The Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium is the annual symposium for the Graduate Union of the Students of Art (GUStA) at the University of Toronto.  It was inaugurated in 2014 as an enduring legacy and fond tribute to our esteemed late colleague Dr. Jens T. Wollesen.  Dr. Wollesen joined the Department of Art at the University of Toronto in 1985.  He specialized in the art of medieval Italy, Cyprus, and the Mediterranean basin with a particular focus in the relationship between image and text.  He is also remembered as a professor dedicated to his pedagogical calling.  He was the director of both the undergraduate and graduate programs at various times, and also served on the Art Committee of the University of Toronto’s Victoria University.  His dedication as a professor led him to design a first-year Introductory Art History course which was widely acknowledged by students as legendary.  His dedication to both graduate and undergraduate education remains his legacy, for which the yearly success of this symposium is a testament.  It is made possible by the continuing support of his friends and family through the Jens Wollesen Memorial Fund.

This year, GUStA continues the tribute with a symposium entitled “Margins of Error: Otherness and the Arts.” The seventh edition of the Wollesen Memorial Graduate Symposium will focus on marginalia in art history and visual culture. We define marginalia not only as the visual and textual expression on art objects’ physical peripheries, the classic example being the illustrations and notations in the margins of medieval manuscripts. Rather, we wish to expand the definition of marginalia to encompass the objects that have previously been marginalized within conventional canons and hierarchies, emphasizing the primary importance of the “other” arts and the arts of “others”.


Introductory Address 

Dr. Kajri Jain

Associate Professor of Indian Visual Culture and Contemporary Art, University of Toronto

             Kajri Jain teaches in the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Graduate Department of Art History at the University of Toronto. Her research is on popular images in modern India, with a focus on the interface between religion, visual culture and vernacular business cultures. She is the author of Gods in the Bazaar: The Economies of Indian Calendar Art (Duke University Press, 2007). Jain’s current project is on the emergence of monumental statues in post-liberalization India, for which she has received a SSHRC Standard Research Grant. While her teaching is often based on South Asian materials, her courses take a postcolonial and transcultural approach to interrogating the disciplinary assumptions of art history, cinema studies, and visual studies. Initially trained as a graphic designer at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India, Jain has a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Sydney. She has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute and the Australian Research Council, and has taught in departments of Art History, Cultural Studies and Film Studies in Australia, the US and Canada.

Guest Speaker

Siobhan Boyd

Senior Manager of Education / Adjunct Curator, Gardiner Museum

  Siobhan Boyd graduated from York University with a BA in Anthropology and an MSc in Archaeology from UCL, University of London, England. Her research interests include cultures from the Ancient Americas and Ontario prehistory. As a practicing archaeologist, she spends most of her summers excavating in Ecuador (Inca and pre-Inca fortifications) and Ireland (Late Medieval Period castle). Siobhan joined the Gardiner in 2002, and currently heads the Education Department, which includes school and adult visits, clay classes, and community in-reach.

Exhibition Talk

Dr. Sequoia Miller

Chief Curator, Gardiner Museum

  Sequoia Miller is a curator, historian, and studio potter. He has a BA in Russian & Art History from Brandeis University, an MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, and a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. His thesis analyzed the connections between ceramics and conceptual art practices on the East and West Coasts of the United States in the 1960s and ‘70s. Sequoia curated The Ceramic Presence in Modern Art at the Yale University Art Gallery and authored the accompanying award-winning catalogue. Before re-entering academia, he was a full-time studio potter for more than 10 years. Based in the Pacific Northwest, he made one-of-a-kind functional pots for daily use in domestic environments. Sequoia has exhibited widely and led workshops at craft schools, universities, and art centers in the U.S. and Canada.

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