Articulating Artistic Research Participants

Megan Andrews (Canada)

Megan Andrews is a dance artist/scholar, movement educator and writer/editor, working across theory and practice at a number of disciplinary intersections. Her research queries the relation of ethics and aesthetics through embodied practices of movement, perception and relationality, and through critical-poetic writing. She is Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Performance Studies and sessional professor in dance at the School for Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. Megan coaches individual clients and groups in somatic awareness, and works in leadership development as a consultant in corporate contexts under the umbrella Embodied Leadership. As a performer, Megan has worked with many independent choreographers across Canada and recently conducted research on scoring with several experimental dance makers with support of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship. Megan taught on faculty at York University for 14 years in both the graduate and undergraduate programs in dance. She has directed studio and seminar courses in contemporary dance, improvisation movement analysis, dance aesthetics, dance history and critical dance writing. Her research and writing have been published in a variety of journals and publications. Founding editor of the Canadian dance magazine The Dance Current, she maintains an ongoing affiliation with the organization as Director of Education and Special Projects. Megan is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst, a Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist, Level 1 instructor of 3D Workout™ and holds a PhD in Communication and Cultural Studies. She works from her current base in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territory.

Peter Balkwill (Canada)

Pete is a co-artistic director of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop in Calgary, Alberta, where he lives with his family of three, and a dog named Turtle. He is also an Assistant Professor of Drama and Acting at the University of Calgary, as well as Education Director of the Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry and Producing Curator of the International Festival of Animated Objects, which happens every two years in Calgary. He serves on faculty at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity as director of the Banff Puppet Intensive. Funding sources for “Iinisikimm” included Canada Council for the Arts (New Chapter), Alberta Foundation for the Arts (25th Anniversary Celebration), Calgary Arts Development Association, as well as assorted public environmental societies connected to the Buffalo initiative (Arctos Bird, Parks Canada, Calgary YMCA) and operating budgets of other interested arts organizations (CAMP, Old Trout Puppet Workshop).

Beau Coleman (Canada)

Beau Coleman is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been performed and/or exhibited across North America, Europe and in Africa, Australia and Asia. Her artistic research encompasses the mediums of theatre, live art, interdisciplinary performance, intermedia, site-specific arts, video and installation. Recent performances and exhibitions include:Sisters Academy, Den Frie Centre for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; Walking  Kindness, Unpack Studio, Havana, Cuba; Path of Longing, Luissa Catucci Gallery, Berlin, Germany; Let Me Tell You That I Love You (Distant Islands), Fluid States North, Copenhagen, Denmark, Torshaven, Faroe Islands and Nuuk, Greenland; These Are Not My Mother’s Hands, Trinity Square Video, Toronto. Beau’s work as a theatre director has been presented at Mabou Mines, Shaw Festival, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Brian Webb Dance Company, Catalyst Theatre as well as theatres in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, New Haven and New York City. Beau received her training from the National Theatre School of Canada and the Yale School of Drama (MFA) before joining the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta, where she serves as the Coordinator of the MFA Directing Program and specializes in performance and interdisciplinary creation.

Carolyn Defrin (UK)

Carolyn Defrin is a North American artist and researcher based in London. She holds a BA in Drama from Northwestern University, an MA in Performance Design from Central Saint Martins (London), and is currently pursuing a collaboratively funded PhD with London South Bank University and Hammersmith United Charities. Additionally, she has been awarded funding from Arts Council England and the university’s Knowledge Exchange Voucher to support her artistic research in this context. Other affiliations include The House Theatre of Chicago, where she is a founding company member and founding Director of Education and Community programs. Other memberships include Actor’s Equity, the Young Vic Director’s network, and TaPRA.

