LANDMARKS 11, 12, 13: UNBC CUPE Staff

Artists: Shelley O’Carroll; Jennifer Sumner; Jennifer Salokannel; Dawn Stevens; Shannon Russell;  Asuka King; Kari Veninsky; Valerie Boyes

Words: Excellence Innovation, Enquiry

The definition of innovation is not chance it is action.

-Phil McKenney

This is a group of all women. They seem unsure, tentative. Clearly not certain why they were there but equally certain they are committed, “all in.” They had selected into their 3 smaller groups without conversation, moved quickly into position, attentive.  This group of women is close, even across the three smaller groups, they called themselves “the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Two were even real sisters, united on a project together.  Some knew there would be words and they also selected the words they would work upon quickly and easily. 

For the first time, there is deadline – only 40 minutes for the design stage, and there will be a countdown. The group starts having fun, sending spies to other tables to see what they others are doing, encouraging the ones drawing: “don’t stop! We’re on a time clock.”

The Inquiry group has an artist but she becomes coach and mentor, positively supporting the others. They do research; they want to include ravens to represent themselves. There are ravens and dogwood on the University Crest. They want to include the dogwood but they know there are many different types. The raven, Wendy tells them represents wisdom….”and mischievousness, which doesn’t fit you at all.” There is instant laughter.

The Innovation group are quiet, intent. They have a quote that is important to them and insistent that credit must be given to the author – the academic gold standard operationalized. They seek meaning in everything and their discussions circle around how to embed northern meaning. Their image is of what it takes to make innovation: people who are strong and equal turning ideas into reality.

The group who have the word Excellence asks if they can use the Canada Winter Games medals as their symbol of Excellence. It’s an excellent idea but hard to draw, and again, questions of credit and appropriation rise. The artist who created the CWG medals should not have her beautiful work taken without permission they decide.  They too, reflect the principles of the academy in their discussions.  They create their own medal of excellence and then add a pencil and a basketball to acknowledge the strengths of the university in gaining both scholastic and athletic excellence.

The pieces are complete and the women are pleased with their work, they have had fun. They want to do more and don’t want to stop. This group, the first to reply to the invitation, display the courage and beauty of their work done together, speaks well to the role of CUPE in this university.

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