103 Blackwood Hall
Canada Research Chair in Care, Gender, and Relationships
Social Sciences and the Humanities / Gender and Women’s Studies
Using new media to envision new meanings of difference: Many people believe that obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally. At the same time, rates of eating disorders, dieting, cosmetic surgeries, and skin-lightening sales, and other body-altering interventions have reached all-time highs. In image obsessed, consumer cultures where how we look seems to shape our sense of self and social esteem, differences in the size, appearance, and abilities of our bodies can push us to the margins. Despite the pressure to fit cultural standards of bodies, many people push back by insisting on their humanity and value.
I believe that art can change people's perceptions about differences, and improve the lives of those living with differences. To that end, my research aims to understand how new technology and artistic techniques can be used to transform the views that the public and policy-makers have of people who embody differences (this is a broad category that includes people with size differences, disabilities, unusual or altered appearances, and atypical bodies). My work focuses on misconceptions and marginalization of women with a wide range of differences in cultural imagery and health- and social-care encounters, and investigates the causes behind pervasive stereotyping and exclusion in systems, institutions, and communities. To tackle these issues, I am developing and evaluating the potential of photography, digital storytelling (autobiographical films), research-based drama, and other artistic techniques, to create alternative, empowering representations of differences. These are intended to engage diverse audiences in examining their taken-for-granted responses.
I am also establishing the Re-Visioning Differences Media Arts Laboratory (REDLAB) a mobile media laboratory and expressive arts institute dedicated to exploring ways that arts-informed research can create opportunities for communities marginalized by misconceptions to transform stereotypes, advance social inclusion, and improve health equity. This work has the potential to shift stereotypical images and attitudes, and ultimately improve care practices and pedagogies (teaching and learning about differences) in the professions within Canada and beyond. Ultimately, my work is about challenging stereotypes by investigating the power of image and story to transform the way people see difference.
7. Recipient, Mary McEwan Memorial Award. For outstanding women’s studies dissertation.
Recipient, Mary McEwan Memorial Award
Recipient, Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Care, Gender, and Relationships.
Merit Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching