Sen Canute (BA, Cognition and Brain)

Sen Canute is a multiracial multidisciplinary yonsei creator based on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. They are a recent UBC graduate with a major in Cognitive Systems (BA, Brain and Cognition stream) and minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies. They’re interested in community based media, digital storytelling, and leveraging interactive mediums for education.

Why did you declare a minor in ACAM? What drew you to the program? 

A couple years ago, I took on creative consulting work for a project called “East of the Rockies”. It was the first time I had ever engaged with the Japanese Canadian internment outside of a familial context, and I found the process to be extremely gratifying both creatively and personally. Around that time, I heard about ACAM through a friend and decided to take English 480 with Chris Lee. I fell in love with the material immediately and was so excited about the program I last minute switched all my computer science courses for ACAM classes and decided to pursue the minor despite already being in my fourth year. It was probably the most impulsive decision I made in my undergrad, and definitely the best one.

What is one piece of advice you would give your first-year self?

Stop being so scared of doing the things you wanna do. You’re allowed to do stuff that make you happy and you’re allowed to forgive yourself for failing. Have some faith in yourself, it’s gonna be okay!

Have you completed any projects through or related to an ACAM course? If so, could you share your experiences and, if possible, share a link to your project.

I’ve had the pleasure of working on a number of projects through ACAM, often alongside my dear friend and partner in crime Yuko Fedrau. Shortly after meeting in English 480, Yuko and I created two channel video installation piece called “Remainders,” about Japanese-Canadian students who had been wrongfully expelled from UBC during WWII. We then went on to work on a short documentary called “RICECAKE,” for ACAM 350. The doc followed Shay Dior of the House of Rice and their experiences navigating the queer Asian drag scene in Vancouver and was shown at both Vancouver Queer Film Festival and Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Shortly after, Yuko and I put on an art exhibition about mixed identity called “Canned Foreign,” with queer hāfu artists Reiko Inouye and Rose Butch. Finally, I incorporated my learnings from ACAM into the capstone project for my major and developed an augmented reality remapping of Vancouver’s historic Japantown (Powell Street). Leveraging the immersive capabilities of AR, Reimagining Japantown was, for me, an exploration of time, space, place, and cultural memory. ACAM provided so many opportunities for me to create and connect with incredible folks who encouraged and challenged me in ways I will always be grateful for.