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Honorary degree citation - Joyce Zemans

By: Anne Whitelaw, June 2013

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Professor Joyce Zemans, art historian, teacher, public administrator, and mentor.

Nommée professeure d’université en 1995, madame Zemans se voyait alors confier la chaire Robarts en études canadiennes.

L’année précédente commençait par ailleurs sa longue et fructueuse collaboration avec l’École de gestion Schulich de l’Université York.

Ainsi, elle y a piloté la création d’un programme conjoint, soit la maîtrise ès arts et la maîtrise en administration des affaires en arts et médias, programme qu’elle supervise encore aujourd’hui.

As a scholar, Joyce Zemans has contributed immensely to the development of the field of Canadian art history.

Through her numerous publications and curated exhibitions, she has expanded the study of historical and contemporary Canadian art by moving beyond the established canon of landscape painting and bringing the work of early 20th century abstract painters and women artists to public and scholarly attention.

Her exhibitions and catalogues devoted to the work of Tony Urquart, Bertram Brooker, Jock Macdonald, Kathleen Munn and Edna Taçon, among others, have encouraged countless researchers to critically examine the work of other similarly overlooked Canadian artists.

An account of Zemans’ scholarly contributions would not be complete without mention of her pioneering work in cultural policy: she is one of the few scholars in the field of art history to tackle the fundamentally important question of the impact of cultural policy on the production, circulation and consumption of the visual and performing arts.

Professor Zemans’ contribution to the development of a vibrant scholarly community in the visual arts in Canada must be highlighted: as a longstanding participant in the University Arts Association of Canada, Zemans has consistently provided encouragement to young scholars just beginning their academic journey.

Indeed, as a model for how to properly combine academic research with public service, Zemans has inspired and mentored more than two generations of scholars in the visual arts and beyond.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Joyce Zemans, so that you may confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

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