MFA Students

Coming from a strong background in a single discipline or from a studio practice that fuses two or more disciplines, our MFA students all value and thrive in the stimulation of the unique interdisciplinary environment of the SCA, which also encourages them to develop the theoretical or scholarly contexts of their practice.

Jennifer Anderson

MFA Graduate Student

Areas: Music performance, instrument building, sound design, interactive new media.

Jennifer Anderson is an experimental musician and her passion is designing, creating, and building augmented and original instruments. While instrument design is her main focus, she is also interested in creating interactive experiences using new media. Jennifer has experience in various audio creation software, new media programming languages, and digital fabrication tools. These are her main tools for creating musical experiences and interactions. Jennifer is also a qualified audio engineer and sound designer, having ten plus years of experience in the field. She has worked concerts and theatre productions operating the soundboard, along with backstage experience. If there are saws, nails, and drills around, she will use them to build stuff.

jennifer-anderson.webflow.io

Rahul Bader

MFA Graduate Student

Rahul Bader is an interdisciplinary artist, community builder and music educator. He is a driven and passionate music instructor, who makes learning an energetic and fun experience. With a BFA in Music, and a BA in Cognitive Science his interest is in making music accessible by creating innovative teaching methods borrowing from the numerous traditions of world cultures.

He uses music as a way to unite and uplift and has facilitated drum workshops across Canada for people of all abilities including special needs populations, refugees and youth at risk. Rahul is one of Canada’s leading drum circle facilitators, and has hosted drumming workshops at festivals and community organizations all across the country. He is currently completing his Masters of Fine Arts Degree at SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, where his research will focus on the intersection between neuroscience, dance and rhythm.

Specializing in World Music & Productionhis teaching repertoire includes: African drumming, Tabla, Beatbox, Handpan; Composition and Rhythm Notation; Recording and Production

Jean Brazeau

MFA Graduate Student

Jean Brazeau is a Métis artist and composer based in Vancouver, BC. Selected performances include Sky Island (Vancouver, BC), Dig Your Own Rave (Outer Heaven, Victoria, BC), and Luminocity, hosted by the Kamloops Art Gallery. He has previously released Friendly Chemist – Touch of Jupiter on 1080p Collection, as well as Bridge & Tunnel on ISLA Records in collaboration with Daniel Rincon.

As an extension of his artistic practice, Jean is a Director at Deep Blue, an experimental sound studio in Vancouver where he co curates a program of sound based performances alongside Robin Selk and Mayss Naber. Jean is currently studying at Simon Fraser University.

Hannah Campbell

MFA Graduate Student

Hannah Campbell is a photographer who focuses on themes of shared experience, collective memories and storytelling. Hannah is based in Vancouver/unceded Coast Salish Territories and holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and is currently completing an MFA at Simon Fraser University. She has received multiple awards for her work, including a Canon Photography Award. Hannah has been chosen to attend international artist in residencies including the Arctic Circle Residency. Hannah uses art as a medium to share stories and create collective experiences between strangers. Her recent work is an exploration of how imagery, storytelling and memories are connected. Through social engagement with the public, she seeks to create a narrative of untold stories of the everyday.

hannahcampbell.ca

Roxanne Charles

MFA Graduate Student

E: rcharles@sfu.ca

Areas: Visual art.

Roxanne Charles is a mixed media artist of Strait Salish and European decent. She is an active and proud member of Semiahmoo First Nation in Surrey, BC where she promotes art, language, and culture.

Roxanne recently completed a double major from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, receiving a BA in general studies with a minor in anthropology and a BFA with a minor in art history. Roxanne also holds a certificate in northwest coast jewelry design from The Native Education College.

Her work often explores a variety of themes such as spirituality, environment, identity, hybridity, and various forms of violence. Roxanne likes to work with a wide range of media and really enjoys combining both traditional and contemporary practices. Roxanne is a historian, artist, and contemporary story teller whose goal is to touch, move, and inspire others through her work. She finds creative ways to engage her audience by employing methods of performance and focusing on providing a multisensory experience.