Natalie Doonan (Canada)

Natalie Doonan is a new media and performance artist, writer and educator. She works at the intersection of visual art, sensory studies, performance studies, and cultural geography. Her research focuses on food and the senses, technology, and the vitality of places. Natalie’s work has been shown in exhibitions and festivals across Canada and internationally, such as: the Cultural Olympiad for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the LIVE Performance Art Biennale, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Montréal’s Elektra Festival and BIAN, Nuit Blanche and Art Souterrain, and the Tunisian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, 2017. Her writing has appeared in professional and peer-reviewed art and food culture publications such as: Gastronomica, Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Research in Canada, Public Art Dialogue, Canadian Food Studies and the Senses and Society. Natalie holds an Honours BA in Art + Art History from the University of Toronto, a diploma in Studio Art from Sheridan College, and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She is currently working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University with support from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (research-creation program).

Claire French (UK)

Claire French is a Practice-as-Research PhD Doctoral Candidate in Dance at the University of Chichester, UK. She lives and works between the UK and Canada. She is also co-artistic director of Restless Productions (Vancouver), a choreographer, collaborator, performer, coordinator, curator, and teacher. She has been fortunate to work in many countries, locations, theatres, galleries, and studios, with talented, courageous, and creative people over the past 25 years and she looks forward to continuing (and evolving) on these and other trajectories.

Amy Funk (USA)

Amy Funk is an Assistant Professor at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Gerontology from Western Illinois University. She completed her B.S.N at Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing and her PhD in Nursing from Illinois State University. Dr. Funk holds board certification in Gerontological Nursing. Her research interests include grief, end-of-life issues, gerontology, and vulnerable populations. She writes poetry and stories as a hobby.

Dennis Gupa (Canada)

Dennis D. Gupa is a PhD Candidate in Applied Theatre in the Faculty of Fine Arts at UVic. His research on traditional ecological knowledge and practices explores the interconnection of sea rituals, climate change, and applied theatre. He received a scholarship from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture to study contemporary theatre and traditional mask dance at Bandung’s Sekolah Tingi Seni Indonesia. The Asian Cultural Council’s awarded him a fellowship to undertake a director-in-residence program in New York City where he participated in and observed contemporary theatre-directing process with Ma-Yi Theatre Co., National Asian American Theatre Co., and The Juilliard Drama School. He has an MFA Directing (Theatre) degree from University of British Columbia and MA Theatre at University of the Philippines. He was awarded the Performance Studies international (PSi) Dwight Conquergood Award in 2016 and The Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award 2017. He is a Vanier Scholar.

Cailey Harris (Canada)

Cailey Harris received her BFA in Theatre at the University of Victoria (UVic) and is currently an MA candidate (UVic) under the supervision of Dr. Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta and Dr. Warwick Dobson. She anticipates graduating in the Spring of 2019. As a theatre practitioner, Cailey has devised, facilitated, directed, and performed in many projects, most of which included work with cultural identity, development, and community. For instance, she has worked with patients at the Victoria Mental Health Centre, senior residents at Oak Bay Lodge, international students at UVic, and patrons at the Royal BC Museum. Her areas of research and interest include theatre in developing and educational settings, with a focus on interactions between culture, tourism, and community within the realm of applied theatre. In her work, she strives to take theatre out of its familiar context and into new artistic environments. In May 2018, Cailey began research in Zanzibar, Tanzania in conjunction with Hands Across Borders Society and the Jambiani Tourism Training Institute. This ongoing project and research analysis hope to engage the community with the tensions of development and tourism through the integration of applied theatre. Cailey’s research has been supported by the Anne McLaughlin Graduate Scholarship in Applied Theatre, the Faculty of Graduate Studies Travel Grant, and the University of Victoria Student Activities Travel Fund.

