Prof’s collection of African ‘velvet’ on exhibit

Raffia cloth of rare quality from central Africa, of the type that influenced Henri Matisse’s later works, has been showing up recently in Toronto, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 1. The pieces mostly constitute family heirlooms, survivors of an ancient weaving tradition once prized by European royalty but now largely forgotten. Bruce Parsons has a special eye for them. About 10 years ago, as a visual arts professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, he started collecting pieces of so-called “Kasai velvet” from African shops in New York, Toronto and Montreal. His exhibition, Matisse’s Secret Kuba Textiles from Zaire, consists of his entire 30-piece collection of small mats and larger ceremonial skirts. The show is at David Mirvish Books, 596 Markham St., until April 1. “I’m mostly appreciating them on a visual level,” Parsons said of the pieces, each of them unique. “But I’m also conscious of what has been happening in Africa, politically and with the AIDS epidemic. “When I have these around, I think of those struggles and I think of the beauty of the works, and I feel sort of conflicted about owning them.”

Corruption was tipping point, study concludes

While last month’s election results suggested Canadians were in the mood for change, a closer look at the numbers reveals public opinion did not move much between this election and the last – at least outside Quebec, concluded a study conducted by the Institute for Social Research at York University of 2004 and 2006 elections. So how can we account for both the stability and change that has taken place? asked The Globe and Mail Feb. 1. Several explanations for this outcome have been suggested. One is that leader and party evaluations changed: Perceptions of Stephen Harper and of the Conservatives improved, while views about Paul Martin and the Liberals became more negative. Another is that the united right successfully shed its radical image and moved closer to the centre of the political spectrum. Yet other accounts suggest corruption was the key: reactions to the sponsorship scandal, and perhaps the RCMP investigation of the income trust affair, pushed the Liberals to defeat, stated the study.

Cineplex cinemas peddle marquee appeal

Cineplex Entertainment LP is hunting for companies that want to see their names in lights, and are willing to buy the naming rights on four major movie complexes across the country, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 1. Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, said Cineplex’s move is part of a trend to “locational branding”. Naming rights are now being sold on destination locations beyond traditional performing arts theatres such as Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre, he said. But Middleton was surprised that Cineplex is looking for a corporate player willing to share the branding limelight with the cinema operator. “Big sponsor organizations tend to like exclusive or dominant sponsorships, so to share it with another is going to be more complex for them to sell,” he suggested.

MBA programs must become more transnational, says Horváth

The key indicators for business schools – the number of recruiters who want to employ their graduates and the number of students applying for their programs – are looking rosy, reported the National Post Feb. 1. More fragile are the numbers of applicants to MBA programs. For the entering class of 2005, figures were still low across the world. Recent statistics from the US Bureau of the Census show the growth worldwide in adults between the age of 25 and 29 – the target age for MBA programs – is set to climb from 510 million in 2005 to 600 million in 2015. The biggest growth will be in the number of potential MBA students in Asia. Numbers in Latin America are also set to grow strongly. This means the growth in the MBA population will be in geographical areas where there are few MBA programs, points out Dezsö Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. “MBA programs are going to become more trans-national,” argues Horváth, much more like corporations. “There will be more delivery through partnerships.”

Murdered woman attended York

David Canvin, Queen’s biology professor emeritus, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his daughter, Sarah Canvin, reported The Kingston Whig-Standard and The Globe and Mail Feb. 1. The 41-year-old woman studied film at York in 1986.

On air

  • Jewish historian Martin Lockshin, a professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, commented on the Hamas victory in the recent Palestinian election, on CTV Newsnet Jan. 27. Asked about the future of the peace process, he said the onus is now on Palestinians to make confidence-boosting measures.