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Principal Investigators

Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Film Studies in the McMaster University School of the Arts and is also associated with graduate programs in Gender Studies and Feminist Research and in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory. Catherine’s teaching and research focus on better understanding how performance creation can function not just as a means of expressing things we already know, but as a way of developing new knowledge that values both “knowing how” and “knowing that” in discussions of social change. She is particularly concerned with the ways theatre workshops can help bring new voices into public discussion by focusing on ways people are excluded not because of what they say but because of how they say it. Combining over 30 years of experience using feminist and queer theory, performance theory, and cross-cultural performance critique to create and analyze theatre for social change, Catherine has developed the workshop techniques that are at the heart of the Transforming Stories, Driving Change process.

Contact: grahamca@mcmaster.ca

Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham

Associate Professor of Theatre & Film Studies | School of the Arts, McMaster University

Chris Sinding

Chris Sinding is A Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, jointly appointed to the School of Social Work and the Department of Health, Aging and Society. A major focus of Chris's teaching and research has to do with the arts - how social work teachers, researchers and practitioners can draw on the arts to achieve insight, engagement, and social justice goals. Drawing on a number of research-based drama projects she has written about the significance of arts practices as knowledge generation; described what it means for social science researchers to work collaboratively with artists and to create research representations that are genuinely accessible and engaging to lay people; and considered the effects of arts-based knowledge exchange initiatives on care providers (particularly the less obvious and less measurable 'outcomes'). She is especially interested in how art might serve as intervention in the narrowing and erasure of critical practices of care. 

Contact: sinding@mcmaster.ca

Christina Sinding

Christina Sinding

Professor | Director of the School of Social Work, McMaster University

Co-investigators

Katherine Kalinowski

Katherine Kalinowski is the Assistant Executive Director at Good Shepherd Hamilton. Her caring and dedicated advocacy for those who are often found in the margins has helped shape the face of Hamilton’s social services and transformed emergency housing. Building a city that includes, supports and assists all of its citizens is Katherine’s life work and lasting legacy.

Contact: kkalinowski@gsch.ca

Katherine Kalinowski

Katherine Kalinowski

Assistant Executive Director at Good Shepherd Hamilton

Patti McNaney

Patti McNaney is the Associate Executive Director at the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. Her work focuses on project development and management in the areas of the healthy development of children and youth and housing and homelessness. Patti holds an appointment as an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Social Work at McMaster and actively participates in their field instruction program.

Contact: pmcnaney@sprc.hamilton.on.ca

Patti McNaney

Patti McNaney

Associate Executive Director at the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

Elysée Nouvet

Elysée Nouvet is an Assistant Professor in Global Health at Western University in London, Ontario. Trained as a cultural and medical anthropologist, her research explores how cultural norms, values, and power relations shape representations of and responses to disease and suffering.

Contact: enouvet@uwo.ca

Elysée Nouvet

Elysée Nouvet

Assistant Professor in Global Health at Western University

J. Adam Perry

J. Adam Perry is an Assistant Professor of Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. One strand of Adam’s research focuses on how community-based artistic practices, such as collective storytelling and performance, can challenge the socio-cultural obstacles that exclude certain people from full participation in their communities. Adam is particularly interested in designing critical artistic interventions that increase the political participation of immigrant youth and migrant workers in Canada. Adam is also the co-founder of Toronto’s In Forma Theatre. 

Contact: aperry@stfx.ca

J. Adam Perry

J. Adam Perry

Assistant Professor of Adult Education, St. Francis Xavier University

Jennie Vengris

Jennie Vengris is an instructor in McMaster’s School of Social Work. Jennie’s research experience and interests revolve primarily around housing and homelessness – especially the complex intersection of personal and structural risk and protective factors in individuals’ and communities experiences’ of homelessness. As the newest member of the School of Social Work’s Field Education team, she is developing opportunities for undergraduate students in the areas of community development, community-based research, social justice, and grassroots advocacy.