Fredyl Hernandez (Philippines)

Fredyl is a senior member of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and is very much involved with Theater-in-Education & Theater for Development programs. He was the former Associate Project Director of the Advocate Right to Safety Zone Project for Children or the ARTS Zone Project, a theatre for advocacy campaign on children’s rights and positive discipline. He started his formal artistic training at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), where he majored in Theatre Arts. After PHSA, he continued his theatre practice by immediately joining PETA through its youth theatre program, the Metropolitan Teen Theater League (MTTL). Through MTTL, he was able to join a number of youth cultural exchange programs in Norway, Greece, The Netherlands, and France through the International Drama/Theater and Education Association (IDEA). He is a faculty member of the Foundation Studies Department of the School of Design and Arts of De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, handling Art History, Art Theory, and Art Appreciation courses. He is currently finishing his MA in Arts Studies with a track in Art Theory and Criticism at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He also served as consultant in the various arts program of the Department of Education. His recent involvement with art and psycho-social intervention was with Haiyan Reconstruction Tukod Project in the aftermath of the super typhoon in the region of Central Philippines.

Falk Hübner (Netherlands)

Falk Hübner, PhD, is a composer, theatre maker, researcher, and educator. With a background in musical composition, interdisciplinary collaborative work and music theatre, he creates experimental stage works that fall between concert, installation and performance as conceptualist, composer and director. As a composer he is active in a huge diversity of collaboration within and outside of the arts. In 2013, Hübner finished his practice-based PhD research Shifting Identities, about the musician as theatrical performer. This research focused on the impact of “reduction” (central elements of performance – such as the musical instrument – are taken away from the musician) on the professional identity of the musician. Shifting Identities has been published in December 2014 at International Film & Theatre Books Amsterdam. His present research focuses on artistic research methodologies, artistic research as integrated practice, and the relation between musicians, the arts in general and current music education in relation to the society of the 21st Century. In 2018–2020, Falk will lead a major research project at HKU University of the Arts on research methodology, with the focus on developing and implementing a clear yet flexible design model, in a multi-layered and interdisciplinary educational context of a contemporary university of the arts. Falk is core teacher for research at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, The Netherlands, and head of the research group music and performativity at the HKU Professorship Performative Processes. Next to his work at HKU he works as director for research and writing at the ArtEZ International Master Artist Educator, a Master program with a radical vision on art as conflict transformation.

Laurelann Porter (USA)

Laurelann Porter is a native of Arizona. She received her BFA in Independent Theatre Studies from Boston University; her MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University; and her PhD in Theatre and Performance of the Americas from Arizona State University. As part of her dissertation research she conducted an ethnographic study of women in Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil. Part of her ethnographic study includes analyses of the Dance Festival of Itacaré and the Festival of Quilombo Culture. Laurelann is also a playwright and performer. As part of her research she has performed her solo performance “How not to Make Love to a Woman” in order to understand how performance can contribute to public dialogue about difficult topics. She is also developing a new performance piece entitled “Sympathy for Exú.” “Sympathy for Exú” incorporates elements of Afro-Brazilian mythologies, in particular stories of the trickster figure, Exú. Laurelann has directed and produced several short films, music videos, and two feature-length documentary films. She has recently been collaborating with Amy Funk, a nursing professor and ethnographer whose research revolves around sibling grief. Their new ethnodrama, “27 Signs” has had public readings in Mesa and Tempe, Arizona, and had a workshop production at Illinois Wesleyan University in April of 2018. Their continued work seeks to explore and understand how the play can offer therapeutic effects for audiences who have experienced the loss of a sibling. Laurelann also recently collaborated with Rising Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, on a project called the Trouble Series. The results of this year of collaboration and research was a devised performance titled “The 100th Day” in which topics relating to student push-put in public and charter schools in Maricopa County are addressed by youth engaged in their community. Porter served as story consultant and sound & media designer for the production. The next major project on the horizon for Laurelann is the development of a collaborative project with Brazilian choreographer Mestre Monza Calabar. Porter and Calabar recently purchased a small piece of property in rural Bahia, Brazil, where they will build a centre for research and cultural exchange. This center will be called ile ogbon ati aye, or “House of Living Wisdom.” The work will be an interdisciplinary approach to theatrical investigations as a mode of understanding cultural anthropology of Afro-Brazilian histories and mythology. She plans to return often to Itacaré and to Bahia to weave her research interests together through community-based arts practices, performance ethnography, and documentary film work. In addition to her work as a professor, scholar, and artist, Laurelann serves as the Literary Manager for the Bridge Initiative, an organization dedicated to achieving gender parity in all theatrical disciplines. In this capacity, Laurelann has acted as the contest coordinator for the last three contests sponsored by the Bridge Initiative, including the first ever “Bechdel Test Festival” in September of 2017.

