PhD Students & Visiting Scholars

Dave Biddle

PhD Graduate Student

Dave Biddle (being me) is an artist and theorist (being conspiracy theorist) who works sometimes with video, music, installation, and text (being that I’m an intersection of various sense organs), and always with performance (being that those sense organs constitute a “body”). His research (being self-organizing so not really "his") constellates various theoretical frameworks such as evolutionary biology, systems theory and cybernetics, communication studies, non-human anthropology, and philosophy of mind. Dave Biddle (still being me) lives in Vancouver (being the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əmSḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh Nations) where he continues to consider the lilies (being being).

Siying Duan

International Postdoc Fellow

Areas: New Media Arts, Chinese Aesthetics, Comparative Aesthetics

Siying Duan has recently completed her Ph.D. study in Art Theory at Shanghai Film Academy, Shanghai University. She is now research assistant of professor Laura U. Marks. She also serves as the producer of the podcast channel “Elephant says” at the platform Creative Disturbance. Siying has visited the University of California, Irvine (UCI), University of Manchester and University College Cork (UCC). She has been served as board member for Body of Knowledge conference and has reviewed manuscript for Leonardo journal. Her study of interests includes new media arts and aesthetics and her publications include several articles on Chinese Media Art research, comparative aesthetics, and art psychology.

Niusha Hatefinia

PhD Graduate Student

Niusha Hatefinia received her first master’s degree in Cinema from Tarbiat Modares University and has recently completed her second master's in Film Studies at Carleton University. She is now the research assistant of Professor Laura U. Marks. Under the supervision of Professor Marks at the School for the Contemporary Arts, her current doctoral research project explores interdisciplinarity approaches to the study of Iranian national cinema. Her research interests include film and media studies, film-philosophy, and Iranian cinema.

Matt Horrigan

PhD (Special Arrangement)

Matthew Horrigan is a researcher studying audiovisual production cultures, currently dissertating about the movie business of Hollywood North. Matt completed a B.Mus at McGill, an MFA at SFU, a few years as an independent sound artist, and some below-the-line work in the film & television industry. You can find Matt's writing in venues such as Sound Studies, Game Studies, and M/C Journal.

In leisure Matt enjoys observing insects and turtles, especially from a canoe.

Ali Shariq Jamali

PhD Graduate Student

Ali Shariq Jamali (b. 1994) is a visual artist and educator born in Pakistan. He completed his BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2018. Shariq then went on to pursue and complete his MA in Art and Design Studies from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan in 2021.

Ali Shariq's work has been exhibited extensively at various private and public art institutions, including a site-specific 'The Factory Project' at Chawla Industries in 2022, ‘And the story goes on’ at Alhamra Art Gallery in 2022, 'Flower of a Blue Flame' exhibition at Canvas Gallery curated by Quddus Mirza in 2021, and 'Karachi ArtFest' at Sambara Art Gallery in 2021. He was also a researcher and part of the conceptual development team EART: Manifest of possibilities

a presentation by Rashid Rana at the Manchester International Festival in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Ali Shariq has also been the Artist in Residence for VASL Artists' Association Taza Tareen 13 Residency in Karachi. Alongside maintaining a diverse studio practice, Shariq was a visiting faculty as Teaching Associate at Beaconhouse National University.

Ali Shariq’s work questions the structure of our reality through the trajectory of perception, employing simple yet unique analogies to approach questions of perception and reality. His practice is an intersection of the multidisciplinary mode of working and the outcome is expansive, ranging from text to sound, installations, mixed media paintings, drawings, videos and photography. His investigations create new debates on the spirit of truth and never cease to question what appears obvious and definitive. He cultivates the oppositional thinking that distinguishes the fixed from new possibilities by comparing and correlating phenomenon, people and their surroundings.

His doctoral research to rethink perception as material and medium not grew out of his praxis but through his interest in evolution of hominid perceptual systems, which emerged under the influence of material culture over an extensive period of time. The underlying question of his research is how do we experience realities through perceptions in the age of Material Culture and how material culture has a significant role to shift our perceptions. Currently he is pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Professor Judy Radul at The School for Contemporary Arts, SFU.

