Arts Arts and Culture Community Student Life

This week’s opportunities for fine arts students

Looking to start building up your CV? Check out these upcoming opportunities for emerging artists, including callouts, job listings, networking events and more!


Éric Lamontagne’s “The nature of silent things” is currently on view at Art Mûr (5826, rue St-Hubert), and will be ongoing until Feb. 24. Lamontagne’s careful interventions into the surface of his landscape paintings raise some interesting questions regarding the nature of a painting as a mutable object.

OBORO gallery is currently showing “Disobedient Matter” as part of the second edition of Af-flux, Biennale transnationale noire. The group show was curated by Olivier Marboeuf and will be installed until March 16.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the McCord Stewart museum will be hosting a fashion show, co-curated by Armando Perla, chief curator at the Textile Museum of Canada, and Jason Baerg, multidisciplinary Métis artist and Indigenous futurist, titled “kisewâtisiw myootootow—S/he is Mercifully.” The show will take place throughout the museum’s galleries and will highlight and celebrate Indigenous creativity. Tickets are only $5 for students and free for members of Indigenous communities! 

Open Calls

The Mile End’s Gallery Diagonale is inviting curators, artists and theorists to submit their work for the gallery’s 2025-2026 programming. They are particularly interested in projects concerned with fibres. Submissions will be open until Feb. 29. Learn more about their guidelines on their website here

C Magazine has issued an invitation for its readers to submit 100-400-word letters to the editor in response to their most recent publication, issue 156 “CRAFT.” Letters that are selected will be published in the next issue coming out in the spring, and will earn a $100 honorarium. Send your letters to by Feb. 25.

The call for applications for the Summer 2024 Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Awards (CUSRA) has been announced! The award, worth $8,120 for 15 weeks of full-time research, is meant to provide students with the opportunity to spend their summer working on a project supervised by a full-time faculty member. The deadline to submit your application materials is Feb. 26, and you can find more information here.

Opportunities at The Concordian!

Want to see your artwork featured in the paper? Submit to the Concordian Arts & Culture section! Our artist spotlight series provides a space for Concordia’s fine arts students to showcase their recent artwork. Send your poetry, photography, digital art, films, or documentation of physical works or performances along with a brief biography (100 words) and an artist’s statement (250 words) to for a chance to be featured in print! 

Are you a graphic designer or illustrator? We are looking for artists to create original illustrations to accompany our creative writing submissions. If you are interested in illustrating poetry, prose, short fiction and creative nonfiction, please submit up to five examples of your work to to be considered for assignments.

Email our Arts & Culture Editor Emma Bell for more information at


CFBA: The student source for all things fashion business

The CSU organization is the on-campus remedy for all your vogue cravings

The Concordia Fashion Business Association (CFBA) was founded in 2017 in order to connect student fashion enthusiasts to the industry by providing events, cocktails, talks, and mentorship involving experienced professionals in the field.  

The CFBA isn’t “just about networking with professionals, but other students as well because there aren’t any means provided by the school to do that,” mentioned CFBA co-president Sydnee Grill. 

Last year featured the first appearance of the Cocktails & Connections event held at Apt. 200, where the turnout of business-professional guests and student attendees alike surpassed expectations. The guest speaker for the night was Zach Macklovitch, co-founder of Saintwoods. 

“This year we want to do it bigger and better because we won’t have to worry about the vaxicode,” said Grill, “and we have a much higher cap on the amount of people who can attend the venue.”

Before 2021, the CFBA only held one or two of these events per year. Fashion Conversations was the recurring activity, which won an award for Best Virtual Event 2020-21 from the CSU. The fashion conference includes different events involving several speakers, workshops and a session after a cocktail event for recruiters to talk to students.

The club will also participate in Fashion Spectrum, a Quebec-wide case competition for all universities. The deadline to enter is Nov. 14 for students who want to get involved and enhance their skills in fashion and business. The competition is from Jan. 13 through 16, and the team will meet weekly with fashion mentors in order to prepare. 

As for the weekly timings, the CFBA meets once a week on Sundays for a general meeting. Closer to an event, many more meetings and a lot more work and time is put in.  

