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Chris Small (UBC, Political Science) - Writer & Editor, 2020 Sep - Current

I was born and raised in North Vancouver and am currently pursuing a Political Science and Philosophy degree at the University of British Columbia.  When outside of the classroom, I enjoy squeezing as much out of the city as possible. This includes hiking or skiing in the North Shore mountains, going for a sail at Jericho Sailing Club, or riding my bike through Stanley Park and and across the Lions Gate Bridge. My motivation for joining Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society is based on my passionate interest in local art projects. I do my best to support local art whenever possible and I especially enjoy building my visual library of city murals. Currently, I am interested in unpacking existential questions in the political narratives of art, and seeing the strange in the familiar.

Wendy Xu (LMU) - Content Creator, June - August 2019

Wendy is a film and TV production major at Loyola Marymount University. Before pursuing filmmaking, she has been involved in areas of visual arts such as painting, found-object installations, sculpting, stop-motion animation, and mix-medium fine arts. She is enamored by all things color and lighting related, which is a perfect excuse for her to emphasize in cinematography in her studies. 

Wendy is what you would call a “third culture kid.” She was born in Shanghai, China, but her Canadian and American background permeate into her native culture and influence the way she tells stories. It is no surprise that cultural intersectionality and code-switching is one of her favorite conversations to have with friends. She is very excited to explore social and cultural changes through visual storytelling with VACS!

Aaron Jacob Lampitoc (SFU) - Staff Writer, June - August 2019

Aaron is a conceptual, multimedia artist who is currently focused on sculptural and installation based art that implements audience interaction. He encourages his audience to discover their own understanding towards his work (such as through forensic analyses), as he enjoys observing their unique reactions and interpretations. His spontaneous curiosity has commonly lead him to explore autobiographies and narratives, which then lead him to repurpose past material, reference archival documentation, and explore "conceptual paths" as his methodology.


Aaron was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. Throughout his time in high school (2011-2016), he has completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) Visual Arts Higher Level course, which provided high amounts of experience in art making, writing, and formal presentation. Currently, he is studying at Simon Fraser University as a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Arts Major student—where he continues to create work and has a school portfolio available online. His hobbies revolve around contemporary gaming, social media, and Japanese culture—such as video games, anime, and manga. He finds that their content provides rich, complex concepts and plot development that enables him to find inspiration for his projects.

Elena Del Rivero (UBC) - Staff Writer, June 2019 - Dec 2019

Elena was born and raised in Mexico City before moving to Vancouver two years ago to study at the University of British Columbia. She is pursuing a degree in International Relations with a minor in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC.  She loves to watch TV series, read fanfiction and go to the ice rink as she was a competitive figure skater for nine years. She has a passion in discussing LGBTQ+ issues and she is hoping to improve her writing abilities and share stories through this opportunity with VACS. 

Mark Le (UBC) - Content Creator, June - August 2019

Mark has been in a dedicated campaigner for the human right for over two years in Vietnam, his hometown. Mark is a writer, singer, animal lover, street art addict and UBC student in Economics and Political Science. He has been living in Vancouver for two years where he has a chance to observe the culture diversity and the harmonious connection between people, how people engage in the community and express themselves here. Recently, his focus is on the indigenous community and their engagement in the social economy. Joining VACS is an opportunity to broaden his knowledge while preserving and enriching the beauty of local community through arts.

Erin McGinn (UBC) - Staff Writer, June - July 2019

Erin McGinn is a Media Studies major at UBC. She grew up in Maryland before moving across the continent to beautiful, rainy Vancouver.

She wishes to contribute to our shared culture of stories and leave a legacy. But before she can do so, she must carve, detail, and polish off her skills. Erin has been writing creatively for years now and has always used art to convey the core and characters of each story. She is not only thankful for the chance to bring more attention to the value of the arts as a field of study but also, her opportunity to work with VACS.

