Integrated Design student’s bright idea earns Best Student Product Design in New York

Convocation day was extra sweet for Integrated Design graduate Kelly Van Raay. In addition to receiving her diploma and Ceramics certificate from the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Kelly crossed the convocation stage with an award from [Wanted Design] Brooklyn.

Kelly earned Best Student Product Design for her Lump Lights featured in the Human/Nature: Meditations on Material Culture exhibition. The exhibition, curated by Integrated Design program coordinator Barr Gilmore, displayed in New York at [Wanted Design] Brooklyn during NYCxDesign last month.

“I’m very honoured to have received an award,” said Kelly, who is one of 12 winners out of 150 nominations. “It was exciting. I’ve never won anything in my life before!”

Not only is this Kelly’s first award, the experience is also Kelly’s first time in New York. She travelled to Brooklyn with classmates Christina Dedes and Kelsey Redman, and Integrated Design program coordinator Barr Gilmore for the event.

“It was exciting! I’ve never been to New York before,” she said. “It was crazy to see my work amongst everyone else’s. There were some really prestigious schools there, like the Pratt Institute and Rhode Island School of Design. Being there, I felt like a part of the design community on a world stage. And I’m really happy people enjoy my weird art!”

Kelly, who earned the Ceramics certificate within the Integrated Design diploma program, was asked by program coordinator Barr Gilmore to produce work for the Human/Nature: Meditations on Material Culture exhibition. Kelly coil-built and textured the Lump Lamps by hand, which she then bisque fired, glazed, and then glaze fired.

Patience is a virtue, she learned, as the process is slow and tedious.

“I had to not work too fast, so they take me a couple months to do. I had them done a week before New York,” she said. “I take my time with it. When hand building with wet clay, it’ll slump if you’re working too fast and the piece will crack if you’re drying it too fast, so I have to work slowly.”

After months of hard work leading up to [Wanted Design] Brooklyn, followed by an amazing visit to New York to see her work on display, Kelly is honoured to receive the Best Student Product Design award. Unfortunately she had already left New York before the awards (Barr accepted it on Kelly’s behalf), but was happy to be presented with it on stage at the Haliburton School of Art + Design convocation ceremony.

Kelly said she enjoyed her time at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus, especially the small campus environment and class sizes.

“I had freedom to be creative with my process. It was a very encouraging environment; if I had an idea, I could talk to my instructors or classmates about it,” said Kelly. “It’s always a good environment when you’re surrounded by people making.”

Kelly came to Fleming College after earning her diploma in Theatre Arts – Technical Production from Fanshawe College, where she developed an interest in prop making.

“I thought the Integrated Design program was good for getting more experience related to prop making because it gives you an introductory to many art practices, approaching each practice with good design in mind” said Kelly, who worked in the theatre and entertainment industry in London, Ont., briefly before starting Fleming College. “My Props teacher told me that the most important thing I could do for my career [in prop making] is to go to art school and learn to draw—which, I’ve never had a teacher say ‘go to art school for your career’ before!”

Last month, she graduated from the Integrated Design diploma and Ceramics certificate from the Haliburton School of Art + Design, and is now working as a Studio Technician at a pottery studio in London. Kelly said her experience in the program, as well as at [Wanted Design] Brooklyn, helped shape her as a designer and human by reminding her that practice makes perfect.

 “You’re going to mess up, but that’s okay because you’ll learn for next time,” said Kelly. “I’m at the beginning of my journey, but I learned that I should stick with my gut of what I think is good design, because it’s obviously working.”

An adventurous career in the arts brings exciting possibilities to Valedictorian Taylor Ray Luecke

Before coming to the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Taylor Ray Luecke was unsure whether she wanted to commit to school. Now she is Valedictorian at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus convocation, where she is graduating from the Integrated Design diploma program and Digital Image Design certificate program.

“I never thought I would get this far in my education, never mind be the Valedictorian!” said Taylor. “I am so honoured and proud to speak at convocation. I believe in what our school does and I believe in the students here. We are going to change the world with art and design, I guarantee it.”

