2024 FCAT Forum: Research In Teaching; Research and Teaching

Join us at the 2024 FCAT Forum: Research In Teaching; Research and Teaching

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre - Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University Map

The FCAT 2024 Forum brings together research and teaching faculty over food and refreshments to share, discuss, and learn from one another’s work. Join us to celebrate our work, the end of the semester, and the beginning of summer!

Forum Details

  • Date: Wednesday, May 1st, 2024
  • Time: 3:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Location: Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts


2:30pm — Doors open
3:00pm — Welcome, Carman Neustaedter
3:05pm — Introduction, Katherine Reilly and Arne Eigenfeld

3:10pm — Session One: Sarah Christina Ganzon (CMNS), Wanderlust for a Better World Achievement: Greedfall and the Aesthetics of Colonialism

Abstract: Spiders’ Greedfall (2019) is an action role-playing game in an 18th century stylized fantasy setting. In the game, players take on the role of De Sardet, a diplomat who is tasked with exploring and negotiating with various settler groups and indigenous nations, while finding a cure for a mysterious sickness that plague the Old World.

In a developer video, Greedfall’s lead developers describe drawing inspiration from “stories of explorers, naturalists and scientists of the past” and the “sense of wonder” in discovery that these evoke, which they hope translate to the game experience (Playstation 2014). Notably, Greedfall is not the only recent game title that evokes colonial aesthetics. Other recent titles similarly borrow colonial aesthetics, such as Hogwarts’ Legacy (2023)’s reproduction of Victorian Britain and the visual aesthetics of Starfield (2023)’s Constellation Club, which borrow heavily from 18th century British explorer clubs.

Game studies has a long history in examining visual cultures and aesthetics around games. Scholars have pointed out how games replicate spatialities that encourage settler-colonialism (Mukherjee 2016), visually portray intersectional identities (Murray 2017), create mechanisms of self-surveillance (Chess, 2004; Whitson 2014) and produce representations of the past (Chapman 2016; Zanescu 2023). Moreover, examinations of the role-playing game genre point to how role-playing games not only create social worlds (Fine 1983) and performative fan spaces (Deterding and Zagal 2017), but also underscore discrimination on both representation and player community spaces (Trammel 2017; Betz 2021), normalize policing and self-surveillance (Chess 2004), and reproduce colonial ideologies (Langer 2008; Patterson 2015; Hutchinson 2021, Mukherjee 2022).

This paper continues those analyses of role-playing games in relation to colonialism and representation, and focuses its examination on how games such as Greedfall affectively evoke a sense of nostalgia for an imperial past–acknowledging wrongs committed but at the same time reiterating the priorities of a multicultural empire. Methodologically, the study combines a systems analysis (Bogost 2004) and a narrative analysis (Laure-Ryan 2009) to examine the game’s curatorial and representational practices (Rose 2016). By examining Greedfall, I articulate how role-playing games continue to articulate post-race logics, thus underscoring how “new racisms” (Bonilla-Silva 2015) persist in recent game discourses, even those that seek to directly address them.

Bio: Sarah Christina Ganzon is an Assistant Professor of the School of Communication at SFU. Her research revolves mostly around the areas of game studies and digital fandom. Recently, she finished her thesis on otome games in English, and otome game players. She holds a PhD in Communication Studies at Concordia University and an MA in English Literature from Cardiff University. Previously, she also taught courses in the University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and Concordia University.

3:25pm — Session Two: Mauve Pagé (Publishing), Take a Hike

Abstract: Over the last 6 years, the Publication Design Project class has transitioned from exploring publications from a designer’s viewpoint to a student-led class focused on examining positionalities, exploring place-based education, and challenging colonial ways of knowing. This presentation delves into place-based publishing and design, both as a class subject and as an experimental and experiential practice. The class takes two walking field trips: one in nature and one downtown in Vancouver. The goals are to help students feel more connected to where they study and to think about how their connection and understanding can impact their design in innovative, sustainable, and culturally rich ways. During these walks, students create art and reflect on their experiences, leading to a collaborative publication. In this presentation, I will reflect on these experimental field trips, what went well, what did not and the next steps for taking a hike during class time.

