CBU Prof Barb Glassey to be among featured artists at Cabot Trail Writers Festival

Barb Glassey, Associate Professor, Biology, is one of several Cape Breton artists invited to submit new photographic works to this year’s Cabot Trail Writers Festival.

An exhibit of the photographs, each of which depicts an artist’s image inspired by one of the books featured in this year’s Festival, is on display throughout the Festival weekend at the Cape Breton Gaelic College.

Among other courses, Barb teaches ornithology, and her latest research has focused on the physical and behavioural effects of sun and shade on nestling birds.

That interplay of light in the nest has also influenced her outside interests in photography and painting.

As a result, Barb recently developed a passion for finding intersections and connections between the arts and sciences, and is exploring the use of artistic expression to enrich scientific research and learning.

“My research explores the influence of sunlight on nestling birds, including their use of sun and shade and the metabolic cost associated with exposure to heat and solar radiation,” says Barb. “I often require visuals in the form of photos and videos of birds as a non-invasive basis for behavioural studies. The interplay of light on objects is key to the visual arts, and studying the scientific impact of sun and shade on the behaviour and physiology of nestling birds has naturally inspired my creative side.”

Invited to submit a photograph for this year’s writers festival, Barb read the novel When the Saints by Sarah Mian and created an image that reflects one of the themes in the book.

“The title of my submission, ‘Submergence’, is a reference to the main character’s social and personal submergence in the town where she grew up,” says Barb. “The author often used water metaphorically in her writing, which is why I chose to take the photo under water. I used primary colours and glass pieces to portray the feeling of optimism I got from the author’s writing and to depict my idea of some of the major themes in the book.”

Being an avid reader, this is not Barb’s first time attending the Festival. She says she is most looking forward to hearing authors read and to the ensuing discussions.

The Cabot Trail Writers Festival brings together some of Canada’s most celebrated writers across many genres. This year’s Festival takes place September 30 – October 2. To learn more about the Festival and its events please visit Cabot Trail Writers Festival webpage.

Barb Glassey researching in the field.

Barb Glassey researching in the field.