Charles Cooper

MFA Graduate Student

Karla Desentis Rodríguez

MFA Graduate Student

Karla Desentis is a dancer, choreographer, designer, and musical theater actress. One of her strongest interest is to do art interventions, performances, video-dance, dance theatre, and physical theatre.

She began her career in the performing arts at the age of five and concluded her studies as a dancer after 13 years of training in classical, contemporary, jazz and folklore technique at the Mexico City Ballet Academy. Her increasing interest in performing arts led her to study other disciplines like singing and acting at the CECAAP where she got a Musical Theatre diploma. Also, she studied set and costumes design at UNAM where she graduated from the Bachelor in Industrial Design, 2010, receiving an Academic Merit Diploma. Furthermore, she graduated from the Bachelor in Choreography at INBA, 2015, with an Honorable Mention in Excellence.

Within artistic residency programs, she has been benefited from the INBA Foundation for the summer program at the School of Toronto Dance Theater in 2012 and by The Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, for the Indigenous Dance Residency program in 2016.

In the professional field, Karla has been in numerous dance productions as a dancer, as well as a director of her choreographic work. As a teacher she has worked for over ten years, being in charge of groups of all ages; being responsible for the choreographic assembly. Recently she has been teaching an interdisciplinary (dance and design) workshop for the Faculty of Arts and Design at UNAM.

Photo: Hannah Campbell

Kourosh Ghamsari-Esfahani

MFA Graduate Student

Kourosh Ghamsari-Esfahani is an Iranian-Canadian composer-violinist. He completed an Honours B. Mus. at Wilfrid Laurier University, and has presented at festivals and artist residencies across North America and internationally, including: The Brush Creek Arts Residency in Wyoming, USA, the Arteles International Creative Residency in Finland, and the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab. He is also currently a violinist with the SFU SCA Ensemble-in-Residence, working directly to support the undergraduate composition program, as well as developing the ensemble's own line of performances.

Various labels may describe Kourosh's work with some accuracy: neo-romantic, contemporary-classical, electro-acoustic, soundscape, chamber, interdisciplinary, and so on. He strives to inhabit the intersections between performance, composition and improvisation

Aakansha Ghosh

MFA Graduate Student

I have completed my degree in visual arts from Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S.U Baroda. In my four years of studies I have explored  various mediums and for the past two years I have delved the impression of home and migration in light of spaces and its memories.

Being the daughter of an Air Force officer, I have grown up in different cities and houses across India, each having its unique identity, but somehow still being similar to the previous one. As an individual, I have always had this preoccupation with the power of acceptance and kinship, how it makes every house a home. Spaces, smells, sounds, objects; everything that allows the mind to rediscover the memories and relive them and make the new house, a home.

Through my work I have striven to recreate and present this feeling of belonging, and my memories of these homes. The objects, the materials, the visuals are all manifestations of what makes up a home for me. For me the idea of home is not abstract; it's a tangible notion that we painstakingly create around us everywhere we go.

ghoshaakansha.wixsite.com

Somayeh Khakshoor

MFA Graduate Student

Somayeh khakshoor is an independent artist, working mainly in the field of moving images. She received her M.A. in Animation from Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, and she is now living in Iran.

somayehkhakshoor.wordpress.com

Casper Leerink

MFA Graduate Student

Casper Leerink (b. 1995) originally had two great affections: Music and Technology. Torn between the two, he chose to pursue a career in music. From 2013 until 2017, he studied Piano performance at ArtEZ University of the Arts in Zwolle, resulting in his graduation in July 2017. Because Casper’s interests grew bigger then the piano, he started a second major in music composition.

In his compositions, Casper is seizing the opportunity to integrate his two affections. Technology in his compositions has an important role: it is used to connect a variety of features with his Music, like Dance, Theater, Film, and even the Audience. With help of the new possibilities technology creates, these features aren’t a separate entity from the music, but are part of an interactive experience (they react to each other).

Using these technologies in his music, Casper tries to create an opportunity for technology to connect both people and technology.