Valerie Simon (UBC) - Staff Writer/Film-maker, January - June 2019

Valerie Simon is an actor/filmmaker who was born in Denver, Colorado where she started stage acting at age 9. She later got in to film which became her main focus. Currently she attends the University of British Columbia, studying an interdisciplinary major called Religion, Literature, and the Arts. Her primary focus blends Eastern and Western philosophy with the theory of acting. She believes that acting is beyond its art form and collides with the truth of the human experience.  

Ken Sakamoto (UBC) - Film-maker, January -Dec 2019

Ken was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan. He came to Vancouver 4 years ago to pursue university education at UBC, and is now majoring in Human Geography. He would be the first to admit that he is not completely confident in his writing abilities as of now, since he has had very little experience writing in formal settings. Nonetheless, he is very excited and grateful for this opportunity to get involved in this project as a writer. He believes that his passion and appreciation for art would be able to cover for any of the shortcomings he might experience in writing. He is particularly interested in approaching the issue of depression from a creative standpoint. 

His other interests include playing and watching basketball, reading books, woodworking, and hiking. 

Sonia Pathak (UBC) - Staff Writer, January - April 2019

Sonia spent most of her life growing up in California before moving to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia. She's currently in her second year pursuing an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Systems, and is passionate about mental health and writing. 

She's also a huge nerd who can and will go on rambling for hours to the poor soul that just so happens to step on one of her niche conversational minefields. She likes to read and play video-games in her spare time, and spends her weekends either writing or playing D&D with friends. If there's a good story to it, she'll probably love it- whether that involves reading or writing it herself. Sonia is excited for the opportunity to express this in her writing, and explore storytelling in her contributions to VACS.

Justin Lee (UBC) - Film-maker, January - June 2019

I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and I immigrated to Canada in 2017, studying in university during the same year. I spent my first year in Prince Edward Island, and later moved to Vancouver after transferring to the University of British Columbia in 2018. Right now, I am majoring in Psychology, but I also hope to minor in Political Science. I believe that these two subjects are manifestations of human minds and thinking, which are the primary sources of inspirations to the arts.

I have a passion for making music myself, as I collaborate with different SoundCloud hip-hop artists regularly. I have learned piano since I was five and I also have basic knowledge on playing the guitar.

I look forward to working with the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society, as I firmly believed that it would be a rewarding and eye-opening experience.

Grace Jenkins (UBC) - Editorial Assistant, January - May 2019

Grace Jenkins is a third year student at the  University of British Columbia, majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing. She loves reading, writing, and other forms of storytelling. She is originally from the United States.  

Zeus Shroff (UBC) - Event Organizing Assistant, January 2019

I grew up in India and came to Vancouver about 4 years ago now! I'm studying Political Science and International Relations at UBC with a focus on diplomacy. I'm an outdoors kinda guy: I've been sailing for the last 15 years, go on hikes regularly throughout the summer and love playing soccer! 

Tenglong Feng (UBC) - Film-maker, January - May 2019

My name is Tenglong Feng (Dragon). I’m a third year sociology international student from China. I am currently a Global Ambassador at UBC Go Global to help inbound and unbound students make their smooth transition to partner universities. I am also working at Club Monaco as a part-time men's stylist. Sharing, helping and inspiring others has always been a paramount part of my career objective. I hope I can make my contribution for the community by showing this incredible world through film at VACS.

Thea Udwadia (UBC) - Community Art Exhibition Assistant, April - August 2018

Thea is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, pursuing a major in International Relations and Economics. She was born in India and moved to Canada at a young age. She loves to read, write and do research, and is very excited to incorporate these passions into her role at VACS. Her other passions include doing yoga, cooking, and enjoying the outdoors. 

Qian Ying Chow (UBC) - Staff Writer / Project Coordinator, May 2018

Qian is a currently a fourth year international student from Malaysia double majoring in Anthropology and in English Literature at the University of British Columbia. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural issues, community building and public education. Qian’s past time including hiking, outdoors photography, reading, traveling,writing, and attending to her pet hedgehog.

