To Navigate Societal Challenges, the Future is Arts

The Faculty of Arts’ Alumni Week(end): Campus To Couch Edition

Donna McKinnon - 17 September 2020

Todd Hirsch ('89 BA,Hons) is often referred to as an economic philosopher – an unlikely designation in a field that deals largely with numbers. But with bachelor and graduate degrees in economics, the Vice-President and Chief Economist for ATB Financial is well prepared to evaluate the narrative behind the numbers.

"An Arts degree is intended to teach you how to absorb complex information and make reasoned arguments,” says Hirsch, a 2015 Alumni Honour Award recipient. “It quite simply teaches you how to learn, and it’s never been more relevant.”

Hirsch will act as moderator for the Faculty of Arts Alumni Week(end) panel presentation, The Future Is Arts, on Thursday, September 24, from 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. MST. He will be joined by presenters: Aidan Rowe (Art & Design); Kisha Supernant (Anthropology); and Julie Rak (English and Film Studies), representing the Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, respectively.

Individually and collectively, presenters will discuss how each of these areas develop the core competencies of innovative thinking, ethical reflection, and creative problem-solving – skills that are necessary to navigate and succeed in the 21st century.

“While math, sciences and engineering remain critical to building an economy, the Arts are what will guide us,” says Hirsch. “What use will science be if students lack the imagination, dreams, empathy and creativity to put them to useful purposes? These are skills that you'll use in any field of work."

The Future is Arts presentation is part of the virtual 2020 University of Alberta Alumni Week(end). While COVID-19 will prevent any in-person celebration of alumni this year, the Campus to Couch Edition will take place online from September 21-27 and will include a number of Faculty of Arts events. 

Monday, September 21: WG Hardy Museum Virtual Tour

Located in the Department of History and Classics, the WG Hardy Museum collection comprises antiquities from several ancient cultures and periods including the early civilizations of Mesopotamia (Iraq), the Iron Age culture of ancient Palestine, the Classical and Hellenistic ages of ancient Greece, Roman Italy and the Roman provinces.

The virtual tour, hosted by Dr. Jeremy Rossiter, a 2020 inductee into the University of Alberta Museums Curator Hall of Fame, will explore the ancient Near Eastern and Classical antiquities in an entirely different way from the comfort of your home.

This is an On Demand event; no registration is required. Please check here to view the tour, starting on September 21.

Tuesday, September 22: Arts Careers: Impact on the Front Lines

Hear from Arts Alumni working on the front line to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how Arts skills, knowledge, and abilities are relevant to crisis response work. While this University of Alberta Career Centre/Arts Work Experience event is targeted towards current students and young alumni, anyone who is interested may register.

Tuesday, September 22 from 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. MST. Please register here.

Thursday, September 24: The Future Is Arts

 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. MST. Please register here. Please note that this event will be recorded.

Alumni Awards Ceremony

The Alumni Awards Ceremony, historically hosted during Alumni Weekend, will be postponed to Thursday, February 25, 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Watch for full profile stories soon about our 2020 awardees!

Click here for the University of Alberta’s Alumni Week(end): Campus To Couch edition full event listing.