Graduate Research Associates

Graduate Research Associates are students registered in graduate programmes at York University and engaged in research which resonates with the mandate of Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology. We accept applications both from graduate student researchers studying within the Schools of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design and those situated in faculties outside of AMPD.

If you are interested in becoming a Sensorium Graduate Research Associate please complete and submit the following online application form.

Jackson Ainsworth – Communication and Culture

Jackson Ainsworth is a York Communication and Culture PHD Student who explores our material world through creative research practices. He is currently working on a project which investigates our interactions with every day devices, their materialities, and that impact on alienation and isolation. He received his BA in Sociology from Concordia University and his MA in Visual Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Robert Appleton – Music

Robert Appleton’s electronic multimedia art and design is in the collections of SF Moma, The Library of Congress, The Vignelli Centre for Design Studies and The Bibliotheque Nationale de France. He creates his own software, visual music practice and multimedia language called vorTEX, which combines non-linear visual, aural and textual elements into a new artform and research practice. He has worked with John Cage, Ornette Coleman, Paul Dutton, Malcolm Goldstein and Jin Hi Kim.

“I’m in process with a life’s-work which I’ve called vorTEX. My PhD (thesis, research and performance) is a way of making this real and known/useful. It’s based on ideas from childhood – of truth and how that resonates beyond intellect. I believe we have been ‘speaking’ a language of the senses for centuries and that words (by predominance) have largely lost their innocence and their ability to speak. vorTEX is therefore a journey which sets out to actualize new understanding and discovery in the area of sensing as negotiation among humans and our virtual counterparts.”

Headshot of Galit Ariel. Galit Ariel – Film and Media Studies

Galit is a creative that explores the wild and imaginative side of immersive technologies and their impact on our cultures, behaviours and interactions. She is passionate about a future in which technology is integrated into our everyday’s life but does not control it. Galit’s goal is to bridge the gap between digital, physical, and mental spaces to create tools and platforms that help people experience these worlds in new ways.


Justin Baillargeon – Cinema and Media StudiesHeadshot of Justin Baillargeon.

Justin Baillargeon is a VR/360 filmmaker, a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship recipient and a Ph.D. candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. He holds a B.A in Film Studies from Concordia University and a M.A. in Communication from the Université du Québec à Montréal. His doctoral research explores virtual reality, as well as 360 degrees curation and its distinct forms of spectatorship. He seeks to analyze spectator behavior and emotional involvement during various types of multi-sensory and embodied experiences whether seated, standing and room-scaled in different cultural contexts defined by commercial, educational and artistic objectives.

Emily Barton – Cinema and Media Studies

Emily Barton is a first year PhD student in the Cinema and Media Studies department. Her work thinks about queer films that are archival in nature, as well as the space of the queer archive and theatre, as a way of building queer community trans-historically.

Headshot of Sophie Bisson.Sophie Bisson – Music

Sophie Bisson is a doctoral candidate in Music at York University, where she is the recipient of the Sunnuz Sarah Taheri Graduate Award. As an undergraduate she created the first repertoire of 20th Century Canadian operas. Her MA thesis researched how institutional policies influence the creation of opera in Canada. Her current research still focuses on Canadian opera and her interests range from digital humanities (disseminating large scale projects) to the construction of gender in Canadian opera, Italian opera, alliance studies, lineage, and music in Canadian internment camps. She is currently creating the online encyclopedia of Canadian opera.

Alex Borkowski –  Communication & Culture

Alex Borkowski is PhD student in Communication & Culture at York University. Her research interests include sound, performance, gender and contemporary art. She holds a BA in Art History from McGill University, and MA in Aural & Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her writing has appeared in The Quietus, KAPSULA, Canadian Art, and Prefix Photo, where she also acts as book reviews editor.

Image of Ilze Briede.