Bio: Mauve Pagé is a publication design senior lecturer dedicated to student-led pedagogy and experimentation in the classroom. Before teaching, Mauve worked as an in-house and freelance designer for large commercial presses, small local publishers, university presses, and for journals and magazines. She specializes in illustrated books such as cookbooks and children’s books. Her work has been recognized by the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, PubWest Book Design Awards, and Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

3:40pm — Session Three: Frédérik Lesage (CMNS), Developing a School of Data Fluencies

Abstract: The School of Data Fluencies (SDF)—a transformative partnership between nine postsecondary institutions worldwide (in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Vienna/Dresden, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal)—will train the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers for the challenges posed by a Post-Fact world shaped by dynamic global data ecosystems by cultivating data fluencies. Moving beyond data literacy—which trains students to derive meaningful information from data—data fluencies combine the interpretative traditions of the arts and humanities with critical work in the data sciences to express, imagine, and create innovative engagements with (and resistances to) our data-filled world. The SDF builds on the established research of the Mellon-funded Data Fluencies Project run out of the Digital Democracies Institute (DDI) to understand and redress the impacts of online polarization, abusive language, discriminatory algorithms and mis- and disinformation on cultural diversity. Led by Director, Dr. Frédérik Lesage at Simon Fraser University (SFU), and Co-Directors, Dr. Wendy Chun (SFU) and Dr. Sarah Sharma (U of T), the initiative assembles internationally renowned experts in new media studies, critical data studies, and intersectional tech studies to train graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and equip them with theoretical and methodological tools to confront discriminatory frameworks in data infrastructures across disciplines and sectors. In this presentation we will outline how the SDF team is working with Imaginative Methods Lab and the wider SFU community to develop the Vancouver instance with the aim of training researchers to develop more equitable digital methods when working with communities.

Bio: Frédérik Lesage is an Associate Professor in information and communication technologies in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is a PhD graduate of the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science. Dr. Lesage is co-founder of the Imaginative Methods Lab and Acting Associate Director of the Digital Democracies Institute. His research focuses on the intersections between cultures of production and digital media. Dr. Lesage’s most recent book, co-edited with Michael Terren, is titled ‘Creative Tools and the Softwarization of Cultural Production’ as part of Palgrave MacMillan’s ‘Creative Working Lives’ series. His work has also been published in academic journals like New Media & Society, Convergence, and the International Journal of Communication.

3:55pm — Break

4:10pm — Session Four: Juan Pablo Alperin (Publishing), Unreviewed research in the news: A look at preprints during and after the pandemic

Abstract: Preprints emerged as a pivotal force in the pandemic response, enabling both researchers and journalists to disseminate evidence at an unprecedented pace. This surge in preprints effectively narrowed the divide between researchers, policymakers, and the public, granting open access to research material with immediate societal implications. This gap was most often narrowed through the media's coverage of COVID-19 preprints, with some of the most widely reported preprints covering topics such as the virus' aerosol and surface stability, its prevalence among various populations, and the efficacy of interventions like social distancing. However, in a handful of cases, the otherwise helpful rapid dissemination of research through preprints also fueled conspiracy theories. While the academic community promptly contested such claims, their early appearance as preprints ensured widespread dissemination. Given both these clear benefits and potential harms of circulating preprints, it is essential to gather evidence to inform the debate about the role of preprints, both for academics that post them and for the media that reports on them. This presentation will draw on quantiative data on the number of preprints being posted and the number of news stories written about them, on interviews with preprint server managers and with science journalists, and on content analysis of news stories that cite preprints. Among other things, the research will provide clues on the extent to which preprints are becoming the norm across disciplines and on whether or not journalists will continue to use preprints in their reporting. Ultimately, it will argue that, as we continue to debate the future of preprints, we should place faith in our—as well as journalists'—ability to responsibly make use of them. Otherwise, we risk losing sight of the very qualities that make preprints, preprints—and all of the benefits they bring.