Giselle Liu

MFA Graduate Student

Areas: Choreography and Movement Poetry

Giselle Liu received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. In Hong Kong, Liu worked as an artistic director of ‘City Dancing,’  co-choreographed for “an original creation and collaboration between ‘HKYAF’s director Lindsey McAlister and Cirque du Soleil composer duo Violaine Corradi and Rose Winebrenner,” and was principal choreographer for HKYAF’s musical production “Fame.” She’s worked in the commercial industry with artists such as canto-pop singer Fiona Sit and 2017 Miss Hong Kong, Juliette Louie. Liu’s work has also taken her to the UK, co-choreographing and co-mentoring for Punch Records: Gallery 37 project in Birmingham, and co-facilitating a ‘Threaded Heart Creations’ workshop in London. Threaded Heart Creations collaborated with spoken word artist Bhavini Raval and composer Max Carrey in their performance ‘Entangled’ for Kate Sparrow’s ‘I Am Woman’ solo exhibition at the Anita Chang Lai-ling gallery.  Liu’s movement aesthetic is enhanced by a distinct language of embodied poetry.  

Liu recently moved from Hong Kong to attend the MFA program at SFU to further her studies and has embarked on a collaborative journey with fellow cohort and designer Mansi Patel.  Her research and body of work study the human potential of the heart, body and mind in relations to perceptions of reality.

“Dance to live. Live to inspire.” – Giselle Liu

giselleliu.com

Xinyue Liu

MFA Graduate Student

Xinyue Liu works primarily with video, photography, text, and fabrics. By incorporating fragmented narratives and outdated visuals, Liu’s practice probes the manifestations of displacement, intimacy, and unfinished stories. She is fascinated by the renegotiations of past and present that unfold when she searches for and handles found objects, lost images and readymade knickknacks. Liu received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Television and Radio Production from Jilin University, China, before moving to Vancouver. The culmination of her upbringing and her new-found experiences has led her to a more filmic approach, which unravels through the study of expanded cinema and the politics of nostalgia.

Photo: Wayne Hoerchel

Deborah Micho (DEBBY FRIDAY)

MFA Graduate Student

Born in Nigeria, raised in Montreal, and now based in Vancouver, DEBBY FRIDAY’s work spans the spectrum of the audio-visual, resisting categorizations of genre and artistic discipline. She is at once sound theorist and musician, performer and poet, video artist, film director, writer and PUNK GOD. In March 2018, she released her first self-produced EP, titled BITCHPUNK, to reverberating underground acclaim. Her sophomore effort, also self-engineered and produced, was released in August 2019 on independent label, DEATHBOMB ARC. Titled DEATH DRIVE, and accompanied by her first music video and directorial debut for the lead single FATAL, Friday has described the new EP as “hot noise: full of grief and full of relief. It is the painful and pleasurable next step, the sacrificial offering of my old life to the new.” She has been featured in several publications, including: Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily, the FADER, Discorder Magazine and more.

debbyfriday.com | crackingcloser.com

Caitlin O'Keeffe Almond

MFA Graduate Student

Mansi Patel

MFA Graduate Student

Luciana Saldanha Fortes

MFA Graduate Student

Areas + interests: Dance, Theatre & Comedy.

Hi there! My name is Luciana (or Luci!) and I am an artist and educator from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have a BA in Dance with honors summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr, PA, USA), and my other training includes a semester abroad in Paris, France, and summer programs with Parsons Dance Company and the American Dance Festival.

My interests lie in exploring comedy in dance and theatre as a way to investigate the anxieties we face in the contemporary world in a lighthearted and whimsical (but also thoughtful) manner. Clowning, musicality, vibrant expression, quirkiness, gesture, and colorful movement are key words that describe my current research. Basically, I want to create the dance-theatre live performance equivalent of Pixar movies, Dr. Seuss, and Tim Burton (if that helps to paint a picture in your mind).

As an educator, I provide college counseling for Brazilian high school students who want to pursue their undergraduate education in the United States or Canada through Aplica!, a program I co-direct with a colleague. Our mission is to work with the youth community in Brazil who have the dream and potential to “do something more”, and help to guide them there through the opportunities of education.

