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Denis Longchamps

PhD 2009 & MA 2001


Executive Director, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo

Waterloo, Ontario

Reaping from opportunities, channeling passions: Artistic direction and curation of contemporary Canadian art


Denis Longchamps
1.  How are you applying your degree in Art History from Concordia?

My work is all about the research that goes into preparing exhibitions. I am passionate about contemporary and historical visual art and fine craft and my degrees in art history helped me hone my skills in research and writing. Because both my MA and PhD in Art History focused on 18th and 19th century Canadian art, it gave me the historical perspective to better understand contemporary art. Both degrees have helped me to refine my skills in critical thinking and writing that can be applied to any subject including visual art and fine craft but also politics, philosophy and culture.

2. What do you value most from your Art History experience?

First and foremost, the people, staff and faculty, and the opportunity to teach were invaluable. The graduate seminars were held in small groups with no more than 12 students in each, which allowed for great discussion that generated thought provoking ideas and issues. There are also many opportunities that are offered to develop skills in multiple areas such as writing, teaching and curating. On top of that, I received financial support to attend and present at conferences overseas and in Canada.

3. Is there a particular memory that stands out from your time at Concordia?

My experience as the administrator of the Jarislowsky institute was fantastic. It strengthened my administrative skills which are important and of great use now to stay on budget as the Artistic Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Burlington. I will also always remember how Dr. Catherine McKenzie encouraged me to apply for a one-month fellowship with the Yale Center for British Art, which I received and completed in the summer of 2010. There was also the time when I met Professor Elaine Cheasley Paterson for the first time and proposed to co-curate an exhibition on contemporary craft, called “Recrafting Tradition”, which we presented in 2006 at the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec.

4.  What advice would you give to someone considering graduate studies in Art History?

My biggest advice would be to go for it…the faculty and staff are there for you. They are very supportive and opportunities will come your way. You will grow as a researcher, scholar and writer and through the opportunities that will be offered to you, you will become a better human being. This growth happened to me and allowed me to get to where I am today.

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