There is a little nook behind the art center at UWCMC. It is a tiny corner with a view of Mt. Wilko, a majestically soft hill covered in a thousand nuances of green or the crusty gold of faded fields- depending on the season. In this nook, Chu-Lynne Ng could be found from 2001 to 2003 as a student of the college. This was her corner.
Since that time, many other people have claimed this little space of quietude as their own, but now Chu-Lynne is here to take it back as head of the Art department and a teacher in English and Theatre. At UWCMC, we are excited for her to return to our school and enlighten us about life and ideas on the outside. The week of my return to UWCMC, I sat down with Chu-Lynne to hear about her thoughts on becoming a member of the community again and life after graduating.
Chu-Lynne was a student from the Hong Kong National Committee and she graduated from UWCMC in 2003. One thing to know about Chu-Lynne , is that she is not an idle person; even as I am interviewing her she is cutting out little letters for a door sign while speaking animatedly about her years right after leaving the bubble on the hill. During a gap year in Canada, where she has family, Chu-Lynne joined a volunteer group working with photojournalism and violence-affected youth, which furthered her interest in the creative arts as a tool for empowerment. Chu-Lynne always wanted to be a writer, so she began studying English at McGill University in Montreal. As always, Chu-Lynne found a way to bring an artistic element into her passion for English, by constantly inserting performance into her class projects. Her time at McGill also led to her doing playback theatre, a form of improvisational theatre.
Chu-Lynne brings her love for overlapping fields and creative new projects with her everywhere she goes – even here at UWCMC, where has already gotten the students of film, theatre, and visual arts to perform collaboratively. We, the IB Group 6 students, saw everyone for the first time, walking like turtles, trees, or non-terrestrials across the library lawn – a refreshing experiment with arts and how they intermingle.
And Chu-Lynne knows what she is doing. As a student of Simon-Fraser University, she learned to experiment with interdisciplinary arts while working with cutting edge artists and talented co-students. Her ever- present smile grows even bigger as she talks about this time of her life, a truly transformative experience, where she got to explore arts in a new setting. When I ask her if she has consciously aimed to be a ‘change-maker’, she humbly shakes her head and explains that she wants to help people through and share with them her passion – art. Whether or not she considers herself a UWC change-maker, I can only begin to imagine how her energy and skill has changed people’s lives during and after her time as a student of our college.
With this amazing background and roots deep in the Canadian art scene, I cannot help but wonder what caused her to return to teaching at UWCMC. Chu-Lynne , however, does not seem to find an incongruity between the two. “There was a magic back then, because we could create anything,’’ she says, looking around in her living room as she remembers how the architecture and beauty of this campus inspired her as an art and philosophy student. The spontaneity of creativity that exists here has sent Chu-Lynne into wild adventures of theatre, art and English. Now she is back again to send us off on adventures of our own.
Interviewed by Laerke (Denmark, ’16)