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Courses (2024-25)

Creative Expression & Society courses for the 2024-25 academic year. Please note: course listings change from year to year. Should you have any questions, please contact vic.academics@utoronto.ca.

CRE201H1F | Introduction to Creativity and Society

CRE201H1F
Introduction to Creativity and Society
Professor Adam Sol
T 12-2

Can a one or two-paragraph course description give an engaging and informative explanation of what a course on creativity is? How would you do that? What is Creativity, anyway? Is it an attribute that we all have and can cultivate? Or is it a gift granted to a chosen few, like perfect pitch? Can it be taught, nurtured, stifled, studied? Is there a relationship between creativity and mental illness? How can creativity – whatever it is – contribute to artistic, political, economic, and social worlds? These are the types of questions this course will investigate, though whether we come up with any definitive answers will depend on whether we can catch a tiger in red weather.  

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE209H1F | How Stories Work

CRE209H1F
How Stories Work
Professor Mona LaFosse
W 3-5

Stories are everywhere—my stories, your stories, our stories, their stories. Stories define us as individuals and connect (or disconnect) us with various identities and groups to which we belong (or not). In this course, we explore the form and substance of stories, their tenacity and adaptability, their power to work on us, between us, and for us. In order to examine stories, we will follow several trajectories: a particular story, namely the story of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, and an Indigenous elder’s insights about the Power of Story (Harold R. Johnson, 2022), as we considering how stories work.

Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE210H1S | Holography for 3D Visualization

CRE210H1S
Holography for 3D Visualization
Prof Emanuel Istrate
T 10-12


An introduction to the theory and practice of holography. We will make holograms and use them as an introduction to concepts of optical physics, human perception, 3D visualization and the creation of art. As this is an interdisciplinary course combining concepts of both science and art, students will work in interdisciplinary teams. In their teams, students will complete two holography projects, which include the proposal and development of a concept, the execution of the hologram, and the presentation of their result to the rest of the class. Holograms will be produced from real-world objects, and also from 3D computer-graphics models. This will give students the opportunity to explore 3D modelling software. No specific background or preparation in the sciences or arts is required for this course. There will be a mandatory Materials Fee to cover non-reusable materials. The fee will be included on students' ACORN invoice.

Exclusion: JOP210H1, IVP210H1
Distribution Requirements: Science
Breadth Requirements: The Physical and Mathematical Universes (5)

CRE235H1F | Innovation in Society

CRE235H1F
Innovation in Society
Professor Sunil Johal
R 6-8

This course investigates innovation as it relates to emerging social, scientific, and environmental trends. Students will acquire key frameworks for understanding the evolution of innovation, the place of creativity, and the social impacts of disruption. Through case studies of innovation (such as the sharing economy and cryptocurrencies) and considering related issues (such as ethics and inclusion) students will develop approaches to understanding the societal impacts of creative disruption.

Exclusion: VIC235H1MUN101H1MUN102H1
Distribution Requirement Status: Social Science
Breadth Requirement: Society and its Institutions (3)

CRE247H1F | Creativity in the Sciences

CRE247H1F
Creativity in the Sciences
Professor Emanuel Istrate
T 10-12

This seminar course explores various aspects of creativity in the sciences. We will discuss how to define the term “creativity” and will use the definition to compare creativity in the sciences to creativity in the arts, business and engineering. Using as examples major developments in the history of science, we will consider factors that enable creativity in scientists. We will also contrast the kinds of creative work scientists do in different areas of science, and at various stages of a project. To better understand creativity, we will use results from psychological and neuroscience studies of creativity. We will discuss various ways in which the creativity of a scientist can be evaluated, and will use this as a starting point to evaluate the importance of scientific discoveries more generally, in both fundamental and applied science areas. We will consider the timing of scientific discoveries, looking at “ideas whose time has come,” to discuss whether creative discoveries happen at random, or if they occur at predictable times. Students will perform research on the major developments in an area of science, analyzing the types of creative work that were done, along with factors that enabled the developments. They will be encouraged to “represent” that area of science in class discussions during the term.

