Heather Evelyn is the Learning Zone Coordinator. We spoke to Heather about what she does in the Learning Zone, her art practice, and how she's coping during COVID-19.
Can you explain your role in the Learning Zone?
I am the Learning Zone Coordinator. It is a new role for me recently, but you may already know me since I have worked in the LZ in a variety of roles for close to nine years. You can find me working alongside our LZ Student Monitors, providing support to the students, faculty and staff who use our facilities.
The LZ is a very active space, so it’s important for me to stay engaged and connected with the OCAD U community ensuring that our space is welcoming and inclusive, supporting diverse activities such as poetry events, student exhibitions, sustainability initiatives, liaising with student groups, and promoting events on our social media, all of which are designed to enrich the student experience.
I also work behind the scenes, planning and managing resources which keep the LZ running. Things like cataloguing zines, facilitating events, maintaining the space, and building relationships with IT to keep our technology resources up and running.
You studied at OCAD. Can you tell us about what you studied and your own art practice?
I was in the Faculty of Art stream at OCAD with a focus on painting, experimental film and video. In my current art practice, I focus primarily on photography, and also a special interest in pottery. I love being hands-on with the work, which in some sense is lost with moving towards digital processes in my photography.
How has your work changed since we've begun working remotely?
Yes, definitely changed since our doors closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I miss the daily interactions with the students, and we all know that students are the heartbeat of OCAD U, so yes, I am missing being surrounded by their creative energy and activities.
So has the pace of my day-to-day significantly changed. I would normally be dashing around the LZ or the main building, for example taking care of the ReUSE depot, but now I have found ways to re-channel that energy into other responsibilities.
Working remotely has given me more quiet time that I can dedicate towards zine cataloguing, and catch up on other areas of my work that I had put aside due to the constant buzz of activity in the LZ. Right now, we are working on ways to bridge the facility closure, and instead transform that energy to online activities until we all can return to campus.
Aside from work, what are you doing to pass the time while we're all homebound?
Besides worrying too much? I try to keep a daily routine as much as possible which includes early morning walks but I keep my expectations in line, like if I decide to stay indoors all day and not check any boxes from my to-do list, it’s still okay.
Right now, I’m reading How She Read poems by Chantal Gibson and Skogluft: Norwegian Secrets for Bringing Natural Air and Light into Your Home and Office to Dramatically Improve Health and Happiness by Jorn Viumdal. I’ve been trying for awhile now to make time to read these two books, and now, I have found the time.
Besides knitting socks, which has become my latest knitting obsession, baking mini banana chocolate chip loaves became my next favourite thing to do. On the weekends, I’ve been gardening, getting the beds ready and planning what herbs and vegetables to plant, it helps me through this time.
What are some of your favourite items in the collection?
I like browsing through current issues of European Photography, and Ceramics Art + Perception periodicals but my favourite book is Candida Höfer’s Zoologische Gärten. I love the absurdity of zoos captured in her photographs. I love exploring the New Books display. It’s my favourite area of the library. I like to keep current and enjoy the discovery of new art and design material.