Concordia welcomes fine arts students and faculty to the new Core Technical Centre facilities
Fine arts students and faculty working on curriculum or research projects can now access state-of-the-art fabrication equipment and technical expertise at Concordia’s new Core Technical Centre (CTC).
The centre houses facilities for woodworking, metalwork, digital fabrication and more. And this summer it will also be home to two linked residencies.
Pushing boundaries while meeting student needs
The centre is located on the eighth floor of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building). At its opening celebration on February 23, Annie Gérin, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, highlighted the facilities’ importance in her welcoming remarks.
“The new CTC spaces mark a significant milestone in the history of the Faculty of Fine Arts. The CTC exemplifies Concordia’s commitment to making, training and creativity,” she noted.
“The facilities will allow students, faculty and staff to push boundaries by creating artworks and design prototypes. Finding new, sustainable ways of working will have a huge impact on the art world and the way we live.”
In response to the faculty’s growing need for expanded digital fabrication, the new shops offer 3D printing, ultra-precise laser and water cutters and computer numerical control machines. There are also traditional facilities for woodworking, joinery, milling and carving.
In addition to expanding the CTC’s digital fabrication capabilities, early planning considered how students would use and experience the space.
“From the project’s start in 2019, our focus was on meeting students’ needs,” says Joel Taylor, supervisor of academic and research facilities for fine arts. “We looked at accessibility, movement between the various shop areas and the public spaces next to the CTC.”
Taylor adds that the university updated the nearby lounge area and installed a kitchenette.
“Students spend a lot of time in the shops. Making sure that they have easy access to things like a kitchen and lounge area was a priority,” he says.
“Our focus was to create a welcoming environment for students who work in these facilities, often for long hours.”
Helpful and resourceful technicians
Gaëlle Legrande, a second-year undergraduate sculpture student, reports that she had to overcome her apprehension when she first used the equipment.
“Initially, I was worried the equipment would be too complicated. I didn’t know the software but the technicians are incredibly helpful and resourceful. Whenever I’m unsure of something, they help me through it,” she says.
Legrande says she hopes more students will take advantage of the facilities.
“The shops have really impacted my practice. I’d say 50 per cent of my work this past semester is happening in the CTC.”
Making the most of the brand-new facilities, the CTC recently announced two linked summer residencies, the CTC x Art Volt Residency / CTC x Sculpture. The month-long residencies were created in collaboration with Art Volt and the Department of Studio Arts’ Sculpture program.
Three recent fine arts graduates and three undergraduate sculpture majors will have the chance to benefit from the shops.
In addition to CTC access — and support from knowledgeable technicians — the selected residents will receive honoraria. Each student will also have the opportunity to exhibit their work in the new sculpture installation space in the Visual Arts (VA) Building this September.
“The initial idea for the residencies was to create a new opportunity. Both undergraduate students and recent alumni can work in the CTC shops in moments when they would typically lack access,” explains Maddie McNeely, coordinator of student skills development at the CTC.
“A non-curricular residency gives students the space and time to work on new projects in these amazing shops.”
“So often we hear from folks who have graduated that they miss the fantastic facilities they had access to as students,” says Fannie Gadouas, Art Volt coordinator. “Through Art Volt, we always try to develop programming and opportunities that directly respond to our recent alumni’s needs.”
McNeely adds that she is looking forward to what comes out of the residency. “We’ll use this year as a starting point to see how we can grow the program and best respond to students’ needs.”
Find out more about Concordia’s Core Technical Centre and the CTC’s summer residencies.