Lunchtime Seminar Series

Abstract slide with blue-grey background and yellow-orange sun-like shape on the right side.

Sensorium Lunchtime Seminar Series (Winter 2022)
Wednesdays 11:30am-12:30pm EST 

The Lunchtime Seminar Series is a weekly event which aims to foster interconnectivity between faculty, graduate students, visiting scholars and artists within the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design. This casual series will host a variety of scholarly presentations by both York and visiting researchers who want to interface with our community and share their work.   

The sessions happen weekly on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Lectures will be virtual until it is safe to gather in-person, at which time it will be a hybrid format, with in-person sessions at Sensorium Loft Space (4th Floor CFA, Room M333), and a virtual stream for those who cannot attend in person. Due to COVID-19, in-person capacity is limited. Please adhere to York’s COVID regulations, including completion of the YU Screen and wearing a mask.  

Stable Zoom meeting link for all sessions:  


12 January 2022 – Dr. Joel Ong (Director of Sensorium/ Assistant Prof. Computational Arts) 

Professor Joel Ong is a media artist whose works connect scientific and artistic approaches to the environment, particularly with respect to sound and physical space. His work explores the way objects and spaces can function as repositories of ‘frozen sound’, and in elucidating these, he is interested in creating what systems theorist Jack Burnham (1968) refers to as “art (that) does not reside in material entities, but in relations between people and between people and the components of their environment.” A serial collaborator, he is invested in the broader scope of Art-Science collaborations and is engaged constantly in the discourses and processes that facilitate viewing these two polemical disciplines on similar ground. Dr. Ong is the current Director of Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology as well as founder and Director of the AMPD Pan-Faculty Makerspace.  


19 January 2022 – Dr. Roberta Buiani  (Interdisciplinary Arts, Media Theorist & “ArtSci” Curator / Sensorium Visiting Scholar)

Roberta Buiani is an interdisciplinary artist, media scholar and curator based in Toronto. She is the co-founder of the ArtSci Salon at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences (Toronto) and co-organizer of LASER Toronto. Her recent project investigates emerging life forms exceeding the categories defined by traditional methods of classification. Her artistic work has travelled to art festivals (Transmediale; Hemispheric Institute Encuentro; Brazil), community centres and galleries (the Free Gallery Toronto; Immigrant Movement International, Queens, Myseum of Toronto), and science institutions (RPI; the Fields Institute). Her writing has appeared on Punctum, Space and Culture, Cultural Studies and The Canadian Journal of Communication among others. She is a research associate at the Centre for Feminist Research (York University); a Visiting Scholar at Sensorium, Centre for Digital Arts and Technology (York University); and a lecturer in STS at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST) and New College (University of Toronto).  


26 January 2022 – Dr. Mary Bunch (Interdisciplinary artist / Assistant Prof. Cinema & Media Studies/ Theatre Studies).

Dr. Mary Bunch is an Assistant Professor in Cinema and Media Arts and affiliated with Theatre Studies, and Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA). She earned her PhD in Theory and Criticism at Western University in 2011. Dr. Bunch’s teaching and research interests include interdisciplinary and collaborative critical disability, feminist, queer studies and critical theory, new media philosophies, and collaborative research creation. She works at the intersection of the political imagination and its visual / sensory expressions. Her current project, Ecstatic Ethics, advances a decolonial, queer and disability-justice informed theory of relational ethics. She has published articles in the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies; Feminist Theory; Culture, Theory and Critique; and the Canadian Journal of Human Rights. Dr. Bunch has taught at McGill University, the University of Toronto and Western University.


2 February 2022 – Dr. Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston (Anthropologist & Performance Theorist / Associate Professor, Department of Theatre, York University) & Dr. Mark Auslander (Research Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University), plus other contributing authors.

Note: This event will be a lunchtime talk and launch for Dr. Kazubowski-Houston’s latest book In Search of Lost Futures: Anthropological Explorations in Multimodality, Deep Interdisciplinarity, and Autoethnography (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021).  2-hour event from 11:30am-1:30pm EST. 

