Fellowship showcase event at Lakeshore shines light on student work

Feb 9, 2023 | Arts, Campus News

From playing toy instruments in childhood to performing at Aga Khan Museum, Adina Vlasov has had a long journey as a musician, and it all started with a fellowship. A fellowship that gave her the tools and space to do what she loved most.

“After high school, I took a break – but I realized how much I was missing music, it’s the best expressive vehicle that I could find, for others that might be visual art, or it might be dance. But for me, it was always music and – that one year of not having it made me realize how much I missed it,” she said.

Vlasov was one of the former fellows of Humber’s Intercultural & Creative Music Fellowship to present at an event showcasing their work. It was held by Humber Galleries in collaboration with Humber’s Centre for Creative Business Innovation (CCBI) at the Lakeshore campus.

Vlasov played guitar and provided vocals as they performed their self-composed music that was first commissioned for a showcase at the Aga Khan Museum.

A fellowship acts as a scholarship for those who have earned a degree and are moving forward to additional education – usually fully funded, it gives students a chance to complete hyper-specialized training normally not available to them.

The Aga Khan Museum project gave students a platform to create multimedia a project focused on Islamic history, music, and art while working together with a creative producer and project lead guiding them.

Vlasov maintains it was an opportunity to grow as an artist and expand her horizon of what’s possible. Working with six musicians and three filmmakers, Vlasov was given the opportunity to create an audiovisual project that illuminates their individual talents.

“The arts landscape is a ton of connection through different mediums. For example working with people in film, like the audiovisual worlds are so connected now so that was really nice,” she said. “Plus the opportunity to work within a group because a lot of music can be you in your room composing on headphones so the skills to hear other people’s ideas and collectively build a project is something relatively unique to the fellowship.”

“In our fellowship’s case, it was also the Aga Khan Museum that was supporting us financially. That is just very affirming – the value of the arts and the value of what we’re creating,” Vlasov said. “The people I met through the fellowship and in a broader sense just through Humber, I know that I’ll be working with them long into the future.”

The showcase showed work from five other fellowships such as the Indigenous Transmedia Fellowship 2021 & 2022, and Tiny T.O. Fellowship.

May Nguyen, an industrial design graduate from Humber College, is now the project lead at Tiny T.O., but first she began as an intern for two summers during her fellowship.

May Nguyen presenting the benefits and opportunities of Tiny T.O's internship at the Lakeshore campus event.

May Nguyen presenting the benefits and opportunities of Tiny T.O's internship at the Lakeshore campus event. Photo credit: Nathan Abraha

The fellowship is born through a collaboration between Humber College and the city of Toronto to reimagine the physical Tiny T.O. model located in the Toronto City Hall. The project is meant to better reflect the everchanging city we live in.

“The process was anything you can imagine, just kind of bring it out, pitch it to the city of Toronto and then they will either approve or disapprove or try to build upon what we wanted to do,” Nguyen said. “And then for the second year, we actually got to make the model and now we have three tiles inside of City Hall.”

Outside this project, Tiny T.O. works to support financially attainable through its projects that advocate for environmentally sustainable lifestyles and housing.

Nguyen sees herself as having grown tremendously through the fellowship and internships.

“Working face to face with clients. That’s one of the biggest positives that I’ve been able to do and build upon because I’m not very good with public speaking. But this internship has kind of forced me to be front face and understand I know what I’m talking about,” she said.

There was certainly something special about being in-person according to Casey Norris, project lead for Humber Galleries and Humber’s Centre for Creative Business Innovation (CCBI).

“The fellowships are relatively new. And we started them during the pandemic so this is the first time we’ve really been able to showcase them all together in one room in person,” Norris said. “So we’ve been really lucky to bring them all back.”

Norris views the event as being a natural celebration of the work of the students who are gearing up to end their fellowships as well as a preview for future potential fellows.

“This ties in with the launch of our 2023 fellowship program, we actually opened applications for all six of the fellowships presented here eight days ago,” Norris said. “So basically part of this event was to show what the students can create in the end.”

Anastasiya Lutsyshyn, project coordinator at CCBI feels like one of the benefits of this event is the connection between the different fellowships

“Connecting with people from different fellowships is great because then you can learn more about other processes. For example, if filmmakers connect to game developers, and they brainstorm you never know what a great story be made out of that,” she said. “So networking is a really big opportunity.”

“Having a fellowship which is inside the working environment, which gives professional growth, but at the same time is connected to the university is really valuable,” she said. “You are connected to people who are within the industry and who know the answers to the questions that may arise. It makes you feel more comfortable and confident in your work.”