Last but not least, past experiences include: dancing in Philadanco II, the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Paralympics 2016, video dancing with FARM (Brazilian Fashion Brand), teaching Dance and English, working with Kindergarten students, and choreographing wedding dances. Hurray!

Photo: Hannah Campbell

ilvs strauss

MFA Graduate Student

ilvs strauss is an analytical chemist turned multi-disciplinary performance artist and theater technician living and making work in Seattle.

www.ilvsstrauss.com

Jennifer Tham

MFA Graduate Student

E: jennifer_tham@sfu.ca

Areas: Music, music for voice(s)

I love the human voice; deeply personal, unique, subjective. I love words; suggestive and significant, precise yet imprecise. I am driven by the countless possibilities a theatre of voices offers; a mobile troupe with the potential to surprise, engage and provoke in unexpected ways and places.  In Singapore, I conduct the SYC Ensemble Singers, new music adventure junkies for whom more than 40 works have been written, several of these involving elements of theatre and choreographed movement.

I’m fascinated by the dialogue  between sight and sound – experimental music tends to need “visual aids” – and am interested in new music for vocal ensemble that can be staged, with movement, in unconventional spaces or as site-specific installation. I guess this love of how all our senses can work together (or not) to create something meaningful (or not) was begotten in the BFA program up on the mountain, at SFU, between 1992 and 1995.

Photo: Faune Ybarra

C. Olivia Valenza

MFA Graduate Student

C. Olivia Valenza is a composer, clarinetist/performer, and interdisciplinary collaborator from Milwaukee, WI. Her work includes live performance, installation, sound design for dance, and the development of electroacoustic and acoustic concert music. Her research and process is concerned with eliciting personal and intimate performances and investigating the development of scores that elicit those points of relationality. She often looks to methods of remediation, using found objects and imagery in her compositions and performances to parse familiar threads of association and weave new worlds. Her hope is that sound and meaning made through participatory practices can help to realize a pluralistic vision of our artistic communities and of society as a whole.

Valenza has developed scored and improvised performances for clarinet, turntable, electronics and various materials, including recently, leaf blowers, maps, and walkie-talkies. She has also developed site specific works for electric guitar, clarinet, cello, metal sculpture, and electronics. 

She holds a BFA in Composition and Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently expanding her research/practice as an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University. Currently, she is also an editor for the Comparative Media Arts Journal there.

Valenza has developed work for and performed with Present Music, Wild Space Dance Company, Hyperlocal MKE, FTAM Noise Knowledge Consortium, Sensoria: Experiments in Sound and Performance, and the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra (MiLO).

www.colivia-valenza.com

Graeme Wahn

MFA Graduate Student

Graeme Wahn lives in Vancouver where he is currently completing his MFA at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Through his work, Wahn consciously investigates photography’s ontological precipice, examining the inherent contradictions between a photograph’s subject matter and the internal systems of its making. Some keywords to offer a partial overview of his work: spatial deception, material representations, and hindered visions. Wahn has exhibited widely in Vancouver, most notably with solo and group exhibitions at such venues as the Vancouver Art Gallery, CSA Space, and The Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver.

www.graemewahn.com

Photo credit: Sakina Namazi

Meagan Woods

MFA Graduate Student

Meagan Woods is an MFA candidate at Simon Fraser University’s School of Contemporary Art. Originally from the states, Meagan graduated with a BFA in dance from Rutgers University, earning the Margery Turner Award for choreography. Her company has presented a wide range of original dance works in venues across the North East. Meagan is the founder of two cross-disciplinary performance series: Dance Within the Arts at the Zimmerli Art Museum and Art in Motion at Alfa Art Gallery. Her company has performed twice for TED talks; video coverage is available at ted.com. In 2010, Meagan Woods co-founded the largest annual modern dance festival in New Jersey, Your Move, for which she was granted the Dance NJ Jete Award in 2017. Meagan is also a costume designer, and has guest lectured at The New School, Montclair University, and Rutgers University. More at: meaganwoodsandcompany.com

Tomoyo Yamada

MFA Graduate Student

Tomoyo Yamada is an interdisciplinary artist whose primary media are dance and choreography. Born in Japan and educated in the United States, she has spent most of her life traveling between North America and Japan, negotiating distinct cultural identities. Her practice is influenced by her ongoing research into identity politics and her self-reflexive interrogation of transnational cultural difference.

