The ASC! research project brought together a stellar team to create diverse resources designed to benefit artists, researchers, individuals and community organizations that use arts-based practices in their work.
Dr. Judith Marcuse, LL.D (Hon.)
Best known originally as a dancer and choreographer, over some 40 years, Judith Marcuse has added directing, producing, teaching, research, writing and consulting to her creative activities. In 1980, she established a repertory touring dance company and, since then, has led many other local, national and international initiatives ranging from symposia and festivals to multiyear, multi-partner art for social change (ASC) projects in Canada and abroad.
She is the Founder and Co-Director of the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC), a partnership between SFU and Judith Marcuse Projects, as well as Adjunct Professor and Artist in Residence at SFU. As Project Director (formally called Principle Investigator) Judith oversees all aspects of the project and leads the Chataqua, Partnerships and Facilitation field studies. She is presently co-teaching the new, two-year Masters in Education in Arts for Social Change at SFU along with Lynn Fels.
Dr. Katherine Boydell, University of Toronto
Co-Investigator, Co-Coordinator of Knowledge Mobilization
Dr. Boydell is a Professor of Mental Health at The Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales. Her research explores the use of a wide variety of art genres in the creation and dissemination of mental health research – including documentary film, dance, digital storytelling, found poetry, installation art and body mapping. Her work takes a critical perspective and focuses on the theoretical, methodological and ethical challenges of engaging in arts-based health research. She has published over 150 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and presents her research internationally.
Dr. Lisa Doolittle, University of Lethbridge
Co-Investigator, Teaching & Learning Coordinator
Dance artist, educator and scholar for over thirty years in Canada and internationally, Lisa Doolittle has developed innovative approaches for arts-based community-university collaborations around health promotion, refugee, immigrant and indigenous communities, and inclusion of people with disabilities. Her scholarly publications, original productions, and documentary films explore how embodied performance can be a catalyst for change, and have been published and presented in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Malawi. With Anne Flynn, she co-edited Dancing Bodies: Living Histories, and their multi-year research on Canadian dance and diversity was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. She coordinates the ASC Teaching & Learning research. Professor in the Drama Department at the University of Lethbridge since 1989, Doolittle is Board of Governor’s Teaching Chair for 2015-2017.
Dr. Lynn Fels, Simon Fraser University
Co-Investigator, Co-Coordinator of Knowledge Mobilization
Drawing on her expertise in arts-based research, online publishing, and arts-infused curriculum, a Professor in Arts Education, SFU, and Co-Director of ICASC, Lynn’s work focuses on learning through the arts, performative inquiry, and teacher education. She has co-written Exploring Curriculum: Performative Inquiry, Role Drama and Learning, and co-edited Arresting Hope, written by women who have experienced incarceration.
Lynn and Dr. Katherine Boydell are responsible for encouraging and tracking documentation and dissemination of research processes and knowledge integration between partners, co-investigators, field study leaders and collaborators throughout the life of the project. Lynn and Katherine advise the research team when requested on the production and dissemination of project outputs and deliverables.
Anne Flynn, University of Calgary
Co-Investigator, Leader of the Urban Dance Connect Field Study
Professor Emerita (Dance) Faculty of Kinesiology, and Research Associate at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Anne Flynn has been involved in the dance community as a performer, artistic director, teacher, writer, administrator and dance education advocate. Her eclectic dance scholarship has been published in numerous books and periodicals, and she has presented her work widely. Flynn is co-founder of the Dancing Parkinson’s YYC program, the primary field study project in Calgary.
Rachael Van Fossen, Concordia University
Co-Investigator, Leader of the Research Creation Field Study
A theatre and performance director, writer, teacher, arts consultant and researcher in the Theatre Department at Concordia, Founding Artistic Director of Common Weal Community Arts and former Artistic Director of Black Theatre Workshop, Rachael is an early innovator in community art practices in Canada. She contributed to curriculum design for the Theatre and Development specialization at Concordia; produced, wrote and directed some 36 community art projects. She leads the ASC Research Creation field study, including data collection and analysis, and liaises with partners in Montreal.