Taylor applied to Fleming College’s Integrated Design program years after graduating from high school, having spent the time in between travelling and immersing herself in art. Taylor worked on commissions and branding projects, designed menu boards and displays at the Pastry Peddler Café (where she worked); and in 2016 she designed clothing, created zines and jewellery, and helped with window displays for the art collective Lizard Gang Records.

“After being out of high school for some time, I applied to some college programs still unsure if I wanted to commit to school or not,” said Taylor. “I went to the Open House and got whisked away by the students there. They took me into their world and gave me an Open House unlike any other.”

Taylor attended the Spring Open House event at the Haliburton School of Art + Design and was captivated by the stunning campus.

“Once I entered those doors, I knew I was somewhere special. I met the most wonderful people in my visit and got to talk to some students about what they do, and I knew I didn’t have to look any further,” said Taylor. “Integrated Design helped me channel my skills and interests into something unique, something with potential. The experience gave me so many great opportunities with incredible teachers, inspiring students and an endless opportunity to just be myself and create from the soul.”

In the Integrated Design program, Taylor discovered her interest in relational aesthetics and installation work, enjoyed thinking of concepts and the wildest ways to communicate them, and chose the Digital Image Design certificate within her program to explore new ways of making.

During her third semester, Taylor worked on campus as a Studio Assistant, helping with community projects such as embroidering sashes for Rotary Club, making decals and signs for the school, and making posters for the Youth Hub. She also committed herself to the Student Association events, including yoga nights, bowling nights, life drawing, and Halloween in April.

“The atmosphere of the school was always supportive for me, a place where all ideas and walks of life are welcome. I could dance through the halls and people would dance with me,” said Taylor. “I got to live with my friends and enjoy Friday night pool at the Legion and living room dance parties. My favourite part is the people I have met and the friends that I’ve made. My experience wouldn’t be the same without all of the positive influences around me. Though the time together is short, I have made lifelong friends here.”

In her valedictorian speech, Taylor plans to recognize the journey of the artist and the brave direction that being an artist is. “I want to let all the graduates know how powerful they are with their work,” she said. “Our school is something different and the speech should reflect that.”

After convocation, Taylor will spend the summer working at Algonquin Park and plans to move to Australia in the late fall, taking on freelance projects and continuing to learn. She would like to do artist residencies to push her knowledge, as well as apply for design competitions and exhibitions.

“My path is not direct, but it brings me excitement in thinking of its possibilities.”

Glassblowing graduate Paul van den Bijgaart enjoys the yin and yang of his artistic process in China

Paul van den Bijgaart
Paul van den Bijgaart

It went straight to his core – that feeling of finding his calling – and it happened at a weekend glassblowing class in Red Deer, Alberta.

“As soon as I put the pipe in the furnace, I just knew: this is my passion,” said Paul van den Bijgaart, who was working as a cabinet maker and lighting repairman at the time (2007). “It’s a very rare feeling. There are very few times in my life where I’ve felt that passionately and absolute about something.”

A friend of Paul’s mother had encouraged him to sign up for the beginner glassblowing class at Red Deer College, believing it would benefit his work on lighting fixtures. Paul loved it and used the money he earned at his full-time job to continue practicing glassblowing at a studio in Edmonton.

When the studio closed two years later, Paul decided it was time to fully immerse himself in his craft. He moved to Haliburton, Ont., to take the Glassblowing certificate at the Haliburton School of Art + Design.

“Haliburton was really a changing ground of an intensive few months to see if I really wanted this. It really was a make or break,” said Paul, who describes the experience as life changing.

Every morning he walked across the frozen lake to the Haliburton Campus, where he poured his energy into glassblowing all day. He only left the campus when he was either exhausted or had plans with his friends.

“It’s a magical place to pick up a serious amount of skill in a short amount of time,” said Paul, who credits the school with developing his confidence. “The teachers would push you outside of your comfort zone. When I first got to Haliburton, I asked an instructor how to do something and they said to me, ‘Try, go do it– don’t be scared to fail!’ That continues to contribute to my artistic endeavors to this day.”