Prerequisite: Any 1.0 credit combination of courses carrying a breadth requirement (BR) category of 4 or 5.
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

CRE271H1S | Reading the Wild

CRE271H1S
Reading the Wild
Professor Andrea Most
W3-5

What stories does Western culture tell about “the wild”? What stories does “the wild” tell about itself? How might magical, spirit-filled, and sacred stories open pathways for human beings to engage in conversation with the wild earth? This experiential course focuses on the kinds of stories traditionally told aloud in the winter darkness around a fire: ancient myths, dramatic romances, folk and fairy tales, ghost stories, tales that often contain unmistakable warnings about the dangers of suppressing the spirits of the earth. Each week we will tell a well-known story, think together about the place of the wild in the tale, and then re-tell it from a new perspective. In the first half of the course, special guests will help us to engage with wild storytelling through various senses and genres – oral, culinary, dramatic, visual. In the second half, students will work in groups to inhabit the wild themselves, creating embodied, multi-sensory versions of these well-known tales.

Please note: This course may require a modest ancillary fee to cover the cost of possible experiential learning opportunities.

Exclusion: VIC271H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE272H1S | Song, Lyrics, and Songwriting

CRE272H1S
Song, Lyrics, and Songwriting
Prof. Francesca D'Amico-Cuthbert
M 10-12

A course exploring song and lyrics in various musical genres, with a review of major developments in the repertoire. Topics addressed could include the ethics of borrowed forms, instrumentation and collaboration, commercial songwriting standards and practices, major aspects of music industries, and reception. Students will have the opportunity to create compositions, and pursue projects related to aspects of the field. Musical ability and training are not required.

Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE273H1S | The Body: An Exercise

CRE273H1S
The Body: An Exercise
Professor Joanna Papayiannis
M 12-2

The human body has an intimate relationship with creative expression: it serves as an inspiration, a subject, a symbol, a metaphor and a medium for “art” in its various forms. In turn, art evokes and captures, idealizes and distorts, memorializes and resurrects the human body. The physical body has more or less remained the same, but it has been subjected to constant conceptual change. It is shaped by its cultural history, reflecting changes in attitudes related to religion and politics, sex and gender, race and ethnicity, and health and physical ability. Bodies are also living media; it is through our bodies that we imagine, conceive, create, and experience works of art. This course explores the relationship between the body and the arts, and the relevance of the cultural history of the body for the arts. Students will reflect on the creative process and embodiment, the connection between mind and body, the body’s influence on the human imagination, the tension between real and ideal, the wonder and horror of the body, as well as the fear of imperfection, ageing, erasure, and death. Through thought-provoking themes covering a wide variety of media – sculpture, painting, photography, performance art – across time and cultures, as well as creative activities and field trips to galleries and museums, the course will explore the human body as medium, mediator, metaphor, and muse.

Exclusion: VIC273H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE275H1F | Creative Writing: Short Fiction

CRE275H1F
Creative Writing: Short Fiction
Professor Noor Naga
R 10-12

This course is for aspiring fiction writers who wish to deepen their craft. Each seminar will feature a lecture on technical issues such as plot and characterization, as well as an analysis of a short story by a published writer. Students will engage in weekly reading and writing exercises and produce their own stories through continuous drafting and revision in a workshop-style seminar with regular editorial feedback from the instructor and their peers.

Exclusion: VIC275H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE275H1S | Creative Writing: Short Fiction

CRE275H1S
Creative Writing: Short Fiction
Professor Maria Cichosz
T 1-3

This course is for aspiring fiction writers who wish to deepen their craft. Each seminar will feature a lecture on technical issues such as plot and characterization, as well as an analysis of a short story by a published writer. Students will engage in weekly reading and writing exercises and produce their own stories through continuous drafting and revision in a workshop-style seminar with regular editorial feedback from the instructor and their peers.

Exclusion: VIC275H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE276H1F | Writing for the Stage and Screen

CRE276H1F
Writing for the Stage and Screen
Prof. Kate Cayley
F 10-12

In this course, we will focus on writing short film screenplays. Through our readings, screenings, discussions, and writing, we will explore both the power of the medium and the practical techniques that create this power. We will accomplish this through a variety of activities, including generating story ideas, discussing short films, writing and workshopping scripts, meeting with accomplished filmmakers and industry professionals, learning how and why to make pitches, and preparing a portion of our scripts for public presentation.

