Top 11 Arts Events not to miss in February 2021

February is Black History Month! Commemorate this month by celebrating and learning from distinguished Black authors, professors, UBC students and alumni on topics like politics, music, inclusivity and culture. Along with that, learn how to prepare a traditional Cantonese meal in celebration of Lunar New Year and find musical inspiration by tuning in to a dazzling array of performances from diverse artists and musical genres!

The Phil Lind Initiative: Charles M. Blow

Thursday, February 4 | 5 – 6:30 p.m. | Online event
Free with registration

Tune in to hear from New York Times op-ed columnist, CNN commentator, and best-selling author Charles M. Blow, as he challenges us to examine the ethical dilemmas we confront in politics, business and our everyday lives. Blow, a former Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale, tackles hot-button issues such as social justice, racial equality, presidential politics, police violence, gun control, and the Black Lives Matter movement. This is the second event in the 2021 Phil Lind Initiative seriesThe Anti-Democratic Turn, which will see five prominent US scholars, writers and intellectuals share their ideas on the current state of democracy in the US, following the election.

Unsplash/Marius Masalar

Ziegler Lecture: Interwar Liederabende and the Matter of Blackness

Friday, February 5 | 12 – 1 p.m. | Online event

African American renditions of Brahms or Beethoven offer a powerful musical counter-narrative to historical narratives of European identity formation. On February 5, hear from Kira Thurman, assistant professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, as she discusses music, national identity in European history, and Europe’s historical and contemporary relationship with the Black diaspora. This event — jointly organized by CENES and UBC Music — is part of the Ziegler Lecture Series.

Diversity Reads Podcast: The Return

Launches Saturday, February 6 | 12 p.m. | Spotify podcast

Join Afro-Latina writer, producer, activist and Arts student Coral Santana on Spotify as she takes you through Dany Laferriere’s The Return, a bestselling novel that blends the gritty reality of daily life with the lush sensuality and ecstatic mystery that underlies Haitian culture. Organized by the Arts and Culture District, Diversity Reads is a space for learning, discussion and a place to open ourselves to the multitude of rich narratives around us.

Putting Black British Columbia History to Work: Contemporary Implications of Historical Blackness

Sunday, February 7 | 2 – 3 p.m. | Online event

Hear from Dr. Handel Kashope Wright, UBC professor and Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education, as he  addresses the persistent “absent presence” of Blackness largely in terms of history but also in terms of geography. In this talk, Dr. Wright will look at named and somewhat known historical figures to explain the strategy of racist erasure by which Blackness has come to be rendered almost fully absent from the conception of BC and to assert the contemporary presence of a rich diversity of Blackness that belies and resists that erasure. This event is brought to you by the BC Black History Awareness Society, which aims to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of historical and contemporary people of African descent.

Through the Lens: I Am Because You Are vs. I Am Because You’re Not

Wednesday, February 10 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Online event

Don’t miss the second event in the Through the Lens series, a series of interactive workshops exploring how different identities intersect, navigate and experience UBC, while offering practical ideas on creating a more inclusive campus. Join UBCO alumni and co-founders of the African Ubuntu Association, Lady Dia and Trophy Ewila, as they expound on their lived experiences of resilience through creativity and self-governance grounded in the philosophy of Ubuntu. In this talk, they will discuss topics such as global resistance to white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy and share about the role of narrative in creating characters that play on identity politics, within the context of a society governed by white supremacist ideology.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Juliet Hooker

Wednesday, February 10 | 12 – 2 p.m. | Online event
Free with registration 

Loss has been front and centre in US politics recently, and especially in diagnoses about the health of US democracy. The continued demands for racial justice amid a deadly pandemic that has disproportionately affected people of colour, and the key role of Black activists in the electoral defeat of racist right-wing forces in the 2020 election, highlight the continued demands placed on Black citizens. Join Dr. Juliet Hooker, professor of Political Science at Brown University, as she explores the experience of political loss, its role in democratic politics and the way it has been understood by political theorists. Dr. Hooker is a political theorist specializing in racial justice, multiculturalism, Latin American political thought, and Black political thought.

Unsplash/Humphrey Muleba

Cooking Demonstration: A Family Chinese New Year — The Traditional Cantonese Way

Thursday, February 11 | 6 – 8 p.m. | Online workshop
$15 (plus GST)

Join Eddy Ng and his daughter Vanessa as they welcome you to their family home for Chinese New Year. As immigrants from Hong Kong, Eddy and his wife Sophia came to Vancouver in the late 1960s and started their family in Canada. Vanessa, their daughter, is first-generation Chinese-Canadian, and together they’ll share with you the history of Chinese New Year, present a traditional Cantonese-style dinner, and demonstrate how to make two traditional dishes: spring roll and BBQ pork. Both dishes hold cultural significance for the new year, but are crowd-pleasing favourites year-round.

Chan Centre Dot Com Series: Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider

Friday, February 12 | 7 p.m. | Online event
$0 – $20 

This is a show you won’t want to miss! Known for her eloquent vocal improvisations that embrace Latin American melodies and rhythms, Mexican-born Magos Herrera’s exquisite songs in Spanish, English and Portuguese surpass language boundaries with their exceptional beauty. Herrera will be joined by the eclectic string quartet Brooklyn Rider in this performance, which was filmed live in Mexico. Together, these artists join forces for Dreamers — a project that celebrates music as a political act by imaginatively reinterpreting gems from the Ibero-American songbook, alongside new pieces adapted from texts and poetry from regions that endured brutal state violence. The artists will also engage in a conversation about their music and collaboration in a pre-show talk over Zoom.

Community Connection Series: Career Conversations with Black UBC Alumni

Thursday, February 25 | 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Online event
Free with registration

Hosted by the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers, this event will provide a spotlight for panelists to speak about their lived experiences as Black university students and how their racial identity has impacted the peaks and valleys of their post-university careers. The speakers will discuss their career path, share practices and tools that helped them succeed and what it takes to overcome barriers in pursuit of personal and professional excellence. The panel portion of the event is open to all UBC students while the second half of the event is open to students that identify as Black.

The Phil Lind Initiative: Anne Applebaum

Thursday, February 25 | 5 – 6:30 p.m. | Online event
Free with registration

UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs is proud to host Anne Applebaum, staff writer for The Atlantic and a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, for the third virtual event as part of the 2021 Phil Lind Initiative series, The Anti-Democratic Turn. Applebaum is a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Agora Institute, where she co-directs Arena, a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda.

Chan Centre Dot Com Series: Lan Tung — Have Bow Will Travel

Friday, February 26 | 7 p.m. | Online event
$0 – $20

Wrap up the month by tuning in to prolific composer, erhu player and vocalist Lan Tung, as she transposes Chinese musical foundations to new contexts, adding Hindustani, Uyghur and Mongolian influences, as well as various avant-garde approaches. For this program, Lan Tung will perform two world premieres for erhu and string quintet by composer Tim Brady and will be joined by musicians from the Vancouver-based Turning Point Ensemble. Also on the program, the whimsically named duo Have Bow Will Travel connects two of Vancouver’s most dynamic string players for seriously far-ranging improvisation.