What has the CUJAH been up to?

A glimpse at what the Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History has been working on

There’s no doubt that Zoom university makes it harder to engage in student life and feel like you’re a part of something. In an effort to make students feel more involved and aware of what student clubs are up to, we’ll be conducting a series of interviews with various student-run organizations.

The Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History (CUJAH) is a student-run association that aims to showcase the talents of Concordia’s Art History and Fine Arts students via the publishing of an annual journal and an art history conference.

CUJAH aims to provide students with opportunities, both professional and academic, by offering a variety of workshops.

“We also hold a variety of events throughout the year geared towards supporting students in their academic and professional development,” explained Kari Valmestad, CUJAH’s Editor-in-Chief.

Fortunately for the CUJAH, lockdown and work-from-home orders have not disrupted their process too much, seeing that most of their work is done digitally.

“A significant adjustment, and a crucial one, is that CUJAH implemented a board of directors for the first time in the student group’s history,” said Valmestad. “This was a very necessary amendment, and we are lucky to have a wonderful group of students who comprise our 2020-2021 board.”

Moreover, for the first time since it’s inaugural launch, their tenth annual edition of the conference will be held entirely online and their journal launch will not occur in-person.

“Although meeting in person is incomparable, there actually have been many advantages to having the conference virtually,” said Valmestad. “For example, Juliette Muth [CUJAH’s conference coordinator] has invited many speakers from outside of Montreal, whereby normally, we wouldn’t have the funding to fly out speakers to the city.”

Many scholars and artists will be joining from elsewhere, such as Dr. Sabrina Strings, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, whose research focuses on how race, sexuality, and class are “inscribed” in the body.

“Another pro to having the conference virtually is that anyone anywhere can attend,” said Valmestad.

Aside from their annual conference, CUJAH has been hosting a series of speaker events in collaboration with Concordia’s 4TH SPACE, a centre for research and experiential learning, and Yiara Magazine, an undergraduate feminist art publication based out of Concordia.

“Our first [event], which was on Jan. 13, was with the newly-hired art history professor Dr. Michelle McGeough who spoke about her research on Indigenous knowledge in art history and pushing beyond queering the art historical canon.”

The publication’s second webinar featured a conversation between artist and activist Esther Calixte-Bea and interdisciplinary artist Mahlet Cuff.

Viewers can watch recordings of both the first and second events on 4TH SPACE’s YouTube channel.

Their third and final event was moderated by Manitoba-based artist and curator Genevieve Farrell. The webinar featured curators and programmers from artist-run centres VIE D’ANGE, Groupe Intervention Vidéo, and the Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone (BACA).

Despite most of their content being digital this year, the publication still plans on producing a print issue for their tenth annual edition.

“Having a printed version, I consider to be really important, as not only do the essays, artwork, and graphic design work look so amazing in print, but we also want to have physical copies circulating and available to file in our own archives and those of Concordia and the BAnQ,” said Valmestad. “We will also have a digital version so that it is accessible to anyone interested in reading this year’s volume.”

Those interested in an executive team position at the Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History can expect callouts within the coming months. Editorial positions will be opening in the fall semester.

For more information about CUJAH’s upcoming annual conference on Feb. 20-21, or to know more about them follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Photos courtesy of CUJAH.

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