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.

Emmanuel Albano  – Filmheadshot of Emmanuel Albano

Emmanuel Albano is a human. In Canada he created “Frames,” a stereoscopic dance film that screened at the opening of Norman McLaren retrospective at RVQC festival in 2015. He’s been exploring immersive media from a decade now. He made his first Dome-show back in 2007 in Italy, and rediscovered the form in 2014 with SAT (The Society for Art and Technology of Montreal). He developed his first VR experience iBoxVR in 2017 and won several awards. In 2018. Emmanuel has many interests and cannot refrain from getting his hands dirty by exploring technology to find new ways of expression.

Chimira Nicole Andres – Earth and Space Sciences, Lassonde School of Engineering

Chimira is a PhD student, freelance contemporary ballet dancer that explores communicating Earth and space science digital data through dance movement. She is passionate about the interactions between the scientific and artistic community bridging the gap between STEAM through movement – Dance is a critical avenue where we can explore the development of space culture (i.e.choreography of space walks,human physiology in microgravity,etc) since gravity, or lack thereof, in space fundamentally transforms how the body moves!
Chimira’s research involves exploring Earth &planetary datasets (i.e.Mars topography)and translating these to dance/projection mapping using narrative charged-landscapes and sonified sounds of nature.

Kaede Ashizawa – Communications and Culture

Kaede Ashizawa is a Master’s student in the Graduate Communication and Culture Program. Her current work explores the use of Virtual Reality to tell stories of East Asian diasporic experiences, futurism, and self-fluidity. She is interested in the use of cybernetic/cyborg/posthuman aesthetics to reimagine what the human body and spirit can do to coexist with others in the human/non-human world.




Robert Appleton – Music

A colour headshot of Robert Appleton, looking down through his glasses, directly into the camera.

Robert Appleton’s Ph.D. vorTEX (visual+aural+textual), sets out to create a multimedia language of the senses, actualizing new understanding and discovery in art and science. “Exploring multimedia language through recently discovered connections among sense-energies explores a long overdue sanity for human communication.” A designer and visual music artist, Appleton’s work is in the collections of SF Moma, The Library of Congress, The Bibliotheque Nationale de France, The Vignelli Centre for Design Studies, and many others.  His election to Alliance Graphique Internationale in 2001, his work with John Cage, Ornette Coleman Paul Dutton, Malcolm Goldstein, and Jin Hi Kim, as well as his careers in teaching (CAFA Beijing, Parsons School of Design, Cooper Union), photojournalism, art direction, and music, have been precursors to this.

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.

Sana Akram – Cinema and Media Arts

Sana Akram is a Pakistani urbanist, media maker and a Fulbright alum. In 2020, she graduated with a MS in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design, The New School, where she diversified her research-practice by implementing an interdisciplinary design approach. Her award-winning interactive documentary, Little Pakistan – Future Histories, has showcased at several international festivals and her research has been published in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Currently, she is pursuing a research-creation doctorate in Cinema and Media Studies at York University as a recipient of the prestigious Elia Scholars Program Award.

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 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.

Black and white headshot of Sophie BissonSophie Bisson – Music

Sophie Bisson is an opera singer and a doctoral candidate at York University where she is a graduate research associate of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies (RCCS) and co-editor of RCCS’s Canada Watch (spring 2022 edition). She is also the creator and editor of the online Encyclopedia of Canadian Opera (spring 2022). A recipient of the Sunnuz Sarah Taheri Graduate Award in Fine Arts and a Helen Carswell Research Grant, she has written numerous reviews and articles featuring Canadian musical content. She has presented on topics that include how institutional policies influence the creation of opera in Canada, re-righting the wrongs of Louis Riel’s Kuyas, the evolution and themes of the Canadian aria, and articles on the revival of Claude Vivier’s opera Kopernikus. She also presents on and guides others through the challenges and possible solutions for disseminating large-scale digital humanities projects in music and in the arts in general. Sophie’s dissertation examines the representation of women in nine twenty-first century Canadian operas and her Helen Carswell research project revisits Canadian operatic history with an inclusive lens to highlight Black opera companies, works, and artists.

Alex Borkowski –  Communication & Culturefull frame bust & headshot of Alex Borkowski smiling and leaning to one side

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.

