Current Research Team

Uzo Anucha

Uzo Anucha, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and the founding Director of the Applied Social Welfare Research and Evaluation Group. Dr. Anucha conceptualizes her applied research scholarship as a community dialogue that must fully engage the community studied. She actively seeks to bridge the gap between knowledge production and knowledge use by translating and disseminating research findings to end users (policy-makers and practitioners) using multiple channels. She frequently presents her work in diverse forums that are accessible to communities, agencies and policy makers.

Read more about Professor Anucha here.

Project title: “Re-imagining music education after a pandemic: Leveraging community engaged research to inform music education programs for youth”

Sophie Bisson

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.   

Project title: “Black Opera: A showcase of Black opera companies, works and artists”

Barbara Evans

Barbara Evans, Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Arts, has worked extensively as a film director, producer, writer, researcher and editor. A graduate of the University of British Columbia and the National Film and Television School (UK) in film direction, she has worked in the UK for educational television, the BBC, ITV and on films sponsored by the British Film Institute. She was a founding member of the London Women’s Film Group and the British Newsreel Collective. In Canada, she has worked as editor for the National Film Board on such documentaries as Wonderland and Bitter Medicine, and on the feature films Latitude 55 and Walls.

Read more about Professor Evans here.

Project title : “Programming youth media arts via sight, sound, and storytelling modules”. Read more about Professor Evans’ project here.

Honor Ford-Smith

Honor Ford-Smith is Associate Professor in Cultural and Artistic Practices for Environmental and Social Justice in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her research focuses on community-based performance and politics in the context of the Caribbean and its diaspora. She has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Amherst College and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. A Jamaican and Canadian director and scholar, Ford-Smith began her work in the context of social and political movements in Jamaica in the 1970s. Stirred by the anti-colonial and panAfricanist reggae music of the time and mentored by Caribbean writers like George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite and Dennis Scott, she emerged as a theatre director and scholar committed to community-based collaborative performances that stressed oral testimony, social history, autobiography and ritual forms in search of intersecting forms of social justice. As founding artistic director of the Sistren Theatre Collective, an early Black and Caribbean feminist organization, she researched women’s lives and histories and, with the collective, produced a repertoire of plays which toured the world, a collection of oral histories Lionheart Gal: Lifestories of Jamaican women (UWI Press 2006). Sistren became an important and much studied example of cultural activism in the global south.

On moving to Canada, Ford-Smith focused on performance as a site of knowledge production that engendered anti-imperial nationalism in postcolonial Jamaica. Her body of work includes several publications and articles in scholarly journals: anthologizing plays of the period in 3 Jamaican Plays: A Postcolonial Anthology (1977–1987); writing on the pedagogy and politics of Marcus Garvey’s UNIA (Interventions: International Journal of Post-colonial Studies, Vol. 6, Number 1, 2004); “The Body and Performance in 1970s Jamaica: Toward a Decolonial Cultural Method.” (Small Axe, vol 23 no 1, 2019); “The Ghost of Mikey Smith: Space, Performance and Justice.” (Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 63. Issues 2–3. 2017); and more. Her SSHRC funded research on memory and violence in Jamaica and Toronto 2007–2017 led to a cycle of performances entitled Letters from the Dead which witnessed and mourned the effects of state sanctioned violence in Jamaica and elsewhere.

Project Title: “Oral History, Food Justice and Music Making”. Learn more about the project here.

Pratik Gandhi

Pratik Gandhi is a conductor, percussionist, clinician, and researcher based in Toronto.  He currently serves as music director of the Rouge River Winds and vice-chair of the Concert Band Division of MusicFest Canada. Pratik is pursuing a Ph.D. in music at York University, where his research, supported by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, investigates issues of equity and representation among wind band composers in Canada.  He has been an active member of the wind band community in Canada for over a decade, and is passionate about creating space and opportunities within it for composers from historically excluded groups. Recent publications include a feature on Cait Nishimura’s “Lake Superior Suite” for WASBE World and an analysis of composer representation on Canadian festival syllabus lists for Canadian Winds. Pratik holds degrees in music education and conducting from Western University.

Project title: “Improvisation and creativity workshop for wind, brass, and percussion students (featuring guest composers)”

Hear more about Pratik’s project here:

Sharon Hayashi

Sharon Hayashi is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Cinema and Media Arts at York University. Hayashi’s research focuses on the intersection of care, community and media in Japan and North America, working with local knowledge to envision social futures. Visualizing and archiving the spatial practices and networks of care and mutual aid of artistic and social collectives, recent projects experiment with participatory, sensory, socially engaged, and interdisciplinary approaches. Current projects include Mapping Tokyo Olympics 3.0, a collaborative sensory archive of the recurring displacement of precarious communities that combines digital storytelling methods, 360-degree video, sound recording, and archival resources. Using play to intervene in and reimagine social problems, the creative practice ethnography Awa Money/Our Money, a local currency game co-designed by local residents, promotes and reimagines wellness and sustainability in rural Japan.

Read more about Professor Hayashi here.

Project title: “Programming youth media arts via sight, sound, and storytelling modules”. Read more about Professor Hayashi’s project here.

Jamie Whitecrow

Jamie Whitecrow is a self-taught artist and filmmaker from Seine River First Nation, Treaty #3, based out of Toronto, ON. Her practice includes writing, visual art, music, filmmaking, and performance. She has an educational background in philosophy and Indigenous community development, and is completing her MFA in Film Production at York University.

Project title: “Programming youth media arts via sight, sound, and storytelling modules”. Read more about her project here.