After graduating from Fleming College, Paul continued his studies at Sheridan College. During his first year in the Craft + Design program, he met Amy Yang, a talented artist from China with a sleek aesthetic and background in design. The couple became a designer/maker team and traveled together after graduating.

dragonThe original plan was to move to China to get married and then return to Canada, but that plan changed when Paul got the opportunity to teach a workshop in Shanghai.

The couple now works with institutions in China, including the China Academy of Art, and continually returns to Canada to teach workshops.

One difference between glassblowing in Canada compared to China is that hot glass has only just begun growing in popularity as an artistic material in China, said Paul.

“Historically, the Chinese have used glass to mimic other materials, like jade and stone. They typically perceive those naturally formed materials as more valuable,” he explained.

In addition to the perception of glass, the other challenge Paul faces is the language barrier.

“I always thought glassblowing was the most difficult skill I’d acquire in my life, but learning to read, speak and understand Chinese has definitely challenged that,” he said. “My New Year’s resolution was to lead workshops in Chinese and this year in September I was the main translator at an arts event.”

Living in China has helped Paul grow as a person and as an artist. “It’s interesting to rewire your brain. The way they experience and view a lot of everyday objects is very pictographic. For instance in English we say ‘tornado’ and we can picture what that means, but in Chinese it’s ‘long juan feng,’ which literally translates to ‘dragon rolling wind,’” said Paul. “It’s like learning to view the world in a different way.”

Paul returns to Canada to teach intensive classes, but continues to grow roots in China. He is currently creating his own glassblowing studio in Beijing and plans to open a studio in Edmonton one day.

paul_v_02-004“I enjoy everyday objects people can use; a glass of wine at the end of the day, a handmade carafe at the side of your bed,” he said. “It’s important for people to engage with the maker community and for them to understand the work that goes into handmade objects.”

As Paul grows his business, he continues to enjoy the glassblowing process.

“It makes me feel almost every emotion I can imagine: it’s frustrating, calming and relaxing, I can drift away sometimes because it’s repetitive, other times it’s very intense, assessing multiple components simultaneously, it’s a mixture and a  balance,” he said. “Not to bring it back to Chinese philosophy, but there’s a yin and yang to it; you have to get frustrated to know to calm down. I’ve learned philosophy through the material, and found that it can take you to magical places if you’re willing to forget what you know.”

Conservation graduate Maia Balint takes Fleming College skills to Oxford

maia-at-oxford-blogThe skills Maia Balint gained at Fleming College are not only useful in Canada, they are useful around the world!

The Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program provides opportunities for students to take their studies to other countries, where they can gain internship experience in interesting locales. Maia completed her full-time Fleming internship at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Devon, UK, and made connections that led to her current employment at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

“I learned about this opportunity due to the connections I made during my Fleming internship,” said Maia, who works as an Osney Power Station (OPS) Move Project Assistant. “The experiences that I gained while studying at Fleming were directly relevant to the job description and prepared me for the interview.”

In her contract role at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, Maia works with artefacts every day. “A lot of the artefacts are really amazing and beautiful,” said the Class of 2018 graduate. “My favourites include pocket microscopes and homeopathic medicine kits full of tiny jars substances— many of which are poisons!”

Maia is responsible for assessing and packing artifacts, and said Fleming prepared her well for the role, including how to complete documentation for object assessment and general handling techniques. Maia also references the information she gained from the two-day packing workshop led by Paul Marcon from the Canadian Conservation Institute.

maiabalintatworkMaia wanted to move to Oxford because her partner is doing his PhD there. She describes Oxford as very pretty and adds that being affiliated with the university makes a big difference because the most beautiful parts are only accessible to university staff and students.