Beau Bridge – Cinema and Media StudiesA portrait photo of Graduate Research Associate Beau Bridge wearing a black blazer and jeans with a dark gray background.

Beau Han Bridge is a Chinese Canadian filmmaker, theatre artist, and playwright. In 2017, he created Midtwenties Theatre Society, a non-profit theatre company that serves as a creative development space for mid-emerging artists practicing in theatre, film, and the multifaceted art of performance through a contemporary adolescent lens. In 2021, he was awarded a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada graduate scholarship to develop an original thesis film that explores his Chinese Canadian roots through theatre scenography and chamber film aesthetics.

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.

Haoran Chang – Cinema and Media StudiesA portrait photo of Graduate Research Associate Haoran Chang wearing a gray button down shirt in a cinema.

Haoran Chang is a digital media artist and researcher focusing on spatial computing media as an expanded media practice. His art practice and research think about the liminality of virtual space in relation to the physical and social space. Haoran Chang is also the founder of Chameleon Gallery, a Virtual Reality platform in curating and exhibiting art projects in both physical and virtual spaces.

Hurmat Ul Ain – Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies

Hurmat Ul Ain is a Canadian-Pakistani artist and scholar. She is a PhD candidate with the Theatre, Dance, & Performance Studies program at York University. She holds an MFA in Performance Art from School of Art Institute Chicago where she was studying as a Fulbright Scholar. Ain is interested in discourse around body and its representation in Media and Arts. Through her practice, she explores identity and gender roles in context of socio-political rules of acceptability and sacrilege. Alongside, her independent practice, she has been collaborating with Rabbya Naseer since 2007 on different projects internationally.

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 Studiesa distanced shot of Laurence Butet-Roch standing in front of a large map wall with images pinned to it

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.

Emily Collins – Cinema & Media Studies Headshot of Emily Collins. Sunlight hits the side of her hair and there is a full bookshelf behind her.

Emily Collins is an interdisciplinary cultural researcher, writer, and PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at York University with professional experience in project and event coordination, independent arts publishing, teaching, and digital distribution across research networks, arts organizations and public institutions, including Archive/Counter-Archive, PUBLIC Journal, VUCAVU, TIFF, Festival Scope, and the Walter Phillips Gallery at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Working across sound studies, feminist theory, critical disability studies, and decolonial theory, Emily’s doctoral work explores sonic ecologies of difference, resistance and care within contemporary film/media, which forge a new body of emancipatory artworks and creative practices.

Christina Dovolis – Cinema and Media StudiesA portrait photo of Graduate Research Associate Christina Dovolis wearing a black T-shirt in front of a light pink background.

Christina is an interdisciplinary urban planner and filmmaker, working with both new media technologies and archives. Her research seeks to document how community and identity are constructed through digital architectures, and make virtual landscapes more legible and accessible to the broader public as a community-building tool. Christina holds a BA in Geography and Cultural Studies from McGill University and a MA in Urban Planning from the National University of Singapore. She is currently completing a MFA in Film Production at York University.

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.

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.

Grace Grothaus – Computational Arts and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Departments’ Digital Media Program

Headshot of Grace Grothaus outside on a summer day. There is a scrubby mountain in the background and two large spikey flowers in the foreground framing her face.

Grace Grothaus is a computational media artist whose research-creation encompasses environmental sensing, physical computing and speculative futurity. Her projects have been exhibited widely, including the International Symposium of Electronic Art, Environmental Crisis: Art & Science in London, UK, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and the World Creativity Biennale in Brazil. Grothaus has received awards for her work from organizations such as the United States National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Currently, Grothaus is currently working towards a PhD in Digital Media from York University where she is a VISTA scholar and Graduate Fellow of Academic Distinction.

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.

David Han – Cinema & Media Studies A black and white photo of David Han crossing his arms and leaning to the side.

David Han is a media artist, scholar and educator whose work employs emerging technology to explore the boundaries between computation, cinema, and immersive media. His current practice employs a structuralist approach to probe the unique affordances of virtual reality (VR) and aims to understand and expand the range of possibilities for creative practice in VR. His doctoral research was awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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.

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.