Exclusion: VIC276H1CIN349H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE276H1S | Writing for the Stage and Screen

CRE276H1S
Writing for the Stage and Screen
Prof. Rosamund Small
F 10-12

In this course, we will focus on writing short film screenplays. Through our readings, screenings, discussions, and writing, we will explore both the power of the medium and the practical techniques that create this power. We will accomplish this through a variety of activities, including generating story ideas, discussing short films, writing and workshopping scripts, meeting with accomplished filmmakers and industry professionals, learning how and why to make pitches, and preparing a portion of our scripts for public presentation.

Exclusion: VIC276H1CIN349H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE279H1F | Creative Non-Fiction

CRE279H1F
Creative Non-Fiction
Prof. Lisa Khoo
R 10-12

This course examines the forms, style, aims, and ethics of non-fictional forms such as documentary writing, journalism, and life-writing. It combines the study of examples from contemporary media with exercises in writing non-fictional prose.

Exclusion: VIC279H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE279H1S | Creative Non-Fiction

CRE279H1S
Creative Non-Fiction
Prof. Lisa Khoo
R 10-12

This course examines the forms, style, aims, and ethics of non-fictional forms such as documentary writing, journalism, and life-writing. It combines the study of examples from contemporary media with exercises in writing non-fictional prose.

Exclusion: VIC279H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE280H1F | Creative Writing: Poetry

CRE280H1F
Creative Writing: Poetry
Professor Ben Meyerson
R 6-8

A workshop course (with a literature component) in writing poetry. Designed for those with a serious ambition to be writers as evinced in work they are already doing. The literature component emphasizes multicultural dimensions of contemporary writing in English. 

Exclusion: VIC280H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE280H1F | Creative Writing: Poetry

CRE280H1F
Creative Writing: Poetry
Professor Ben Meyerson
R 6-8

A workshop course (with a literature component) in writing poetry. Designed for those with a serious ambition to be writers as evinced in work they are already doing. The literature component emphasizes multicultural dimensions of contemporary writing in English. 

Exclusion: VIC280H1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE281H1S | Popular Music, Technology and the Human

CRE281H1S
Popular Music, Technology, and the Human
Professor Gregory Lee Newsome
W 1-3

In this course we explore the intersection of popular music and technology. We consider how we curate personal experiences via mobile device, how we create with technology to reflect our identities, and how we interpret concepts such as authenticity and liveness. Concurrent with this exploration we develop a practice in music production using a digital audio workstation (DAW), surveying MIDI, sound & digital audio, sequencing, synthesis, recording & sampling, signal processing, and mixing & mastering. Previous experience as a musician is not necessary.

Exclusion: VIC281H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE282H1F | Emerging Genres in Creative Writing

CRE282H1F
Emerging Genres in Creative Writing
Professor Maria Cichosz
M 12-2

This course explores speculative fiction, a genre that has gained widespread literary and mainstream popularity in recent years. Eschewing the obsessive technical focus of “hard” science fiction and the strict realism of literary fiction, speculative fiction is an in-between genre that has proven to be a uniquely effective vehicle for responding to the complex realities of our time: climate change, social justice, and the cultural effects of technology. Students will read and watch some of the most powerful works of contemporary speculative fiction from authors including Margaret Atwood, Charlie Brooker, and Bong Joon-ho while conceptualizing and writing their own speculative short stories in a workshop-style seminar with regular editorial feedback from the instructor and their peers.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE282H1S | Emerging Genres in Creative Writing: Documentary Poetry

CRE282H1S
Emerging Genres in Creative Writing: Documentary Poetry
Professor Adam Sol
T 3-5

This iteration of the Emerging Genres course will focus on Documentary Poetry, a subgenre that incorporates non-fictional sources (images, documents, interviews, and other forms of reportage) into poetic endeavours. We’ll look at some examples from the Modernists all the way up to contemporary work, from Muriel Rukeyser to M. NourbeSe Philip, and will experiment with creating our own documentary poems. Some of the examples we’ll look at are book-length projects, and we’ll talk about the potential for larger endeavours. But we’ll start small, thinking about how bringing “outside sources” into our poetics might enable us to generate perspective, complexity, and meaning.

