Tag Archives: College of Arts

Maurice Askew (1921-2020)

10th March 2020

By the time Maurice came to New Zealand to teach Design at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1962, he had already amassed a lifetime of adventures and a long legacy of ground-breaking creative work.

As an RAF flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers during World War Two, he was shot down over Germany in 1944. Parachuting into a field of snow, he spent the next year and a half marching from one Prisoner of War camp to another. With his wry sense of humour, he once told me that he “…had seen enough of Germany… I don’t feel the need to go back again.”

After the war he had the opportunity, like so many demobbed soldiers, to retrain rather than go back to the old Anglepoise lamp factory that he worked in before his enlistment. He now had the chance to go to art school and follow his love for design and drawing. Subsequently, in the early 1950’s, he was employed by the fledgling Granada Television Studios where he created award-winning animations and amongst other things, was the set designer for the iconic Coronation Street television series.

Teaching was one of Maurice’s passions throughout his life and, in the early sixties, along with Doris his wife and a young family, he embarked on yet another challenge to sail to the other side of the world, to the University of Canterbury and to make Christchurch his new home.

His influence on the shift of design thinking in New Zealand in the 1960’s has been highly underrated but can be seen most strikingly in a series of decimal currency stamps from 1971 especially if compared to earlier designs. Here, Maurice was part of the winning design team alongside a number of recent graduates. During this time he worked on many other design projects such as the University of Canterbury Centenary and the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch. The 1970’s was also a time when the Court Theatre evolved and part of their success was due to the vibrant theatre sets designed by Maurice.

By 1975 the demand by his students for film-making was so great that a separate Film Studio at Ilam was created. It remains arguably the oldest Film School in the country and I am very proud to say that it is still going strong today. Amongst its early students, it included NZ directors Vincent Ward and Gaylene Preston as well as the famous Australian producer Timothy White.

Maurice retired from UC in early 1981 and started yet another creative chapter in his life illustrating a number of children’s books and developing his distinctive watercolour style as he rendered striking landscapes locally, and from all over the world.

It is during this time that I first met Maurice who was still heavily involved in the Canterbury Film Society that he revitalised in the 1960’s. I will always remember his wonderful sense of humour and his kind, gentle and generous mentoring which stayed with him right until the end.

John Chrisstoffels
Senior Lecturer in Film
School of Fine Arts

Antigua Boatsheds 1990 M.V.Askew

Food for Thought | Day One – Associate Professor Peter Field

‘Food for Thought’ is a five-day series of 15-minute talks in Ōtautahi Christchurch so people can feed their minds while filling their tummies. Did you catch the story about it on Stuff?

Aimed at bringing the best of UC to the city, every day at midday from 9 – 13 December UC academics will be down at Riverside Market to cover a wide variety of exciting topics, from space to nutrition and mental wellbeing. See the full timetable of upcoming events throughout the week on UC Facebook>

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Yesterday’s speaker was Associate Professor Peter Field, who gave an engaging talk about higher education in the age of the smartphone.

TuneSoc provided music entertainment afterwards to end what was an interesting, funny and engaging way to engage with our audience in the city.

Keep up to date with the next ones throughout the week on UC Facebook, or head down and have yourself an informative lunch!

Campus Experiences for Kids

During the October school holidays the Children’s University team ran 5 campus experience events at UC, Lincoln University and ARA. These experiences allow children and their parents the opportunity to participate in fun, educational activities on campus.

The two UC experiences were hosted by the College of Arts and the College of Science and activities included a drumming workshop, exploring the Teece Museum, learning about the brain and communication, checking out biological sciences displays and an activity with the Centre for Entrepreneurship. Thank you to the academics and students who ran the activities.

If you would like to be involved with the Children’s University programme in 2020 please contact Amy on amy.underdown@canterbury.ac.nz.

 

       

All music students take to stage for Sing! Sing! Sing!

For the second year running UC Music has partnered with The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora to present a series of concerts in the beautiful Great Hall.

Sing! Sing! Sing! will be performed on Sunday October 13 at 2pm. This concert marks the final in this series for 2019, and will feature just about all of our performance music students on stage at the same time!

The programme includes two main works: The Old Maid & the Thief by Menotti and Artificial Life by George Lewis.

The Old Maid & the Thief is a 1950’s radio play that is staged before your eyes, complete with divas, sound effects, and era appropriate commercials composed by School of Music composers. It tells the story of an old maid who takes a young, attractive man into her house, causing scandal in the neighbourhood. The resulting chaos is both entertaining and absurd!

Two of the UC vocal students playing key roles in The Old Maid & the Thief are Hayley Tait, in the role of Miss Todd, and Yumeka Hildreth playing Leticia, the maid. Both singers can’t wait for another opportunity to perform in their favourite venue, The Great Hall.

Hayley says the sound in the hall can’t be beaten. “You just look up and it goes all the way to the back of the room! My voice sounds triple the size; I can hear it roaring in there!” Yumeka agrees, “It’s super easy to sing in there. You don’t have to push, it’s just effortless.”

They both find The Old Maid & the Thief a satisfying challenge. For Hayley it was her first opportunity to perform a work that challenged her theatrically. “I’ve never been able to get into a role where I can act so that was really nerve wracking for me. Being able to build on that was so much fun!” Yumeka was also challenged by the acting elements, as well as memorising such a significant work. “It takes so much time to get it into your body, so it’s been a real challenge for my time management.”

The remainder of the programme will be a performance of Artificial Life by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and jazz trombonist, George Lewis. Performed from an interactive score, this work can be performed by any number of players on any type of instrument; no two performances are the same. UC performance music students have been working towards a public performance of this work for the second half of the year, and no doubt what they produce at this concert will be unique, special and exciting!

Musicians are personally and collectively responsible for the sonic environment they create in this work; balancing personal freedom with the challenge of listening and responding to their fellow musicians. Students describe the work as “full of rapid changes, with moments of fun, as well as sudden silence and dramatic dynamics.” The score requires students to make smart decisions and follow the direction the music is taking them. Come and see what they have in store for you at Sing! Sing! Sing!

Tickets are $20 for waged, $10 for unwaged and are on sale now. You can purchase in advance via the Arts Centre’s website or at the door on the day of the concert.

Congratulations Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland

Congratulations to Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland who has been awarded the prestigious Barwise Prize by the American Philosophical Association.

The Barwise Prize is awarded for significant and sustained contributions to areas relevant to philosophy and computing, and is recognition of lifelong efforts in this field.

Jack works on the philosophy and foundations of computing, on mathematical logic, and on the philosophy of mind and Artificial Intelligence. We asked him to share his response to receiving the award.

Q. What does it mean to you to win this award?
A: I’m delighted. It’s a big thing, a prize from the American Philosophical Association, who are the main professional body in the US. Normally they give the prizes to Americans, so it’s great to see New Zealand getting a look in.

Q. Why you are passionate/interested in this area?
A: The philosophy of computing has a significant and substantial contribution to make to our understanding of the leading technology of our time. My thanks to UC for providing such a research-friendly environment. We are very lucky.