Faculty of Arts

Arts Vancouver Summer Program 2016 photo: University Centre Lower Level

Every summer, university students from around the world engage in a fulfilling exchange experience hosted by the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Arts Vancouver Summer Program (VSP).

The program provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to engage with experiential learning, travel, and Canadian culture through the study of the humanities and social sciences.

As the University’s largest faculty, UBC Arts offers a dynamic and thriving community of outstanding scholars, students, and staff. The Faculty of Arts boasts more than 25 departments, schools, institutes, and interdisciplinary programs. As an Arts VSP student, you will have access to world-class teaching, amenities, and a flourishing Arts and Culture District. For more information, visit arts.ubc.ca

June 4 - July 4 2018 Course Packages

Each package includes two courses, each with 39 hours of class time. Classes are interactive and may include group work, class discussions, and guest lecturers. Credit for the courses may be granted by participating universities at their discretion.

Arts

This package examines the ways in which media shape, and are shaped by, society and technology. Students will learn about the social and cultural context of communications, become familiar with current debates in media and be introduced to journalistic principles and practices. The package brings together the Department of Anthropology and the award-winning UBC Graduate School of Journalism.
Culture and Communication
Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development. A very important area of interest is human language. This course will examine the relationship between language and culture by covering key debates in the field including animal vs. human communication, cross-cultural differences, language policies and language change. Students will explore how language is involved in cultural constructions of race, gender, class and ethnicity. They will also analyze how language is understood in relation to power, political economy and language ideologies. Students will gain experience in meeting writing standards for UBC Arts/Anthropology courses and will receive individual feedback on writing assignments.
Global Journalism
This course will examine the development of media technologies, their applications, and their cultural, political and social impacts. Students will also gain hands-on experience in learning how to think and operate like a professional journalist in a simulated multimedia environment. It is designed to introduce students to the grammar and syntax of media across platforms, based on a core journalistic skill set of interviewing, reporting, news writing, and research methods in tandem with the most current technical tools.
This package combines the Vancouver School of Economics (VSE), a global centre for research and hands-on learning about pressing economic issues, ranked in the top 20 worldwide and number one in Canada, and UBC’s highly regarded Political Science Department.
International Trade and Financial Markets
The modern global economy is intricately tied together through networks of trade and financial interconnections. This course will give students an understanding of the structure and function of international trade and international financial markets. The course will give a basic introduction to the forces driving international trade in goods and financial assets among nations of the world. The major theories of international trade and financial markets will be reviewed. Topics covered will include the determinants of a country's trading pattern, recent trends in international trade such as offshoring and global supply chains, the role of financial markets in international development, the future of the Renminbi as an international currency, the understanding of international financial crises, and sovereign debt crises.
Dynamics of Democracy and Global Uprisings
This course deals with some of the key concepts of political science, matching them with developments around the globe. We begin by considering some of the concepts and controversies in defining democratic and non-democratic systems. How do we tell democratic systems from non-democratic ones? Are all democracies the same, or at least similar? Is citizen satisfaction a distinctive quality of those regimes? We then link these discussions to the rising waves of global discontent around the globe. The seemingly-universal quality of these uprisings give a strong indication that the struggles we are witnessing are no longer over democracy versus other systems; instead, what seems to be at issue are the meanings and practices largely associated with democratic regimes, the expectations of people, and what regimes provide. Finally, we focus on specific uprisings, chosen by the students, in an attempt to contextualize our discussions and make sense of recent global developments in an informed, thoughtful manner.