Dr. Annalee Yassi, University of British Columbia
Co-Investigator, Co-Lead of the Evaluation pod
[Past: Co-Coordinator of the Partnership Capacity-Building]
Dr. Yassi is a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, where she holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Capacity-Building, Dr. Yassi has led several multi-million dollar research and training projects in Canada and worldwide, addressing a wide range of challenges from environmental degradation and infectious disease transmission to impacts of globalization on working conditions. Her team has designed, implemented and evaluated arts-infused certificate programs employing puppet shows, drawings and painting, social drama, image theatre and role play involving partners from numerous disciplines and organizations, as well as creating artistically-designed web-based interactive educational materials. While trained as a medical specialist and quantitative researcher, she now focuses on how to integrate different methodologies, including quantitative, qualitative and art-based research methods as well as ethically combining different epistemologies to better promote health equity and social justice, using in a multi-scalar micro-meso-macro approach to addressing the social determination of health. She is also particularly interested in the impact of infusing participatory arts and collective creations in community-based or workplace-based interventions.
Dr. Patti Fraser (Post Doc), Research Associate
Co-Coordinator of Knowledge Mobilization
Patti Fraser is the 2013 recipient of the Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award for Community Engagement. A founding member of Leaky Heaven Circus and a founding member of the nationally recognized Summer Visions Film Institute for Youth, her work focuses on the use of narrative to investigate vital issues the community shares through a variety of artistic mediums. This work has been recognized as best practices in a diversity of fields including the Chee Mah Muk Aboriginal Education Centre with the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She was an artist-in- resident for four years in the Arts, Health, and Seniors Research Project. In addition to serving as research associate with ASC, she is currently a co-artistic director media of The Housing Matters Media Project. This project is working in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation. Her most recent work titled The 19th Birthday Party was created in collaboration with youth who have experienced government care for the Vancouver Foundation’s Youth and Homelessness Initiative.
She has written and co-created for theatre and national radio.
Dr. Jennifer Beth Spiegel (Research Associate)
Leader of the Social Circus Field Study
Dr. Spiegel holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths (University of London) in the UK and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Communications and Art History at McGill University. Based in Montreal, where she is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at Concordia University and has taught various courses over the last several years, Dr. Spiegel is serving as a project-wide critical theorist for ASC, analyzing and comparing theoretical approaches to the practice and study of art for social change.
Her work draws on her interdisciplinary background, as a scholar, artist and activist, placing various discourses into dialogue with one another to assess both critical differences and points of convergence so that diverse scholars and practitioners may be able to better learn from one another. She has also written extensively on art and communication within social movements in Canada and Internationally, including the international Campaign for Justice for Bhopal, utilizing feminist and postcolonial lenses. Dr. Spiegel’s work has been published as various book chapters as well as in journals such as Critical Inquiry, Theatre Topics, Antipode: journal of radical geography, Antennae: journal of nature in visual culture, and The Drama Review (TDR), amongst others. In addition to her cross-project theorizing for ASC, Dr. Spiegel is leading an in-depth analysis of the use of circus arts in marginalized communities in Quebec. She is also currently working on a single authored book “Performing in the Red” on performance and communication in the Quebec student movement and other contemporary social movements. Dr. Spiegel is also Editor of a book entitled “Social Circus, Buen Vivir: Creative practice, collective health and social transformation in Ecuador” to be published by McGill-Queens University Press. This book, examining the various political, cultural, economic and psychosocial dimensions of this large- scale a rt for social change initiative, is based on an international transdisciplinary research project which Dr. Spiegel is co-leading with other members of ASC.
Nicole Armos is a writer, dancer, and graduate student in Arts Education at Simon Fraser University. She is interested in exploring how artistic inquiry can help unearth our lived curriculums and open avenues for transformative education across the disciplines. She holds a BA (Honours) in World Literature from SFU, where she continues to work as a Teaching Assistant. In the ASC! Project, Nicole is helping to research strategies and principles for strong cross-sector partnerships in the field of arts for social change, as well as the history of the field in Canada. She assists with interviews, literature reviews, data analysis, and reporting findings.