Bio: Juan Pablo Alperin is an Associate Professor in Publishing, the Scientific Director of the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) core facility, and the co-Director of the Scholarly Communications Lab (ScholCommLab). https://www.scholcommlab.ca/people/juan-pablo-alperin/

4:25pm — Session Five: Ahmed Al-Rawi (CMNS), The news coverage of the opioid crisis in Canada

Abstract: The opioid crisis started when the American pharmaceutical giant Purdue Frederick Company, now Purdue Pharma L.P., patented OxyContin – the branded version of the full opiate agonist oxycodone. In the footsteps of reduced clinical resistance to prescribing opioids for pain management in the 1980s, OxyContin was approved for medical use in the United States, in 1995, and in Canada, in 1996. Our study offers a holistic understanding of the main issues, concerns and topics that the news media focused on. Some considered the drug to be a medical breakthrough in pain management. Yet ten years after the patenting of OxyContin in 1992, and shortly before Purdue’s patent for OxyContin was to expire, the drug was pulled from shelves in Canada by the company in 2012 and was replaced with OxyNEO. In 2015 an investigation found that doctors in Canada have written enough opioid prescriptions for one in every two citizens (53 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people), making Canada the world’s second-biggest per-capita consumer of pharmaceutical opioids after the United States. The effects of this crisis are ongoing especially in British Columbia, and far from settled. In 2023, the B.C. Coroners Service claimed that there were 2511 suspected illicit drug deaths, the highest annual death toll ever recorded in the province. Our study explores the Canadian news coverage of the opioid crisis. To get our data, we used Canadian NewsStream database by searching for the term “opioid crisis”. The search yielded 12,029 news items which we downloaded and analyzed using a digital method. We found that the first article mentioning “opioid crisis” was from 2012, before politicians framed it as such. Using topic modelling, we found four major topics including: supervised consumption & injection sites, overdosed deaths, harm reduction, and mental health. In our study, we critically explore these topics and other issues covered in the news media.

Bio: Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi is an Associate Professor of News, Social Media, and Public Communication at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. He is also the founder of the Disinformation Project, and his research interests are related to news, global communication, misinformation, and social media with emphasis on Canada and the Middle East. Al-Rawi is also a founding member of the Media & Digital Literacy Academy in Beirut. His new research project which is funded by a SSHRC Insight grant investigates the issues of racism and democracy from the perspective of racialized Canadian journalists, the online public, and news content, partly to understand whether racism negatively influences democracy.

4:40pm — Session Six: Jas M. Morgan (CMNS), "I Was Jumped:" "Queer" and Trans Indigenous Kinship on TikTok

Abstract: Since its early days as an app primarily for youth dance performances, TikTok has rapidly expanded into a platform representing different “sides” of societies worldwide, significantly impacting our lives and cultures as citizens and peoples. Within this digital landscape, Indigenous peoples from diverse communities and locations utilize “Indigenous TikTok”--a side of TikTok--to engage in critical reflections on settler-colonial cultures and foster internal discussions within Indigenous communities. “Queer” and trans Indigenous peoples draw from Indigenous relational philosophies, such as kinship, to construct Indigenous selves on TikTok, reflecting modes of queer and trans Indigenous affect and affective relationships that circulate within micro-influencing networks. Jas M. Morgan critically examines the prevalent themes that have surfaced within queer and trans Indigenous micro-influencing communities on Indigenous TikTok, and will present their qualitative analysis of key themes observed within queer and trans micro-influencing communities on “Indigenous TikTok.” This research is part of a forthcoming chapter to be published in “The Women, They Hold the Ground”: Indigenous Women’s Digital Media in North America edited by Karrmen Crey and Joanna Hearne (University of Minnesota Press).

Bio: Dr. Jas M. Morgan is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Communication, Identity and Community at SFU’s School of Communications, and a previous Canada Research Chair in Digital Wahkohtowin and Cultural Governance. Morgan’s areas of expertise include kinship, Indigenous narratives in film and television, Indigenous documentary cultures, Indigenous social media and internet, digital media, digital publishing, cultural heritage and governance, Indigenous feminist policy, and TransNDN thought.

4:55pm — Break

5:10pm — Session Eight: Leanne Johnson (Publishing), Sometimes I am…

Abstract: Sometimes I am …is a multilingual (Japanese, Italian, English, Spanish, Urdu, Persian, German and French), text-based body of work. It is an interactive textual exploration of how language shapes our identity, how it can bring us together, and how it can set us on the periphery. Combining lexemes and phrases—Sometimes I am… allows the reader/viewer/audience to explore what it means to be seen or unseen. The interactive experience combines text and audio events, which are triggered when the user moves their mouse or touches a key on the keyboard. The texts reposition the user/reader/observer as the subject and unspoken object of the discourse. The pronouns move from the personal “I am” to the second-person “You are” to the third-person “They are.” The user moves from being located in the internal to the external: I am/they are. The interactive digital narrative can be accessed online or shown in a public setting. Both versions are built with a flexible framework allowing each to be shown individually or together, depending on the setting. Regardless of access, the experiences of Sometimes I am… are shared, for example: “I am invisible and you also feel that way.” The text also shifts from being the subject of marginalisation to actively marginalising others: “I am unseen” and “you are different.” The addition of multiple languages builds on these implications, moving from looking and being looked at to having access and not. The word “invisible” changes with each language, in some cases having multiple near-synonyms to express its many nuances. https://sometimesiam.org/

