Top Culture stories of the year 2020/2021

In a year where most of our Culture was consumed in the four walls of our bedrooms, we found ways to stay connected while apart.

Whether it was through virtual blind dates, dancing to concerts via Twitch or protesting against racial and social injustice, we found new and important ways to experience community. Here is a brief overview of some of the top stories from the Culture section this year.

Cheating, ghosting and dating over the phone: IGTV series VirtuaLove wraps up Season One

By Evelyn Ashworth

['auto'] Courtesy of UBC Virtual Love

The first few months of the pandemic felt like a weird fever dream; as classes were moved online, a group of UBC students took it upon themselves to create a reality (Instagram) television show. The show ran for two relatively successful seasons, each with twelve contestants. In this article, The Ubyssey followed up with the contestants about their experience on a series that was just as dramatic and binge-worthy as the show that it was based on.

Motherlands is CiTR’s love letter to the Asian diaspora

By Shereen Lee

['auto'] Courtesy of CiTR

To celebrate Asian Heritage Month, CiTR, UBC’s campus radio station, created Motherlands, a podcast series. The series was created by Ubyssey contributor Isaac You who stated in an interview with Shereen Lee, “Motherlands is being produced in a time where being Asian is really difficult, especially with [the] sinophobia and anti-Asian racism that’s going on. So I see a value in producing this kind of content for people to share their own heritage.”

Indigenous Voices: Students on their experiences at UBC

By Bailey Martens and Danni Olusanya

['auto'] File Sophie Galloway & Lua Presidio

To celebrate Indigenous History Month, The Ubyssey spoke to five Indigenous students about their experiences at the university. Speaking on the importance of the Longhouse as a place on campus, fifth-year student, Sotera Mader said: “The Longhouse is the most, open accepting space I’ve ever been not even on campus, but ever. We all are from different nations and have our own tradition ... It’s a place where I feel comfortable, experiencing these cultural things that I never got to when I was a kid.”

Black Voices Matter

After the calls for racial justice echoed around the globe, The Ubyssey ran a series of personal essays called Black Voices Matter, in which Black students detailed their experiences at the university.

By Arnaud Dione

['auto'] File Lua Presidio

In his essay, Arnaud Dione, who was the former president of the UBC Esports Association, wrote about the pressures he felt running the club as a Black man. “Being Black at UBC means you probably don’t have a professor that looks like you and you won’t be sitting next to someone who looks like you. Most importantly, you naturally stand out. But not in a good way,” he wrote.

By Melanie Mpanju

['auto'] File Lua Presidio

Similarly, Melanie Mpanju, who served in a leadership position in the Arts Undergraduate Society, wrote about her experience serving in a leadership position in student council. “I quickly found myself feeling stagnant. I found that the bureaucratic nature of these council meetings would not allow me to make true systemic change,” she wrote.

BIPOC Students in Fine Arts are coming together to fight harassment and discrimination

By Anupriya Dasgupta

['auto'] File Sarah Zhao

Anupriya Dasgupta reported on a group of Fine Arts students who attempted to hold their department accountable after posting a Black square on Instagram, yet were met with silence. Dasgupta interviewed Laura Isabel, a 2020 graduate from the theatre and film design and production master’s program who said, “We want to start a conversation about equality and justice, it’s outrageous. It’s 2020. It just makes me angry. I’m here because it makes me angry.”

Playing on pause: Resilient UBC performers face changes to the music scene amid COVID-19

By Charlotte Alden

['auto'] File Rae Jourard

When the pandemic hit, clubs and music venues were among the first to go. The Ubyssey spoke to DJ’s, musicians and performers and interviewed them about the adjustments they made as a result of physical distancing restrictions.

Pivoting online: How Homecoming 2020 is coming together

By Tianne Jensen-DesJardins

['auto'] File Geoff Lister

Incoming Culture Editor, Tianne Jensen-DesJardins wrote about how festivities surrounding Homecoming came together in spite of the pandemic. Football was replaced with online performances from artists such as Missy D and Scott Helman. Jensen-DesJardins wrote, “Whatever this school year looks like for you, it is important to see the opportunity in this challenge ... and to rise up and make the most out of this school year.”

Monkman's Shame and Prejudice gives us a chance to re-learn history through an Indigenous perspective

By Evelyn Ashworth

['auto'] Courtesy of UBC Museum of Anthropology

From August to January the Museum of Anthropology hosted Kent Monkman’s, Shame and Prejudice, an exhibit that set out to share the Indigenous perspective of Canada’s colonization. Evelyn Ashworth wrote on her experiences attending the exhibit: “In the past few months, I’ve had to reexamine my own history and my ancestors’ involvement or complacency in the horrors committed against Indigenous people over the past 150 years. That’s why it meant so much to me to attend ... and remind myself how much I have to unlearn from my history classes and relearn through the Indigenous perspective.”

Twelve Days of Completely Secular Yuletide

Last Christmas we gave you our hearts by re-reviewing a series of Christmas classics. From Frosty the Snowman to The Christmas Prince, we went back through the treasure trove to give you a twelve day course of secular yuletide classics.

By Darcy Bandeen and Britt Runeckles

['auto'] Hulu

Darcy Bandeen and Britt Runeckles reviewed Happiest Season, a new movie starring Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis and Dan Levy, however, they were more impressed by Stewart’s blazer than the film itself. They wrote, “We don’t know why so many Christmas movies have to revolve around one person being super unfair and toxic to their partner, only to ultimately end with them still getting together at the end and not acknowledging any of the shitty stuff that happens.”

By Peyton Murphy

['auto'] Universal Pictures

After coming to terms that some of the storylines in Love Actually are “absolute garbage” and “straight up creepy,” senior staff writer Peyton Murphy, ranked all the Love Actually plotlines from worst to best.

Stop Asian Hate: Learn more about Asian and Pacific Islander communities

By Tina Yong and Gabrielle Bonifacio

['auto'] File Lua Presidio

In light of an uptick in racialized violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander community, Tina Yong and Gabrielle Bonifacio compiled a list of resources to act as an entry point to learn about the systemic violence many of these groups have endured since long before the pandemic.

‘The latest chapter’: A history of Asian racism at UBC

By Danni Olusanya and Danisa Rambing

['auto'] File Irene Zhang

Former Culture Editor Danni Olusanya and Danisa Rambing reported on the history of Asian racism at UBC in light of the rising attacks on Asian members of the UBC community. “The story of Asian discrimination is a history that finds itself to be deeply interlinked with the story of the last century on this campus — in which, as a result of racism, Asian community members have experienced expulsion, exclusion and mockery,” they wrote.

‘Significant strides’: Students reflect on what it means to feel safe following Women's History Month

By Shanai Tanwar

['auto'] File Jasmine Foong

Celebrating International Women's History Month, The Ubyssey wrote profiles on women across campus who shared their experiences, their passions and what safety means to them.