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Subversions: Vanier’s English Symposium News 

Subversions: Vanier’s English Symposium

To subvert is, essentially, to rebel, to overthrow the powerful by being different, and by breaking the rules. Subversions can cause revolutions, leading to innovation – innovation that is fueled by creativity. This semester, Vanier College’s English Department highlighted such authentic creativity in hosting a four day event entitled “Subversions: A Symposium”, which took place from October 27th through to the 30th. Featuring hip-hop artists, authors, video game producers, and other such creators whose works push boundaries, putting forth new ideas that move away from traditions of literature and other art forms.

Teamwork was demonstrated in many of the presentations, as artists came together to discuss their reality, and their innovation in the multiple panels that were held throughout the event. This year’s symposium included guest speakers such as Tanya X. Short, Samantha Cook, and Kim Hoang, women who are in the business of producing video games, who shared their experience of working in a male-dominated industry over a discussion panel. Billy Mavreas, Meags Fitzgerald, and Walter Scott, three popular graphic novelists, told the audience about their progress in the quickly-growing industry of comic books, a world in which pictures and words blend together to tell stories in an original, amusing fashion. Acclaimed authors Jo Walton, Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, and Claude Lalumière talked about their creative process in writing speculative fiction, mentioning how it can be easier to break rules and push literary limits when the story one is telling takes place in an entirely made-up reality. Stand-up comediennes, Jess Salomon and Eman El-Husseini, introduced their perspective on the controversy involved in writing comedy, and the ethical debates that come with it.
One of Vanier’s own professors gave a talk during the symposium entitled “Confabulation: Personal Stories Performed”. Professor Matt Goldberg used his stage time to remind the audience that everybody has their own stories worth telling. He creates, produces, and hosts Confabulation events, and the Confabulation blog, aiming to put people into the habit of talking about their lives in a more lengthy way than simply sharing a tidbit of their day that was particularly interesting by showcasing true stories told by real people. Chasing the runaway thread that is a world of embellished stories and idealized truths. Confabulation brings the art of storytelling back to its roots of passing on real-life moments orally; a real literary subversion!

Written By: Katherine Willcocks

Originally Published: December 2015

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