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FCAT's 2020 Research Excellence Award recipients. Clockwise from top left: Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda, Cait McKinney, Wolfgang Stuerzlinger, and Henry Daniel.

Announcing the 2020 FCAT Research Excellence Award recipients

December 11, 2020

We held our third annual FCAT Research Excellence Awards virtually on December 9 and recognized the outstanding work of two emerging researchers and two distinguished researchers.  Read more about their work below. 

Emerging Researcher Award

Gabriella Aceves-Sepulveda

Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda demonstrates research excellence by giving visibility to female artists and activists’ work and engaging new communities through artistic and scholarly work. 

Through a feminist lens that aims to decenter the dominance of the historical narratives emanating from the Global North, her academic research and artistic practice contribute to the diverse, innovative, and interdisciplinary environment in FCAT and the fields of data & media democracy, human creativity and critical making. 

Continuing with her focus on feminist media art in post -1968 Mexico featured in her award-winning monograph Women Made Visible, her collaborative and interdisciplinary project Reactivating Mama Pina’s Cookbookhistoricizes our current obsession with data collection and argues for the importance of women as agents of the archive through an exploration of an intergenerational family cookbook. This project, which takes the form of a video art installation and a digital archive, is an innovative approach to understanding and reclaiming the significance of female reproductive labour and domestic forms of writing and record-keeping as historically associated with the production of data and archives. 

She is currently working on three projects, all funded by SSHRC. One project investigates four female innovators in sound technology and experimental music in Latin America. Another project looks at the feminist orientation of three methods of research-creation through the work of artists across the Americas, and the third project investigates the role of female artists in the histories of video and digital technologies in Vancouver.

Cait McKinney

Cait McKinney is an outstanding emerging researcher with EDI principles woven into the deepest layers of their research, teaching and service. 

Five years from the completion of their PhD, the recipient of two SSHRC-funded postdoctoral appointments, and in the second year of their appointment at SFU, they have published a major monograph, Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies, a co-edited collection, Inside Killjoy’s Kastle: Dykey Ghosts, Feminist Monsters, and Other Lesbian Hauntings and co-authored a major paper published in Communication, Culture, and Critique (2019). 

That article, on viruses and the history of computation, co-written with Dr. Dylan Mulvin, constitutes the basis on which Drs. McKinney and Mulvin were successful in obtaining a SSHRC Insight Development grant (2020-2022) to support their project “HIV and the Network Society: Developing a Methodological Toolkit for Marginalized Internet Histories.” The outcome of this grant promises not only the production of an original history centering HIV/AIDS activism and strategies of survival adopted by queer communities most deeply affected by the virus to the emergence of computing networks in the 1980s and 90s but also methodologies for teaching and writing Internet histories differently. 

McKinney’s published and forthcoming research is poised to make significant contributions to the field of data and media democracy, reconnecting LGBTQ+ and health activist histories with early Internet history in ways that brilliantly draw attention to the complex entanglements of sexuality and computer networks. 

Distinguished Researcher Award

Henry Daniel

Henry Daniel is a leader in the field of dance research. He is a sought-after artist/scholar and extremely active as a collaborator. His fields of research and teaching include dance, performance studies, new technology and diverse bodies. 

Daniel’s work strives to prepare both undergraduate and graduate students to be knowledgeable and well informed, articulate, as well as expert practitioners in their chosen discipline by exposing them to an arts education seen through the lens of arts practice as research. 

Using his funded projects as platforms for introducing students to the professional world, his students have the opportunity to establish first-hand contact with other academics and artists working within as well as outside a university setting. 

Professor Daniel’s current multi-year research Contemporary Nomads investigates the large-scale movement of bodies across international spaces as a kind chaotic transnational choreography, one that speaks to the deep fragmentation existing between communities across national borders, between nationalized and personalized bodies, and between the social and political institutions that were originally designed to serve their communities. 

Daniel is introducing a new and important upper-division theory course in spring 2021 titled “Performing Black Identities Across Diasporic Spaces” that asks students to examine the different types of performative actions that Black bodies undertake in efforts to define themselves across increasingly tense Diasporic spaces.

Wolfgang Stuerzlinger

Wolfgang Stuerzlinger is an internationally recognized expert on 3D User Interfaces, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR).

Across his distinguished career, he has (co-)authored over 190 peer-reviewed publications and supervised more than 50 graduate students to completion. His work is highly regarded in the HCI research community, receiving four best paper awards, one honourable mention for best paper, and one best demonstration award in only the past seven years. 

He is frequently called upon internationally to chair and organize conferences in his field and has been a program chair for 10 scientific events. He was a member of the board for the GRAND Network of Centres of Excellence, and is a member of several editorial boards. In the past seven years, he has presented eight keynotes, including one at the longest-running graphics and HCI conference in the world, Graphics Interface 2019, on “Better User Interfaces for Occasionally Failing Technologies”. He is currently Acting Director of VIVA (Vancouver Institute of Visual Analytics) and serves on the Ethics Board of SFU. 

Stuerzlinger’s work contributes intuitive and quick interaction techniques for 3D creation, selection, positioning, manipulation, and navigation that compare favorably with other methods, are fast to learn, easy to use, and even foster creativity. The outcomes have contributed to substantial improvements in the usability of 3D content creation systems.

Stuerzlinger was recently awarded an NSERC Alliance grant to investigate how new visualizations of COVID-19 data could support the communication of the need for behavioural changes to the general public.