Ivani Santana (Brazil)

Ivani Santana is a dancer, artist, and academic researcher interested in perception (Situated Cognition) and intermedialities. Professor at the Federal University of Bahia in the Graduate Program: Institute of Humanities, Arts and Science, and the Master and PhD’s Program of Scenic Arts (Dance, Performance, and Theatre). In 2018/2019, she is Visiting Scholar at Simon Fraser University, working with Dr. Thecla Schiphorst and in collaboration with Dr. Evan Thompson (UBC). She has a Master’s and PhD in Communication and Semiotics. Post Doctorate in Networked Performance at Sonic Arts Research Centre (UK). Coordinator of Research Group Technological Poetics: “corpoaudivisual.” Editor of the Journal Repertório: teatro & dança. 

Gretchen Schiller (France)

Gretchen Schiller is a choreographer and professor at the University Grenoble Alpes in France. She directs the Arts in the Alps, Structure federative de Recherche Création which will be moving into the new Maison de la creation et de l’innovation building in 2019. She is the primary investigator of the 3.5-year funded Idex project Performance Laboratory bringing together academics from geography, performance, and computer science. Schiller’s research in the field of choreography focuses on embodied agency through participatory installations, screen dance, performance, workshops, and critical writing. Her work has toured extensively and received awards. Born in Canada and raised in Brazil, Columbia, and Australia, she received her BA in Dance and French Canadian studies from the University of Calgary (Canada), her MA in Choreography from UCLA (USA) an independent student in the Visual Arts Department at MIT Cambridge (USA), and her PhD from the University of Plymouth, Science, Technology, Arts Research program (UK).

Raegan Truax (USA)

An artist and scholar, Truax’s performances have been included within The Marina Abramović Institute’s Immaterial archive and presented at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZK/U) in Berlin, SOMArts in San Francisco, grüntaler9 in Berlin, The Northern California Performance Platform, Stanford University’s Department of Art and Architecture, Berlin Art Week, Performance Studies International, and Heizraum Concert Series in Berlin. She has additionally performed at Centro Negra with AADK in Blanca Spain, Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City, the Performance Arts Institute in San Francisco, and The New Museum in New York City. Most recently, she performed Citation for 37 consecutive hours at CounterPulse in San Francisco, and choreographed Sloughing, which included 35 performers and occurred across 19 different locations in the Bay Area over 28-days. Raegan holds a PhD from Stanford University, an MA in Humanities and Social Thought with a concentration in Gender Politics and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University. Her residency at la Cité internationale des arts is made possible through support from the Senior Associate Dean in the Humanities and the Arts at Stanford University.

Marina Tsaplina (USA)

Marina Tsaplina ​is a Brooklyn, NY-based Artist working in the field of the health humanities. She is an Associate of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine at Duke University where she serves as co-director of Reimagining Medicine. As founder of THE BETES® Organization, she developed theatrical shows and workshops that engaged patient communities and medical education on the lived experience of chronic illness. She was a Kienle Scholar in Medical Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine (2016–2018). Her artistic and scholarly research focuses on how chronic illness creates fractured embodiment, the creation of the medical object of disease, and how the art form of puppetry is uniquely positioned to investigate the literal and metaphoric body in illness and healthcare. As a patient activist who has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was two years old, she is part of the Insulin-4-All campaign pushing for insulin-pricing transparency and a shifting of power in the fight for affordable medicines in the United States. Her current silo-stitching artistic project is Illness Revelations: The Bodies of Medicine that brings people with various chronic illnesses, caregivers, medical students, and interprofessional healthcare providers together in an artistic investigation of the nature of embodiment, imagination, illness, and healing and the practice of medicine. She had partial support for research funds from the Trent Center at Duke University.