Ilze Briede [Kavi] – Digital Media

Ilze Briede [Kavi] is a Latvian/Canadian artist working across multiple disciplines. Her process-based artwork can be a video projection installation, interactive sculpture or a live performance. Besides working collaboratively, she is also interested in creating work that exists in the gap between the physical, tangible world and bodiless digitally created artforms, that she aims to co-join in new imaginary ways. Currently, a PhD student with a research focus on computational creativity and generative art, Kavi explores the potential narratives in Mixed Reality spaces.

Headshot of Hannah van Burren.

Hannah van Buuren – Cinema and Media Studies

Hannah van Buuren earned her BA in Motion Picture Arts at Capilano University where she produced various award-winning films, including Think Again (iGen Festival). Her current research analyzes contemporary television series, primarily focusing on the manipulation of linear temporality as a way of exploring the mediation of trauma and assault. Her other research interests include feminist filmmaking and subjectivity, counter-gazes, broadcast temporality and trauma studies.

Laurence Butet-Roch – Environmental Studies

Laurence Butet-Roch is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at York, where she studies visual narratives of environmental contamination and systemic environmental racism. She completed a Masters in Digital Media (Ryerson), where she teaches Interactive Storytelling, a B.A. in International Relations (UBC) and a two-year training in photography at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa. A photographer, photo editor, writer and art educator, she contributes to Aperture, The British Journal of Photography, National Geographic, Photolife, Point of View, Polka Magazine, The New York Times Lens Blog, The New Yorker Photo Booth, amongst others.

Headshot of Audita Chaudhury.Aadita Chaudhury – Science and Technology Studies

I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at York University. My core research interests for my PhD project are the implications of human-nature interactions as part of ecological research work explored through practices of mediating fire across multiple sites in the domains of science, forestry, environmental management, arts practices and public discourse. I seek to understand how, broadly defined, fire, and the process of combustion are understood and evolve in their meaning-making and world-building capacity alongside histories of race, capitalism and empire.

Headshot of Scott Christian.

Scott Christian – Music

Scott Christian is a Toronto-based musical director and composer. His musicals Hero & Leander (based on the greek myth) and Through The Gates (based on the early life of Buddha Gautama) premiered at the Toronto Summerworks Festival, and his musical A Misfortune (based on Anton Chekhov’s short story) premiered at the Charlottetown Festival in 2017. He has composed for short film, animation and dance. He is an in-demand coach and collaborative pianist for pop, classical and theatre singers. Scott is a also a musical director at Second City Toronto.


Headshot of Joshua Ditteritch. Joshua Ditteritch – Communication and Culture

Joshua Dittrich is a PhD student in Communication & Culture at York University. His research interests are in media, sound and environment, and explore the cultural and aesthetic implications of the planetary and technological scaling of human experience. He has advanced degrees in Comparative Literature and German Studies, and has published essays on the literature, visual culture and aesthetics of European modernism, as well as a recent essay on the aesthetics of audio stretching. Josh is the co-founder and executive editor of the online journal Soundposts and plays double bass in Corktown Chamber Orchestra in downtown Toronto.


Annie Dunning – Visual Art

Annie Dunning maintains a multidisciplinary practice, based in sound-sculpture. She holds a BFA from Mount Allison University, NB and an MFA from the University of Guelph, ON. With support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council she has produced and shown work across Canada and abroad. Past exhibitions include “Echo/Locations” (2016) Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, and participation in “City Sonic” (2017) international sound art festival, Charloi Belgium. She was selected as a participant in the Ayatana Biophony Research Residency (2019) and is developing new sound-sculpture for “Exercises in Listening” at Two Rivers Gallery BC (2020).

Headshot of Adam Faux.

Adam Faux – Music

Adam is a PhD student at York University, researching Synaesthetic and ProcessComposition. For roughly 20 years, Adam has made music using the Digital Audio Workstation to accompany film, dance, song writing and live performance, and most recently worked in varied disciplines that include the Filipino Rondalla, and Swahili music and culture. Adam has toured North America performing his own musical creations as a front man for a punk band, as a producer/engineer for indie and jazz recordings, and as the Front of House engineer showcasing the latest thing. He teaches music for The Doane USchool, as well as for The Regent Park School of Music, focusing on at-risk kids and teens.