Upon receiving her bachelor’s in Health and Sports Science in 2016, Tomoyo has been presenting works both in North America and Japan, including Dancing on the Edge Festival (Vancouver, Canada), Vines Art Festival (Vancouver, Canada), Open Stage (Vancouver, Canada) REVERBdance Festival (New York, USA) and All Japan Dance Festival (Kobe, Japan). She also translates workshops and creations for dancers invited to Kyoto International Dance Festival (Kyoto, Japan) amongst many independent artists from around the globe in Japan.

Her works include “Emergency (2012)”, “kikoeteimasuka (2013)”, “Femme Façade (2014)”,  "shimai (2016)", "yane ura (2018)" and they have all been performed/recreated multiple times in Japan, Canada and the United States. She was selected as participant for the Winter Intensive at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Greensboro, USA) in 2016 and recreated “Femme Façade” with their students.

Currently a MFA student at the School of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada) in interdisciplinary art, she creates works shedding light on cultural and social issues around the globe.

www.tomoyoyamada.com

Ghinwa Yassine

MFA Graduate Student

[Lebanese, b. 1984, based in Vancouver, Canada]

Ghinwa Yassine views herself in constant negotiation having lived in transition between Beirut, Dubai, Jeddah, Utrecht, and Vancouver. Her work uses a variety of mediums including film, installation, performance, drawing and writing. Starting from autobiographical narratives her work expands to cultural and human concerns. For example, in her Inside the Coffee Cup she questions superstitions and rituals in the make-up of the Lebanese/Arabic society. Her Home Suspended installation deals with themes of displacement, having felt forced to leave her country fearing war and instability, and duality, living at the edge of two worlds, that of her religious family and kinship-driven country and that of her atheist nomadic life. 

She often uses familiar domestic objects as a starting point to a story. “I’m fascinated by how much we can project on the objects that we as humans have created, or how these objects become memory capsules. For example, I can imagine myself saying I feel like a chair with a broken leg.” In one of her short films she creates a metaphor between her yogamat and her mother’s Muslim prayer rug. The resulting work is often a juxtaposition of film and objects that at first glance seem unrelated, but after experiencing them as a whole, one feels he/she entered someone’s private world.

Faune Ybarra

MFA Graduate Student

Faune Ybarra is a time-based artist originally from Oaxaca and Mexico City, Mexico working with “portable formats” such as video, sound, performance, and photo-based practices. Due to the experiences of constantly moving and adapting Faune has conceived of her body as a site of translation from where she attempts to communicate with other people and the non-human. Focusing on questioning the understanding of communication beyond our human constructs of language, in her practice, Faune attempts to create spaces to facilitate conversations among the communities she is a part of. She holds a BFA in Visual Arts from Memorial University of Newfoundland and she is currently expanding her research/practice on the interrelation of displacement and site-specificity at Simon Fraser University as part of the MFA cohort in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has performed, exhibited, and spoken about her practice at galleries, festivals, artist-run centres, and conferences such as PULP Gallery, Ambulante Film Festival, Eastern Edge Gallery, Grenfell Art Gallery, The Rooms, and SpokenWeb symposium.

faune-ybarra.online

Joey Zaurrini

MFA Graduate Student

Joey is a sound artist and music composer, as well as an MFA candidate at Simon Fraser University. Using sound to facilitate narratives in dance, theatre and film, as well as create stories of his own, he spends most of his days immersed in a laboratory of noise and electronics where every object is a potential instrument. His areas of interest include decoding the compositions of city soundscapes, playing with interactive technology, and merging socio-ecological concepts with his sound art. He can be found attending workshops and classes, in the middle of deep collaborations, or roaming streets and deserted hallways with a recorder in hand.

jzaurriniwalks.wordpress.com

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