Date: January 16 to February 13, 2018
Location: UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, Level 2 Foyer (1961 East Mall) (map)
Hours: same as the IKBLC building hours (see hours)

Join us for a new exhibition highlighting a selection of Rare Books and Special Collection’s 2017 acquisitions, including books, documents, diaries, ephemera, photographs, artworks, and more!



The Rare Books and Special Collections reading room is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, please contact RBSC at 604-822-2521 or at

The BC Breath of Life Archival Institute for First Nations Languages provides First Nations community language workers the opportunity to participate in a week-long Institute being hosted at the University of British Columbia from May 14-20, 2017, for the reclamation and revitalization of BC First Nations languages. Kim Lawson, Reference Librarian at the Xwi7xwa Library, speaks on the particular topic of archival research.

Modeled on the “Breath of Life” Language Restoration Workshops initiated in the mid-90s by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, our objective is to promote active collaboration among people with a wide range of perspectives on language and culture to explore archives and museum collections at UBC in order to “breathe life” back into the manuscripts and other resources there, with the overarching goal of contributing to the health and sustainability of BC’s First Nations languages for future generations. Participants will be grouped into research teams, based on language affiliations, bringing together First Nations community language workers (broadly defined to include Elders, language learners, teachers, curriculum developers, and others working towards language vitality) and university-based scholars with diverse skills that can contribute to finding and interpreting materials relevant to language and culture reclamation. Team members will actively work together to study resources housed in various collections at UBC that are directly relevant to their languages. Team members will mentor one another and share their expertise throughout the program, building not only research resources, but also relationships for potential on-going collaboration.

Since 2013, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has been a funding partner with the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) and the Network of Inquiry and Innovation (NOII). Through this partnership, the Learning Centre has supported teachers working with aboriginal students transitioning to further education. Read more about it here.

The 2017/18 Learning Initiatives for Rural and Northern BC (LIRN BC) call for community submissions is now open.

The deadline is Friday, June 16, 2017.

Learning Initiatives for Rural and Northern BC (LIRN BC) is a collaborative approach to building on the capacities of rural, remote and Northern British Columbian communities. LIRN BC is listed as a project of the BC Rural Network, established in 2004.

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is proud to partner through LIRN BC with government and non-government organizations to provide and facilitate workshops to promote community learning and collaboration in rural and northern communities.

LIRN BC can bring trainers and facilitators to your community to deliver a learning event for residents.

The annual call for “Expressions of Interest” (EOI) occurs May and June each year.  It includes summaries for roughly 25 workshops offered by LIRN BC partner organizations (including an option to “build your own topic”).

In responding to the call for EOIs, applicants are asked to tell us about your community and its challenges, and identify up to three workshop topics that will help your community move forward. If your agency is selected, you will be contacted by a LIRN BC partner who will work with you to design and deliver a learning event that meets the needs of your community. Successful applicants would be expected to provide publicity support, venue and refreshments.

Click here to download the Expressions of Interest document.

The current LIRN BC partners are:

  • Association of Neighbourhood Houses BC (ANHBC)
  • BC Centre for Employment Excellence
  • BC Healthy Communities (PlanH Program)
  • UBC Library, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
  • Leave Out Violence (LOVE) Society of BC
  • PeerNetBC
  • Vantage Point
  • Volunteer BC
  • YouthCo

For further information please contact

How can rigorous research help us advance the concept and practice of social justice?  In the fourth event of the 2017 PhDs Go Public Research Talk Series, join us as eight doctoral students from the Public Scholars Initiative have seven minutes each to talk about their research on, and search for, social justice. Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the Vancouver Public Library as part of the Public Scholars Initiative.


Emma Feltes (Anthropology) works in partnership with Indigenous activists to delve into the history of the “Constitution Express”—a movement in the 1980s to assert Indigenous rights, nationhood, and self-determination during the patriation of Canada’s Constitution— with a view to inform our relations today.

Jocelyn Fraser (Mining Engineering) focuses on social risk and social responsibility in the international mining sector with a particular focus in Arequipa, Peru, where she investigates ways how mining companies can collaborate with communities to deliver tangible social benefits.

Maggie Low (IRES) collaborates with the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella, BC, to investigate the implementation of a large scale land use agreement between Coastal First Nations and the BC government, as well the implications of the agreement for Indigenous well-being and governance.

Kyle Loewen (Geography) partners with labour communities in the US who are employed in “last-mile” delivery—the distance between retailer warehouses and a consumer’s home—to address labour-related issues and improve working conditions in this sector.