Headshot of Allan Gomes. Allan Gomes – Design

Allan Gomes is a graphic designer, currently pursuing his Masters of Design at YorkU. He received his bachelor in Design at the Faculty of Design of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil. He also had an academic exchange of a full-year study in Bachelor of Arts in Design Communications program at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) in Ireland. Allan’s academic background in addition to his professional experience over the past decade working as senior graphic designer has brought him closer to the field of packaging design, which he intend to continue on another level from now on.

Headshot of Margaryta Golovchenko.

Margaryta Golovchenko – Art History

Margaryta Golovchenko is a settler-immigrant, poet, critic, and academic based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, Canada. The author of two poetry chapbooks, she is completing her MA in art history at York University. Her research interests center around questions of performativity, objecthood, and femininity.

Marcus A. Gordon – Digital Media

Marcus A. Gordon is a PhD student in Digital Media at York, studying algorithmic composition and generative art with a focus on live coding and archimusic. He holds an MFA in Digital Futures from OCAD University where he learned holography and began his research on the subject of the transplane image. He continues his research with the nd::Studio Lab working on volumetric displays as visual music instruments. As Advisory Board Member with the Innovation Council of the Toronto Public Library, Marcus advocates for digital literacy and creative coding in the arts and sciences.

Sergio Guerra – Environmental ScienceHeadshot of Sergio Guerra.

Sergio Guerra’s father was born in Sonsonate El Salvador, the site of the indigenous uprising in 1932. His mother was born in Perquin, Morazan, the place that raised the revolution he would be born into. In the midst of war, migration moved Sergio to Canada where he would begin to recreate the image of a battered history. An artist, poet, MC, producer, film maker, business owner, youth counsellor, Sergio has arrived at his Master’s program to consolidate 15 years of experience and to contribute to the breadth of knowledge regarding Central America and the Diaspora Experience.


Headshot image of Sensorium Graduate Research Associate Nick Fox-GiegNick Fox-Gieg – Digital Media

Nick Fox-Gieg is a researcher, animator, and developer in Toronto. Recently, he’s been working on XR projects for the Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge, NYT T Brand Studio, the University of Waterloo, Google Creative Lab, and Framestore. His awards include a 2017 Engadget Alternate Realities grant, Eyebeam and Fulbright Fellowships, and the jury prize for Best Animated Short at SXSW 2010; his work has also been shown at the Ottawa, Rotterdam, and TIFF film festivals, at the Centre Pompidou, and on CBC TV. Fox-Gieg holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Headshot of Racelar Ho. Racelar Ho – Digital Media

Racelar Ho is a PhD student in Digital Media at York University. She primarily focuses on ‘the viability of digital games as an independent genre of fine arts’, ‘the history, development, and discourses features of computer-generated arts’, ‘the influence of dialogues methodologies between creators and audiences under infinite virtual environments’ and seeks a way to smooth the gaps within science and humanities. As an artist, to construct a hybrid-infinite world to express her poetic thoughts about Zen dialogues in different dimensions and to explore the idealistic world of transcendent beings are vital aims of her creation.

Lizz Hodgson – Film

Lizz Hodgson is a graduate and current Masters (2018) student of the York University’s Film & Video Production Program (2011) where she specialized in documentary filmmaking. Two of her thesis projects Welcome to Holland and The Nature of Creativity screened at York Universities prestigious Cinesiege Awards. Lizz’s fiction credits include Us, Regardless, which had its Canadian premiere at the 2014 ReelWorld Film Festival in Toronto, followed by an international premiere at the Mumbai Queer International Film Festival in May 2014. Lizz has also just completed principal photography on her BravoFact funded film Eligible.

