It's September and I'm going back to school!
My happy place: the Royal Military College of Canada. With the generous support of Commandant Sebastian Bouchard and Principal Dr. Harry Kowal I am embarking on an adventure I call the Four Pillars Art Project.
During my time as the 2018 RMC Artist in Residence, I learned what makes RMC a unique university experience: the four pillars.
From the RMC website:
"The goal is to produce military leaders dedicated to serving Canada, who are motivated, well educated, ethical, bilingual and physically fit."
"The Four Pillars of an RMC Education
The academics pillar fosters the critical intellectual skills required to understand the complexities of living in the 21st century. The academic program emphasizes the practical applications of what has been learned to military settings and daily operational demands. All degree programs offered at RMC are designed to provide a sound, balanced, liberal, scientific and military education.
The demands of an officer in today's complex rapidly changing security environment are significant. Thus, the military pillar develops those personal skills and abilities that lead to success in most of life's endeavours. Leadership training provided by the RMC experience will help students, as they begin their studies at RMC and along with other experiences, prepare them to make difficult decisions under stressful conditions through deeper understanding of the factors affecting their role as a leader. The nature of military leadership and military operations necessitates an in-depth understanding of human behaviour. Therefore, studies in military psychology and leadership are part of the required academic curriculum. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of personal integrity, ethical behaviour, and professional responsibility.
Under the physical fitness pillar, RMC teaches students the importance of fitness and developing a healthy lifestyle as a lifelong endeavour. Striving for a higher level of physical fitness can inspire those around them and has been shown to improve one's quality of life and learning. Officer Cadets are required to take part in the physical education programme designed to achieve and maintain a high level of fitness and to learn the basic fundamentals in a wide variety of team and individual sports.
The bilingualism pillar reflects Canada's cultural heritage. As representatives of this heritage, officers are expected to be fluent in both of Canada's official languages - English and French. Your responsibilities as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces will require you to lead young Canadians that are primarily Anglophone or francophone. RMC has been training officers to communicate effectively in both French and English for well over 30 years. RMC helps make this learning process an interesting one with class time as well as integration into daily life at RMC."
The Four Pillars Art Project will illustrate the oral histories of RMC alumni: "How has the four pillars impacted your life?"
RMC cadets and alumni will be asked to contemplate and express the meaning of the Four Pillars. Through surveys, interviews and personal interactions the College population will inform the content of four collage illustrations. The completed illustrations are intended for use in advertising, collateral publishing, on RMC’s website and as reproductions.