Book link:
Please RSVP for this event if possible: 

In Search of Lost Futures asks how imaginations might be activated through practices of autoethnography, multimodality, and deep interdisciplinarity—each of which has the power to break down methodological silos, cultivate novel research sensibilities, and inspire researchers to question what is known about ethnographic process, representation, reflexivity, audience, and intervention within and beyond the academy. By blurring the boundaries between the past, present, and future; between absence and presence; between the possible and the impossible; and between fantasy and reality, In Search of Lost Futures pushes the boundaries of ethnographic engagement. It reveals how researchers on the cutting edge of the discipline are studying absence and grief and employing street performance, museum exhibit, anticipation, or simulated reality to research and intervene in the possible, the impossible, and the uncertain. 

Coming at a precipitous time when the dual presences of an out-of-control pandemic and ongoing systematic racism make us fear for the what the future could bring, In Search of Lost Future takes the reader to a multi-modal, interdisciplinary and autoethnographic space of creativity in which we can learn to rediscover the past to imagine the future—must reading for 21st century scholars. -Paul Stoller, Professor of Anthropology, West Chester University, USA

Key Themes
– Explores anthropological futures and imagined anthropologies through autoethnographic, multimodal, and interdisciplinary methods;

– Uncovers imaginative and future-oriented collaborative approaches of ethnographers, creative artists, curators, and those working with new media and technology;
– Contributes to the fields of (futures) anthropology, performance studies, studies of exhibition and design, museum studies, and beyond. 

Editors (both participating in launch)
Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, York University 
Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston is Associate Professor of Theatre with graduate appointments in Theatre and Performance Studies and Social Anthropology at York University, Canada. Her book, Staging Strife (2010), was awarded the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Outstanding Qualitative Book Award and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize (2011). Her article, “quiet theatre: The Radical Politics of Silence,” was awarded the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR) 2019 Richard Plant Prize for the best English-language article on a Canadian theatre or performance topic. She is a co-founding member of the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography (CIE), which received the American Anthropological Association General Anthropology Division’s 2019 New Directions Award in Public Anthropology. 

Mark Auslander, Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA 
Mark Auslander, a sociocultural and historical anthropologist, works at the intersection of ritual practice, aesthetics, environmental transformation, kinship, and political consciousness in Africa and the African Diaspora. His curatorial work engages with art, race, environmental crisis, gender, and memory politics. He has directed museums of science and culture at Central Washington University and Michigan State University, and currently serves as director of special projects at the Natural History Museum.  

Book Contributors Participating in Launch
Jodie Asselin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Lethbridge, Canada. She has a background in human geography and cultural anthropology, with a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the depart- ment of family medicine. Dr. Asselin’s area of interest is in environmental anthropology with a focus on rural/urban relations, place, policy, land use planning, and historical ecology.  

Susan Falls is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on agency, semiotics, and political economy. Interested in exploring how meaning- making works within the production, circulation, and use of material culture, Falls has worked with communities of dissent forming around diamonds, public art, ikat silk, breast milk, and robots. She is the author of White Gold: Stories of Breast Milk Sharing (2017) and Over- shot: The Political Aesthetic of Woven Textiles (with Jessica Smith [forth- coming]). Currently working on an ethnography of plant life, Falls teaches Anthropology at the Savannah College of Art and Design.  

Virginie Magnat, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia and works at the intersection of performances studies, cultural anthropology, experimental ethnography, and Indigenous research methodologies. Her new monograph, The Performative Power of Vocality (Routledge, 2020), employs an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to explore vocality as a vital source of embodied knowledge, creativity, and well-being, grounded in process, practice, and place, as well as a form of social and political agency. Research for this book was funded by two grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 

Rajat Nayyar is an anthropologist and a filmmaker with an M.A. in Audiovisual Ethnography from Tallinn University. As a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. His research focus is on vocality, everyday acts of resistance, collaborative fiction filmmaking, and futures anthropology. Rajat is currently developing Emergent Futures CoLab, a transdisciplinary laboratory that aims to map collaborative futuremaking methodologies. He is also co-editing the Performance Ethnography section of Centre for Imaginative Ethnography and founder of Espírito Kashi, a project that facilitates performative spaces for rural Indian communities to critically re-imagine folklore, envision new socialities, decolonize archives, and film futures. His recent film ‘Kashi Labh’ was screened at RAI film festival and numerous other anthropological film festivals and conferences. 

