SIAT's Dr. Jessica Hallenbeck and Dr. Diane Gromala awarded development grants to support their research

November 08, 2021

School of Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) researchers continue to receive acknowledgement for their important contributions in the form of grant successes.

We are pleased to announce that SIAT distinguished professor Diane Gromala and postdoctoral researcher Jessica Hallenbeck have been awarded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grants to support their research.

Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages and enable the development of new research questions and experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches, and ideas.

Jessica Hallenbeck | We Have Stories: Film as a Method for Decolonial Curation | SSHRC Insight Development Grant

We Have Stories: Film as a Method for Decolonial Curation (Dr. Kate Hennessy, co-applicant) sets the stage for the development of decolonial curatorial practices for the confirmed exhibition at the Yellowhouse Art Centre in partnership with the Access to Media Education Society on Galiano Island, British Columbia. This research builds on an ongoing collaboration between Hallenbeck and Sahtu Dene and Coast Salish storyteller Rosemary Georgeson to co-develop decolonial methodologies for the multimodal sharing of Indigenous women’s connections to fish, water, and family along the Salish Sea. This research draws on Hallenbeck's experience as a documentary filmmaker and community planner with expertise in community-based and collaborative approaches to film creation and knowledge mobilization.

Dr. Jessica Hallenbeck (PhD, RPP) is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Making Culture Lab at SIAT. An award-winning scholar and internationally recognized filmmaker, Hallenbeck’s multimodal research lies at the intersection of collaborative and decolonial methodologies, filmmaking, and critical Indigenous studies. She is the co-founder of Lantern Films, where she works to support the creation of process-focused, critically important, and visually compelling documentary films. Recent productions include Behind the Façade: Untold Stories of BC Buildings, now airing on BC’s Knowledge Network. The series features ten award-winning short films including: Nuxalk Radio (Dir. Banchi Hanuse), Have you forgotten me? (Dir. Baljit Sangra), Happytime Social Club (Dir.Dave Rodden-Shortt) and The Train Station and the Tomahawk (Dir. Lyana Patrick) and Ode to a Seafaring People (Dir.Joella Cabalu). Hallenbeck also sits on the sits on the Boards of DOC BC and DOC National and is of Ashkenazi Jewish Hungarian, Irish, and Dutch descent.

Diane Gromala | Design of Interactive Artifacts for Women Experiencing Menopause | SSHRC Insight Development Grant

As we are enjoying longer life expectancies, our aging population is growing rapidly. Yet women, who constitute half of this population, find aging to be a challenging, complex experience. For them, aging and menopause are intertwined and surrounded by stigma, misconceptions, and a staggering lack of information. Menopause is also often overly medicalized, instead of being seen as a natural phase of life. Finally, although it begins in mid-life, women undergoing menopause often start feeling ignored or irrelevant in many cultures rather than looking forward to their golden years

By collaborating with women experiencing menopause and women's health experts, Dr. Diane Gromala and Bhairavi Warke (PhD student) are exploring how personalized self-care tools may assist women during this transition, providing short- and long-term benefits that enhance their quality of life and promote overall well-being. This research is a part of Bhairavi's ongoing PhD work on Designing Interventions for Menopause Care.

Bhairavi Warke, a researcher and PhD student at SIAT.

Diane Gromala is a distinguished SFU professor in SIAT. She designs and builds innovative interactive health technologies, and tests them in a two-pronged approach: with health experts in clinical domains and in patients’ homes. In teaching and research, Gromala’s goals are to explore the ways in which technological interventions can help people who live with chronic conditions to better manage their condition, augment and improve their ability to function, and help improve their quality of life.

Gromala worked at Apple Computer in the 1980s, and began researching immersive virtual reality (VR) when she joined academia in 1991. She worked at some of the earliest and most pioneering VR labs, including the Human Interface Technology Lab (HITLab) at the University of Washington in Seattle, the GVU (Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center) and Virtually Better at Georgia Tech.