July 15 - August 15 2018 Course Packages

This package is offered by UBC's Asian Studies Department, widely acknowledged as one of the finest in North America, and the UBC Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program, which specializes in interdisciplinary, community-based Asian-Canadian coursework. This package is a multidisciplinary examination of how global migrations have formed unique societies and cultures, with a special focus on Vancouver’s Chinese, Japanese, and South Asian communities. This package draws on disciplines such as history, cultural studies, sociology, gender studies, and community studies to equip students with the background knowledge and skills to conduct community-based research in a sensitive and ethical manner. Instructors will combine academic readings and discussions with visits to local community organizations such as museums, advocacy organizations, galleries, as well as historical neighbourhoods. Students will work on original research projects that will blend skills such as writing, photography, filmmaking, interviewing, and web design.
Is Asia in Vancouver: Academic Perspectives
Migrants from Asia have long played a key role in the development of the West Coast of Canada, but have also experienced long histories of marginalization. This course introduces students to Asian migrant communities on the West Coast by drawing on historical, sociological, and cultural perspectives. Students will be introduced to key concepts such as settler colonialism, racial formation, immigration, and community resilience. Guest speakers will introduce students to research that emphasizes community collaboration. Students will gain valuable skills in conducting research, including how to read across a range of academic disciplines, public speaking, and academic writing.
Is Asia in Vancouver: Community-Based Research
In this course, students will apply their classroom knowledge to undertake original research projects that engage with local Asian communities. Throughout, students will consider the ethical challenges with under-represented communities in a respectful manner. Students will visit historical neighborhoods in the Vancouver area and meet with community workers and elders. They will then be guided in the process of formulating, proposing, and carrying out a short research project. Course work will include workshops in interviewing and basic filmmaking. The course will culminate in a showcase to share research projects with community partners.
This package examines the ways in which media shape, and are shaped by, society and technology. Students will learn about the social and cultural context of communications, become familiar with current debates in media and be introduced to journalistic principles and practices. The package brings together the Department of Anthropology and the award-winning UBC Graduate School of Journalism.
Culture and Communication (Anthropology)
Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development. A very important area of interest is human language. This course will examine the relationship between language and culture by covering key debates in the field including animal vs. human communication, cross-cultural differences, language policies and language change. Students will explore how language is involved in cultural constructions of race, gender, class and ethnicity. They will also analyze how language is understood in relation to power, political economy and language ideologies. Students will gain experience in meeting writing standards for UBC Arts/Anthropology courses and will receive individual feedback on writing assignments.
Global Journalism (Journalism)
This course will examine the development of media technologies, their applications, and their cultural, political and social impacts. Students will also gain hands-on experience in learning how to think and operate like a professional journalist in a simulated multimedia environment. It is designed to introduce students to the grammar and syntax of media across platforms, based on a core journalistic skill set of interviewing, reporting, news writing, and research methods in tandem with the most current technical tools.
Students will gain a deep perspective on the internal structure, origins, and many variations of the English language. These courses are modeled after university-level courses for native English-speaking students, and are jointly offered by UBC's globally recognized Departments of Linguistics and English.
The History and Future of the English Language
In order to contextualize present-day changes in English, the course will begin with a brief history of the English language. It will then examine issues such as the national dialects of English (e.g. Canadian English, British English, Singapore English), regional and social dialects, the effects of gender on language forms and use, language in computer-mediated discourse (in texts, emails, social media), and ongoing changes in contemporary English. The course will provide students with a better understanding of how English is used in different contexts, and the directions in which the language is heading in the 21st century.
How Human Language Works
An introduction to how human languages work, examining the structures that underlie all languages, with special focus on the deep structure of English. The course asks what universal properties are shared by all languages, and how languages as divergent as English and Chinese can be different (or similar!) in terms of their sound systems, word-building, grammar, meaning, written form, and acquisition by children and adult learners. By the end of the course, students from varied language backgrounds should understand how knowledge of the universal properties of languages can deepen their understanding of English, of their own language(s), and of the amazing capacity of the human mind.
This package combines the Vancouver School of Economics (VSE), a global centre for research and hands-on learning about pressing economic issues, ranked in the top 20 worldwide and number one in Canada, and UBC’s highly regarded Political Science Department. The only two British Columbians to become Prime Minister of Canada – John Turner and Kim Campbell – graduated from this department.
International Trade and Financial Markets (Economics)
The modern global economy is intricately tied together through networks of trade and financial interconnections. This course will give students an understanding of the structure and function of international trade and international financial markets. The course will give a basic introduction to the forces driving international trade in goods and financial assets among nations of the world. The major theories of international trade and financial markets will be reviewed. Topics covered will include the determinants of a country's trading pattern, recent trends in international trade such as offshoring and global supply chains, the role of financial markets in international development, the future of the Renminbi as an international currency, the understanding of international financial crises, and sovereign debt crises.
Dynamics of Democracy and Global Uprisings
This course deals with some of the key concepts of political science, matching them with developments around the globe. We begin by considering some of the concepts and controversies in defining democratic and non-democratic systems. How do we tell democratic systems from non-democratic ones? Are all democracies the same, or at least similar? Is citizen satisfaction a distinctive quality of those regimes? We then link these discussions to the rising waves of global discontent around the globe. The seemingly-universal quality of these uprisings give a strong indication that the struggles we are witnessing are no longer over democracy versus other systems; instead, what seems to be at issue are the meanings and practices largely associated with democratic regimes, the expectations of people, and what regimes provide. Finally, we focus on specific uprisings, chosen by the students, in an attempt to contextualize our discussions and make sense of recent global developments in an informed, thoughtful manner.
