Chromatic: The Many Colours of Crisis

August 15, 2021

Coming in October 2021, a new collaborative art book from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies offers 10 illustrated meditations on crisis from the 2020 Wall Scholars.

Chromatic: Ten Meditations on Crisis in Art and Letters is a collection of essays and illustrations as diverse as the subject of crisis itself.  Imagined and brought to life by the 2020 Wall Scholars during their time at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC, Chromatic asks what it means to be in crisis and grapples with the personal and societal impacts of crisis during a time of unprecedented global upheaval.

The result is a book that juxtaposes gorgeous, colourful illustrations with writing that will surprise and challenge you, outrage and enlighten you. From a precise discussion of a nuclear crisis in Japan, to a satirical listicle about corporate academia, to an ICU doctor’s poetic response to COVID-19, each contributor to this diverse collection takes a profoundly different approach to writing about crisis, yet fascinating and unexpected connections emerge.

“A chromatic scale is one that includes all the accidentals. It is so called because it is colourful, and the original meaning of chromatic is derived from the ancient Greek word for colour. In our collection, the serendipities and synchronicities of the academic year 2020–2021 emerge as a kaleidoscope of responses to crisis in art and letters, words and colours.”

– from the foreword, Dr. Carrie Jenkins, 2020 Wall Scholar

Published by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and distributed by UBC Press, Chromatic is available for pre-order now and will be available to purchase in select bookstores and online in October 2021.


  • Toward a Collective Will to Democratize Care by Dr. Purang Abolmaesumi
  • Thoughts on Food and Connection in and after Crisis by Dr. Jennifer Black
  • Trypophobia by Dr. Lara Boyd
  • The Dangerous Work by Dr. Carrie Jenkins
  • From Conflict to Peace: Making a Society More Whole by Prof. Hoi Kong
  • The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis by Dr. M.V. Ramana
  • epi[on] demos[people] by Dr. Steven Reynolds
  • How to Create A Harvard in Your Country by Dr. Michelle Stack
  • The Legacy of Racism and Sexism in Science by Dr. Sheila Teves
  • The Crisis of Permanent War by Dr. Y-Dang Troeung

Pre-order your copy from UBC Press today!