Victoria Burnett

Graduated 2020

Double Major in Classical Studies and the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities

Hometown: Barrie, ON

After SASAH: Project Archivist for the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts

What attracted you to this program?

I have always wanted to stay inter-disciplinary, and SASAH offered that exact thing to me. I think it is super valuable to have experience in a variety of fields, positions, etc. It also helped me keep focus on my goals in a weird way. I was working on all these different projects and with these amazing collaborators, but even with moving around I was always looking for ways to tie in my own interests and passions. SASAH allowed me the freedom to make my degree what I wanted, my projects were what interested me and would be useful to me in meeting my goals.

What are your thoughts about life as a SASAH student? What makes it unique?

Something that I remember a lot from friends when we were graduating high school was that we were scared to become just another number, and not having those connections with our teachers and instructors that we were used to. SASAH is a small program, which means not only are the professors able to connect with students more than in other programs that have a couple of hundred students per lecture, but SASAH puts in the effort to create a community between the students and the different cohorts. 

How did your relationships with other SASAH students positively affect your experience at Western overall?

​Because SASAH welcomes students from across the Arts and Humanities, as well as other faculties and programs on occasion, I got to learn from so many different perspectives, and not just focus on my own bias or the experience of the instructor. I loved that I got to learn from other students so much. It helped me grow as a student and it continues to help expand my thinking and awareness of different issues and ideas.

How has SASAH prepared you for the job market and/or graduate school?

SASAH always kept us moving, thinking, and improving. Whether we were working independently or in groups, SASAH had us expanding our comfort zones, working in roles of responsibilities with stakeholders at the university and in the greater London community.

What lessons and skills contributed to your success after you graduated?

My most valuable skills that I attribute to SASAH is my ability to adapt. Knowing what the ideal situation is and knowing what my organization or personal limits are, and how we can find a happy medium. Nothing in life or in the professional world will meet the highest standards, or the hypotheticals that you studied in class, so knowing how to move from those ideals into what is more realistic and sustainable has been my greatest skill.

What have you been up to after graduating from SASAH?

I returned to Western to pursue a Master's degree in Public History, which I completed in the summer of 2021. Since then, I have been working in a few different industries. I was fortunate enough to intern with Museum London, where I curated an exhibit on the Labatt Brewing Company. I am currently at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts where I am creating their archival system. While only a short-term contract, I am super proud of the work that I am doing by starting this project from the ground-up, adapting to the challenges of preservation and conservation of their materials on a shoestring budget. 

As an experienced graduate, do you have any advice for current SASAH students?

Make room for yourself. In classes and in work, it is extremely easy to allow yourself to be overlooked or taken advantage of for your kindness. But finding space where you can make yourself heard and respected, while still maintaining your own personality and kindness is so important. SASAH is a fantastic incubator for that as it is a smaller program where it is encouraged to take up space with your other cohort members.