“At that point the events team is planning, the business relations team is reaching out to sponsors and speakers inviting guests and the social media team is pumping out all the content for that event,” said Grill.

“In the past, websites have been the main source to find business information. Now, Instagram is the top platform to keep consumers up to date, whether it’s student-run or professionally run,” added the co-president.

This year, the club’s new content creator Lucie Sarrazin created and posted a video on “what Concordia students are wearing” that garnered almost 50,000 views on Instagram. From that video, the club gained around 300 new followers in a matter of two weeks — more than what they gained throughout all of last year. 

“If you don’t go out and seek us out, the only other place you’re going to find us apart from going straight to our website is finding us on the CSU clubs website page. Every time someone new finds us, they’re amazed at how they’ve never heard of us,” Grill said.

Stay tuned for late April activities involving Concordia-based businesses and possible thrifting. 

This Nov. 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., students who attend the event at Apt. 200 will be able to network with each other and business-professional guests over food and drinks. The event will also feature a main guest speaker who will speak for 30 to 45 minutes.

Student Life

A winter semester to-do list

Once, long ago, I was a good student.

After a gap year spent working in the hellscape that is retail, I returned to university with a newfound sense of purpose and drive. Diligent and methodical in my approach, I attended every lecture, read every reading, climbed every mountain, and completed every assignment on time. Coincidentally, my grades looked pretty good throughout the entire process. Who knew?

I like to refer to this time as the golden period of my academic career. In the years that followed — the dark ages, if you will — I admittedly fell out of touch with my good habits. As my motivation diminished, so did my GPA and my mental and physical health.

Thankfully, it’s a new semester, a new year, and a new decade. In the spirit of new beginnings, I’ve consulted with fellow students and reflected on some of my old habits in order to compile a list of six tips to help me (and maybe you) get back on track this semester. So, without further ado, let my academic renaissance begin!


Start while you’re ahead 

When your professors provide assignment instructions weeks in advance, it’s usually because they want you to use that time to your benefit. This is something I tend to forget (or maybe the better word is ignore). When someone does make use of this time, however, they tend to be considerably less stressed and produce higher quality work, so get cracking!

Schedule everything

This approach might not work for everyone, but it certainly does for me. It’s in my nature to be scatterbrained and impulsive, so by setting a clear schedule for myself, I’m less likely to lose my focus. For me, this means being really specific about what I study and when. Blocking off my Saturday afternoon for general schoolwork is too vague — I need to block off Saturday 12:00-2:30 for working on my paper and 2:30-4:00 for reading and review. This schedule is subject to change, of course, but it helps me hold myself accountable.

Get friendly

Knowing at least one person in each of your classes can be extremely helpful. Whether you need a fresh perspective on some tricky material or to copy someone’s notes when you’ve missed a class, it’s never a bad idea to introduce yourself to a classmate. The same goes for your professors and TAs — the more recognizable you are, the more likely they are to help you when you’re in a tough spot. Get to know your professors by participating in class discussions and using their office hours, if possible.

Know your limits and make them known

As I sat down to outline this portion of the article, for some reason all I could think about was an episode of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned discovers he doesn’t know how to say ‘no’ to people, and he becomes so overwhelmed with responsibilities that he descends into a state of what can only be described as all-consuming madness. (This memory is lodged deep within the recesses of my brain, so I could be exaggerating some of the details here).

Save yourself the stress and know when enough is enough. Even if it means turning down a social event or a special project, there is no shame in being open and transparent about your boundaries! Despite the lame quotes business majors may share on Facebook, overworking and pushing yourself to extremes can be harmful to you in the long run (don’t @ me!).

Take care of yourself, goddammit

I know, I know, this one gets thrown around all the time, but it’s true. Getting adequate sleep, nourishing and moving your body, and not binge drinking wine coolers every other night is extremely important. Taking care of yourself also means taking care of your environment — so do your laundry and your dishes, folks.

These are added stressors that are easily dealt with, so you might as well just get them out of the way. I hate to say it, but this is the step I and many others struggle with the most, and it’s arguably the most crucial of all. Baby steps, everybody.