Cary Campbell is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Working on the ASC! Project’s central SFU Vancouver team, Cary was a lead researcher and developer of the BC ASC data visualization project, as well as doing online communications. He has also worked at the MODAL research group, the Department of Semiotics at the University of Tartu, and is currently the co-editor of philosophasters.org, and the non-profit organization TheGroupLeGroupe.org (a Multimodal Research society). Cary is a leading scholar in educational studies, with over a dozen articles published in top-tier academic journals, multiple editorial roles, and several chapters in anthologies and books. His published research has mostly been concerned with developing ecologically informed approaches to learning theory and pedagogy that puts meaning-making in a central light. Cary has also worked as a music instructor and ensemble director for around a decade, and plays guitar in several musical groups, such as Montreal/Vancouver’s “Moondle”.
Lisa is completing her Masters degree in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. She is exploring current physician’s perspectives on using exercise and exercise professionals in the care of patients living with chronic disease.
Lisa’s personal experiences with physical activity and sport have strongly influenced her passion for emotional expression and social interaction through physical movement and the resulting positive impact on quality of life. She has enjoyed past work as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Calgary, focusing on the physiology of exercise as well as the role of exercise in healthy lifestyles. In her current role as a Research Assistant for the ASC! Project, Lisa assists in assessing the effects of dance participation and community partnerships within the Community-University Dance projects.
Callista recently completed her Master’s of Social work degree with the University of Calgary at their Southern Alberta location in Lethbridge, AB. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2013 and was the proud recipient of the Gayle Gilchrist James and Richard F. Ramsay Gold Medal in Social Work. She is presently employed as the Coordinator of Student Wellness Education & Sexual Violence Support at the University of Lethbridge. Her previous work experiences include supporting people through counselling, community outreach and education. Callista has also worked for over a decade as a dance instructor, performer and choreographer and is thrilled to be a part of a project that brings together two of her greatest passions, the arts and social justice! Callista assists Lisa Doolittle in the teaching and learning pod of the ASC! project.
Sophia comes from a multidisciplinary background and began her career as a storyboard artist with the NFB after graduating from Concordia University in Montreal. She has since worked professionally in Tokyo and Manila in online education planning, international development and corporate IT communications. Her round-the-world, round-the-block career path has led her to Vancouver where she has worked in digital assets management for IR clients and communications coordination with the BC Council for International Education.
Now a graduate candidate in the MA Double Degree program in Global Communications, as well as a teaching assistant in the School for Interactive Arts and Technology, Sophia researches organizational communication strategies and social media policies.
Evan is completing his BA in International Studies at Simon Fraser University with a concentration in International Development, Economic, and Environmental Issues, and a minor in Economics. His areas of interest are public policy, diplomacy, natural resource management, and international trade. He joined the ASC! Project in May 2017 to research funding levels for community-engaged arts across Canada. He is also an avid bass guitarist who is fascinated by how music has acted and can act as a way to change social and political orders around the world.
Lauren is a Ph.D. Candidate and Sessional Instructor in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria. She has researched and practiced applied theatre in diverse settings, such as psychiatric hospitals, seniors’ homes, medical school and medical school. Using theatre for educational purposes and to address social justice issues, her current focus is on creating theatre that shows contradiction between personal realities and socio-politico-economic interests.
Her doctoral research challenges the field of applied theatre to expand its horizons (and its approach to social change) to involve those who have the power and influence to make structural change in Canada – the gatekeepers and powerbrokers. Lauren works with Lisa Doolittle studying and theorizing approaches to Teaching and Learning in Arts for Social Change.
Mars is a multidisciplinary theatre artist based out of Calgary and Montreal. Born and raised in Calgary and forever a prairie kid at heart, they are currently living in Montréal studying Theatre and Development at Concordia University, and working as an undergraduate Research Assistant on Rencontres / Encounters. Mars is particularly interested in collaborative creation and tends to take design, technical, directorial or facilitative roles within collaborative contexts. They are also interested in collaborative, innovative theatre work that engages with issues of social justice, and theatre that contributes to healthy anti-oppressive communities; of specific importance is intersectional approaches to gender, sexuality, queerness and trans experiences.