CRE335H1S | Creativity and Collaboration in Social Enterprise

CRE335H1S
Creativity and Collaboration in Social Enterprise
Professor Sunil Johal
R 6-8

The course reflects critically on the role of a wide range of new enterprises and entrepreneurs in driving innovation and dynamism. Whether social enterprises, start-ups, community-based organizations, or for-profits, a variety of organizational forms are approaching thorny societal challenges such as driving economic inclusion or combating climate change. Students will explore how the public, private and community sectors can work together to develop creative, ethical and effective approaches to tackling ‘wicked’ problems.

Prerequisite: 4.0 credits
Exclusion: VIC335H1
Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)
CRE345H1F | Evidence-Based Approaches to Creativity

CRE345H1F
Evidence-Based Approaches to Creativity  

Prof. Hakob Barseghyan
R 12-2

The seminar course pursues two goals. First, it provides an introduction to the latest scientific findings concerning creativity, by drawing on a broad range of scientific disciplines, such as psychology, neurobiology, sociology, anthropology, and education science. The topics include creative personality, the process of creation, as well as the sociocultural context of creativity. Second, it investigates various techniques that can help us learn to be more creative. This will involve discussions on how to choose one’s domain and field, be intrinsically motivated, how to collaborate, and how to brainstorm productively. Students will be given an opportunity to apply these techniques to specific fields of their choosing.

Prerequisite: 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)
CRE349H1F | Special Topics in Creativity

CRE349H1F
Special Topics in Creativity 
Camilla Gibb
R 10-12

This is a workshop course for students who are already writing short stories and are beginning to think about longer narrative forms, such as the novella or novel. It presumes some broad awareness of the technical elements involved in writing short stories, an understanding that will deepen through the experience of reworking your own stories in response to instructor and peer feedback, regular writing exercises, learning to read like a writer, and becoming a more sophisticated critic and editor of your own work. We will focus on shorter forms for now—stories, chapters, etc.—with an eye toward the larger considerations of plot and character development, pacing and theme as they might inform the creation of longer work going forward. Students who complete this course are encouraged to apply to take CRE479H1S.


Prerequisite: Completion of 9.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE370H1F | Music and the Imagination

CRE370H1F
Music and the Imagination 
Prof. Tom Reynolds
W 10-12

This course explores how music creatively reflects and inspires our sense of self, place and community through readings, close listening, case studies, and creative responses. We consider various sites of musical imagination, and the genres that intersect with them. Course discussion addresses how music participates in the social life of creativity, imagination and fantasy, and what these roles mean for music's significance in society and culture. No prior experience in music composition required.

Prerequisite: Completion of 9.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE372H1F | Reviewing, Reception and Reading Communities

CRE372H1F
Reviewing, Reception and Reading Communities
TBA
F 2-4

While readers and audiences often are considered to be cultural "consumers," this course will consider reception as an active, creative, and often collaborative activity, by examining formal and informal practices of reviewing and response that may include fan/fanfic cultures, book clubs, community and nation-wide reading programs, and award competitions. Such contexts of reception will be considered along with their social, economic, and ethical implications.

Prerequisite: Completion of 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE373H1F | Archives and the Art of Memory

CRE373H1F
Archives and the Art of Memory
TBA
W 1-3

What is an Archive? What kind of history and culture does it Preserve? Or does it bury things forever? Who gets to be an archivist and who gets to tell the story? How can an archive preserve the stories of marginalized people? Can voices from the archive be brought back to life? In the context of a series of readings, presentations and projects the course focuses on case studies of government-housed and sponsored archives, family archives, archives of cultural institutions, grassroot archival initiatives, and of course digital archives. Each student will have an opportunity to produce an artistic project based on an archival research or create their own imaginary archive.