Keywords: Contemporary Arts, Art History, Philosophy, Science, Perception, Material Culture, Visual Culture

Christopher Lacroix

PhD Graduate Student

Christopher Lacroix’s practice is concerned with the potential of various mediums to embody a queerness that reconfigures relationships through action. His doctoral research will focus on queer phenomenological approaches to performance documentation, queer narratives, and queer identification. He holds a BFA in Photography from Toronto Metropolitan University and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Lacroix received the 2018 Lind Prize and was long-listed for the 2021 Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award. His work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and Social Science and Humanities Research Council. Recent solo exhibitions include Alternator Centre for Contemporary Arts (Kelowna), The Polygon Gallery (North Vancouver), and Modern Fuel (Kingston). Lacroix lives and works in Vancouver, located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Josephine Lee

PhD Graduate Student

Josephine Lee explores the psychic violence of cultural assimilation and the conditions that inform our understanding of place, citizenship, and national identity. Lee holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in science and fine arts and is the recipient of the Oscar Kolin Fellowship, the Vera G. List Sculpture Award, and a Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Outstanding Artist Award at the BANFF Centre for Arts and Creativity. Lee completed her MFA in Fine Arts at The New School’s Department of Art, Media, and Technology and is a sessional lecturer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the University of British Columbia.

Lee resides within the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Joni Low

PhD Graduate Student

Joni Low is an independent curator and critic living on unceded xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ territories. Her practice explores interconnection, intercultural conversations, collaboration, and sensory experience. With over 15 years’ experience working in visual arts organizations including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Centre A and Long March Space Beijing, she has guest curated exhibitions at Galerie de L’UQAM (Montréal), Confederation Centre Art Gallery (Charlottetown), Burnaby Art Gallery, VIVO Media Arts Centre and Or Gallery (Vancouver). Current projects include a compendium anthology for the 2018 series What are our Supports? with over 20 artists, writers, and poets (co-editor Jeff O’Brien, co-published with information-office, 2021). Past curatorial projects include Afterlives: Germaine Koh and Aron Louis Cohen, Charles Campbell’s Actor Boy: Travels in Birdsong, Hank Bull: Connexion, and the symposium Underground in the Aether. An editorial board member of The Capilano Review, Low’s essays and criticism are published in catalogues and numerous periodicals. Low has served on juries including the VIVA and Sobey Art Awards (2018-19; 2021). As a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, Low’s research-creation at SFU will focus on artists who are sensing otherwise through intermedial and intersensorial forms, and interdisciplinary explorations of synaesthetic resonances across art, neuroscience and the humanities.

Jess MacCormack

PhD Graduate Student

Jess MacCormack is a queer, mad artist and white settler working on the unceded ancestral territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Their art practice engages with the intersection of institutional violence and the socio-political reality of personal trauma. Working with communities and individuals affected by stigma and oppression, they use cultural platforms and distribution networks to facilitate collaborations which position art as a tool to engender personal and political agency.

Jess Mac’s digital work has been shared through various online platforms, such as VICE Creator’s project, PAPER Mag, and Art F City. Their animations have been screened internationally at festivals such as the Ottawa International Animation Festival, MIX-26 the New York Queer

Experimental Film Festival, Transcreen Amsterdam Transgender Film Festival, LA Film Fest at UCLA, Inside Out, Imaginative Film Festival and International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA). Their interdisciplinary practice has been supported and exhibited by the Academie der Künst der Welte (Cologne, Germany), arbyte (London, UK), Western Front (Vancouver), articule (Montréal) and many other local and International galleries.

They have an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus University (2008) and were an Assistant Professor of Studio Arts at Concordia University (2010-2013). Jess is currently an instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Simon Overstall

PhD Graduate Student

Simon Overstall is a media artist and composer from Vancouver, Canada. He develops works with generative, interactive, or performance elements. He is interested in computational creativity in music, immersive media environments, and biologically and ecologically inspired art. He has produced custom performance systems and interactive art installations that have been shown in Canada, the US, Europe, and China. He has also supported installation, theatre, and dance productions providing technical support including computer programming, interaction design, and sound and visual material design. He has an MA in Sound in New Media at Aalto University in Helsinki, and a BFA in Music from the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.

Kristina Lee Podesva

PhD Graduate Student

Kristina Lee Podesva works at the intersection of visual art and writing. Based in the ancestral and sacred home of the Nooksack and Lummi nations, she is Editor at BRUNA Press and previously edited Fillip magazine (2005 to 2015). She has co-edited several books including Institutions by Artists: Volume 1 (Fillip), Sur: Volume 1 Studies for a Player Piano (BOM DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE), and Tradición versus Modernidad (Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura). Her artwork has appeared at Artspeak, Darling Foundry, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Dorsky Gallery, and the Power Plant, among others. She has presented talks internationally including at Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Arco Art Fair, Art in General, Casco, Kadist Art Foundation, MOMA, SFMOMA, Wattis Institute, Werkplaats Typografie, and the Yerba Buena Center. She holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia and is currently an adjunct instructor at Western Washington University. Under the supervision of Dr. Claudette Lauzon, her research examines artistic and poetic projects that materialize intergenerational trauma, experiences of dislocation, and yearning expressions for home/land. |

George Rahi

PhD Graduate Student

George Rahi is an artist based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories. He uses self-created and altered instruments as a method of exploring the intersections between acoustic and digital technologies, modes of listening, and spatial and architectural thinking. His work includes installations, instrument making, solo + ensemble performance, and works for radio, theatre and public spaces. His work has been presented by SPEKTRUM (Berlin), Regenerative Feedback Festival (Rotterdam), Kunst-Station Sankt Peter (Cologne), Fusebox Festival (Austin), Institute for New Music of the University Mozarteum (Salzburg), and Vancouver New Music among others. He has been an artist in residence with the Locus Sonus Research Group (Marseille), hcma architecture (Vancouver), and EMS (Stockholm).

