SpaceLogo Sciences Participating with Arts & Culture in Education

By Various authors February 15, 2024

Sixth Annual SPACE Writing Competition

In 2023-2024, SPACE held its sixth annual writing competition. Students from all disciplines across Dawson College were invited to submit writing that offered a personal interpretation of this year’s theme, Uncertainty? The submissions were judged by Lois Valliant (retired Faculty, Fine Arts) and Hannah Rahimi (Faculty, English). Entries were evaluated according to originality and depth of thought, style, arts-sciences connections and relation to the theme. The winners received gift certificates from Argo Bookstore. The winners and honourable mentions have been published and highlighted in the SPACE web magazine and will also be invited to offer a public reading of their work towards the end of the semester.

Below are the winners as well as the honourable mentions in the prose, poetry, and essay categories (click on the links to access the full texts).

Spencer Hou: LIGHT—First Prize, Prose

As with many a dystopia, the world of “Light” promises only improvement, a superior model of existence whereby the future is rendered predictable—accidents averted, surprises neutralized. But at what cost? Wonderfully inventive and frighteningly apt, this story captures the search for meaning in a world increasingly hungry for the latest device, a world gone numb in the name of progress. Ultimately, though, it’s a love letter to that which endures: the feeling of rain on skin and the beauty and joy of the unpredictable.  

And just like that, your life is finally yours.  A cryptic opening sentence establishes a dynamic trajectory for this innovative short story.  The main character’s conundrum: to accept innovation or stay with the familiar.  The tangible issue is whether to buy The Light ... shaped like regular glasses ... that can download thoughts and has the power to predict with certainty the probability of future events based on prior actions.  The more profound issues concern how The Light impacts relationships and the value of the unpredictable that lies beyond the reach of The Light!   


Wendy Lewis: AERIAL MAZES—First Prize, Poetry

A demanding poem in the best sense of the word.  The writer’s invocation of uncertain spaces inhabited by ... a generation lost in oral labyrinths ... Positive, Negative, Neutral, or ... Apathetic, gives voice to a complex and somewhat bitter assessment of 21st century existence. The sociopolitical and social media imagery and allusions are impressive, intricate and thorny and at the same time powerful and cohesive in the search for humanity, authenticity and ... relief.   

“Aerial Mazes” explodes off the page, positioning readers on the very brink of global catastrophe. The poet’s breadth of knowledge, acuity of vision and absolute command of language make for an electric journey leading in every direction at once, from the “earth’s erratic heartbeat” to the “distended bellies of invention.” Virtuosic, fierce and undeniable—an urgent cry for relief in a world that offers everything but. 


Paulina Reyes-Jarry: Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – An Exploration of Derealization—First Prize, Essay

Derealization is a dissociative psychiatric condition that has been recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a singular category within the spectrum of diverse dissociative disorders.  In this dynamic and well researched essay, two factors that enhance the credibility of the telling are that the writer is pursuing a career in the health field and also suffers from derealization disorder symptoms.  While clinical approaches and socio-medical interventions are promising in the search for healing, what inspires this reader is the empathy that is so evident when the writer states...my  thriving while having symptoms of derealization consolidates the psychiatric help I can provide....guiding others through the fog may be the key to clearing it altogether.  



Alessia Panait: In the Shadows of Certainty—Honourable Mention, Prose

Dream or nightmare? The futuristic city of Certaintropolis promises an error-free haven, a life predictable and safe. But when a technological glitch tugs at the seams of this perfect world, the narrator glimpses shimmering potential in the uncharted realm of uncertainty. This is a cinematic story, rich in imaginative detail and compellingly plotted. 

The year is 3202 CE on the planet EARTH.  Events take place in the city of Veritas and Certaintropolis.  If in earlier centuries society lived with the understanding that our human capacity to know, predict and control events in the world around us was limited, this is no longer the case.  In the  33rd century, future  events are predictable and manageable.  The protagonist “Aria” informs us that ... everyone [knows]  exactly what to do and how to do it in every possible scenario.  But do they?  The writer creates a  technologically idealized vision of a future society and is also able to successfully integrate amusing characters, situations and feats that would easily fit into a 21st century scenario!  


Clara Frey: Open House—Honourable Mention, Prose

As Artificial Intelligence rapidly encroaches upon the human domain, this story fights for the dying art of storytelling. There’s a quiet urgency here; a call to turn away from our infinite feeds so that we might remember how to speak to one another.   

A vibrant, candid, compelling narrative with just the right amount of humour that invites the reader to consider academic directions, familial relationships and the role of higher education in the not-too- distant future.  At this juncture, Literature Programs are obsolete and English Classes we are told ... extend to learning how to write the best prompt for ChatGPT.  An incident at the Open House tour allows the father, who champions an A.I. related career choice for his daughter, to open his mind to her desire to study the Classics.  It becomes clear that conversation might be as valuable a tool in all environs as is the efficacy of A.I. and other cutting-edge technology. 


Ella Etienne Labelle: Within the Snowglobe—Honourable Mention, Prose

With poetic simplicity, the author captures the quiet anguish of a life mired in routine and robotic submission. The prismatic swirl of the snow globe in an otherwise monochrome existence contains the elusive promise of something more, the magnetic draw of a life truly chosen, a life truly lived. This is a story of the courage it takes to step beyond the “grey walls” of the cubicle, to leap with certainty into the unknown.  



Eleftheria Lazaridis: I Want To Be—Honourable Mention, Poetry

On the point of new beginnings, this writer proffers aspirations for career success.  Each career choice is an example of an optimal, idealized and successful account of the choice described.  Are the examples merely society’s cliches/memes that are in reality impassive elements that define success?  As well, making a choice is gridlocked by the plethora of options from which to choose and the uncertainty of choice.  Are these expectations unrealistic?  Is this a search to find a worthy  professional identity or the uniqueness of self-worth?  

Share This


No comments posted yet.

You have to be registered and logged in in order to post comments!