Grace McRae (UBC) - Event Coordinator, January - August 2018

Grace McRae was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is currently in the third year of her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia, where she is majoring in Honours English Literature.

From a young age, Grace has always gravitated towards artistic outlets such as writing music, writing poetry, drawing, and painting. She is inspired by the landscapes she travels through, whether this be in Vancouver or past the city limits, and the people she encounters. Her favourite experiences with music and writing have been collaborative projects with friends she bonds with through UBC’s various artistic circles.

Grace hopes to get to apply her advocacy for healthy cultural relationships with diverse forms of art through her professional work after completing her undergraduate degree. She holds a strong belief that artistic spaces produce rich connections and collaborative opportunities between people and communities. Through her work with VACS, Grace hopes to contribute to these relationships while learning from other individuals’ passions.

Chloe Price (UBC) - Staff Writer/Editor, Janurary - May 2018

Chloe is very excited to be joining the VACS Internship team. She is currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She works at a post-production studio and in her spare time enjoys illustration, sculpture and writing fiction. 

Simran Dhaliwal (UBC) - Staff Writer, January - December 2018

Simran was born and raised in the lower mainland, and has travelled to Europe and Asia in the past and plans to travel more in the future. She is currently a third-year student at UBC, enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts Program with an English Literature specialization. Her other areas of study include classical, religious, postcolonial, feminist, and gender studies. 

As her academic pursuits suggest, Simran has varied interests, with an additional focus on politics and social justice. Simran is also a pop-culture enthusiast and will speak for hours on subjects ranging from Star Trek to Nintendo. Along with being a giant geek, she is a serial reader, changing subjects mercilessly, and currently devouring The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett as well as Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. 

Whenever she is free from being a full-time student, Simran loves to edit and write fiction of all genres and media forms. With VACS, Simran is excited to participate in a community of creative minds, and grow along the way. 

Eileen Chen (UBC) - Staff Writer/Editor, Janurary 2018 - current

Eileen was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, but spent a significant amount of time growing up in Vancouver. She is currently a student at UBC, majoring in English Literature. She lives in Surrey and is always ready to exchange horror stories about commuting to UBC (although she secretly enjoys the relaxing view from the bus).

Aside from writing, Eileen loves to read, bake, and watch anime. She loves to immerse herself in different cultures through language-learning and trying (or cooking) various cuisines. She has enjoyed contributing her passion for writing and various other things for VACS, and looks forward to continue learning about new things.

Adele McCann (UBC) - Staff Writer & Filmmaker, April 2017 - February 2018

I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and last year I decided to do an exchange year abroad at the University of British Columbia. After spending one year here I loved the university and the city of Vancouver so much that I decided to transfer permanently to finish out my degree here. I am currently hoping to graduate with a major in English Literature and a minor in Film Studies. 

I have a passion for travel and exploring and love experiencing new places and immersing myself in new cultures. One of my favourite things about travelling is getting to try new food!

I try to practice as many artistic disciplines as I can and particularly love writing, drawing and filmmaking. I hope to one day be able to be in a position that allows me to do all of these things at a professional level. Currently I look forward to being able to exercise these artistic passions in the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society and hopefully through these passions to engage with the wider community.

Teresa Chen (UBC) - Project Intern, Summer/Fall 2017

Born and raised in Vancouver, Teresa Chen is currently a first year student at the University of British Columbia and has been dabbling here and there in what she wants to study in the future. She is a big supporter of social justice and enjoys debate, having participated and directed several Model UN conferences. As a history, archaeology, and art lover, Teresa ultimately hopes to enter law school and become an advocate in the repatriation of historical artwork and artifacts. She believes that cultural and heritage roots are important and as a result, items of cultural significance should never be stolen but instead should be shared in a way that shares and preserves the identity of one’s culture. She currently works as a Museum Technician at the North Vancouver Museum and Archives.  