Edward Sembatya

PhD Graduate Student

Edward Sembatya is a Ugandan based dance practitioner, educator, scholar and choreographer. His research and artistic works extensively draw inspiration from everyday life and the rich knowledge and skills embedded in indigenous East African dances, music and theatre. His desire is to inspire, advocate, educate, and speak-out the challenges that are affecting contemporary youths through the art of dance. He is also trained in Afro-house, Jazz, contemporary, and Ballet. He works as an Assistant Dance Lecturer at Makerere University and as Artistic Director of Dance Theatre Uganda (CLPGU LTD). His doctoral research explores the deconstruction, re-enactment and reshaping of the socio-historical knowledge, narratives, practices and traditions embedded in indigenous East African Dances into new performative contemporary theatrical dance practices.

Photo: Nina Berfelde

Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman

PhD (Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies)

Areas: Site-based aesthetics; Performance; Critical ethnic studies; Memory studies.

Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman is a PhD candidate working under the supervision of Claudette Lauzon at the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. His practice-based dissertation, Walking in Ethnocidal Places; Durational Aesthetics and Jewish Ruin, enacts and contextualizes three research-intensive interventions that use walking and site-study to work through minor histories of race-making, imperial violence, and diasporic materiality. The project that prompted the dissertation, Lost in Jüdischer Friedhof Weißensee, a six-month performance with/in the largest active and intact Jewish cemetery in postwar Europe, is an object of study in Sa'ed Atshan and Katharina Galor's The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press 2020). He holds an MFA in Literary Art from Brown University and is the Interdisciplinary Editor of Protocols.

Photo: Disfiguring Identity

Jordan Strom

PhD Graduate Student

Jordan Strom is Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Surrey Art Gallery. He has curated solo exhibitions by Sarindar Dhaliwal, Cao Fei, Brendan Fernandes, Ryoji Ikeda, among others. Recent group exhibitions have addressed South Asian song and dance (Spectacular Sangeet, 2013, co-curated with Naveen Girn), contemporary artist self-portraiture (Scenes of Selves, Occasions for Ruses, 2012), and the proto-cinematic (Vision Machine: Etienne Zack and Marianne Nicolson, 2012). Jordan has worked on previous curatorial exhibitions and projects for the Vancouver Art Gallery, Kamloops Art Gallery, Presentation House Gallery, Republic Gallery and Dadabase. From 2004 to 2008, Jordan worked as editor at Fillip, a journal of contemporary art. He holds a Master of Arts, Art History (Critical Curatorial Studies) from the University of British Columbia.

Hongyan Sun

Visiting Scholar

Hongyan Sun is a PhD candidate at the Communication University of China and an emerging expert on puppet animation. She received a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council to spend a year at SFU studying under professor Laura U. Marks.

Daisy Thompson

PhD (Special Arrangement)

Areas: Dance, Choreography.

Daisy Thompson trained in dance at The Laban Centre, London, and has recently completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at SFU. In 2009, Daisy was chosen for the Dance Beyond Borders young choreographers program in Hamburg. In 2010, she was selected by The Southbank Centre, London for the DanceWEB scholarship to participate in the ImpulseTanz festival, Vienna. In 2011, Daisy performed for Trisha Brown in Walking on the Walls, Planes and Floors of the Forest, at the Barbican Centre, London. She has danced for Henry Montes, Eva Kargzac and Lizzi Kew-ross amongst others, and performed for visual artist’s Angela Bruguera and Pablo Bronstein. Daisy is currently engaged in dance makings and has created four works during her time in Vancouver to date.

Casey Wei

PhD Graduate Student

Casey Wei is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, and writer based in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Her research in filmmaking, writing, and performance have evolved through participatory activities such as curating/programming, editing, and publishing. She is the Shorts Forum Programmer at Vancouver International Film Festival, and editor at ReIssue. She is currently working on the final film in her 父母 trilogy titled, The Zhang Clan, and plays in the band Kamikaze Nurse.


SCA Graduate Programs

Interested in pursuing a graduate degree at the SCA? Find out more about or MA, MFA, and PhD programs HERE.




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