I’m still tripping up on the date in the top right corner of my notes. 2014 didn’t exist. Well, it did, but it went by so quickly I’m now afraid that the rest of my life is going to pass by this fast. I want to list some of the things I managed to accomplish in 2014 to give me some fuel in the coming January weeks when my body detoxes from holiday sugar, I get back on my bike, and hunker back down with my dissertation. In 2014 . . .

  • In April I ended my two-year stint as Coordinator of Play Chthonics: New Canadian Readings at Green College, UBC. I was proud to help bring so many amazing poets to Vancouver, including Catriona Strang, Ken Babstock, kevin mcphersen eckhoff + jake kennedy, and so many more. I also ended my stint as a Teaching Assistant at UBC as I venture off into the wild to finish my dissertation abroad.
  • My dissertation prospectus passed through my department’s graduate committee on the first try, making me a PhD Candidate (ABD) ready to make sense of the copious notes I have from the Western Front artist-run centre’s archives. I’m still working on that.
  • Curran and I flew to Calgary to visit his grandparents, then drove up to Edmonton for a friend’s wedding and to visit the Folkers family.
  • I was flown out to Newfoundland for two weeks for the Sound Symposium and the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) Summer Institute where I participated in their Think-Tank and met so many amazing musicians, artists, and academics. I also took great recordings of Atlantic waves, dangled my feet of the easternmost tip of North America, and improvised with free-jazz legend William Parker from Brooklyn.
  • I also published Steel Bananas’ second season of artist books, all of which have been selling well. One of them (Anna’s) even sold out! We’re considering a second printing later in 2015. Along with the book publications we produced come here, go away, a free print photozine we scattered around Vancouver, the beautiful full colour print folio #CDNART: Curran Folkers in Conversation with Ten Contemporary Artists in Canada, and I continued to work on sound works for Lucy, the series of works I started in 2013 on cultural memory. All in all it was a busy year on the SB front.
  • I visited Toronto for a month between Vancouver and Leeds, where I visited my family and friends, hawked books at Zine Dream 7 and at our big, packed Toronto launch at 3030 Dundas West in the Junction.
  • While in Toronto, I appeared in my last — for a while, not ever — North American piece of performance art (“Demons“) with my friend Neal Alexander Armstrong at the Propeller Centre for Visual Arts on Queen Street, part of the <IMG>Forums: Images From the Internet exhibition. They just moved from that location to the Artscape Triangle Lofts so I was happy to roll around in their old location before they left.
  • In late August I MOVED TO ENGLAND. I now live in Leeds, close to Kirkstall Abbey historical site in a little Victorian terraced house. I brought my cat, dog, and of course my husband. Curran is pursuing Law School at the University of Leeds (and doing very well) so we’re up here for a year or two as he applies for training contracts in London. I’m hoping to get a position in London or within commutable distance from London so we can keep building our empire.

When I actually write it out like that it seems so much busier than it felt. Most of the time I slaved over the first chapter of my dissertation and chipped away at articles, sat quietly watching mini-DVs in the Western Front artist-run centre, or laboured over boxes of the WF’s archive in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections. Now, far removed from Vancouver but swimming in notes, photos, and recordings, I have only a few simple goals for 2015:

  • FINISH MY DISSERTATION. It can be done.
  • Write at least three more articles to submit to academic journals.
  • Take up a completely new craft. Currently I’m leaning toward ceramics. Ceramic cats, anyone?
  • Learn to drive. OK, I may have driven a little bit illegally in Canada (when I was young and dumb and crazy, I’m only two of those things now).

Really, the goals for 2015 will be to set myself up for the very important years to come. My SSHRC Fellowship runs out close to the end of this year and I want to hit the job market possibly lecturing while pursuing post-doctoral positions. Curran graduates in 2016 and is fighting it out to get a Trainee Solicitor position — the UK equivalent to articling — at a London firm, something for which he’s already applying. It has been our long term strategy to end up in a larger city that could support both of our careers and keep us in the same locale. Since there will be lots of work in both our fields in and around the area, London is a pretty good bet. Sure, I’m looking in other European countries too (I love the Netherlands) but chances are we’ll be in London with degrees in hand. 2015 is the year of hunkering down and finishing what I started in Vancouver in 2011 to get to where I want to be in London in 2016. GOALS.

Me, mid-laugh in my dissertation corner // Leeds, 2015

Me, mid-laugh in my dissertation corner // Leeds, 2015

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