Bio: Leanne Johnson is a text-based artist, editor, publisher, and educator. She teaches in the Publishing program at SFU and much of her work incorporates publishing as a tool of artistic practice. Published under “leannej,” her work has been described as “hovering between writing and conceptual art,” and has been displayed in galleries, online, magazines, and books. Her books include Long-Range Forecast Variable (2002), Re-reading the Riot Act (2011), Staying Beauty (2013), Monument (2014), The Conference (2018) and Invasive Species (2019). Her most recent texts explore the form of animated and interactive digital narratives. https://leannej.ca/

5:25pm — Session Nine: Jon Corbett (SIAT), ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ ᒫᒥᑐᓀᔨᐦᒋᑲᓂᐦᑳᐣ ᐋᐸᒋᐦᒋᑲᓇ (A Cree Keyboard)

Abstract: My presentation describes a culturally informed approach to keyboard design, tailored specifically for the nehiyawewin (Plains Cree) language. This involved an iterative process to design and create a custom keyboard based on the nehiyawewin syllabic star chart. My resulting device not only facilitates the input of nehiyaw syllabics but also shifts the paradigm of keyboard performance evaluation from the conventional metrics of speed and efficiency (typical of QWERTY keyboards) to one grounded in nehiyaw cultural teachings and Indigenous pedagogy.

By integrating nehiyaw cultural knowledge and practices, this project reimagines keyboard design beyond quantitative measures of efficiency, offering a culturally resonant tool that supports the unique linguistic needs of nehiyawewin speakers. This approach emphasizes the importance of incorporating Indigenous perspectives into technology development, aiming to create more inclusive and culturally relevant computing tools.

Bio: Jon Corbett is a nehiyaw-Métis (Cree/English) computational media artist, professional computer programmer, and instructor with Lived Indigenous Experience in the School of Interactive Art & Technology at Simon Fraser University. He holds a BFA from the University of Alberta in Art and Design, an MFA from the University of British Columbia in Interdisciplinary Studies, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on Indigenous forms of expression through “Indigitalization,” which he describes as a computational creative practice that braids together Indigenous and decolonial computing practices facilitated through traditional and computer-based expressive media art forms. He explores and (re)constructs Indigenous digital identity by prototyping computational models of Indigeneity using culture, kinships, histories, and relations with land. https://www.sfu.ca/siat/people/research-faculty/jon-corbett.html

5:40pm — Session Seven: Siyuan Yin (CMNS), A Feminist Critique of Labor and Technology in the Platform Economy

Abstract: Critical platform and labor studies tend to focus on drivers and food delivery workers, this project seeks to expand our understanding of the platform gig economy from the perspective of reproductive labor and migrant domestic workers. The exploitation of women’s unpaid and low-paid reproductive work has persisted throughout various stages of capitalist development. Migrant domestic workers’ underpaid reproductive labor becomes an essential site for primitive capital accumulation and the production of the labor force in the contemporary neoliberal global economy. Building upon analyses of the historical and contemporary circumstances of transnational migrant domestic workers in Canada, I argue that digital labor platforms become a technology-enabled, capital-driven force in the larger commodification and exploitation process of migrant workers’ reproductive labor, and such processes are underpinned by entangled structural and institutional forces of the uneven capitalist development, racism, patriarchy, and the state’s discriminatory (im) migration and labor policies. The article suggests that understanding the seeming prevalence of platform work should be situated in the continuous formal subsumption of reproductive labor and the class immobility of migrant domestic workers, and labor activism and movements should contest the entwined power dominations beyond merely demanding regulations over platforms.