An avid reader who reads anything that catches her fancy, Teresa can be found haunting your local libraries and bookstores or in various random locations with her head buried in a novel. (She’s a bit in love with several Russian authors currently and will never turn down an opportunity to talk about the Phantom of the Opera.) When not writing academic papers, Teresa likes to experiment in writing fiction and poetry, doodle nonsensical things, and explore “old places”.

Jonathan Chudley (UBC) - Event Planning Assistant, January 2017 - April 2019

Jonathan Chudley was born in Bangkok, Thailand and lived there for 18 years. Now he is studying Human Geography with a minor in Commerce at the University of British Columbia, hoping to explore more about the interactions between humans and the environment they reside in.


Ever since he was at a very young age, Jonathan has developed a huge passion for writing. Throughout his childhood he wrote fictional stories during his free time, hoping that one day he could finally publish his work and become an established author. At the start of his university career, his passion for writing grew progressively stronger and he finds himself enjoying producing essays, reports, written presentations and reviews. He also enjoys contemporary artworks and analyzing the meanings behind each work at art galleries, museums and events. 


When not writing or marveling at artwork, Jonathan can be found producing maps using GIS, watching movies and volunteering to help communities and non-profit organizations out. In the future he aspires to use his skills in writing and his experiences in Non-profit organizations for a career in event planning or marketing. Currently he wants to use his experiences in event planning and his fondness for writing about media and the arts to help the Vancouver Arts Colloquuim Society (VACS) with their goals. 

Lara Boleslawsky (UBC) - Executive Assistant & Project Assistant for Upcycling Fabric, 2016 - current

Lara Boleslawsky was born and raised in Vancouver by her parents, who immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1992. Throughout her childhood, Lara’s parents were eager to expose her to German traditions, cuisine and culture, resulting in her appreciation for Canada’s diverse multiculturalism. Lara sees herself as culturally ‘fluid’, navigating the streams and paths of her adult life as they merge with her upbringing.


Upon entering High School, Lara was nervous as she had no plan for the future, however this soon changed once she entered her English Literature class. At first tentative, as English was her second language, Lara soon fell deeply in love with the vibrant language and metrical prowess of both prose and verse. With help and guidance from her English instructors, Lara soon became more confident in her ability to express herself freely through writing.  


Lara is currently working to complete her English Honours degree at UBC with a minor in Classics. Lara is a strong advocate for open-dialogue in the arts and hopes that during her time with the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society and SkillShare she can help provide a safe space for anyone who wants to engage in their community. Lara spends most days listening to vinyl (her guilty pleasure is definitely Bon Jovi) or writing poetry in a local café. 

Haroun Khalid (UBC) - Staff Writer, April - December 2017

Haroun Khalid was born and raised in Minnesota, in the United States, but has been living in Vancouver for three years and counting. He is currently is currently wrapping up his third year at UBC, where he is majoring in geography (with a particular interest in urban society), and minoring in Spanish literature.


Haroun loves to draw, and has a number of personal artistic projects that date back over five years. On top of that, he is always keen to explore the diverse cultural landscape of the city, and often enjoys looking for new parts of Vancouver to draw. By joining team working at VACS, Haroun hopes to bring neighborhoods and diverse communities together through art. 


In fact, Haroun has worked with community engagement efforts and artistic organizations in the United States as well as in Mexico, and is looking forward to bringing those skills home to Vancouver. He strongly believes that art is vital in creating meaningful places in the urban environment, and is very excited to start working at the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society.

Jiyoon Ha (UBC) - Staff Writer, April - December 2017

Jiyoon Ha is a budding writer born in Seoul, but raised in Vancouver. She is currently pursuing her BA in English Literature at the University of British Columbia, where she is able to nurture her lifelong infatuation with books and writing about them. When not writing academic papers, she likes to write creative nonfiction, drawing portraits, and contemplating her cultural identity, often all at the same time. Jiyoon aims to use her writing and art as channels that spread awareness about various social issues throughout communities, which she believes she could achieve with VACS.