Maria Angelica Viceral (Philippines)

Maria is an Assistant Professor at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts (Benilde) teaching Art History and Aesthetics classes. She also teaches Art Literacy to Senior High School teachers under the School of Professional and Continuing Education (Space) in the same institution. She obtained her Master’s degree in Art Studies–Art History at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She was a fellow of the Asian Research Institute at the National University of Singapore in 2014 and has presented papers locally and internationally. Her research interest on arts and healing started in 2008 when she did her Bachelor’s thesis on the Healing program of CRIBS (Creating Responsive Infants by Sharing) for children survivors of physical and sexual abuse. This interest continued on to her Master’s paper on the aesthetics of a healing space and embodied experience focusing on The Philippine Heart Center Hospital. Her community-based work involves participating in community-based art projects such Manika Ko workshops under The Art House of Comfort Network headed by Professor Flaudette Datuin, an internship with artist Alma Quinto for her project “Floating Wombs” for the Earth Manual Project in Kobe, Japan, and occasional personal community outreach projects. She was recently the lead coordinator of the event Get Wired: Understanding Creativity and Mental Wellness, a 9-day event which involved discussions, workshops and performances which advocated for the creative arts and its value to mental wellness produced by the Arts and Culture Cluster of Benilde.

Eric Villanueva Della Cruz (Philippines)

I am Eric Villanueva Dela Cruz, a senior artist-teacher of the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA). At present, I am a faculty in the Theatre Arts and Arts Management programs in the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. I have conducted various trainings for artistic development and several community development/outreach workshops throughout the Philippines including Asia and Spain. I have been a theatre practitioner since 2003, with experiences as actor, director, educator, and dramaturg. I have a licensed degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Santo Tomas, which influenced my desire to fuse science and arts in my creative endeavours. I have recently earned my Master’s in Theatre from the University of the Philippines Diliman. My practice has also been guided by the training and certification I have received from various institutions, including Stella Adler School of Acting and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). I have also been involved in the Fringe Manila festival in the Philippines from 2013 to 2017 as an Associate Festival Director and Program Director for the Fringe University component. In 2016, I formed a small group called TAXI (Theater. Applied. Experiential. Immersive), which is a collaborative platform for developing and exploring multisensorial and immersive performances with the goal of extending audience engagement and creating unique experiences. So far, I have been personally funding the projects but aided by the support of Benilde through venue grants and access to student interns or volunteers that greatly minimizes the cost of production.


Bruce Barton is a creator/scholar whose practice-based research and teaching focuses on physical dramaturgies in devised, immersive and intermedial performance. He has published in a wide range of scholarly and practical periodicals, including Performance Research, TDR, Theatre Journal, and Theatre Topics, as well as numerous national and international essay collections. His book publications include At the Intersection Between Art and Research (2010), and Collective Creation, Collaboration and Devising (2008). Bruce is also an award-winning playmaker who works extensively as a director, writer and dramaturg with many of Canada’s most accomplished physical performance companies. He is the Artistic Director of Vertical City, an interdisciplinary performance hub located in Calgary. In January 2015, Bruce became the first Director of the new School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.

Natalia Esling is an independent scholar and lecturer at the University of British Columbia. She defended her SSHRC-funded doctoral dissertation, Adaptive Sense-Making: The effects of sensory modification on audience perception, from the University of Toronto in July 2018. Her Practice-Based Research PhD focused on sensory experience in contemporary participatory performance, evaluating the effects of ‘sensory modification’ on audience perception in immersive, interactive, and one-to-one performance events. Working at the intersection of performance studies, philosophy of perception, and qualitative audience response research, her current research considers the affective potential of immersive theatre practices in relation to compassion in a healthcare context. She holds a Master’s in European Theatre from the University of Edinburgh and a BA (Hons) in English and French from the University of Victoria.