Lauren Howard – Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies

Lauren Howard is a feminist art historian and PhD student in the faculty of Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University. Broadly, her research centres around visual representations of trauma, memory, and healing. Her current work studies how art and aesthetics might hold the potential to negotiate, mediate, and reconcile with unprocessed memories of trauma and abuse.

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.

Sunlei Jin – Digital Media


As a Toronto-based artist and recent graduate of Queen’s University, my creative journey has been a fusion of cutting-edge technology and traditional artistic forms. I specialize in crafting immersive spaces that seamlessly blend 3D techniques with age-old artistic media. My artistic repertoire spans a diverse range, from 2D hand-made animations to captivating short narrative films, mesmerizing AR & VR artworks, and awe-inspiring immersive space exhibitions. In my ongoing artistic journey, I aspire to pioneer the fusion of hybrid reality technology with corporeal installation art, marrying data visualization with traditional artistic forms.



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).

Vladimir Kanic – Visual Arts MFA

Vladimir Kanic is the creator of living algae sculptures that use spectators’ breath as food and convert it into oxygen while mitigating the effects of climate change. His world-building practice imagines living algae sculptures as beacons of decarbonized future, where social and climate justice are collaborative public acts as essential as breathing. Vladimir’s living sculptures have been exhibited throughout Canada and featured on TED talk platform. He graduated OCAD University as the Governor General’s Academic Medal and Sir Edmund Walker Award recipient along with CIBC Fine Arts Award, Mitacs Business Strategy Award, and InterAccess Media Prize.

Aida Khorsandi – MusicHeadshot of Aida Khorsandi, mostly black and white with high contrast, but with digital blur that layers and distorts the image with RGB motion blur.

Aida Khorsandi is a musician, educator, and emerging researcher originally from Tehran, currently residing in Toronto. As a PhD student in the Music Department at York University, Aida is studying the onto-epistemology of haptic listening and sounding within the context of sonic interactions. Aida’s multi and transdisciplinary research interests reside in music, sound studies, epistemology, interactive art, and technology, within the framework of situated knowledge. She worked (and works) with New Media Society, an artist-run centre in Tehran, and organized talks, events, and exhibitions inside and outside Iran. Aida attends to field recording, sound design, and digital music creation.

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.

Caroline Klimek – Cinema & Media ArtsCaroline Klimek at a restaurant patio with the setting sun glowing behind her.

Caroline Klimek is a PhD Candidate in Cinema and Media Arts at York University and a recipient of the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. Her research interests include film festivals, media industry studies, digital archiving, and emerging technologies. She is published in the Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Shameless Magazine and TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies.

Hailey Kobrin – Art History and Visual Culture

Hailey Kobrin (they/them) is a GTA-based writer, researcher, curator, and artist. Hailey is a self-proclaimed “Food Freak,” navigating a lifetime obsession with the culinary through fine arts, research and creative written work. Hailey holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial Practices from OCAD University, and is a current MA Candidate in the department of Art History and Visual Culture at York University.

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.

Joseph Konieczny – Art History and Visual Culture

Joe Konieczny is a writer, educator, and student in the Art History and Visual Culture program at York University. His research focuses primarily on the cultural history of the Swahili Coast, with a particular emphasis on postcolonial theory and archival epistemology. Joe’s thesis work focuses on emerging philosophies of representation in artist’s run centres on the continent, and the ways in which their affiliate staff and artists engage with a western academy and public that have resisted decolonization. Outside of the classroom, he is the president of the Art History Grad Student Association and facilitates a monthly art criticism group.

Anna Lippman – Sociology

Picture of Anna Lippmann in the foreground of a brightly lit, high ceilinged architecture

Anna is a PhD candidate in sociology at York University. She studies how hip-hop inspires young people to use their sociological imagination. Anna is studies how identity is shaped both through hip-hop culture and social institutions. She looks at how race, space, place, class, and gender shape how young people understand themselves and their place in the world. Anna is a 3rd generation Ashkenzi Jewish migrant on Turtle Island and first-generation settler in Canada. Anna is a grassroots organizer in Toronto where she tries to understand her role and stake in equity for all and practice praxis.

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

Eva Lu is a Ph.D. student in Art History and Visual Culture. Her research on contemporary East Asian art sounds out transcultural identity making as textured by new media such as AI, XR, and bioart. Her dissertation investigates the cultural politics of Taiwan’s participation in international exhibitions, and diasporic artists’ and curators’ expressions of subversion and dissidence.