Marek Pawlak, Ph.D. is an anthropologist working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Jagiellonian University in Cracow. In his research, he focuses on crisis, migration, futures, and emotions. He has been conducting an ethnographic fieldwork on affects and temporalities of crisis in Iceland and social class, national identity and cultural intimacy among Polish migrants in Norway. He is an author of the book Zawstydzona tozsamosc. Emocje, ideologie i władza w ˙zyciu polskich migrantów w Norwegii [Embarrassing Identity. Emotions, Ideologies and Power among Polish Migrants in Norway] (Jagiellonian University Press, 2018). 


9 February 2022 – Dr. Haley Sapers (Astrobiologist & artist/ Research Associate, Planetary Volatile Lab – York University)

Dr. Haley Sapers received her PhD as a Canada Vanier Scholar in Planetary Science at Western University where studied the biological implications of impact craters and their potential to preserve biosignatures. Haley was a Human Frontier in Science Program postdoctoral fellow working with the NASA Astrobiology Deep Life node jointly between the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, and the NASA Jet propulsion laboratory where she worked with Mars 2020 SHERLOC team, experimenting with deep UV Raman in biological systems. Haley was also involved in studying the structure and architecture of deep subsurface microbial communities 4850’ underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility and in ocean floor methane seeps at the bottom of the Monterey Canyon. Haley is currently a Research Associate in the Planetary Volatile Laboratory at York and a Science team collaborator on MSL where she works with Prof. John Moores testing novel methods of measuring methane to improve our understanding of near-surface atmospheric chemistry on Mars with implications for potential subsurface life.


16 February 2022 – Dr. Schem Rogerson Bader (Queer history and archives/ Archive-Counter Archive Postdoc / Sensorium Visiting Scholar)

Dr. Bader is a Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow with York University, Archive-Counter Archive, and The ArQuives: Canada’s Queer Archive. With a PhD in Communication and Culture from the Joint Graduate Program at York/Ryerson Universities and an MFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York, Schem embraces interdisciplinarity and intersections of theory and practice. Focusing on queer history, their research examines historical violence and persistence. The recent co-authored publication with Paul Long,  Media Studies: Texts, Production will be launched by Routledge, Fall 2021. Other articles include, “I, Mabel Hampton: Political Power and The Archive” (PUBLIC, 2018) and “The Idiosyncratic Archive: Queerness, Duration and Photography” (Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender, and Culture, 2018). Recently, Schem received the SSHRC Connections Grant (2021) for Indexing Resistance: The Blood & Guts of Queer Protest to coincide with Toronto Pride, June 2022. This conference brings together queer archives, archivists, artists and activists to unpack the complexities of queer resistance.   


23 February 2022 – Reading week, no talk. 


2 March 2022 – Dr Jenifer Papararo  (AGYU Director/Curator / Sensorium Executive Committee member) 

Curatorial Talk with Jenifer Papararo
Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) Director/Curator
“The Meaning of Life” by Hannah Black

Sensorium Loft Space (4th Floor CFA, Room M333),
AND a virtual stream for those who cannot attend in person – Zoom meeting link 