But this isn’t Maia’s first time living in the UK. After graduating from the University of Toronto, where she studied history, Maia took bookbinding courses in the UK and did an internship at the Design Museum in London. Her interest in bookbinding, which also includes courses at the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild and an internship at the Robertson Davies Library in Toronto, is what led her to pursue a career in conservation.

“Most practicing bookbinders also do conservation work,” Maia explained. “I wanted to learn more about the various materials that are used in bookbinding and I was attracted to Fleming’s emphasis on hands-on skills.”

The Fleming College graduate said she would recommend her program to others. “I think the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program provides a great introduction into the conservation of a wide range of materials,” she said. “It gives students a wide variety of practical experience, which reflects the type of work that goes on in museums.”

Haliburton School of Art + Design Valedictorian Amy Black feels “fortunate” to have an amazing art school in her hometown

amy-black-focus-on-flemingValedictorian Amy Black didn’t have to look far for a leading arts education. Born and raised in Haliburton, Amy feels fortunate that she could earn her diploma at the Haliburton School of Art + Design.

“I am incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing art school in my hometown and was able to study what I love so close to home,” she said. “The school itself is truly amazing. The environment is constantly filled with good vibes and pure talent. My overall experience with HSAD was absolutely incredible. I have gained so many memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”

Amy took the Integrated Design diploma program, which focuses on the fundamental design skills and critical thinking abilities to become a successful designer in any design discipline.

“It was an amazing introduction to design and the different fundamentals of art combined,” she explained. “I also chose this program because I really admire [program coordinator] Barr Gilmore for teaching something he is so passionate about and has firsthand experience with the working field of design.”

Reflecting on her time in the program, Amy said she particularly enjoyed a class field trip to a local thrift warehouse to discuss the sentimental value people place on “stuff.” She also loved her fibre arts project from her first week in the program, where she covered a retro chair in old jean material and flower print pants. “It was one of my coolest pieces throughout the whole year,” Amy said. “The school actually had it in their Maker Space for a while.”

As part of the Integrated Design program, students also have the opportunity to earn an art certificate. They can chose from the following Haliburton School of Art + Design certificate programs: Artist Blacksmith, Ceramics, Digital Image Design, Drawing and Painting, Fibre Arts, Jewellery Essentials, Glassblowing, Moving Image Design, Photo Arts, Sculpture, or Sustainable Building Design and Construction.

Amy decided to take the Photo Arts program for her certificate, explaining, “I myself have a love for photography. Ever since high school I have loved taking pictures. I chose the Photo Arts program because it is a traditional darkroom approach to photography and I really wanted to learn how it was done.”

Amy said that through her post-secondary education, she has developed a lot of technical skills through hands-on experience. “I wasn’t very computer savvy and now I’m what they call a ‘pro,’” she laughed.

As she bids farewell to the Haliburton Campus, receiving both a diploma in Integrated Design and a certificate in Photo Arts, Amy delivered the Valedictorian address at the convocation ceremony on Friday, May 25. Through wit and sarcasm, Amy hopes her speech reflects light, relates to her peers, and leaves graduates feeling proud of what they achieved.

Amy said she would “100% recommend” the Integrated Design diploma to anyone with a love for art and design in need of direction to find their style and passion. Her career goal after graduation is to continue her photography journey and work for a fashion magazine.

From Peterborough, Ontario to TVO, Kevin D’Innocenzo shares his career journey with Museum Management and Curatorship students

kevin-dinnocenzoWhen Kevin D’Innocenzo gave a passionate presentation on “Bringing Back Heritage Minutes” to his Museum Management and Curatorship peers six years ago, little did he know that not only would more Heritage Minutes air, but that Kevin himself would earn a job at TVO.

TVO is a provincial television station that airs educational programming. At their Toronto-based office, Kevin works diligently as the Media Researcher/Archivist.

“The best thing about my job is getting to represent the diversity of Ontario through media and having the opportunity to influence Ontarians across the province,” said Kevin. “It’s humbling to have that responsibility.”

Kevin’s responsibilities include clearing copyright for all media used in television programs, documentaries and organizational initiatives, including audio, video, images, and literary works; interpreting Canadian copyright legislation; archiving new media that TVO films and produces, and more.

