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Archival description
School for the Contemporary Arts fonds Sub-series
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Departmental correspondence - general

Series consists of the Director's correspondence relating to general departmental matters not falling under a more specific category. Activities and topics documented include use of facilities, visiting faculty and artists, special events and receptions, faculty and student relations, course preparation, enrollment, and the Mini University program. Records include correspondence, department-wide memoranda, and reports.

Departmental correspondence - Art Gallery

This series consists of the Director's correspondence with the Art Gallery during the period when the Gallery reported to the Director. Activities and events documented include exhibits, acquisitions, budget planning and funding, position work responsibilities, and space planning. Records include correspondence, reports and statistics (including Annual Reports for 1981 and 1982 in files 6 and 7 respectively), acquisition lists, media releases, exhibit schedules, policies, presentations, and job descriptions.

Departmental correspondence - Visual Art program

This series consists of the Director's correspondence relating to the administration of the Visual Art program. Activities and topics documented include the establishment of the program, curriculum and policy development, management of Visual Art facilities, job responsibilities, equipment management, and budget planning. Records include correspondence and reports; budget papers; course and program proposals and descriptions; job descriptions; and agreements and legal opinions.

Departmental correspondence - Film program

This series consists of the Director's correspondence relating to the administration of the Film program. Activities and topics documented include the establishment of the program, curriculum and policy development, faculty relations, meetings of the Film Area committee, budget planning, screenings and distribution of student film productions, the establishment of the Praxis Institute, student exchange programs, and equipment management. Records include correspondence, reports, program proposals, course descriptions, meeting agendas and minutes, budget papers, film schedules and descriptions, and reference material.

University correspondence

Series consists of the Director's correspondence with other university departments. Activities and topics documented include development of the Arts Administration program within Continuing Studies, Faculty of Education meetings (reflecting the earlier Centre's administrative placement within this Faculty), reviews of program proposals by the University of British Columbia (included in correspondence with the Vice-President, Academic), the support campaign for the School (then the Centre for the Arts) in the face of large budget cuts in 1984-85, the School's participation in the university's Prison Education Program, and a study of the university Library's support of contemporary arts. Records include correspondence, reports, proposals, budgets and budget working papers, notes, bibliographies, CVs, mailing lists, questionnaires, reprints and other reference material.

Course guides

Series consists of the Course Guides published semiannually by the School, typically one for the fall and spring semesters (semesters 3 and 1) and one for the summer semester (semester 2). The Guides describe the School, its programs and the courses offered.

Brochures, booklets and posters

Sub-series consists of graphic materials and booklets relating to the productions and programs of the School and its predecessors. Records include brochures, season catalogues (a series of booklets describing public programming events, 1965-1974), posters and prints. Among the records are an autographed poster signed by five members of the visiting Royal Shakespeare Companey (item 1) and 19 prints collected from the 1960s San Francisco - Berkeley, California area, including posters for performances by the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, Captain Beefheart, and various theatre productions at the University of California Berkeley campus (file 3).


Sub-series consists of newsletters created by the School and its predecessors; includes the student newsletter Horse Sheet (1969), the Centre for the Arts newsletter (1982), the School for Contemporary Arts Newsletter (SCAN, 1996-1998), and the Praxis Centre newsletter (1997-1999).

Summer Symposium files

This sub-series consists of records relating to the planning, organization and delivery of the Summer Symposiums. Activities documented include planning, development of workshop content, student evaluation of the program, and final reporting. Records include correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, schedules and outlines, budgets and financial working papers, evaluation forms.

Summer Institute files

This sub-series consists of records relating to the planning, organization and delivery of the Summer Institutes. Activities documented include planning, funding, hiring of instructors, publicity and media relations, development of workshop content, review and reporting. Records include program descriptions, schedules and reading lists, correspondence, proposals, meeting minutes, reports, budgets and financial papers, funding proposals and grant applications, letters of appointments, invoices, cheque requisition forms, expense statements, media releases, programs and flyers.

Dido and Aeneas opera files

Sub-series consists of records relating to the production and performance of the opera Dido and Aeneas by the English composer Henry Purcell. Activities documented include production design, financing, program and score, and publicity. Records include set and costume design sketches, rehearsal schedules, stage plans, stage lighting schedules, event summary form, financial ledger, vocal and full score (publications), program book, photographs slides and negatives of rehearsals and performance (file 7), publicity photos (file 8), media releases, and press clippings.

Student film workshop productions

The Simon Fraser University Film Workshop began in May 1967 when the university first obtained 16mm production facilities. The Film Workshop was a non-credit, production-orientated program coordinated through the Centre for Communication and the Arts that became the foundation for the SFU Film Minor program.

Under supervision of the University Resident in Film, students learned directing, filming, lighting, and sound technique, and served as cast and crew for each other's films. Students worked in 8mm, 16mm and videotape formats and produced films for educational rather than commercial purposes. At the end of each year, the films were screened on campus. Many of the films went on to win prizes in local and international student film festivals and have been screened all over North America and at European film festivals.

The film mentors leading the workshop in the early years included Shiela Reljic (1967 - 1969); Stan Fox, from CBC Vancouver (1969-1971); Luke Bennett, a New York film editor (1971-1972); Vincent Vaitiekunus (1972-1974); and Guy Bergeron, a filmmaker from Quebec (1974-1976). In 1979 Robert Nicholl, Jo Kirpatrick and Rick Patton, all filmmakers from the National Film Board (NFB) came to the workshop. That same year two more additional NFB filmmakers Tony Westman and Mark Smith joined the program along with Al Razutis (an independent experimental film maker from Vancouver). Staffing increases were met with an expansion in the Centre for the Arts and the creation of the film minor program that included courses in production and theory. This was supported by the growing curriculum of the Centre for the Arts that included a wide range of courses in theatre, sound, dance and studio art.

In 1987 SFU professors Patricia Gruben and Colin Browne conceived of Praxis, a national film writing and production workshop housed at the university. This program, along with SFU's four-year film program has enabled budding filmmakers to direct and produce their first feature films with renowned directors, writers, and editors.

The collection consists of textual records and 16mm films created by students who participated in the SFU Film Workshop program. For most of the film titles there are multiple reels which represent the individual production elements (i.e., A Roll, B Roll, Magnetic Track, Optical Track, Work Print) that were used to produce the final film version. Some films have related textual records that document the director's production notes used when editing the film.

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