Use the resources available My last tip is to take advantage of the many services Concordia offers. The Student Success Centre, for example, can hook you up with tutoring, study groups, and workshops. If you struggle with writing, make an appointment for writing assistance or attend a drop-in time. Go to office hours, take a breather in one of the many Zen Dens on campus, and consult a librarian to help you with your research. There are so many systems in place that can help make your semester run more smoothly. Remember, you’re paying the big bucks to be here, so milk it!

Graphic by @sundaeghost


Networking: not just for entrepreneurs

Discover emerging artists at DécouvART 

I have been to many vernissages and gallery openings. They are all more or less the same; upbeat music plays on a sound system – or a DJ, usually a friend of the artist, plays a live set – the crowd consists of young creatives and their friends or a well-established artist and middle-aged art enthusiasts looking to purchase a work or pass the time. While lively, these events are generally not like anything you see on TV.

The second edition of DécouvART, however, was very much like something out of an episode of Sex and the City, Gossip Girl or any show who’s premise evolves around Manhattan’s elite. Upon entering into the lobby elevator, one could hear loud, upbeat electronic music, played by a DJ. Cameras flashed continuously as photographers captured artists posing in front of their works, and groups of young people stood poised, cocktails in hand, as they conversed.

As the name DécouvART suggests, the space was provided as a place for discovery of current happenings in the Montreal art milieu and aimed to promote emerging artists in Quebec. Held at Gallery Gora, the event was hosted by Fondation Proaction International, whose mission is to support artists as a means of enriching the arts and culture sector.

The featured works were selected among artist applications and included painting, sculpture and photography. Collectors, gallery owners, agents and Quebec’s minister of culture were among the invited guests. Attendees were invited to vote for the best artist and were given the opportunity to win up to $10,000 in prizes.

Karine Demers’ Pliage 63/Architecture consisted of black and white pieces of paper, folded geometrically, and assembled to form various shapes. The origami-like work changed colours depending on the angle from which it was being observed; a peach tone if looking from the right, and a bright yellow from the left.

Alexis Couzino’s series of three works named Nage Macabre consisted of black velvet mounted on canvas and sequined silver fish. The work offered a representation of the current state of the oceans, as caused by society, and the romanticized beauty of the world, which is gradually being destroyed.

The variety of innovative artworks, the large crowd and upscale environment of DécouvART demonstrated that networking events don’t have to be exclusively for entrepreneurs. The overall reach and presence of the press seemed to promise opportunity for emerging artists in the Montreal area. While it is another topic to be had, DécouvART helped contribute to the idea that there should be a reward for creative work.

After all, exposure doesn’t pay the bills.

For more information about Fondation Proaction International and upcoming DécouvART events, you can visit their website at


Photo by Brittany Clarke

Student Life

Beyond the business benefits of JMUCC

Non-business students attending Case Competition walk away inspired

While you need to be a business student to join the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC), you do not have to be a business student to reap the benefits it has to offer.

Last week, 24 universities from around the world came to the 11th edition of the JMUCC. During the competition, teams of four are presented with a real case from a local business where, in three hours, they must identify a problem and create an action plan how they intend to solve it. Contestants must present their ideas through a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges in 20 minutes, after which they will face a 10-minute question period. Teams did this three times from Feb. 25 to 27, and then completed a 24-hour long business case on Saturday. The event is open to the public to watch for free or live online. Students from all business disciplines are allowed to compete—but what about non-business students?

“This whole experience is about not just cracking a case, but it’s also about how you develop that business thinking that’s so crucial and so important to all the programs that people are studying,” said Kawish Lakhani, a tech volunteer for the event.

The John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition (JMUCC) was held at Hotel Bonaventure at 900 Rue de la Gauchetière from Feb. 25 to 27, with the final day on March 2. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

During presentations, guests witness how teams have worked together by putting forward their individual skill sets. Students can learn valuable presentation skills like voice projection, concise phrasing and developing unique presentation styles. Most importantly, students can learn to have fun while developing new skills; a mix many students deem impossible when presenting. Seham Allison, a contestant for Concordia, did just that by laughing with the judges at her tongue-tied moment when she tried to say the word “compensation.”  As an added bonus, with the 10-minute question period, students can see how participants think quickly on their feet—a skill they can use for future job interviews.