Jenifer Papararo is currently the Director/Curator at the Art Gallery of York University, where she is overseeing the building of a new multi-site art gallery. She was the Executive Director of Plug Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2014 – 2019); the Curator at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2004 – 2014); and the Program Director at Mercer Union, Toronto (2001-2004). She initiated STAGES biennial in 2017 a temporary public art exhibition of sculpture and performance in Winnipeg, and recently curating the 2019 iteration, including new commissions by Raymond Boisjoly, Daniel Buren, FASTWÜRMS, Kenneth Lavallee, Joar Nango, Andrea Roberts and Silke Otto-Knapp. She has presented solo exhibitions with Skeena Reece,, Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa, Nairy Baghramian, Stan Douglas, Mike Nelson, and is currently working with Hannah Black to present The Meaning of Life at the AGYU.  She has written numerous curatorial texts and edited various exhibition related books: including My Best Thing by Frances Stark and the exhibition catalogue Enter the Landscape, and Days of Reading.  Papararo is a founding member of the artist and curatorial collective Instant Coffee, whose work has been exhibited at One +J in Seoul, South Korea;  Vancouver Art Gallery; the Toronto Sculpture Garden; the Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco; Subvision, Hamburg; Encuentro Internacional, Medellín; Sparwasser HQ, Berlin; the Americas Society, New York; and the 2nd Tirana International Biennial, Albania and are represented by MKG 127, Toronto. She is currently working with the City of Toronto and Workshop on a public art program for the George Street Revitalization Project. She joins the Visual/Media Arts Committee at the Toronto Arts Council in 2022 and is on the Board of Directors of Mammalian Diving Reflex, and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology.


9 March 2022 – Dr. Sarah Bay-Cheng (Dean of School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design/ Prof. Theatre Studies)

Dr. Sarah Bay-Cheng‘s research focuses on the intersections among theatre, performance, and media including histories of avant-garde theatre and film, social media, and digital technologies in performance. Her publications include the books Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (2015), Mapping Intermediality in Performance (2010), Poets at Play: An Anthology of Modernist Drama (2010) and Mama Dada: Gertrude Stein’s Avant-Garde Drama (2004) as well as articles, essays, and invited lectures. Her current book project considers digital historiography and performance. Prior to coming to York, she was a Fulbright Visiting Senior Scholar in Media and Cultural Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands (2015) and the founding director of the Technē Institute for the Arts and Emerging Technologies at the University at Buffalo (2012-2015). Since 2016, she can be heard as a co-host for On TAP: A Theatre and Performance Studies podcast. Bay-Cheng has also worked as a director and dramaturg with particular interest in intermedial collaborations and a fondness for puppetry. More information: 


16 March 2022 – Archer Pechawis (Interdisciplinary media artist / Assistant Prof. Visual Art & Art History)

Performance, theatre and new media artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and educator Archer Pechawis was born in Alert Bay, BC. He has a particular interest in the intersection of Plains Cree culture and digital technology, merging “traditional” objects such as hand drums with digital video and audio sampling. His work has been exhibited across Canada, internationally in Paris France and Moscow Russia, and featured in publications such as Fuse Magazine and Canadian Theatre Review. Archer has been the recipient of many Canada Council, British Columbia and Ontario Arts Council awards, and won the Best New Media Award at the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Best Experimental Short at imagineNATIVE in 2009.

Of Cree and European ancestry, he is a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak, Saskatchewan


23 March 2022 – Dr. David Cecchetto (Media artist & theorist / Associate Prof. Department of Humanities)

David Cecchetto is Associate Professor of Critical Digital Theory in the Department of Humanities at York University, where he also contributes to several graduate programs. David is currently President of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, and co-edits the Proximities: Experiments in Nearness book series (University of Minnesota Press). David’s most recent monograph, Listening in the Afterlife of Data: Aesthetics, Pragmatics, and Incommunication (2022) is available from Duke University Press. As a quasi-practicing non-musician, David has presented creative work internationally.


30 March 2022 – Ian Garrett (Designer / Producer / Associate Prof. Theatre)

Ian Garrett is a designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture. He is Producer for Toasterlab, a mixed reality performance collective, the director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University, where he is Graduate Program Director for Theatre and Performance Studies. He maintains a design practice focused on ecology, technology and scenography. With Toasterlab’s Mixed Reality Performance Atelier recent work includes a partnership with Theatre Passe Muraille’s Accessibility Labs to develop solutions for ASL interpretation for performance with Augmented Reality; Spectators Odyssey at TO LIve and The Right Way at the Venice Biennalewith with DLT Experience ; Groundworks collaborating artists from Pomo, Wappo, and Ohlone communities; The locative audio project TrailOff with Philadelphia’s Swim Pony; and Transmission (FuturePlay/Edinburgh and Future of Storytelling Festival/New York). He is currently collaborating on the development of interactive e-learning resources for teaching about Eugenics in Southern Ontario. Other Notable projects related to EcoScenography include the set and energy systems for Zata Omm’s Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre and Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a solar 150’ wide crane at Coachella. With Chantal Bilodeau, he co-directs the Climate Change Theatre Action. His writing includes Arts, the Environment, and Sustainability for Americans for the Arts; The Carbon Footprint of Theatrical Production in Readings in Performance and Ecology, and Theatre is No Place for a Plant in Landing Stages from the Ashden Directory. He serves on the Board of Directors for Associated Designers of Canada, was the Curator for the US for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial, and is co-chair for World Stage Design 2022 in Calgary.    


