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December 10, 2021

ArtStarts welcomes Ashley Bate as Communications and Events Assistant

[Image description: A white woman with long, auburn hair and brown eyes, smiling. She is wearing a maroon button-down shirt and sits on a concrete bench in front of tall grass. The image of the person is photoshopped onto a background of blurry pink lights against a dull purple background.]

ArtStarts is excited to welcome Ashley Bate to the team as Communications and Events Assistant. She'll play an important role in communicating our programs to our audiences and making sure they're accessibly. Ashley holds a BA in Theatre Studies and Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice and brings her experience leading dance performances at the University of British Columbia. Read more about what brings Ashley to ArtStarts and her creative practice.

ArtStarts: Tell us about yourself (e.g. Name, pronouns, training).

Ashley: My name is Ashley and my pronouns are she/her/hers. For the past five years I have been living as an uninvited guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, having moved here to attend UBC. I graduated this year with a BA in Theatre Studies and Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice.

ArtStarts: Do you have a creative practice? What does it look like?

Ashley: I am a dancer and spend much of my free time working on choreography videos with friends I have met through the dance community at UBC. Though most of my formal training is in jazz and tap dance, in the last few years I’ve shifted my focus towards pop choreography and exploring various street dance styles. I’m fascinated by the individuality that can be seen in a person’s style of movement, and love to practice in a group setting where it’s important to be in tune with and uplift the strengths of one another. I also enjoy playing piano and dabbling in watercolour painting when I have the time!

ArtStarts: Have you been able to merge art practice with your educational training?

Ashley: Yes! In my fourth year of undergrad I was able to get creative with my final assignment for a course in Critical Studies in Sexuality. Our professor gave us total freedom to delve deeper into the theories and concepts we had been studying in class through an artistic project of our own design, using media of our choice. I teamed up with a friend of mine in the class, who is an avid quilter, and together we created a digital multi-media work using quilting and dance to explore themes of queerness, identity, and community. Devising and choreographing for this project was a wonderful challenge which helped me better understand the relationships between identity and the body in performance. I was lucky to be able to rely on the help of my friends from the UBC dance community, and am so grateful for the efforts they dedicated to workshopping and performing my choreography. The collaborative nature of the project also gave me the chance to experience my friend’s creative practice through her eyes, and I enjoyed learning more about quilting with her.

ArtStarts: Can you share with us an impactful art experience from your childhood?

Ashley: An anecdote that we like to recount in my family comes to mind ― I was about 12 and was getting very frustrated while practicing my scales on the piano one day. I must have been complaining particularly loudly because my father, who is a musician himself and is usually quite reserved, came into the room, picked out a collection of sonatas from the bookshelf, took my place at the piano and started playing. I listened in awe until he stopped before what looked like an especially complicated passage to point out that, although the notes on the page seemed overwhelming, it was just a few major scales like the ones I had been practicing. He then breezed through the passage, returned the book to the shelf, turned to me and said, “And that’s why you practice your scales.” I definitely felt like I had gotten schooled, but it taught me a great deal about patience and not losing sight of the bigger picture. Moments like this remind me how important it is to have artistic mentors growing up, and how many life lessons can be learned through creative expression.


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