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When Worlds End

The History of Art Students' Association proudly presents our Ninth Annual 2023 Undergraduate Research Symposium themed: When Worlds End. 


Through art, we have seen the world end many times over, and with it comes a sense of foreboding and unease about a future unknown. Over millennia, humanity has shown itself to have a morbid fascination with tragedy, the inevitability of death, and the beauty of the eternally damned. It is this preoccupation with haunting thoughts that has prompted the most macabre imagery in the art historical canon. Artists have a unique ability to tap into our deepest anxieties and fears, prodding at questions that we wish to never know the answer to. In many ways, art allows us to seek solace in calamity; in personal, societal, and religious catastrophe. Thus, endings are more than mere conclusions—they nurture beginnings.


This year's symposium will feature two keynote speeches by Ethan Matt Kavaler and Sasha Shevchenko. 

Professor Kavaler's lecture will focus on Jan Borman's St. George Altarpiece, the only work that the artist signed. Kavaler will examine the growing genres of monochrome mimetic representation that helped pave the way for Borman’s exemplary creation. His altarpiece is an index of the growing respect for extraordinary craftsmanship as an esthetic property and the genesis of the modern artist.


We are happy to host a special guest lecture by artist, Sasha Shevchenko. Sasha is a Ukrainian, Tkaronto/Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist. Inspired by her experience as a Ukrainian person of diaspora, her practice bridges interests in sculpture, textile, archaeology, and intimate ethnography. By combining contemporary and ancient story-telling methods, Shevchenko creates propositional spaces where tradition has the opportunity to whimsically extend into cultural futures. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Small Arms Gallery, VAM, Portland State University, along with international online exhibitions. Shevchenko holds a BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University.

The symposium will take place on Saturday, March 18th from 10:00 to 5:00 PM in the Music Room at Hart House.

If you have any specific questions about the event or need special accommodations do not hesitate to email us at

All are welcome to this event and we look forward to seeing you there!


See photos from past conferences

What's great about presenting at HASA?

HASA wants to provide students with enough opportunities to forward their future career pursuits in art history and related fields. One of the ways is by holding an annual undergraduate symposium for students to publish their work and present their ideas. Going through the formal process of submitting their paper for peer-review and editing gives students the chance to understand how publication processes work. With less cost and competition from senior researchers, students are encouraged to learn through this experience to help them in their future endeavours. If you are interested in gaining new experiences and enhancing your writing and presenting skills, submit your paper to our symposium journal!

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