2019 YWCA Women of Distinction

May 15, 2019

Congratulations to Arts faculty Dana Claxton and Margot Leigh Butler who were honoured at the 2019 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Dana Claxton, professor and head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, won the award for Arts, Culture & Design. Margot Leigh Butler, Academic Director of Humanities 101, was nominated in the category of Education, Training & Development.

Recognized nationally, the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honour individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community.

DANA CLAXTON, Award winner in the category of Arts, Culture & Design

Dana is Department Head of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at UBC. A recognized academic, media producer, director and writer, Dana challenges stereotypes of Indigenous people within her image making. In 2018, the Vancouver Art Gallery profiled her career to date in Dana Claxton: Fringing the Cube, and she has a forthcoming book on her Lakota Sioux research with the Mackenzie Art Gallery.

Claxton co-founded the Indigenous Media Arts Group in 1998, which organized the first Aboriginal Film Festival in Vancouver, and as Director of the artist-run centre, the Helen Pitt Gallery, in the early 1990s, Dana curated exhibitions that featured only Indigenous women artists. Dana was awarded a fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and was the Ruth Wynn Woodward Research Chair in Women’s Studies at SFU.


MARGOT LEIGH BUTLER, Nominee in the category of Education, Training & Development

Margot is the Academic Director of UBC’s Humanities 101 Community Program (Hum), where she develops and delivers free university-level courses with low-income residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Margot advocates for access to education for students with financial, institutional and health barriers and continually develops a curriculum that responds to DTES residents with support and mentoring opportunities.

Under her guidance, more than 500 students have graduated from Hum courses, many of whom are now community leaders, educators and full-time university students. Margot also produces an in-house annual publication comprised of participant essays and artwork centred around the experiences of DTES residents, women and Indigenous peoples. Margot’s commitment to Indigenous education was recognized by UBC’s Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, where in 2018 she was invited to be an Institute Associate.


Learn more about the 2019 Women of Distinction Nominees.