Headshot of Rory Hoy.Rory Hoy – Digital Media

Rory Hoy is a PhD student in Digital Media, and a researcher in the DisPerSion Lab at York University. His work is aimed at the crossroads between sonic ecosystems, agent simulation, networked music, and human/machine collaboration. Exploring the musical potential of artificial life systems, his work places performers as equals with virtual beings inspired by natural processes to investigate resulting perceptual and performative outcomes of their interplay. Rory holds both an MA and BA Hons in Digital Media from York University.


Alison Humphrey – Cinema and Media Studies

Alison Humphrey plays with story across the fields of drama, digital media, and education. After starting out as an intern at Marvel Comics, she produced one of the first ever online alternate reality games for Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic, initiated one of the earliest transmedia in-fiction blogs in a TV series, and co-created two interactive, live-animated theatre projects: Faster than Night (Toronto) and The Augmentalist (Silicon Valley). Her Vanier-CGS funded research explores how a science-fiction transmedia storyworld (, co-created with youth on four continents, can empower civic engagement and public health problem-solving. Website:

Meng Jian – Communication and Culture

Meng is an MA student in the Ryerson and York joint program Communication and Culture focusing on the Technology in Practice stream and she holds a BFA in Photography Studies from Ryerson University. After four years of working for the Ryerson Image Centre, she decided to continue pursuing the study of critical examination of contemporary art through interdisciplinary practice. She is a research assistant for Dr. Paul Moore’s Circuits of Cinema project and collaborates with the Digital Media Experience Lab and the Archives and Special Collections at Ryerson University. Her current research project looks at how art archives evolve in the current diverse media culture, and what potential exists for multi-sensory technologies to contribute to this shift.

Megan Johnson – Theatre & Performance Studies Headshot of Megan Johnson.

Megan Johnson is a performance scholar, arts administrator, singer, and dramaturg based in Toronto, Canada. She is currently a PhD student in the Theatre & Performance Studies department at York University. Megan holds an MA in theatre & performance studies from York University, an MA in musicology from the University of Ottawa, as well as a BMus in voice from Acadia University. Her research — centered on disability performance, infrastructural politics, and inclusive dramaturgy — explores how the creation practices of disability-identified performers in Canada dialogue with notions of disability justice. Megan’s research is supported by the Elia Scholars Program at York University and a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship (SSHRC).

Hillary Kaplan standing in library. Hillary Kaplan – Performance  Studies

Hillary Kaplan is pursuing an MA in Performance Studies, along with an MBA specializing in Arts, Media, and Entertainment Management at York University. Her research situates internet as memes as performance epistemology, and explores modes of embodiment and affect in participatory digital cultural. She has worked with arts and cultural organizations such as the Vancouver Fringe Festival, the Richmond Museum, the Queer Arts Festival, Urban Ink, and the Vancouver School of Theology. She served a term as President of the board of CJSF90.1FM, and spent several years co-producing Burn in the Forest, Vancouver’s regional Burning Man festival.

Deanne Kearney – Dance

Deanne Kearney is a current Ph.D. student in York University’s Dance Studies program. Her research follows the interactions between dance and the online world, investigating transforming traditions in the dance industry due in the age of technology. Kearney is a commercial and hip hop dancer in Toronto. As well as a freelance dance writers, and dance critic for Mooney on Theatre.

Headshot of Diane Kolin. Diane Kolin – Music

Diane Kolin is a candidate in MA in Musicology. She did her undergrad studies in theatre and music in Paris, France. She also has a bachelor in software development and is a PMP project manager. Her research in the field of music and disability with a critical disability studies point of view has brought her to meet and collaborate with musicians all over the world.


Headshot of Eva Lu. Eva Lu Art History and Visual Culture

Eva Lu is a Ph.D. student in the Art History and Visual Culture program at York University. She holds a B.A. in Visual Arts and Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, and an M.A. in Modern Art from Columbia University. Her research is in global conceptual art and the episto-ontological challenges in collecting and archiving multi-sensorial, relational work.