“Did my Fleming education prepare me for my job? Absolutely,” said Kevin, who graduated from the Museum Management and Curatorship program in 2012. “My responsibility during the exhibit in MMC was to research, negotiate and license the exhibition we put on at Peterborough City Hall. It’s called ‘We Were There: Stories of Peterborough in Times of Conflict’ and it’s still there– we got to do a permanent exhibition.”

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in History at Trent University in 2007, Kevin travelled the world, and taught and developed English curriculum in South Korea. “After spending several years overseas, I realized my affection for ethnographic studies. Paired with my lifelong love for museums, it was a natural choice for me to pursue dreams of working in the field of cultural heritage,” said Kevin.

From 2012 to 2013, Kevin served as an E-Volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum and then was hired as a Project Assistant on contract at the Ontario Museum Association for a year. In 2014, Kevin was hired as an Exhibitions Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources, the world’s largest cultural professional practice that plans and designs services in the museum, cultural and heritage sector.

In July 2017, Kevin was ready for a change and took a job at TVO in the archives. “Seeing my name on the credits of The Agenda with Steve Paikin for the first time, I was like, ‘mom, take a picture!’” he laughed.

Kevin recently returned to his old stomping grounds at the Fleming Annex, Peterborough Museum & Archives, to speak with current Museum Management and Curatorship students about his career path and college experience, as well as to share advice.

Kevin’s tips to current students are:

  • Focus your interests and build experience around them
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Network
  • Understand what you want to get out of a job
  • Volunteer
  • Don’t be afraid to fail and learn from it!
  • If you’re not a good writer, become one
  • Be tenacious

Kevin said he recommends this Fleming graduate certificate program because it prepares students for the real world.

“There’s a theoretical component of the program, but what sets it apart is the applied learning, which I was able to take with me and use to this day.”

Conservation grad swaps snow for palm trees at the University of Miami

laura-fedynyszynLaura Fedynyszyn, Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management graduate (Class of 2013), swapped the cold Canadian weather for sunshine and palm trees in Miami, Florida this winter.

The Fleming College graduate is working at the University of Miami Libraries as the Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Fellow, where she performs conservation treatments on rare books and paper objects from the permanent collections on campus.

“I love the range of objects I get to work on. We have maps and manuscripts dating back to the 15th century but also a wealth of new materials, such as zines. Each pose their own preservation problem, so every day is something new,” said Laura, who creates a variety of mounts and supports for objects on display, and works with an installation team to set up the exhibits.

Laura’s previous experience includes conservation contracts at Library and Archives Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and the John M. Kelly Library at the University of Toronto. She decided to move to Miami in November 2017 because of the amazing career opportunity the university presented.

“The other faculty I work with are knowledgeable and supportive. We have a new and wonderfully outfitted conservation lab with a lot of equipment I have never gotten to work with before, so it’s been a great learning experience,” said Laura. “Canada is home, but I must say it’s nice to skip winter!”

Laura credits her Fleming education for preparing her for the Fellowship at the University of Miami, especially the work completed during her final semester.

“That semester provided me with a solid foundation and gave me excellent exposure to the type of media I came to love working with the most,” said Laura, who explained that book and paper conservation was the area of focus during final semester of the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program.

Laura came to Fleming College after earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking at OCAD University. She was attracted to Fleming’s graduate certificate because it offered experience working with a range of objects, such as metals, ethnographic objects, textiles, and paper.

“I was interested in learning about the collections management and preventive conservation side of things too, as I know conservators at many small institutions are often tasked with these facets of collections care as well,” said Laura. “The Fleming program provided a great balance of all the different aspects of conservation and collections care.”

Laura describes her Fleming College experience as “amazing” and keeps in touch with many of her classmates. She describes the courses as intense and well-structured, with lots of hands-on projects, and appreciates the wealth of knowledge her instructors brought to the classroom from their extensive work experience in the field.