This package pairs the Vancouver School of Economics (VSE), a global centre ranked in the top 20 of its peer departments worldwide, and number one in Canada, with the Geography Department, ranked as one of the ten best geography programs in the world and best in Canada, according to the 2016 QS University Rankings.
Geographies of the Global Economy
This course will explore the fast-changing geographies of the global economy from the uniquely grounded perspective of economic geography. The course will examine a range of contemporary issues and debates in the field, including: the development of transnational production and logistics networks: changing patterns of migration and labour mobility; the growth and influence of world cities and financial centres; new models of economic growth and varieties of capitalism; and contrasting perspectives on economic and cultural globalization. Students will acquire an up-to-date understanding of the changing global economy and its principal challenges and opportunities, together with an understanding of their own place in the world.
Environmental Economics (Economics)
This course provides an introduction to economic aspects of environmental problems and sustainability. It will begin with an overview of selected environmental problems, such as the effects of air and water pollution on human health, threats to biodiversity from habitat destruction, and climate change. Trends and indicators of environmental sustainability, both within and across countries, will be reviewed. The course will focus on questions such as why environmental problems occur, whether or not globalization is increasing the severity of such problems, what types of policies have been successful in improving environmental quality, and whether or not current consumption levels are sustainable. Policies will be analyzed from the perspective of efficiency, effectiveness, political feasibility and fairness, and examples will be drawn from different countries.
For over fifty years, the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) has been preparing professionals to exercise leadership in planning, implementing, and promoting the preservation, organization and effective use of society’s recorded information and ideas. This package is ideal for students interested in an initial foray into information science, by examining the Internet as a social and technical environment: a space for human interaction, learning and communication. Students will draw upon their own experiences as Netizens, develop a deeper and more critical understanding of online information spaces, and gain a user-centred perspective on writing and designing content for the Web.
Networks, Crowds and Communities
This course introduces network concepts and analytical methods for exploring social and organizational connectivity for online work, socializing, and knowledge production. Students will critically examine the impact of social media on connections that span space and place; the phenomena of peer production and crowdsourcing; and the role of ubiquitous mobile connectivity on daily life.
Digital Information Interaction and Design Communities
Students will have the opportunity to explore the Internet as a design space and to develop a user-centred perspective that can be used to frame the logical and physical design of online information systems and content. Students will gain experience applying “Design Thinking” methodologies, including ideation and prototyping, to design problems and producing clear, well-structured, and effective digital content.
Language and computation are the very foundations of the new knowledge economy. In this package, students will explore these foundations through the dynamic field of Computational Linguistics. Students will examine how linguistics and computation combine to answer fundamental questions about language, and study the ways in which it is deployed by the tech industry to provide solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues. A background in computing is not necessary.
Linguistics for Natural Language Processing
An introduction to the general linguistic principles and concepts that are relevant for computational linguistics, including: (i) an introduction to phonetics and phonology, (ii) an understanding of syntactic and morphological structure, (ii) descriptive approaches to grammar, (iii) language typology and linguistic universals, including differences and commonalities between different languages, cultures and modes of communication. In each case special reference will be made to computational applications, and by the end of the course students should understand how knowledge of the universal properties of languages both contributes to and benefits from computational research and applications.
Computation for Natural Language Processing
This course will take students with little or no background in computing and teach them programming basics and the practical uses of computational linguistics and machine learning. Students will learn how to use a command line interface and create simple programs using Python and NLTK. The course will then take them step-by-step through how programs perform such tasks as tagging speech and analyzing sentence structure or meaning. They will see how these steps can be applied in such useful and ubiquitous applications as error correction, spam filters and author identification among others. Finally, they will see concrete examples of how computation is contributing back to traditional areas of linguistic enquiry.
This package examines the ways in which film and theatre are shaped by the city in which they are produced. Students will learn about the thriving theatrical city that is Vancouver and use simple film techniques to document how place can influence both live and digital work. The package brings together the most dynamic aspects of the Department of Theatre and Film, which produces exhilarating live theatre and films, while examining the academic endeavours of both.
From Drama to Theatre: How Does a Play Mean?
This course will explore the languages of theatre within Vancouver’s rich and lively performance culture. How do individual artists—directors, actors, designers—transform a playwright’s ideas into unique and original art? In what ways, for example, will a Shakespeare play produced in Vancouver become a Canadian play? These questions and more will be explored in relation to two plays a week in production in Vancouver during the term. We will examine and discuss the play scripts, attend the plays, and meet “backstage” with some of the artists themselves. Plays chosen will span a variety of genres, including Shakespeare (in production at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival), musicals (in production at Theatre Under the Stars and the Arts Club Theatre Company), plus additional dramas and comedies in production.
Documentary & the City
For the first time in human history a majority of the world live in cities. While there are multiple threats posed by the growth of cities, such as poverty, migration, and social divisions, there are also surprising and innovative practices that emerge. The city of Vancouver is brimming with stories that can tell us many things about the world we live in. Focusing on documentary films and filmmaking, this course introduces students to these often hidden stories of the city through key writings, films, and direct engagement with life in Vancouver. Students will use creative methods to connect critical analysis with their everyday experiences, while authoring basic documentary projects in neighbourhoods throughout the city.

University Partnerships

In 2016, the Faculty of Arts welcomed students from 200 sending institutions, including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, the University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore, Lancaster University, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Bonn.

Interested in becoming a partner university? Contact the Executive Director, UBC Asia Pacific Regional Office, Ms. Winty Cheung.

For questions related to the Arts VSP, please contact:

Faculty of Arts Vancouver Summer Program
Joanna Yang
International Summer Program Coordinator
Email: joanna.yang@ubc.ca
Tel: (+1) 604.827.1874