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.

Andrew McConnell – Digital Media

Andrew McConnell is a member of Nipissing First Nation, living in Toronto. He is currently a course director for the Waaban teacher education program at York University, and is pursuing his PhD in Digital Media at the Lassonde School of Engineering. He was the coordinator for Indigenous education and consultant at the YRDSB from 2016 to 2023 and a teacher at the board for almost 20 years. Before teaching, Andrew worked in the media, first at Aboriginal Voices, a Native arts magazine based in Toronto, and then at CTV News, where he worked in production for 7 years.

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.

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.

Jayna Mees – Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Jayna Mees (she/her) is an artist-scholar who specializes in accessibility consultation, dramaturgy, and devised theatre. Situated at the intersections between performance studies and critical disability studies, Jayna’s doctoral research at York University examines access aesthetics, practices, and politics within digital and virtual forms of immersive and site-specific performance. Jayna holds an MA from the Centre for Drama, Theatre, & Performance Studies at University of Toronto and a BA in Theatre from York University. Some recent projects include: Accessibility Coordinator for the SummerWorks Performance Festival (2021 -22), and Assistant Dramaturg for SpiderWebShow’s VR production of You Should Have Stayed Home (2022).

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.

Sheetal Prasad – EducationA portrait photo of Graduate Research Associate Sheetal Prasad wearing a dark blue shirt with white floral accents in front of a light yellow brick background.

Sheetal Prasad is a Ph.D. candidate and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship recipient in the Faculty of Education at York University. She holds a Honours BFA in Studio Art with History minor at McMaster University and a MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design at OCAD University. Her current research examines representation within Canadian secondary history classrooms and how history textbooks and curricula can be interrogated through multimodal learning and engagement. With her background in fine art, she combines archival and art research methods to create augmented reality works that inform viewers of multiple perspectives in Canadian history.

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.

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.

SK Sabada – Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies

SK Sabada is an artist and PhD student in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies program at York. Their research and artistic practice focus on fostering critical intimacies of death and dying through the use of alternate reality games (ARGs). They are particularly intrigued by how these intimacies intersect with the experiences of mad-queer-trans people and what potentialities might emerge from fostering these intimacies in alternate reality settings.

Cleo Sallis-Parchet – Cinema and Media Studies

Portrait of Cléo Sallis-Parchet.

With a deep interest in community building and collaborative programming, Cleo Sallis-Parchet has coordinated arts projects in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver since 2012. Cleo is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Recently, she worked as Education & Outreach Coordinator at InterAccess, a gallery and production studio dedicated to supporting new media art practices. Her current 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.

Daniella Sanader – Art History & Visual CulturePhoto of Daniella Sanader, laughing and looking down off camera. Her gold and teal patterned shirt contrasts vibrantly with the blue-green background.

Daniella Sanader is a writer and reader who lives in Toronto. Her writing on art has appeared in Canadian Art,, C Magazine, BlackFlash Magazine, Border Crossings, Maclean’s, The Brooklyn Rail, esse magazine, and others. Her texts have also been published by a number of galleries and artist-run spaces across Canada and internationally. She has held positions at Gallery TPW, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Oakville Galleries and others, and was a participant in the 2018 Critical Art Writing Ensemble at the Banff Centre. She is currently a PhD Student in Art History and Visual Culture at York University.

Omar Shabbar – Digital Media

Omar Shabbar is a PhD student in the Digital Media program at York University. As a gigging musician, Omar has always been interested in how instruments are built and how they work. This interest continues to inform his research interests which focuses on player-instrument interaction, instrument materiality, and new instrument creation. Beyond this, Omar is interested in machine learning and AI, the musical traditions of North Africa, West Asia, and South Asia, and creating fully-immersive, multi-media experiences.

Rojin Shafiei – Film

Rojin Shafiei is an Iranian interdisciplinary artist living and working in Toronto.
 Rojin received her bachelor of fineHeadshot of Rojin Shafiei. 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.

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.

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.