Contact: vengris@mcmaster.ca

Jennie Vengris

Jennie Vengris

Assistant Professor and Field Education Development, McMaster University

Postdoctoral Fellow and Project Coordinator

Helene Vosters

Helene Vosters is an artist-scholar-activist whose work focuses on issues of state violence, social memory, and the role of performance and aesthetic practices in mobilizing community engagement. She earned her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University where she used performance as a method of embodied inquiry in her investigation into the role of Canadian military commemoration in the production of gendered and raced hierarchies of grievability. A self-taught multi-disciplinary artist—performance, craft, and relational arts—Helene’s practice utilizes a task-based labour aesthetic. Helene’s durational counter memorial meditations include Stitch-by-Stitch: A TRC Calls to Action Sewing Circle; Flag of Tears: Lament for the Stains of a Nation; Unravel: A Meditation on the Warp and Weft of Militarism; and Impact Afghanistan War. Helene’s SSHRC postdoctoral book project—Unbecoming Performances of Canadian Nationalism—is due to be published (University of Manitoba Press) in fall 2019. 

Contact: vostersh@mcmaster.ca

Helene Vosters

Helene Vosters

Postdoctoral Fellow and Project Coordinator

Artistic Collaborators

Melanie Skene

Melanie Skene is an artist and puppeteer who creates and performs with puppets and masks that are frequently seen in various parades, marches, festivals and theatrical productions throughout Hamilton. In 2010, she founded Many Hands Art, a community arts organization through which she created a community-based annual summer solstice festival in downtown Hamilton. Much of her art has been aimed at exploring issues of environmental and social justice with the goal of helping citizens engage with their environment through art, creativity and celebration. Since 2014, she has been lending her artistic skills to Transforming Stories, Driving Change. She has an Honours BA from McMaster University in Peace Studies and Religious Studies and received her Masters of Environmental Studies from York University.

Melanie Skene

Melanie Skene

Artist and Puppeteer

Paula Grove

Paula Grove is a Hamilton theatre artist who works in the local independent theatre scene as a writer, director, producer, and performer. She obtained her training as an actor at Ryerson Theatre School and completed an MFA in Theatre from York University. In 2015 she won the City of Hamilton Arts Award for Theatre. In addition to theatre, she teaches drama and is a private performance coach. She’s also a singer who has performed in concerts and cabarets throughout the area.

Paula Grove

Paula Grove

Assistant Theatre Director

Research Assistants

Sarah Adjekum

2018 – 2019

Sarah Adjekum is a social worker and PhD student in the Health and Society program with the Department of Health, Aging, and Society at McMaster University. She is a longtime Hamilton resident who has been involved with community organizing on various issues including issues of racial discrimination. Her passions include social inequality, spatial justice, poetry and sketching.

Sarah Adjekum

Sarah Adjekum

Social Worker | PhD Student

Lori Chambers

2017-2018

Lori Chambers is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Work. She received her B.S.W. from York University and her M.S.W. from the University of Toronto. In 2016, Lori was awarded the Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award. She was a recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate scholarship in 2013 and the Harry Lyman Hooker Senior Fellowship in 2012.

Lori Chambers

Lori Chambers

Research Assistant

Dalia Elawad

2018

Dalia holds an MA from McMaster University in Gender studies and Feminist research, where she wrote an IRP titled “Feeling and Performing Race.” In her IRP, she analyzed performance and theatre techniques  to argue  that race should be understood as a technology of power with various facets, focusing particularly on how raced bodies emerge and are reproduced through social interactions.

Dalia Elawad

Dalia Elawad

Research Assistant

Community Outreach

Cassandra Roach

Cassandra Roach is an adult educator and community development worker living and working in the Hamilton community. For the past 5 years she has created and facilitated workshops with populations on the margins utilizing popular education methodologies. She seeks to empower participants to actively  work for change leading to greater community capacity. Most recently she was the Program Coordinator for The [Dis]placement Project providing tools for tenant rights training for service providers and community leaders. 

Cassandra Roach

Cassandra Roach

Community Outreach Worker