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News Release

Emily Carr University

Two internationally revered leaders in North America’s art and design community will be recognized for their inimitable contributions to the fields of contemporary art and transition design by Emily Carr University this spring. Contemporary Canadian artist of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent and Emily Carr University alum Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun and Head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University Terry Irwin will be awarded with Honorary Doctorates at Emily Carr University’s convocation ceremony on May 4, 2019, at 1 p.m. In addition, Vancouver Island artist/activist and Emily Carr University alum Marianne Nicolson will receive Emily Carr University’s Emily Award, which honors outstanding achievements by university alumni.

“It is our great honor and privilege at Emily Carr University to publicly recognize the immense contributions to the fields of contemporary art and design made by these three individuals as dynamic artists, innovative designers, and compelling advocates,” says Gillian Siddall, Emily Carr University’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “As provocative leaders in their respective fields, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun, Terry Irwin, and Marianne Nicolson embody the spirit and purpose of Emily Carr University — making a bold and lasting impact on creative practice and cultural engagement, thereby inspiring and informing the facilitation of future thought leaders and change makers.”

Lauded for artistic works that are at once challenging, political, confrontational, and playful, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Letters for his artistic creations, activism, and unique and persistent voice for change. A painter, sculptor, virtual reality and performance artist, Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun has spent the past three decades exploring issues of colonization, politics, and the environment.

He graduated from Emily Carr University in 1983 with an honors degree in painting and uses surrealism, formline, ovoid forms, and neon-bright colors to compel viewers to examine issues through a different lens. Yuxweluptun Lets’lo:tseltun’s work has been displayed in many international group and solo exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Canada. In 2016, Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology presented Unceded Territories, a hugely successful retrospective exhibition spanning his expansive 30-year art career.

A highly accomplished designer, professor, and faculty head at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, artistic innovator Terry Irwin will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Letters for her considerable and influential contributions to the field of design education. With a design background in corporate identity and branding, Irwin has been teaching at the university level since 1986, with faculty positions at numerous esteemed design institutions in the United States and Scotland. In 1992, she became a partner and creative director with international design firm MetaDesign, one of the leading design firms in the world. Toward the end of her time at MetaDesign, she began to see links between the things she was designing and many of the larger problems in the world, which prompted her to shift her career trajectory entirely, in 2001.

Undertaking a Master’s Degree in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, an international centre for ecological studies, her approach to thinking about and teaching design fundamentally shifted, leading to her current position at Carnegie Mellon, where she led a three-and-a-half-year process with faculty to place design for society and the environment at the heart of all curricula. She is now on the leading edge of Transition Design, an exciting and impactful new area of design study, practice and research that argues for societal transition toward more sustainable futures, calling upon the need for openness, mindfulness, and collaboration in design.

A 1996 Emily Carr University graduate and member of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, Vancouver Island-based artist and advocate Marianne Nicolson will be presented with the Emily Award, an annual honor to acknowledge outstanding achievements by distinguished university alumni. An internationally exhibited artist and outspoken advocate for Indigenous land rights, Nicolson explores traditional Northwest Coast artistic expressions through contemporary media. Her multi-disciplinary practice encompasses photography, painting, carving, video, installation, writing, and speaking.

Exhibited in the 17 Biennale of Sydney, Australia, Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, Nuit Blanche in Toronto, and many others, many of Nicolson’s works are monumental in size and scope. Her public artworks are currently on display around the world, in the Vancouver International Airport, the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, and the Canadian Embassy in Paris, France.

In celebration of Emily Carr University’s 2019 graduating students, members of the public are invited to experience The Show at Emily Carr at Emily Carr University (520 E 1 Ave), on from May 4-19, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Show features artworks by more than 300 graduating Design, Visual Arts and Media Arts students, and installations will be exhibited throughout the entirety of Emily Carr University’s campus, offering unprecedented access to the building’s interior spaces. Free to the public, the art show features several ancillary events, including:

Opening Night Party

Friday, May 3 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Premiere Screening of Graduate Films

Sunday, May 5

2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. — Film + Screen Arts graduates

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. — 2D + Experimental Animation and 3D Computer Animation graduates

Best of Animation + Film/Video Showcase + Reception

Wednesday, May 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For a full listing of all Emily Carr University events and artists, visit

Emily Carr University of Art + Design is a world leader in education and research. Encouraging experimentation at the intersections of art, design, media and technology, Emily Carr merges studio practice, research and critical theory in an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. Founded in Vancouver in 1925 and situated on traditional, unceded Coast Salish territory, the university has nearly 2,000 students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs, and thousands more taking workshops, certificate programs, and individual courses. Their faculty and alumni are internationally recognized as award-winning creators and thought leaders who have a significant impact on both the cultural sector and the economy.