AUArts Announces Honorary Degree Recipients 2023

Contextual artist IAIN BAXTER& and creative director Tracy Boychuk to be honoured at Convocation 2023

On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) will recognize two innovative Canadian creatives, IAIN BAXTER& and Tracy Boychuk, as the 2023 Honorary Degree recipients. Both have esteemed international careers in art and design.

IAIN BAXTER& was a former faculty member during the 1980s, while Tracy Boychuk is an AUArts alum.

AUArts is so very proud to recognize the global success of conceptual artist IAIN BAXTER& and design visionary Tracy Boychuk with honorary degrees,” says AUArts president and CEO Dr. Daniel Doz. “With these honorary degrees we celebrate the exceptional achievements of these two most unique creatives who have made over the many years an indelible imprint on contemporary art, design and culture.”

“Former fine arts faculty member IAIN BAXTER& and design alum Tracy Boychuk exemplify the pinnacle of critical and creative thinking.” says Carol Ryder, AUArts Board Chair. “It is our honour to recognize the depth of work and international acclaim both IAIN BAXTER& and Tracy Boychuk have received throughout their respective careers and present them with this honorary degree.”

IAIN BAXTER& (former faculty member) is best known as an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist. He legally changed his name to IAIN BAXTER& (pronounced Baxterand) to reflect his fascination for the ampersand as a typographic mark. BAXTER& formed the N.E. Baxter Thing Company, which in 1966 was transformed into The N.E. Thing Company or NETCO, through which he became widely known. He was the first Canadian artist  on the cover of Art in America (May/June 1969) and represented Canada at the São Paolo Biennial in 1969. His works have been shown in over 200 exhibitions worldwide. He has been recognized with numerous accolades, including a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, 2004; the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, 2006; and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012.

Tracy Boychuk (Dip ’92, Visual Communication Design) is best known as a consulting Creative Director for the band The Strokes and Creative Director and Founder of THE ROOF CROP INDUSTRIES, FARM + FOUNDATION as well as Runner Collective, Flashpoint Innovation Kitchen, and a managing partner in Hospitality 201. Tracy began her career in the art department at Sony Music in New York. From there, she served as Design Director for MTV’s Off-Air Creative Department and next as Senior Creative at RCA Records, sharing the responsibility with long-time design collaborator Brett Kilroe. Tracy co-founded the memorial AUArts Brett Robinson Kilroe Scholarship for International Studies.

"I am honoured to be receiving this degree,” says Boychuk. “Being recognized as part of the design community that grew out of this school and has worked internationally means a lot to me personally and professionally. This institution is one of the bravest creative spaces in North America, and it nurtures individuality along with perseverance."

The Honorary degrees will be bestowed at the May 25 Convocation at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, after which the Grad Show 2023 exhibition and reception will open at Alberta University of the Arts’ Illingworth Kerr Gallery and will be on display until June 3.

Credits: Tracy Boychuk (T. Boychuk) and IAIN BAXTER& (Collection of the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario)

Honorary Degrees 2023