Concordia contestant Mathieu Kost brought up a different point of view. He expressed the limitations for non-business students visiting the event, as they do not have access to read the cases beforehand and therefore would not be able to understand and learn fully. However, he did mention that there are benefits for students who own businesses as they could learn “tangible actions that don’t cost too much money […] and then replicate that specific piece of recommendation in their business.”

For those who wish to travel or pursue careers elsewhere, they must know beforehand that every culture thinks differently, especially in a work setting. Students participating in the competition come from Canada, the United States, China, England, Ireland and more. “You can see there’s a cultural difference in how we look at issues, how we solve problems, what we prioritize as a primary issue,” said John Fragos, a member of the Concordia team.

“You can bond with a bunch of JMSB students that you wouldn’t necessarily get to meet if it weren’t for JMUCC, and meet people from all around the world,” said Julia Wheeler, the VP of logistics for the event. Due to the large amount of international students present, an extensive list of companies sponsor the event, such as RBC, CN, Ardene and IBM, to name a few. Students can make connections that can help them in their personal or business-related endeavors.

“It’s inspirational,” said Kevin Phok, a member of the Concordia team. At JMUCC, students from all domains can be inspired and educated. These professional skill sets can be applied to their own lives since, after all, when you’re an entrepreneur, everything is a business opportunity.

Student Life

Taking time off to follow your passion

Michel Zhao opted out of cell biology to expand interior design business

It all started with boredom and a timeless desire to make money. Concordia student Michael Zhao realized that, despite his love for cell biology, he wanted to do more than study.

“I was really bored, and looking for a job didn’t seem fun for me,” said Zhao. “I think it’s very important to have fun doing something.”

Last March, Zhao began a project he thought would be a good step toward a lifestyle he felt comfortable with—interior design supply. Zhao is now the middleman in the world of interior design, the link between supply and demand, dealing with furniture, textiles and decorations.

“Right now, we’re doing a lot of old French styles, like châteaus,” said Zhao. “People see this hundred-of-years-old chandelier and say ‘I want that,’ and I find someone who can replicate or create it with whatever changes they want.”

Zhao’s fascination with symbolism, paired with a bit of Versace influence led him to name his company Arachne. The name is taken from a Greek myth in which a talented weaver is turned into a spider after losing to Athena in a weaving contest.

“A lot of things we do are textiles, and Arachne, as in spiders, they weave, right?” Zhao explained with a smile. “And I chose the logo based on that.”

The black and gold logo is a spider shaped like Spider-Man, sharp-edged with long legs and a small body. Two olive leaves symbolizing Athena surround the spider. “The inspiration came from Versace and their black and gold Medusa,” said Zhao. “The idea is I want to make something so beautiful that it will stun everyone that sees it.”

Right now, Zhao is the company’s only employee. But, when addressing his customers, he believes it’s important to use the pronoun “we,” to establish a form of trust and wholeness for both the customers and suppliers he works with. “I’m the guy who finds all the manufacturers and gets them to work together,” Zhao said. “It’s basically a distribution and collection thing, and there’s more than one party involved.”

When it comes to marketing himself, Zhao targets smaller companies that would not necessarily have the means to hire a full-time middleman. “For them, it’s better to work with an outsider than to hire someone because I take the risk,” said Zhao. “If I’m an employee at their company, even if it’s my fault, the company is still held responsible. By outsourcing it to me, it’s never the company’s fault.”

One of his most notable projects this year was a Quebec City home, which the owner wanted to emulate a “princess castle.” “Crystals [were] everywhere,” Zhao said with a smile. “She wanted her visitors to have their heels click to crystal on the floors.”

Zhao makes money from each project and, according to him, he has made about $50,000 since his first.

Although he has yet to establish an online presence, Zhao has been on the road meeting with people and companies at interior design expos, cocktail parties and networking events.

Sticking to business cards with an email and a phone number, Zhao continues to strengthen his business locally and internationally. His latest project is in Los Angeles. “It makes me happy that I can sleep in,” Zhao said with a laugh.

Feature image by Fatima Dia

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