Prerequisite: Completion of 9.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE375H1F | Histories of Creativity

CRE375H1F
Histories of Creativity 
Prof. Carl Knappett
F 1-3

This course provides an opportunity for in-depth study of the way creativity and innovation were practiced in earlier periods, in order to explore creativity as a historically and culturally contingent category and provide a comparative grounding for contemporary concepts of creativity. Historical case studies will range from Classical antiquity to the nineteenth century and may include topics such as how new forms and ideas emerge in the arts, architecture, and design; innovation in scientific knowledge and its representation; practices of improvisation in theatre and other artforms; the evolution of new genres and media.

Prerequisite: Completion of 9.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

CRE449H1S | Special Topics in Creativity

CRE449H1S
Special Topics in Creativity

Prof. Leila Aboulela
F 2-4

In this course, we will focus on writing radio drama. By listening to radio plays and reading scripts we will explore the attractions and potential of this special medium. On radio you can move around the world and beyond; you can do historical drama, sci-fi and action without budget constraints. Once you grab your listener’s attention, the possibilities are endless. Students will work on writing their own short scripts or adapting a published short story. We will also be looking at some technical aspects in how sounds guide listeners in ‘seeing’ the story and how radio play scripts are formatted. This course will also deepen craft in areas such as writing dialogue, setting scenes, developing characters and pacing tension.    

Prerequisite: 4.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)
CRE470H1F | Soundscapes

CRE470H1F
Soundscapes
Prof. Sherry Lee
T 10-12

This course surveys the growth of the field of Acoustic Ecology and the aesthetic, political, and ethical questions it engages. Students learn about creative and musical practices associated with this new attention to sound, and they gain experience with the practice of field recording and sonic-environmental sampling. The course culminates with a final Soundscape composition or creative mapping project. No previous experience in sound recording or composition required.

Prerequisite: Completion of 9.0 credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

MCS223H1S | Signs, Meanings, and Culture

MCS223H1S
Signs, Meanings, and Culture
Professor Ivan Kalmar
T 2-4

This course will introduce the principles of semiotic thought, applying them to the study of language, social organization, myth, and material culture. Examples may be drawn from everyday life as well as from classical and popular art and music, and from screen culture.

Exclusion: VIC223Y1
Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

MCS373H1S | Materialities of Music

MCS373H1S
Materialities of Music
Professor Ellen Lockhart
W 11-1

Music is often understood as the most ephemeral and transcendent of the fine arts, even if that means overlooking the physical realities of music's production and dissemination. We will examine these materialities here, from paper and technologies of print, through to instruments for making and studying sound, and architectural spaces for its market circulation; we will see how music and its instruments provided the raw material for the emergence of a nineteenth-century science of acoustics.

Prerequisite: Completion of 9.0 credits
Recommended Preparation: 0.5 credit in Creative Expression and Society, Material Culture, or Music.
Exclusion: VIC373H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

Application courses
The following Creative Expression and Society courses require the submission of an application and writing samples (where applicable). Please refer to the individual course listings for their respective application deadlines.

To apply, please visit: https://courseapps.vicu.utoronto.ca/secure/StudentHome  

CRE479H1S | Fiction: A Master Class

CRE479H1S
Fiction: A Master Class
TBA
R 2-4

A workshop course in writing fiction. Designed for those with a serious ambition to be writers as evinced in work they are already doing. Does not offer instruction for beginning writers. Admission by application.

Application Link: https://courseapps.vicu.utoronto.ca/secure/StudentHome
Application Deadline:
 August 1, 2024

**As admission to VIC479H1S is by competitive application and not finalized until December, students are strongly advised to allow for contingency planning in "S" term scheduling.

Prerequisite: 9.0 credits including 0.5 credit in creative writing
Recommended Preparation: CRE349H1
Exclusion: VIC479Y1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)
CRE480H1S | Poetry: A Master Class

CRE480H1S
Poetry: A Master Class
Professor George Elliott Clarke
T 6-8

A workshop course in writing poetry. Designed for those with a serious ambition to be writers as evinced in work they are already doing. Does not offer instruction for beginning writers. Presupposes perfect and sophisticated written language skills. Admission by application.

Application Link: https://courseapps.vicu.utoronto.ca/secure/StudentHome
Application Deadline:
 August 1, 2024

Prerequisite: 9.0 credits including 0.5 CRE credit
Exclusion: VIC480H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)