Omid Shakiba – Cinema and Media Studies

Omid is a filmmaker/cinematographer with 20 years’ experience, directing 30 documentaries, experimental and fictions. He holds an MA in digital filmmaking from University of Bradford in England, taught film courses for 4 years, came to Canada by Hot-Docs Film Festival’s invitation and started teaching Directing in the “BFTV” at Sheridan College from 2020. Recipient of the TAC Grant for Newcomer Artists twice, a jury member of BIPOC International film festival in 2022, and the panel review member for “Newcomer Arts Award” in 2023. Omid’s research is about the portrayal of Kurdish female fighters of Syria in transnational feminist cinema.


Kanishka Sikri – Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies

A headshot of Kanishka Sikri against a white background wearing a flowered and stripey blouse.

Kanishka Sikri ( is a writer and theorist thinking about violability: the practice that marks certain lives, bodies, and lands to the possibility of violence. They are currently a PhD candidate at York University speculating on the ways violence becomes synonymous with and inhabits the flesh. Kanishka asks how we may speak about violence, lay it bare, grieve and mourn its many insidious faces without replicating the notion that certain lives are violable and capable of being violated.


Shabnam Sukhdev– Theatre and Performance Studies

SHABNAM SUKHDEV is a national award winning filmmaker and educator who has previously worked in the Mumbai film and television industry in the capacity of writer, director and producer of television shorts and serials for over 15 years.  Driven by a strong social conscience, her films revolve around core issues of identity and culture, feminism and sexuality, migration and mental health.  She is currently pursuing her PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University, Toronto, where she is researching the transformative power of performance in family therapy.



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.

Lia Tarachansky – Cinema & Media StudiesLia Tarachansky smiling in the foreground of an outdoor photo with the Judaic Temple Mount in the background.

Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Canadian journalist and filmmaker born in Soviet Union Ukraine. She has made several short, experimental, and feature films and worked as a Middle East correspondent, filing dozens of video reports and directing feature-length investigative documentaries for BBC World, The Guardian, TeleSUR, and Naretiv Productions. Her films won awards and toured globally. Lately she’s been making experimental, poetic shorts, spending her days filming life on her smartphone, designing lesson plans, and reading barely-comprehensible books for her PhD in Media Studies. For more info, check out and

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.

Elizabeth Tsui –  Art History & Visual Culture

A selfie of Liz Tsui, looking directly at the camera against a cream-coloured wall.

Liz is an emerging artist and a student based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her artistic practice and research interests are grounded in technology, popular culture, and Asian diaspora. She is interested in taking humorous content and dissecting it to critique the cultural context that situates it as disposable culture, moving in and out of social media, emulating fads. Her artwork often recreates memes: currently in the form of 3D print, ultimately casting the object in bronze and her writing is often of artists who negotiate with their multicultural identities.

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.

Mila Volpe – Dance Mila Volpe in the foreground, on a boat at sunset. There is the lake and a small island in the middle ground.

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 Artblack and white photo of Nava Waxman standing against a weathered door with peeling paint.

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.

Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan – Theatre & Performance Studies

Headshot of Shalon T. Webber-Heffernan.

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 and completed 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

Nicole Clouston completed 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

Scott Christian – Music

Scott Christian is a Toronto-based musical director and composer. His musicals Hero & Leander (based on the greekHeadshot of Scott Christian. 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.

Black and white headshot of Sarah Choi.

Sarah Choi – Cinema and Media Studies

Sarah Choi is a screendance artist and curator who also aspires to be a comedic improvisor. She completed her MA 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.

Margaryta Golovchenko – Art History

Headshot of Margaryta Golovchenko.

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 completed MA in art history at York University. Her research interests center around questions of performativity, objecthood, and femininity.


Allan Gomes – Design

Allan Gomes is a graphic designer who completed his Masters of Design at YorkU. He received his bachelor inHeadshot of Allan Gomes. 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.

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

Signy Lynch holds a doctorate in Theatre and Performance Studies from 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.

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.

Nicole Richardson – Film and Media Studies

Nicole Richardson completed her MA 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.

Dan Tapper – Visual Art (2020)

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.

Melanie Wilmink – Art History

Melanie Wilmink holding a microphone.

Melanie Wilmink holds a doctorate 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).

Zhouyang Lu – Digital Media (2021)

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.

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.

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:

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.

Hillary Kaplan – Performance Studies

Hillary Kaplan standing in library.

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.