Jamie Zabel (UBC) - Staff Writer, January - September 2017

Jamie Zabel was born in Edmonton but grew up in Kelowna. In May she will be graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in English Literature. 

Jamie has a passion for writing that began at a young age. She has been able to channel this passion into her academic career and is looking forward to using it to fuel her writing for the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society. One day she hopes to write a novel and is always looking for inspiration from the world around her. When not studying, Jamie also enjoys skiing, hiking and planning her next travelling adventure. Next on her list is going to Germany to rediscover her family roots.

Music is another source for inspiration for Jamie.  She is hoping to reconnect with her passion for singing especially as she moves towards graduation.

Liam McLean (UBC) - Staff Writer, January - September 2017

Liam McLean was born in Vancouver, but he grew up and spent the majority of his life in the small suburban town of Tsawwassen. He is currently finishing his last semester at the University of British Columbia, where he is majoring in English Literature.


Liam has been an enthusiastic reader ever since he was a young child. During his teenage years, his passion for books inspired him to develop his skills as a writer and to pursue an education in literature. Now that he is entering post-university life, Liam seeks to take his writing to the next artistic and professional level.


When he is not working on essays for school, Liam writes short fiction, manages a blog, and maintains an active and healthy lifestyle. By applying his strengths as a writer and communicator, he hopes to contribute to the Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society’s mission while learning from the passions of others within the community. 

Gabriel Olivella (UBC) - Event Planning Assistant, January - June 2017

Gabriel is currently studying Geography, Environment & Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He is always open to new opportunities and scenarios that can nurture him with knowledge and good friends. Gabriel is passionate about thinking on new ways of making of the world a more sustainability and socially integrated place. He likes to attend public events in defense of the environment, life, and freedom in a healthy planet. He hopes that in joining the VACS team he can contribute to making meaningful changes towards the world he dreams. He enjoys being outdoors, reading, listening to music, and watching films.

Tatiana Zamorano-Henriquez (UBC) - Event Planning Assistant, January - December 2017

Tatiana Zamorano-Henriquez, was born in Edmonton, Alberta and was raised in Vancouver BC. Her background is Chilean, Canadian and she is also of Indigenous Mapuche descent. Tatiana is a UBC student majoring in Sociology and minoring in First Nations Indigenous studies and she will be graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree this summer May 2017. Tatiana’s mantra since a very young age has always been to generate change, be a good human being and inspire and help others because only then will she be able to say that she has lived, as she believes that it is the legacy that we leave behind that is most important. This has driven Tatiana’s passion in sociology to want to better understand the structure and functioning of human society in order to ameliorate the social problems of the globe while also motivating others to do the same. Her passion for Indigenous studies flourished from her Mapuche ancestry, as she wanted to get in touch with her Indigenous roots and histories. Tatiana has a profound love for art; she loves poetry, ceramics, beading, painting and drawing, as art was something that Tatiana felt she always came back to for inspiration and serenity throughout her entire life. She believes that art has the power to bring individuals together, to relay knowledge, to inspire and motivate change as it has the ability to connect with people’s hearts and souls. As a result she is very excited to work with VAC’s and hopes to empower, promote change, educate and bring people together through their love for art.

Syed Mustafa (UBC) - Videographer and Filmmaking Assistant, January - December 2017

Syed Mustafa was born in Korea and moved through various countries and continents growing up. He is a Film Studies major currently studying at the University of British Columbia. An avid photographer, he’s been enjoying playing with old cameras and creating photographs in the darkroom. A strong advocate for the arts, be it music, visual or performance arts, he aims to build a bridge between the community and artists. 

