Snellman is a 16-year resident of Rovaniemi who is an expert in how northern universities have shaped the cultures of northern communities.

The forum will be held on Thursday, November 22, at 7pm in the Bentley Centre at UNBC. All are welcome. Other panelists will include local residents with a keen interest in the arts:
•    Cliff Dezell – Chair of the Prince George Regional Performing Arts Centre Society
•    Rob Budde – UNBC professor in the English and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs
•    Alex Michalos – UNBC Chancellor and Quality of Life expert

The new Bachelor of Fine Arts program has been jointly developed by UNBC and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Among arts programs in Canada, it uniquely combines creative writing and studio art.

The forum is being sponsored by the Central Interior Regional Arts Council, the Two Rivers Gallery, the Prince George Regional Performing Arts Centre Society, the Prince George Winter Cities Committee, the UNBC Arts Council, the English program, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

Dr. Rob Budde, professor, English and Fine Arts, UNBC – 250.960.6693
Rob van Adrichem, Director of Media and Public Relations, UNBC – 250.960.5622


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