Celebrating culture, great work, and great students

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

From Digital Dada to Intangible Crafting Heritage, an impressive range of student learning and knowledge was showcased at this month’s Culture Fest, a celebration of outstanding work by undergraduates and recent graduates from some of the University of Waterloo’s culture-focused courses and programs.

Featuring the research of nine students, the three-minute presentations covered a wide array of historical and contemporary topics – with visuals and even physical objects shared with the audience. The lively Q and A following each talk, made it clear how engaged the audience was with the topics and quality of the students’ work.

Culture Fest was initiated by Dr. Alicia Batten (Religious Studies), Dr. Jeremy Bergen (Religious Studies),  and Dr. Joan Coutu (Fine Arts) with the goal to celebrate student work from some of the smaller programs in Arts. “In just three minutes, each presenter communicated critical insight, creativity, and passion. In each case, I wanted to learn more," says Bergen.

Students and topics

  • Alana Matsuo (Germanic/Slavic Studies), "Queer(ing) International Folk and Fairy Tales." Alana is interested in pursuing museum curation or archival work.
  • Alenna Martin (Culture and Language Studies), “Insights into Language Learning through Interactions with a Conversation Partner.” Alenna will be pursuing an MA in French Studies and is interested teaching and curriculum development. 
  • Ari Kechichian (Visual Culture), “Digital Dada: Absurdism in the Age of Mass Media.”  Ari is interested in further academic research on the evolution of arts and visual culture as it entered the age of mass media. 
  • Cassandra Wex (Spanish and Latin American Studies), "Spandex and Subversion: Cassandro's Queer Revolution in Lucha Libre." Cassandra aspires to teach internationally, integrating her passion for art, psychology, and cross-cultural understanding.
  • Ellen Siebel-Achenbach (Religious Studies), "Reconstructing History: Intangible Crafting Heritage and Object Recreation." Currently a master’s student of Art History at the University of Toronto, Ellen plans to pursue a PhD in Renaissance craft culture.
  • Jessica Gilbert (Religious Studies), “Thich Nhat Hanh’s Reinterpretation of Pratitya-Samutpada Into Interbeing.” Graduated from Psychology and Religious Studies in 2023, Jessica aspires to travel in South East Asia to learn more about Buddhism.
  • Meghana Anthannagari (Visual Culture), “Arts Ecosystem in Waterloo and Hamilton.” Meghana is studying Visual Culture along with Political Science.
  • Samantha Moser (Classical Studies), “Matrons and Prostitutes: Desirable Women.” Samantha will soon start a master’s program in Greek and/or Latin Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford.
  • Susie Recnik (Spanish and Latin American Studies), "Justice for Women in Coffee Production." Majoring in English Literature, Susie is considering teaching but will keep her options open as she completes undergraduate studies.

Photos: Conrad Grebel University College.

Student with slide on screen speaking to seated audience
Audience look at embroiderd cloth
row of nine students and professor in a row with certificates