Zhouyang Lu – Digital Media

Zhouyang Lu is a designer and digital media artist. He is currently a masters student in digital media. After he received a B.A. in Digital Media at York University, he has commenced graduate studies focusing on the intersection of Design, interactive technologies and Data visualization. He is currently working through a data visualization and artwork of COVID-19, exploring intersections of visual and print media, and formats of interactive installations.

Signy Lynch – Theatre & Performance Studies Headshot of Signy Lynch.

Signy Lynch is a Ph.D Candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at York. Her research interests include political performance, diversity in theatre, spectatorship, affect, and theatre criticism. Her SSHRC-funded dissertation investigates how direct audience address in contemporary performance in Canada can help audience members and performers to negotiate the complexities of twenty-first century life. She has published work in Canadian Theatre Review,, and CdnTimes and is a member of the board of directors of Cahoots Theatre.


Headshot of Kristie MacDonald.

Kristie MacDonald – Visual Art

Kristie MacDonald is visual artist working across photography, printmaking, and installation. Her practice engages notions of the archive and the collection, as well as their roles in the evolving meanings and contextual histories of images and artifacts. She holds an MFA from York University and an MI (Spec. Archival Studies) from the University of Toronto. She is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Visual Art at York University (ABD), and an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph in the Studio Art Program.


Hrysovalanti Fereniki Maheras – Digital Media

Hrysovalanti Fereniki Maheras is a PhD student in Digital Media at York University and she is studying with Dr. Mark-David Hosale as a researcher at nD::StudioLab. She holds a B.A. Hons in Media Arts from Plymouth University, UK and an M.A. in Digital Media from York University, CA. In her research,  she speculates on the innovation of computational machines as emotional beings, as she navigates the connections between the philosophical theories written about the human soul, and the cybernetic theories and artworks created for the exploration of the mind of technology. Her practice emphasizes on the creation of groups of electronic sound/kinetic sculptures that act as artificially living communities. Transversing between the virtual and the physical world, she explores the creation of a virtual analog environment emerging in a shared complex physical habitat.

Lubna Marium – Theatre & Performance StudiesHeadshot of Lubna Marium.

Marium, Lubna, is a dancer/researcher/writer. She has traveled from her early training in an avant-garde style of dance to later train in Manipuri. She has also taken up the study of Aesthetics and dramaturgy in Sanskrit. She has been promoting music and cultural practices of Southasia, folk and urban, through ‘Shadhona’. Lubna has produced and directed major dance productions. Recently, she has started a Feminist Dance Project. She is, also, engaged in translation of a major medieval Buddhist Vajrayana text of Bengal from Sanskrit to Bangla. Lubna is engaged in preserving several performative folk practices, designated as intangible cultural heritage.

Jon McSpadden – MusicHeadshot of Jon McSpadden.

Jon McSpadden is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, instructor, and student currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the music department at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Jon’s work focuses on the study of soundscapes and their impact on people within specific sound environments. Current projects include the study of casino soundscapes and their role in manipulating gambling habits, as well as a survey of discourse surrounding the barrier between music and noise and how this applies to contemporary music production.


Michael Palumbo – Digital Media

Michael Palumbo (MA, BFA) is an electroacoustic music improviser, coder, and researcher. His PhD research spans distributed creativity, temporality, intersubjectivity, and version control systems, and is expressed through recent projects ‘git show’, a distributed, electroacoustic music composition and digital music instrument design experiment, and ‘Modular Synthesis in Virtual Reality’ (MSVR). He is studying with Dr. Doug Van Nort as a researcher in the Distributed Performance and Sensorial Immersion Lab, and also works at the Alice Lab for Computational Worldmaking.

Headshot of Michaela Pnacekova.Michaela Pnacekova – Cinema and Media Studies 

Interactive creator and producer. In 2017, Michaela co-created and produced her first interactive app Pre-Crime Calculator. She is also developing the Pre-Crime detective reality game. Her first VR piece A Symphony of Noise had its premiere at Reeperbahn Music Festival 2019. She has also produced three feature length documentaries and two short films. The documentary BORDER CUT won Special Mention at the Bosch Stiftung East-European Co-Production Prize 2014. WATERPROOF won EWA Award 2017 and will premiere at DOK Leipzig 2019 and IDFA 2019. Since September 2019, she is a PhD candidate at York University where she explores new media.

