Victoria University has announced the creation of the Norman Jewison Stream for Imagination and the Arts, a new stream of study in their Vic One program for first-year students.

“We want our students to think about the world and how you can engage the imagination creatively in addressing issues,” said Victoria University President Paul Gooch.

Students will work in a creative interdisciplinary atmosphere that studies how the arts can confront social issues. The stream will feature a year-long assignment that challenges students to collaborate in various arts to create a unique project over the course of the year.

“We just have to foster a spirit where creativity can flourish,” said Gooch. The stream will include 25 students and feature guest lectures from U of T alumni experienced in the arts. Upon completion, students will be encouraged to apply to major in programs such as Cinema Studies or Theatre and Drama Studies.
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“This program seems like a great program for any young film-lover to begin their university career,” said Alan Jones, president of the Cinema Studies Student Union, who added that he hopes the stream will collaborate with his home department. “It would seem counterproductive to have this program and not include the very accomplished instructors we have at the Cinema Studies Institute.”

The stream was created to honour Norman Jewison, a renowned Canadian filmmaker who recently completed his term as chancellor of Victoria University. In the Heat of the Night, his film about an African-American detective investigating a murder in the southern US, was a turning point for civil rights.

“We’re very excited because we think Norman Jewison is a great Canadian and a very strong advocate for social justice in his films,” said Gooch. “We think that he will inspire the next generation of young people to go on in whatever creative field they’re in, to challenge our conceptions about the world, and to make a better society.”

This stream was made possible by a $1 million gift from Blake Goldring, a U of T alumi. The Blake C. Goldring Professorship will be established to complement the program. The stream is planned to start in the 2011-2012 academic year, pending final university approval of the course curriculum. The courses have already been approved by the Victoria College Council.

The Vic One program has four other streams, each named after a successful Vic alumi: the Lester B. Pearson Stream for Studies in the Social Sciences and History, the Northrop Frye Stream for Studies in the Humanities, the Augusta Stowe-Gullen Stream for Studies in the Life Sciences, and the Egerton Ryerson Stream for Studies in Education.

Victoria University launched Vic One in 2003 and has grown from two academic programs in the humanities and social sciences to include study options in life sciences and education. In 2010 there were five applications for each of the 150 program spaces.

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