Jeremy Stone (Planning) collaborates with urban community organisations in Vancouver and New Orleans to explore gentrification practices in these cities from a multidisciplinary perspective, and seeks to increase the resilience of neighborhoods in the face of catastrophic change.

Yemi Adeyeye (Forestry) collaborates with Natura Foundation Bolivia to explore the issues of participation, knowledge production and roles of different actors in the development of an indigenous-driven environmental intervention in Bolivia.

Alicia Luedke (Political Science) investigates the impact of global policies seeking to prevent and prohibit the use of sexual violence in war on armed group practices of rape and other-related offenses in conflict situations.

Sarah Fessenden (Anthropology) teams up with “Food Not Bombs” activists to understand and address commercial food-waste in the face of hunger; she works closely with donors and anti-hunger activists to find empowering ways of getting otherwise wasted food to people in need.

Select Books and Articles Available at UBC Library

Feltes, E. (2015). Research as Guesthood: The Memorial to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Resolving Indigenous-Settler Relations in British Columbia. [Link]

Feltes, E. “We will help each other to be great and good”: The Memorial to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Resolving Indigenous-State Relations in Canada. [Link]

Fraser, J. Corporate responsibility and advocacy conviction: How the forces of passion and reason shape contemporary industrial issues. [Link]

Low, M. M. Negotiating Environmental Governance: Lessons from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements in British Columbia, Canada. [Link]

Loewen, K. (2012). From Problems of Citizenship to Questions of Action. [Link]

Adeyeye, Y. et al. (2017). Human(e) Interactions with the Environment. [Link]

Luedke, A. E. (2014). Three types of wartime sexual violence: Recruitment and retention of armed combatants in civil war. [Link]

Fessenden, S. G. (2017). “We just wanna warm some bellies” : Food not bombs, anarchism, and recycling wasted food for protest . [Link]


The Rare Books and Special Collections has sponsored a series of talks in honour of Remembrance Day. The talks will all be held in the Lillooet Room (301) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Tragic Bravery: Canada and the Battle of Hong Kong

When: November 4, 2016 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Speaker: Cameron Cathcart, President of the Royal United Services Institute – Vancouver Society (RUSI) and director of Vancouver’s Remembrance Day ceremonies at Victory Square

(World War I 1914-1918 British Press photograph collection, BC_1763_0955)

(World War I 1914-1918 British Press photograph collection, BC_1763_0955)

When asked if he thought the British Colony of Hong Kong could be defended against an invasion by the Japanese in 1941, Winston Churchill replied, “not the slightest chance”. This prediction forms the background to the fatal decision by Ottawa 75 years ago to send Canadian troops into the maelstrom that became known as the Battle of Hong Kong. As the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong approaches, Cameron Cathcart will provide an overview of the battle, its aftermath, and delve into the personal lives of the brave Canadians whose lives were changed forever.


Canada’s Secret Sailors: Asian Crewmen and Canadian Vessels in the Indo-Pacific Theatre

When: November 8, 2016 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Speaker: Clifford J. Pereira, FRGS, Independent researcher, curator, and museum consultant

Based on research gathered over the last two years from national, provincial, and naval archives in Canada, Australia, and the U.K, Clifford J. Pereira will tell the forgotten story of hundreds of non-resident Asian seamen on vessels of the Canadian Pacific Railway deployed by the British Admiralty in the Pacific and Indian Oceans during the First World War.


(Chung Collection, CC_PH_02426)

(Chung Collection, CC_PH_02426)

Remembering the Great War with Canadian Writers and Artists

When: November 10, 2016 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Speaker: Sherrill Grace, OC, FRSC, Professor Emerita of English and University Killam Professor

While Canada has been surprisingly low key about commemorating the Great War since 2014, we do have a wealth of artistic material that does important work in reconstructing and remembering the war. Dr. Sherrill Grace will consider how Canada remembers the war, and why it is important to do so, focusing on works by Canadians writing about the war from a late-20th century perspective.

In conjunction with the talks, a special display, Empires and Empresses at War, will be featured in RBSC’s Chung Collection exhibition room from November 4-November 30, 2016. The display, curated by Clifford J. Pereira, with curatorial assistance from Katie Sloan, showcases the importance of Canadian shipping vessels and the role of Asians and Asian-Canadians serving on Canadian vessels during World War I.

For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at 604 822-2521 or

The talks are free and open to the public.


Canadian composer Howard Bashaw’s sound-art performance installation The Resonance Prism was premiered in 2014 in a concert event entitled Sound Space Architecture in the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability. Performers were required to both realize the specific material presented in the score and generate imaginative, inspired improvisations. The chosen venue functioned metaphorically as a prismatic enclosure, refracting and transforming light into complex and layered dimensions of color, time and sound. With this work, Bashaw abandons the constraints of traditional music notation for innovative possibilities inherent within graphic notation and visual symbols. The viewer is invited to experience this collision between music and art and to imagine the translation of this graphic score into sound.