Portrait of Dhvani Ramanujam .Dhvani Ramanujam – Communication and Culture

Dhvani Ramanujam is a Toronto-based writer, emerging curator, and MA student in the joint Communication and Culture program at York University and Ryerson University. Her research and curatorial practice focuses on screen cultures and moving image, particularly attuned to queer, feminist, decolonial and speculative archival practices in contemporary exhibitions. Her other research interests extend to cyber-feminisms, sonic geographies, and the rise of experimental and avant-garde streaming services. She is currently a member of the Studio for Media Activism and Critical Thought (SMACT) at Ryerson University, where she most recently co-curated the latest virtual edition of the Laboratory for Feminist Memory.

Nicole Richardson – Film and Media Studies

Nicole Richardson is a 2nd year MA student in the Film and Media Studies program. Her research is focused broadly on political podcasting communities with particular interest in the affective components of the medium and the atomized, embodied nature of its consumption. In addition to this, she is particularly interested in the political role of new media alongside emergent neoliberal and semio-capitalist structures of power.

Headshot of Casey Robertson. Casey Robertson – Humanities

Casey Robertson is a PhD student in Humanities at York University in Toronto, Ontario with interdisciplinary research interests spanning across continental philosophy, gender studies, and musicology/sound studies. Previously Casey received an Honours BA in Music (minoring in Philosophy) from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, additionally completing the Sonic Design program in applied new media at Carleton’s School of Arts and Culture. Casey also received an MA in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. As a musician, activist, and community organizer, Casey is frequently involved in various equity-centered initiatives and projects throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Portrait of Cléo Sallis-Parchet.Cléo Sallis-Parchet – Cinema and Media Studies

With a deep interest in community building and collaborative programming, Cléo Sallis-Parchet has coordinated arts projects in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver since 2012. Cléo is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Recently, Cléo worked as Education & Outreach Coordinator at InterAccess, a gallery and production studio dedicated to supporting new media art practices. Her research explores the preservation of new media and digital art and the role of the institution in archiving obsolete technologies, ephemeral art, and collective memories.

Claudia Sicondolfo – Cinema & Media Studies Headshot of Claudia Sicondolfo.

Claudia Sicondolfo is a Vanier Scholar and PhD Candidate in the Graduate Department of Film. Her research projects address: film festivals, screen publics, youth and digital media cultures, decolonizing research methodologies and affect in the creative industries. Her doctoral research project examines educational and community outreach strategies within contemporary Canadian digital screen institutions and digital engagement in film festivals. Her research appears in Public Journal and Senses of Cinema, in addition to various book anthologies. Claudia has worked with educational communities across Canada and has published educational companion curriculum for documentaries.

Headshot of Rojin Shafiei. Rojin Shafiei – Film

Rojin Shafiei is an Iranian interdisciplinary artist living and working in Toronto.
 Rojin received her bachelor of fine arts in Intermedia from Concordia University in Montreal in 2017 and currently, she is a master of fine art candidate in Film Production at York University of Toronto. She has screened and exhibited her work internationally in various festivals.
In 2019 she was the VeniceLands Art Prize candidate in Italy in 2019 and she won the grand prize of Startupfest/Artupfest section in July 2018 for her piece I wait for the time.

Amy Siegel – Communication and Culture

Amy Siegel is an artist, academic, educator, and organizer of artistic projects. Working at the intersection of film, performance and socially-engaged art, Amy works across media to tell stories based in themes of social justice. Amy is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Communication & Culture at York University and is the Creative Director of the ReFrame Film Festival in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, Ontario.