Tara is currently doing her Ph.D. in Communications at Simon Fraser University and is the co-founder and creative director of Gen Why Media, a creative engagement agency based in Vancouver, BC. As a research assistant on the ASC Project, Tara collaborates to facilitate communication strategies for the ASC! project and is the project lead for Creative Publics, field study series into the intersection of art and participatory politics. Her PhD research explores emerging cultural forms of political engagement.
Tara holds a BA in international relations from University of Calgary, a MA in media production from Ryerson University and certificate in Civic Engagement and Dialogue from Simon Fraser University. As part of her Master’s thesis, Tara wrote, directed and produced her first documentary film, ForGive – a film that follows National Chief Phil Fontaine to the Vatican to seek an apology from Pope Benedict XVI for the cultural damaged caused by Indian Residential Schools. She has worked in the non-profit sector for In Focus Film School, the Sierra Club of Canada and Greenpeace at their Headquarters in Washington D.C.
Corey was born and raised in a rural Alberta setting, it only seemed natural he would make his home teaching in a similar environment. Corey taught for 12 years in a rural K-12 school and has recently been working at the University of Lethbridge while he’s completing his Masters. Corey’s role at the University is working in the Faculty of Education teaching and observing pre-service teachers. He was the lead coordinator for inclusive education in his school for over a decade and has enjoyed working with inclusive dance practice in the Lethbridge community for the last few years and looks forward to the continuing endeavor of Solidance South. Corey loves seeing live theatre and helping nurture new performers and educators.
Lisa is an interdisciplinary artist/scholar working for social change. Steeped in collaborative and community arts practice, her work has centered on Canada’s Rwandan diaspora community since the 1990s and led her to train extensively in the fields of psychotherapy, trauma studies, psychodrama and other forms of community theater, conflict resolution, process facilitation, community arts practice.
Lisa has been working extensively on the relational ethics and aesthetics in family and community contexts of political or historical violence, displacement and dislocation. She has served on the steering committee of SSHRC funded, Community University Research Alliance project Life Stories of Montrealers displaced by genocide, war and other human rights violations from 2005 to 2012. Lisa contributed to the Great Lakes of Africa working group and plays with the Living Histories playback theater ensemble. She is presently researching arts based methodologies for individuals and communities to integrate their own difficult stories and ways in which these stories can be safely and constructively shared in learning situations here and abroad. She has presented nationally and internationally, lectured, performed and published on shared authority, reconciliation, arts based research, transitional justice, community theatre and dialogue as community art. Lisa is a founding member of Living histories theatre ensemble she is acting president of the Canadian association of pastoral counsellors and works as a mental health counselor. Based at the Center for oral history and digital storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, she is preparing an interdisciplinary PhD.
Shelby is a graduate student in the MEd. in Arts for Social Change with an enduring love for photography, storytelling and home-cooked meals. A curious tinkerer at heart, her interests have led her to work with passionate and talented people in grassroots and online organizing, healthcare, creative media, youth leadership and more recently engineering. From wily cooking crews to quiet boardrooms, she has been researching and experimenting with community engagement strategies for the past ten years. She is grateful for the opportunity to be exploring arts-based methodologies that enable us to build resilience and reimagine possibility.
Shira is a performer, director, producer, and doctoral candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto (BSc. Psychology, MSc. Epidemiology, Queen’s University). For her dissertation, she created SExT: Sex Education by Theatre to explore the use of theatre for sexual health education among youth in a community of Toronto where sexuality is a cultural taboo.
As research co-ordinator of the Knowledge Mobilization pod, Shira coordinates with project leaders and research assistants across the country to facilitate knowledge sharing efforts.
Prodpran is a student at Simon Fraser University, entering her last year of undergraduate studies in International Studies with a concentration in International Development, Economics and Environmental Issues. Her areas of interest are human rights, food studies, arts and research. She joined the ASC! Project’s communications team in the summer of 2016.
Ned is a student in the BFA Theatre and Development program at Concordia University in Montréal, and has been working as an undergraduate Research Assistant with Rencontres / Encounters since September 2014. His interests lie in group animation, collective creation, documentary and verbatim theatre, and the role of the arts in shaping public policy and social movements. A maritimer at heart, he plans to return to his home province of Nova Scotia upon graduation and is working towards the establishment of an artist residency in his childhood home on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.