Her advice to current students is to be willing to move for opportunity. “Being mobile and able to go where the work is helps a lot, especially when you are just starting out,” she said. “Be open to any and all contracts that are in the realm of conservation. For example, I took a two-week contract at Cambridge Galleries and was able to expand that into over a year of work conserving their permanent collection and planning for a new storage vault. You never know what great opportunity is just around the corner.”

Jessica Bekesi credits Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program for earning competitive internship placement

jessica-bekesi-headshotJessica Bekesi was ready to hit the ground running after graduating from the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program in June 2017. The following month, Jessica started her position at Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre as Preventive Conservation Intern through Young Canada Works.

“The Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program was instrumental in my getting this internship. Without it, I wouldn’t have the education or experience to be equipped for this position,” said Jessica. “The Fleming program is highly respected in the field of conservation in Canada and I feel it definitely had an impact on my application. In fact, one of my co-workers at the Heritage Centre is a fellow Fleming graduate from the ‘sister program,’ Museum Management and Curatorship.”

As Preventive Conservation Intern, Jessica analyzes environmental and storage conditions, and conservation policies to recommend changes to improve artifact care; she is instituting new guidelines for conservation standards and a new condition reporting system; and she is reorganizing parts of the storage area, helping to introduce an integrated pest management system, re-houses artifacts, and creates new mounts and enclosures when needed.

“My career is set on the foundation of knowledge I gained at Fleming College”

“Almost all of the tools and skills I need and use on a daily basis at my internship I developed at Fleming College,” said Jessica. “I learnt proper artifact photography in my class Technology Applications, environmental monitoring and pest identification in Reducing Risks to Collections, specific artifact needs I learnt in abundance in the numerous History of Technology and Lab Techniques classes. […] My career is set on the foundation of knowledge I gained at Fleming College.”

jessica-at-workJessica decided to take Fleming’s Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management program after earning her Bachelor’s degree in History and Art History (Honours) at Queen’s University. She wanted to gain hands-on experience in treating museum artifacts and Fleming College’s program seemed like the perfect fit for her goals.

“I loved my time at Fleming College,” said Jessica, who developed close relationships with her peers and professors due to the program’s small class size. “All of our teachers were so obviously passionate about their work and all had experience within the field– most of who are still actively working in museum conservation. Feeling how much the instructor’s cared about the class and the information was infectious and such a pleasure to be a part of.”

She added, “I was amazed at the equipment available to me in the labs and feel so lucky to have been able to learn with these tools.”

The Fleming College graduate said she would recommend this program to aspiring conservators because it helped her develop a deeper passion for her career. And for students currently in this program, she recommends networking, asking questions, and putting in as much time as possible into work and labs. She also recommends using the library, explaining, “the resources there are amazing and catered so well to this field like nowhere else I’ve seen. Conservation books can be few and far between and very expensive, so having the library was a huge asset.”

Within the walls of the Haliburton School of Art + Design, Christina Dedes feels like she belongs

christina-dedes-blogThe first time Christina Dedes encountered the bright red doors at the Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD), she stopped in her tracks to read the quote “Within these walls, the walls within disappear.” Nervousness washed over her as she entered the building, and ever since that day Christina has felt a resolute sense of belonging.

“Within these walls, I’ve had powerful breakthroughs, emotional breakdowns, and moments of complete silence and meditation. Collectively, these emotional experiences have allowed me to grow into myself. Coming to HSAD has been a self-revealing experience, rooted in truth and authenticity,” she said.

Christina began her post-secondary journey in the Visual and Creative Arts Diploma program and is spending her second year in Integrated Design. She plans to receive both diplomas in 2019 after three years of study.

“It was inspiring to see my classmates develop and grow throughout the semester, and we supported each other through all the long days and sleepless nights.”

She describes Visual and Creative Arts as challenging but said it helped her develop a strong work ethic. She also gained a better understanding of materiality, form, composition, and digital programs like Photoshop.