6 April 2022 – Dr. Rebecca Caines (Interdisciplinary artist/ Assistant Prof. Theatre)

Dr. Rebecca Caines is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar, whose research crosses between creative technologies (including sound art, new media, and augmentation), and socially engaged art, with a special focus on improvisatory practices. Her recent projects include “ImprovEnabled”, a national art and research project with co-researchers and partners across Canada, Northern Ireland and Australia (see: This project investigates creative responses to social isolation and stigma surrounding people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, utilizing improvised digital art and strengths-based participatory research. She is currently leading the national art project “multiPLAY” focussed on new forms of digital community engagement with Canadian improvising artists ( Caines’ work investigates the role of art and technology in social justice, contemporary understandings of community, and the fragile promise of ethical connection offered through dialogic approaches. Caines looks forward to helping to build the brand-new Creative Technologies program at York University’s Markham Campus, opening Fall 2023.


13 April 2022 – Dr. Alessandro Simari (Theatre history & politics of performance/ Sensorium Visiting Scholar) 

Dr. Alessandro Simari is a Toronto-based scholar whose research focuses on the cultural politics and political economy of theatre through the lens of theatre history and contemporary (Shakespeare) performance. His most recent project was on the inter/cultural and theatrical politics of performance in ‘reconstructed’ early modern theatres. Recent publications include a co-edited special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin on ‘Labor in Contemporary Shakespeare Performance’ and the forthcoming ‘Marxist Keywords for Performance’ for JDTC and GPS, co-written as a member of the Performance & Political Economy Research Collective. He is currently undertaking research for a book-length project on cultural histories of theatrical distraction, including examining labour politics in the production and reception of VR theatre. His prospective research into the labour politics of VR theatre claims ‘distraction’ as a materially-determined and sensuously-grounded conceptual framework for the reading of ‘digital theatre’—a critical intervention reasserting worker subjectivity and industrial processes in performance theorisation and interpretation against prevailing spectator-centric discourses which frame digitally-augmented theatrical forms as provoking an embodied sense of ‘immersion’ or a hyper-attentive ‘flow’ state. 


20 April 2022 – Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar (Composer/Musician/Ethnomusicologist / Fulbright Canada Research Chair, York U. DisPerSion Lab / Prof. of Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Alabama)

Andrew Raffo Dewar, Ph.D. is a composer, soprano saxophonist, electronic musician, ethnomusicologist, and arts organizer. Recent publications include ethnographic research on 1970s intermedia art in Argentina during a military dictatorship, 1960s handmade electronic music collective the Sonic Arts Union, philosophical issues of ontology in performance and music technologies, original music for his performing ensembles in San Francisco, New York City, and Hamburg, music for film, compositions incorporating ethnographic interviews, biofeedback, and interdisciplinary electronic music installations and performances utilizing 3D spatial audio. He has performed internationally over the past 25 years, with over 200 performances and installations on five continents in the past decade. Recordings of Dewar as a composer and performer are available on over two dozen albums published by record labels throughout the United States and Europe.


27 April 2022 – John Ancheta (Media Artist, PhD in Visual Arts at York U.)

John Ancheta is a Wet’suwet’en territory-based musician and digital media artist. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Visual Arts at York University with a focus on the temporal complexities of distributed human-machinic ecologies. Facilitating what he deems “parafactual field recordings,” John’s sound-based studio practice operates as a speculative and imaginative process, a thinking through and celebratory estrangement of our social-technical momentums.