Alysha Bains reimagines multicultural Canada in her SSHRC-funded project

January 15, 2021

Alysha Bains' experience with community outreach initiatives has continually informed her academic parth and research. While working at the nonprofit organization, The Writer’s Exchange, Alysha designed and implemented multiliteracy programs, including the program that critically engages young people on media literacy through pop culture. She consequently explored the topic of literacy education from the community perspective in her SSHRC-funded master’s thesis at McGill’s University. 

Recently, Alysha was awarded a 2-year SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship to pursue her doctoral research project at SFU School of Communication. The project "‘Don’t Doze on Us’: Reimagining Multicultural Canada through the lens of Second Generation South Asian Creative Communities" aims to address the emergence of South Asian creative networks across Canada and directly speaks to Alysha’s personal connection to the community. 

We’ve talked to Alysha and asked her a few questions about her work and source of inspiration.

What inspired your current research topic? 

I saw a music video when I was 10 by a band from the UK called Asian Dub Foundation. The sound, aesthetics and lyrics of the song called ‘New way, new life,’ told a story that I was unable to articulate as a young second generation South Asian kid living in Canada. I saw something multidimensional and interesting that went beyond stereotypes and other frustrating forms of media representation. While that was years ago, I’m getting the same feeling of inspiration in South Asian creative scenes in Vancouver and Toronto. ‘#dontdoze’ is a hashtag used by a Vancouver South Asian Art collective, Don’t Doze, that captures the essence of what I’m inspired by - community, art, and putting language or creative expression to experiences that are deliberately erased from the national imaginary. 

Why do you think this topic is important? 

Second generation South Asian Canadian creative scenes are sites of on-going negotiations regarding what it means to be Canadian. I’m committed to provide an alternative frame and entry point into the discussions of South Asian histories, diaspora, and community that often remain invisible in mainstream media. Through an ethnographic approach, I aim to highlight a unique perspective to illuminate the ways technology, creative work and pressing social issues intersect in the current period to shape the present and future of the nation.

How will SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship help you to achieve your research goals? 

It will help me expand my research scope, collaborate with my community and share my work across a multitude of settings. 

Book Recommendation from Alysha Baines 




The Fish Eyes Trilogy by Anita Majumdar, "based on her incredible one-woman show".