Videomaker Flick Harrison is a writer, media artist, filmmaker, hacker, educator and drone pilot in Vancouver. He has just launched a consulting project, Polity, which aims to support mission-driven organizations making media and engaging their publics. Starting out on the CBC youth series Road Movies as one of Canada’s first professional videographers, he’s since made video in Pakistan, the US, Mexico and China. As part of Something Collective, he helped pilot the City of Vancouver’s Field House community-artist residencies. His work includes teaching media production and literacy, designing projections for theatre and dance, making music video and consulting on media technology. Flick is working with ASC! to create video that documents, explains and opens up the project’s work.
Dr. Tracey Leacock,
Tracey Leacock, Ph.D., PMP served as the Associate Dean for Academic Projects at the Technical University of BC during its start-up phase. She brings more than a decade of experience as faculty member (specializing in the use of technology in education) and has also worked in research administration and instructional design roles. As Project Manager, for the ASC! Project, she is responsible for overseeing the team’s annual budget and for liaising with funding agencies, the host institution, and other project partners to help ensure project success.
Uninvited settler on First Nations’ lands, working-class (confused), feminist, proud grand daughter of labour activists in the Nelson/Slocan area of BC: Kim has activism bred in the bone. With over a decade in communications and community engagement, Kim began working at Judith Marcuse Projects organising and promoting art for social change work. Passionate about grassroots social and environmental justice movements and the important role arts can play, it was a natural progression to then move on to being the Community Liaison for ICASC and the ASC! research project, hosted at Simon Fraser University.
Dr. Bruce Clayman
Bruce joined the physics faculty at Simon Fraser University after completing his Ph.D. at Cornell. He taught and performed research in condensed matter physics; he served as SFU Dean of Graduate Studies and then Vice President of Research. In 2004, he was appointed President of the Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver. It was in that role that he met Judith Marcuse and became familiar with her work in using arts for social change; he made the Campus available as the venue for her World Urban Festival. Clayman has been a member of the Judith Marcuse Projects Board of Directors since 2007 and served as its President for several years.
Arlene is a writer, speaker, consultant and cultural activist whose focus is the intersection of culture, politics and spirituality. Find her blog, talks, and writings at www.arlenegoldbard.com. Her two newest books on art’s public purpose—The Wave and The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future were published in spring 2013. Prior books include New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development, Community, Culture and Globalization, an anthology published by the Rockefeller Foundation, Crossroads: Reflections on the Politics of Culture, and Clarity, a novel.
Dr. Ted Little
Dr. Edward (Ted) Little is an educator, essayist, writer, and theatre maker. He holds a BFA in Theatre (acting and directing) from the University of Victoria, an MA in Canadian Drama from the University of Guelph, and a Ph.D. in community engaged theatre and dramatic theory from the University of Toronto. He has directed and served as consultant on numerous large and small-scale theatre projects across Canada, and since 2000, he has been Associate Artistic Director at Teesri Duniya Theatre – an innovative, Montreal-based company dedicated to the creation and production of socially and politically relevant theatre based on the cultural experiences of diverse communities.
Our 23 interdisciplinary collaborators are accomplished researchers and Art for Social Change (ASC) leaders across Canada play central roles in various field projects, as well as the ASC! project as a whole.
- Dr. Patrice Aubertin, National Circus School
- Dr. Deborah Barndt, York University
- Dr. Shauna Butterwick, University of British Columbia
- Seanna Connell, ArtBridges
- Dr. Rachael Crowder, University of Lethbridge
- David Diamond, Theatre for the Living
- Dr. Honor Ford-Smith, York University
- Dr. Jean Harrowing, University of Lethbridge
- Ruth Howard, Jumblies Theatre
- Terry Hunter, Vancouver Moving Theatre
- Mo Korchinski, community activist, Women in 2 Healing
- Dr. Patrick Leroux, Concordia University
- Candace Lewko, Lethbridge College
- Navida Nuraney, ArtStarts BC
- Dr. Susan O’Neill, Simon Fraser University
- Dr. Kathryn Ricketts, Simon Fraser University
- Dr. Rena Sharon, University of British Columbia
- Savannah Walling, Vancouver Moving Theatre