Joshua Swamy – Dance

Joshua Swamy is a self-taught breaker from Pickering, Ontario. While completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and MA in Dance, his studies focus on conceptual ideas of perception, language and communication in dance, performance and physical movement. Currently his Ph.D dissertation explores human performance within digital realities. He is currently the acting co-chair of the Graduate Dance Association and acting member of the Dance BIPOC Action Group.

Dan Tapper – Visual Art

Dan Tapper explores the sonic and visual properties of the unheard and invisible. From revealing electromagnetic sounds produced by the earth’s ionosphere, to exploring hidden micro worlds and creating imaginary nebulas made from code. His explorations use scientific methods alongside thought experiments resulting in rich sonic and visual worlds.

Ella Tetrault – Visual Art Headshot of Ella Tetrault.

Ella Tetrault (*1983) is a Canadian artist. She holds an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus University (2011-2013) and a BA in International Development from the University of Toronto (2003-2008). She is co-founder of the Fuller Terrace Lecture Series. Tetrault is currently a PhD. candidate in the Department of Visual Art at York University, and a sessional instructor at the University of Cologne in the Institute for Art and Art Theory alongside Stefanie Busch. In 2017, she co-edited her first book with Konstanze Schütze, Alain Bieber and the NRW Forum, Pizza is God.

George Turnbull – Cinema & Media StudiesHeadshot of George Turnbull.

George Turnbull is an award-winning stage and screen scholar and practitioner. Currently, he is a PhD student in the Cinema and Media Studies program at York University where he is the President of the Graduate Film Student Association and a Research Assistant for the Academic Innovation Fund eLearning @ AMPD: Phase 3 project under the Institute for Research on Digital Learning. Growing up as a rigorous competitive dancer in Canada and the United States, Turnbull realized his interest and passion for dance films. He now specializes in screendance and contributes to the field through filmmaking, conference presentations and publications.

Michael Trommer – Cinema and Media Arts Headshot of Michael Trommer.

Michael Trommer is a Toronto-based sound and video artist; his experimental work has been focused primarily on psychogeographical and acoustemological explorations via the use of VR, ambisonic and tactile sound, field recordings, as well as multi-channel installation and expanded video techniques. He has exhibited and performed his work at galleries and festivals throughout the world.

In addition to teaching graduate sound design and sound art at George Brown College, Michael also teaches Think Tank at OCAD University and is currently a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Arts at York University.

Phyllis Novak – Theatre & Performance Studies  Headshot of Phyllis Novak.

Phyllis Novak (aka Nowakowski) am a social practice artist with roots in theatre performance, working across arts disciplines. I have been active with art-makers and young people from across Canada in the development of SKETCH, for almost thirty years. I am a fellow of the inaugural Toronto Cultural Leaders Lab and a Master’s student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. I am also a graduate of York’s Theatre with a BFA in Theatre Performance. I have been part of strategic collaborations like Platform A, AVNU and YSI – initiatives advancing young people’s opportunities in the arts.

Reena Shadaan – Environmental and Urban Change

Reena Shadaan is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University, where she focuses on environmental justice and occupational health. She is a co-developer of the mobile application, Pollution Reporter, which links polluters to pollution to pollution-linked health harms. Shadaan is a 2017 recipient of the Canada Graduate Scholarship to honour Nelson Mandela.

Headshot of Shabnam Sukhdev.

Shabnam Sukhdev – Film

Shabnam Sukhdev is an award winning filmmaker and educator with a degree in Psychology and Sociology, and a B. Ed. in Special Education from Mumbai University. She is currently pursuing her MFA with a major in Film at York University, Toronto. She teaches graduate certificate courses in Cinema at the School of Media Art and Design, Durham College. Her research revolves around core issues of identity and culture, feminism and sexuality, migration and mental health. She believes that a personal independent voice can deeply reflect the concerns of a society.