Bio: Siyuan Yin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Her interdisciplinary scholarship spans the fields of cultural and media studies, feminist studies, social movements, and political economy. Specifically, she focuses on migrant workers, labor activism, gendered popular culture, and feminist struggles in local, national, and transnational contexts. Her work has appeared in leading journals, including Feminist Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Capital & Class, and the International Journal of Communication, among others.

5:55pm — Break

6:10pm — Session Ten: Kyla Gardiner (SCA), Collaborating with dragons

Abstract: In Spring of 2023 I taught a course for the last time before it was retired and decided to take it as an opportunity to try something new. The calendar description required that I teach a first-year introduction to live events management; however, I also wanted to encourage students to disrupt and challenge the often-exploitative power structures that dominate the professional performing arts, or “industry standards” as we call them. Inspired by my stepchildren’s delight at discovering the classic tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, and by my delight at discovering Ed Yong’s book “An Immense World”, I decided to add elements of each to the course. During the 14 weeks that followed, students doodled, made tea, learned excel, created fantastical characters, struggled with budgets and schedules, and excitedly discussed the contingency of money and time in the arts. In this presentation I will discuss the class, our messy attempts to re-imagine labour practices in the performing arts, and my messier attempts to try them out.

Bio: Kyla is a performance designer and creator, and Assistant Professor at the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU. They make work with collaborators. Their research currently loops around land, non-humans, friendship, labour, slow process, textiles, and the ethics of performance design. A lot of it is inspired by the cat they live with. kylagardiner.com, thepublicswoon.org 

6:25pm — Session Eleven: Susan Clements-Vivian (SIAT), Motion Capture: Integrating a Limited Resource into Courses and Curriculum

Abstract: SIAT has recently invested significantly in a Motion Effects Studio, a space that combines interactive motion effects and motion capture for animation, video, and virtual and augmented reality. The room features a large green backdrop, allowing students to impose digital effects on their footage and an integrated motion capture system for the creation of virtual production performances. The Motion capture technology has a steep learning curve and is time-intensive to learn and use. To make the technology more accessible, SIAT is creating a motion capture database and also using Mocopi, a cheaper and more accessible motion capture technology. This talk will briefly overview some of the challenges and successes we have had to date.

Bio: Susan Clements-Vivian joined the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) as a Lecturer in 2002 and was promoted to University Lecturer in 2021. Throughout this time, she has taught a range of courses within SIAT and is known for her contribution to the media arts concentration. Her classes include: IAT 100 Digital Image Design, IAT 102 Introduction to Graphic Design, and IAT 110 Visual Communication Design, IAT 202 New Media Images, IAT 208 Drawing as Inquiry, IAT 344 Moving Images, and IAT 313 Narrative and New Media. Her research areas are visual thinking, drawing as a discursive practice, and participatory sketching. She is the co-founder and director of the Sketching In Practice Symposium (SKiP), an interdisciplinary symposium for practitioners who think through drawing.

6:40pm — Closing remarks

Call for Proposals

Colleagues are invited to propose 10-minute, in-person presentations, performances, or multimedia engagements. We encourage submissions that bring together research and teaching, but we are open to any topic. Some examples include teaching innovations, recent research, new artistic works or collaborations with students.

Who can apply?

All continuing FCAT research and teaching faculty are encouraged to submit proposals. We especially encourage submissions from newly appointed faculty members, those working on new endeavours, or those who have made recent advancements to existing projects.

Presentation Format

We encourage both traditional and non-traditional presentation formats, including oral presentations, video and multimedia content, performance, movement, and sound. Presentations will be broken up with question periods and social breaks. AV equipment including video projection and stereo audio will be available onsite, accessible through HDMI connection. Please contact us to discuss any special equipment and setup needs or concerns.

How to apply?

To apply please fill in the form available HERE.

Important dates

  • Proposal submission deadline: March 8th, 2024
  • Proposal notification: April 10th, 2024
  • Forum: May 1st, 2024

Selection Process

Submissions will be reviewed by the event’s Steering Committee, which will prioritize colleagues who are newer to SFU; emerging or new research, topics or works; diversity among presenters; and balanced representation across FCAT.

Steering Committee

Brendan Anderson, FCAT Research Coordinator

Kimberly O’Donnell, FCAT Research Facilitator

Katherine Reilly, FCAT Associate Dean, Research

Arne Eigenfeldt, FCAT Associate Dean, Academic

Andrea Barbera, FCAT Director of Student Affairs