“It was inspiring to see my classmates develop and grow throughout the semester, and we supported each other through all the long days and sleepless nights,” said Christina. “I am really proud of the VCAD class for all of our collective accomplishments, and for allowing ourselves to grow into new and wholesome human beings. By the end of VCAD, we were all a little less terrified of what was to come and a bit more confident of our abilities to create a better future.”

A self-portrait of Christina Dedes.
A self-portrait of Christina Dedes

Looking back, Christina said those long days and late nights were some of her favourite HSAD moments, including ordering pizza to campus to enjoy with her classmates while working on projects. And despite feeling exhausted, Christina said she wouldn’t change a thing.

She decided to continue her studies at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus by enrolling in the Integrated Design program, which helps students discover what kind of designer they are meant to be.

“The creator of the program, Barr Gilmore, has created a diploma that gives a well-rounded view of the design world. Whether you’re learning about the history or applying the theory into your own design drawings, you can be confident that the skills you are building in the classroom will benefit you in real-world scenarios in the future,” said Christina, who enjoys using the Maker Space on campus, which features a laser cutter, plotter printer, and two 3D printers for students to use.

“The Haliburton School of Art + Design is unlike any place you’ve visited before, and it’s likely you’ll never come across a place like this again.”

She started the program on a high note, winning the MacBook Pro contest Fleming College hosted. Since most of Christina’s assignments are done through Adobe programs, having a laptop has helped her work on-the-go.

“The Haliburton School of Art + Design is unlike any place you’ve visited before, and it’s likely you’ll never come across a place like this again. Regardless of your skill level, you will be welcomed into the HSAD community, where you will meet many like-minded individuals who come from all over Ontario,” said Christina. “I cannot stress enough how fortunate the students are to be surrounded by so many compassionate and skilled artisans, designers, and creatives during the school year. The building itself offers space for every type of creative pursuit, and the beautiful, meditative campus will keep you grounded during your studies.”

From childhood museum visits to CEO of Western Development Museum, Joan Kanigan has a lifelong passion for heritage

joan-kanigan-editJoan Kanigan, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Development Museum, has always had a passion for museums and heritage. Some of her earliest memories are of visiting museums in Regina with her family, learning about the world around her and what life was like in the past.

“Museums are places of connection and not only was I connecting with my family, I was developing a broader understanding of the world and our place in it,” said Joan.

She grew up to earn a Master of Arts degree at Trent University followed by a graduate certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College.

“What I enjoyed most was that almost all of our classes were held in the Peterborough Museum & Archives,” said Joan about her Fleming College experience.

“Everything we were taught was complemented with actual experience,” she said. “For example, instead of just talking about how to design exhibits, we got to create an exhibit for the museum– right from conception to opening it to the public. The hands-on experience, which is part of the program, was very valuable.”

Joan, who graduated from Fleming College in 1995, said she recommends this program because it is an excellent introduction to all facets of museology.

“What I appreciated most about the program was the practical skills that we learnt in addition to the theoretical background. It’s one thing to talk about how to do something and another to have the opportunity to learn by doing.”

22 years after graduating from Fleming College, Joan is now CEO of the Western Development Museum, which has four museum branches throughout Saskatchewan. Joan is responsible for providing strategic leadership and management in the areas of financial, risk and facilities management; board administration and support; fundraising; program and service delivery; people leadership and community relations.

Recently she amalgamated the collections, conservation, and research departments into a single curatorial department, which is a change Joan is proud to have implemented.  “The excitement the staff involved in this change are bringing to the process is incredibly rewarding,” she said. “It is amazing to see how much creativity and passion has been unleashed by bringing these departments together. Everyone is working more collaboratively and there is a real sense of purpose being shown by everyone in the department.”

Her advice to current students is to never stop learning. “Since graduating, I have continually worked to develop new skills and gain a greater understanding of governance, leadership and management,” said Joan.

“The skills and knowledge you gain through formal education is just the beginning,” she added. “I have been working for non-profits and museums for over 20 years and there is still so much more learning and development I can do to better serve my organization and our communities.”