Mila Volpe – Dance 

Mila Volpe is an emerging Dance/Movement Therapist working with diverse populations in both educational and clinical settings. Both her research as a student and practice as a professional involve the impact of digital and bio technologies on our overall experience of health. She is interested in the psychobiological basis of emotion and expression, neuroaesthetics, polyvagal informed somatic interventions, and exploring dance for health. Her writing has focused on the ethical implications of emergent work by biotech artists as well as the importance of place, environment, and culture to the Dance/Movement Therapy context.

Nava Waxman – Visual Art

Nava Waxman is a Canadian visual artist who lives and works in Toronto. Her practice engaged with Ideas of movement and temporality with notions of identity. Her work has been exhibited nationally and abroad. She holds a BA in Social Science and communication, and currently an MFA Candidate at York University, Toronto. Nava is a recipient of grants from the Ontario art council, Canada art council and The SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship-Master’s.

Headshot of Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan.

Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan – Theatre & Performance Studies

Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan is a curator, writer, and Ph.D. student in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. She is currently curator in residence at the Curatorial Lab @ Sensorium and has been independently curating interdisciplinary, live performance events since 2016. She recently worked as Assistant Curator with Toronto’s 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, and was previously involved as Exhibition Coordinator of a touring project entitled #callresponse at grunt gallery in Vancouver. She has presented her work at the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC), Trans-In-Corporados conference at Rio de Janeiro, and is chairing a panel in July 2019 at Performance Studies international (PSi) in Calgary. In 2019, Shalon published an article in Performance Matters journal for a special edition called “Performance and Bodies-Politic,” edited by Peter Dickinson and Róisín O’Gorman.


Graduate Alumni

Up caretIcon in the shape of a upward pointing caret

Headshot of Gabriele Aroni.

Gabriele Aroni – Communication and Culture (2020)

Gabriele Aroni has a MArch. (University of Florence, Italy) and an MSc in Digital Media Production (Oxford Brookes University, UK). He worked as a designer for Studio Roosegaarde in the Netherlands and is a member of the Florence University Multilanguage Cultural Heritage Lexis Research Project. He is the author of Gli Ordini Architettonici di San Lorenzo (Mimesis 2016) and published articles in Southern Semiotics Review and Well Played. He is currently teaching at the Ryerson School of Interior Design while pursuing a PhD on architecture in digital games in the Communication and Culture Program at Ryerson and York University.

Headshot of Nicole Clouston.

Nicole Clouston – Visual Art (2020)

Nicole Clouston is a practice-based researcher currently completing her Ph.D. in Visual Art at York University in Toronto. In her practice, she asks: What happens when we acknowledge, through an embodied experience, our connection to a world teeming with life both around and inside us? Nicole has exhibited across Canada and internationally, most recently in Detroit, Michigan. She was the artist in residence at the Coalesce Bio Art Lab at the University at Buffalo and the artist in residence at Idea Projects: Ontario Science Centre’s Studio Residencies at MOCA Her work can be found at

Black and white headshot of Sarah Choi.

Sarah Choi – Cinema and Media Studies (2020)

Sarah Choi is a screendance artist and curator who also aspires to be a comedic improvisor. She is currently an MA student in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at York and her research interests include kinesthetic empathy, VR dance, as well as ethnography. Upon completing her undergraduate studies in Biology, Sarah made a leap of faith by moving to New York City to study documentary filmmaking. Sarah won the Best Director Award at the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival in 2012 and founded the Lights Dance Festival in 2016. Please visit for more information.

Melanie Wilmink holding a microphone.

Melanie Wilmink – Visual Art and Art History (2020)

Melanie Wilmink is a PhD candidate in Visual Art and Art History at York University (Toronto), with honours such as the 2014 Elia Scholars Award and a 2015 SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. With a dissertation focus on the inter-connectivity between spectatorial experience and exhibition spaces, her ongoing research emerged during her role programming for the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, and her independent curating practice including the Situated Cinema project (Pleasure Dome, 2015), and as Curator in Residence for Sidewalk Labs Toronto. She is also co-editor of the anthology Sculpting Cinema (2018).