The Resonance Prism contains ten contrasting sequenced movements that are each separated in the form of a graphic collage, where the conductor combines and recombines a range of components during the performance through layering and evolving. Accompanying each collage is a visual statement that is projected during the performance and viewed simultaneously by the performers and the audience. These images facilitate the performance and evokes various sonic images in the minds of the audience, creating a dynamic engagement between the conductor, the audience, and the performers.


Artist’s Statement- Howard Bashaw

“Although not new, ‘sound, space and architecture’ certainly endures as an alluring compositional challenge. I began by imagining the atrium as an enormous prism; one that reflects natural light (metaphorically speaking) into new broad, successive regions: the first containing various manifestations of colour and harmony, and the second, various manifestations of rhythm and pattern. The score is designed specifically to inspire more so than to prescribe, and therefore takes form as ten full-colour, highly-detailed graphic collages. It uses specific pitch-color correlations throughout, and, in extension, incorporates the natural spectrum as the fundamental, organizing principle for the entire work. The ensemble is divided into three groups: the background source spectra (electronics); the middle-ground transitional spectra (percussion and electric guitar), and the foreground antiphonal spectra (three spatialized choirs: winds, brass and strings). The conductor functions as a dynamic collaborator, interpreting and shaping the wood anew with every performance.”

Graphic Scores

Bashaw shows how art and music are colliding in the 21st century with the use of musical notations in his graphic scores. Artists and musicians can now experiment with musical notations to create beautiful visual scores as modern works of art. This becomes a performance installation that provides a different experience to the audience than the traditional concert style performance.


American Musicological Society

The exhibition coordinates with the American Musicological Society‘s joint conference with Society for Music Theory held at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel. The AMS was founded in 1934 as a non-profit organization to advance “research in the various fields of music as a branch of learning and scholarship”. In 1951, the Society  became a member of the American Council of Learned Societies. Today, the society currently has 3,500 members and 1,000 institutional subscribers from forty different nations.

The American Musicological Society and the Society for Music theory bring together academics, graduate students and other professionals specializing in musicology and music theory. This joint conference marks the largest single gathering of participants in the field of music and humanities in the world this year. This conference marks the eightieth-second meeting for the AMS and thirty-ninth annual event for the SMT. The event will provide attendees an opportunity to a wider network, share knowledge, and explore new directions in music research and practice. The event has scheduled over 350 presentations, a number of large performances, small meetings, receptions, and other exciting events.

Register: Registration rates for regular members before October 28th are $135 and $75 for members who are students or retired. Non-member registration fees are $225 and $135 for non-members who are students or retired.

The exhibition will take place from Tuesday, November 1st to December 28th, 2016.

UBC Library Research Guides



Chosŏn and Qing discussions of their relationship from the mid-1870s to the early 1880s suggest strategic understandings of existing institutions and their limitations as informed by the rapidly changing geopolitical, economic, and technological geographies of the day. Indeed, the debates of this period produced a new vision of the Qing-Chosŏn relationship that would have eliminated large swaths of tributary practice in an effort to enable Chosŏn to participate in the currents of the global modern on its own terms and thereby become a strong albeit junior partner of the Qing Empire in world affairs. This future of bounty and vitality, however, was to become a vision doubly lost, first by virtue of Qing military occupation and political interventions and then again through generations of occidentalist elision in the fields of history and IR alike. This paper recovers this vision with particular attention to its embrace of the global modern as a move toward a critical pluralism that creates disciplinary dialogues between history and critical IR. This is part of One Asia Forum’s Talk Series which will also feature guest speaker Professor Joshua Van Lieu from LaGrange College.


Event Details

Date and Time: November 17, 2016 4:00-6:00 pm

Where: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Room 461

About the speaker: Dr. Van Lieu is a historian of early modern and modern East Asian politics, thought, and international relations. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Washington in the histories of Chosŏn Korea and Late Imperial China. Having served as assistant editor and book review editor of The Journal of Korean Studies, Dr. Van Lieu currently is an assistant professor and the Curriculum Director for Asian Studies at LaGrange College.  He has published on nineteenth-century Qing-Chosŏn tribute politics, the historiography of reform movements in late Chosŏn Korea, the roles of state Guanti cults in Ming, Qing, and Chosŏn narratives of state legitimacy, and critical approaches to historical international relations.

This event is open to public.

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