Raine Gauthier (Emily Carr) - Videographer & Filmaking Assistant, 2016 - 2017

Raine Gauthier is a recent Emily Carr graduate. She received a bachelor of fine arts wth a major in photography and minor in social practice and community engagement. Raine uses videography to try and create positive changes, in both subtle and obvious ways. She feels it is essential to help protect the environment and foster communities around her in any way possible, whether this is by eating local organic foods, or creating a film on why a local wild site is worth protecting. While Raine feels a responsibility to use photography and video as a way to spread a message, she still likes to have fun with it and will jump at any chance to do a shoot!

Misato Matsutani (SFU) - Social Media Communication Assistant 2017

Misato grew up in a small town in Kochi, Japan. She came to Vancouver in 2014 to study Communication at Simon Fraser University. Misato is passionate about using art as a tool to promote stronger and more inclusive communities. To bring this idea forward, Misato feels grateful for the opportunity to support VASC. Misato looks forward to connect art and community.

Danni He (UBC) – Event Planning Assistant, January - April 2017

Danni was born and raised in China by her parents, came to Vancouver for starting university life alone three years ago, and currently, she major in Sociology and minor in Economics at the University of British Columbia. 


Upon she started her university life here, she feels confused about the future, because this is an unfamiliar place for her, and she totally does not have any ideas about what she can do in the future. However, though divergent volunteer experiences and courses studying, Danni finds the fields she interested, ensures her future career direction, and loves the life in Vancouver. She loves painting and photography, desire to be a public relation coordinator in the near future; and believes that although personal power may be tiny, though everyone’s efforts, we can change the groups, communities, countries even the worlds to be better. Danni feels super-excited to make contributions for VACS, and hopes to achieve growth, and be engaged to the local community though VACS.

Susan Tsang (UBC) - Project Assistant for Musical Voice Lab, January 2016 - January 2017

Susan Tsang was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver. She is an International Relations major at University of British Columbia who has been writing fiction for two years. She loves to try new things and give back to the community, such as joining the local circus Cirque Surrey, fundraising with the Leo Club, and volunteering as a tutor at Pathways to Education in DTES Strathcona. Susan hopes that through VACS, she will be engaged in the community with art.

Colleen Rhodes - Project Mentor for Upcycling Fabrics, 2017

Born and raised in a suburb of Toronto, Colleen recently quit her corporate job of 25 years and relocated to Vancouver to become her own boss.  She has been basking in the joy of cultivating her inner crafty being:  Seamstress, Bracelet Maker, Photographer and Writer. With this refreshing new start, she hopes to live her life doing the things she loves instead of living someone else’s dream.


She has been sewing since she was a child but found that the older she got, the more life got in the way of pursuing her dreams.  Her sewing business, Meins Designs, was born in the spring of 2014 out of a desire to do something meaningful. A passionate animal lover, Colleen is momma to a 6-year-old Field Spaniel named Cooper and a 17-year-old cat named Charlie.  She donates 10% of her business to an animal sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario.  She also volunteers her time every month at an animal sanctuary in Langley, BC and does her best to live a cruelty-free life.


Her love for writing started as a young child when she dreamed of becoming a poet.  Her writing flourished throughout high school but came to an end when “real life” took over.  Picking up where she left off almost 30 years ago, she now has a collection of 70+ poems, has her own blog and is writing a book to help women like herself find their freedom.  She also volunteers with One-to-One, A Children’s Literacy Program.  She shares her love for reading by tutoring children in need of extra help at a local school every week.


Colleen believes that Every Day is Earth Day and has evolved into an avid upcycler.  She is super-excited to be working with VACS to help others learn how to consume less and reduce, reuse, recycle & UPCYCLE more!!!

Gabriel Pliska - Project Mentor for Placemaking/Permaculture in Action, 2014 - current

Gabriel Pliska is an urban farmer based in Kitsilano, growing vegetables in local residential gardens and is really passionate about growing food! I am originally from Ottawa and having lived in Japan and Germany for several years, I now call Vancouver my home. I understand the importance of growing and cultivating your own food and sharing with others. I hope to share my passion for gardening, cooking and growing vegetables with others. 

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