Indigenous history on B.C.’s north coast and community building at Totem Park

In this episode we visit Anthropology professor Charles Menzies and dig into his extensive research on the Gitxaała First Nation on British Columbia’s north coast.


Professor Menzies’ book People of the Saltwater came out in August. It combines his anthropological research with personal stories about connecting with his own roots in the community.


The Gitxaała have lived continuously in the area — it’s in central B.C. a little south of Prince Rupert — for millennia. People of the Saltwater explores the changes that were wrought by industrialization and the Gitxaała’s ability to weather those changes within their community.


Professor Menzies asks some big questions about the role of Indigenous researchers at UBC and blew our minds a little by giving us a taste of the depth of our province’s history.

You can listen to our interview with Charles Menzies here

In this episode Brittany and our UBC Journalism colleague Dominika Lirette also dropped by a term paper study session in Totem dining hall to speak with Philosophy professor Michael Griffin about his role as Professor-in-Residence at Totem Park.


After we hear from Professor Griffin about the role of the Professor-in-Residence, we meet some first year students who all seem to be coping remarkably well at a stressful time of term.

Hear our conversation with Professor Griffin and the Totem first years here starting at around 21:30. 


Media innovation with Taylor Owen and artful documentary making with Nettie Wild


Taylor Owen‘s research and work concerns digital technology, journalism and public policy. In this episode of Arts on Air we look into the state of Canadian media, democracy in a digital age and new media innovations.

At UBC, Owen is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs. He’s a Senior Fellow at the Columbia Journalism School and founder and Editor of Open Canada, a Canadian online hub for international affairs.

On November 4, Owen and team host a Canadian Media Innovation Workshop. Topics covered by speakers include “Status of Canadian Legacy Media,” “The Rise of Platforms,” and the “Civic Role of Journalism Startups.” The day wraps up with a public event on the future of Canadian public media.

Listen to the interview here


UBC alumni and filmmaker Nettie Wild on horseback in the mountains of B.C.

This episode of Arts on Air also includes a conversation with filmmaker Nettie Wild about her documentary, KONELĪNE: our land beautiful. Wild is a triple major from UBC in film, drama and creative writing. She explains how her experience in theatre helps her with character work in her filmmaking and how KONELĪNE is a new kind of storytelling approach for her. Begin listening at 18:23 here.

In her conversation with Wild, Brittany learned about the interactive web component to this film and wrote a column about one of the dance artists involved for The Dance Current.

KONELĪNE screens in Vancouver at Vancity Theatre until November 10. For theatres elsewhere in the province, visit

Jessica Tracy on pride and the secret to human success


For the second episode of the season, we dropped by the Emotion and Self Lab in the Department of Psychology to chat with Professor Jessica Tracy about her new book Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success. Pride, says Professor Tracy, is the reason for almost everything we do — outside of the tasks necessary for basic survival, that is. We couldn’t resist asking a few questions about Donald Trump. And Professor Tracy offered us a few social media tips, too.

You can find Professor Tracy on Twitter at @ProfJessTracy.

We also popped into the School of Music this week to find out about their Wednesday Noon Hours — a weekly concert series that’s been running since 1967.

img_3820We spoke with School of Music Concerts and Communications Manager Laurie Townsend and saxophonist Steve Kaldestad. And we chatted with a few music students who came to see the show. You can find the full schedule for the Wednesday Noon Hours on the School of Music website.

And you can listen to the full episode on CiTR radio here.




Talking storytelling with award-winning journalist Deborah Campbell


The first episode of this season featured journalist and UBC Creative Writing professor Deborah Campbell talking about her new book, “A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War”.  Recently nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers Trust Non-Fiction Award, this story begins in 2007 after the fall of Saddam Hussein when Deborah was in Damascus capturing the refugee experience. Her Iraqi fixer in Syria, who became a good friend, suddenly disappears and Deborah works to figure out why and how to have her released.

Deborah will be making a few appearances at the Vancouver Writers Fest, which runs from October 17th to 23rd. And she’ll be at Green College here on campus for a reading on November 5th.

The season also started by hearing from Co-op Program students from the Faculty of Arts. International Relations students Ralph Tsang and Morrell Andrews shared their on-the-job learning curves and some advice for students next year.

Listen to the full episode on CiTR radio here.

Talking Babies and Language with Psychologist Janet Werker

DSC_1056This week Ira was joined by psychology professor Janet Werker to chat about her research on babies, speech and language as director of UBC’s Infant Studies Centre

Janet is one of the world’s leading developmental psychologists and Canada’s Research Chair in Psychology. Her 30-year career has focused on understanding the roots of language acquisition through studying speech in infants. Her research has revealed much about babies’ speech perception, acquisition of native speech sounds and how this supports early world learning.  For her contributions to the field and ongoing research, Janet was awarded the SSHRC 2015 Gold Medal Impact Award, SSHRC‘s highest distinction.

Her latest project is a collaboration with members from the Faculty of Linguistics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, which aims to create partnerships between researchers from different disciplines. The Language Sciences Initiative is a cross-disciplinary effort to broaden access to language sciences for all students.

You can hear more about Janet’s fascinating conversation with Ira here and catch Janet’s talk on bilingual babies at Science World on May 12. 


Student Series Part II: Carmen Miranda Barrios & Juan Hernandez

IMG_1361For the second and final episode of our Student Series, which profiles graduate students in the Faculty of Arts, Ira spoke with UBC Hispanic Studies students Carmen Miranda Barrios and Juan Hernandez.

Carmen is studying Latin American radio and media in a Canadian context. She is no stranger to the airwaves and has been volunteering as a radio producer for the past 15 years with the bilingual Spanish/English radio program America Latina al Dia. The show was created by Latin American expats in the 70s to discuss culture and current events in Canada and in their home countries. This experience inspired the subject of her PhD dissertation where she is exploring how the program has evolved and what is has meant and still means for the community.

Juan studies the portrayal of mining in Latin American literature. He is looking at how extractive industries are treated in short stories, novels and poems from Latin America; specifically those countries with mining in their history, such as Chile, Bolivia and Peru. It was his move to Vancouver that inspired Juan’s interest in this research topic.

Hear more of Ira’s conversation on with these two engaging PhD students here.


CiTR Fundrive

Arts on Air is excited to participate in CiTR’s annual fund rising campaign, Fundrive!

A substantial amount of CiTR’s operating budget comes from a small student fee levy, which means the bulk of the fundraising money gets used for new equipment and programs. Last year the money raised went to open the new studio in the UBC AMS Student Nest.

On-Air Fundrive: February 25 at 12:00 pm – March 3 at 9:30 pm

(accepting donations until Friday, March 18)

Goal: UBC Arts on Air is hoping to raise $500.00

How to pledge: Donate by phone: 604-822-8648 or Online

UBC Arts On Air LIVE show: Thursday, March 3: 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Donors who call the pledge line will receive the following gifts from us UBC Arts On Air and CiTR as a Thank You!

UBC Arts On Air Gift:

1, a change purse key chain from Chile – will go to the first person to donate $30.

2, a signed biography of Leonard Cohen – will go to the first person to donate $101.90.


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Thanks for listening to Arts on Air and we hope you’ll continue to support us and pledge.