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“We all need to keep learning in order to make changes we want to see. And if you don’t want to see changes, maybe ask yourself why?

~ Jenna Rodgers, founder of Chromatic Theatre

Research Team

Yvette Nolan

Yvette Nolan (Algonquin) is a playwright, director and dramaturg. Her works include the play The Unplugging, the dance-opera Bearing, the libretto Shawnadithit, and the short play-for-film Katharsis. She co-created, with Joel Bernbaum and Lancelot Knight, the verbatim play Reasonable Doubt, about relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan.

She is the company dramaturg for Sum Theatre. From 2003-2011, she served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Her book, Medicine Shows, about Indigenous performance in Canada was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015, and Performing Indigeneity, co-edited with Ric Knowles, in 2016. She sits on the Saskatoon Police Service Indigenous Women & Two-Spirit+ Advisory Circle, and on the board of Common Weal Community Arts. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. 

Dr. Deniz Ünsal

I am a cultural anthropologist with research focus on cultural policies, equity, diversity and inclusion in the cultural sector. I am grateful to live and work on the ancestral lands of Xwsepsum and Lekwungen families since my arrival in 2015. Before immigrating, I was teaching at the Department of Arts and Cultural Management at Istanbul Bilgi University.  

I have contributed to several arts and heritage related projects in rural and urban Turkey as well as the Netherlands. As a researcher, I collaborated with artists, cultural entrepreneurs, arts and cultural organizations on cultural policy review.  

Having lived in a few cultural contexts for study, research and work, I had the opportunity to observe and experience power dynamics in societies in relation to cultural difference. These experiences helped me contextualise my research interests. I embrace community partnerships and community-based research in knowledge creation and dissemination. I am actively involved in community work with several nonprofits in the field of EDI, human and social development. I work as an Assistant Professor at the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University. 

Relevant links: Faculty Profile

Dr. Taiwo Afolabi

I am a theatre-maker, scholar, theatre manager and entrepreneur. My interest is in amplifying voices and experiences; and re-centering governance models, strategies and systems on the margin through the lens of decolonisation, equity and anti-oppressive approaches. My experience in over a dozen countries across four continents in a variety of contexts focused on socially engaged and community-based creative practice for transformational change. Through storytelling and devised theatre, I work with communities on social issues pertinent to them and my research continues to advance broad-minded thinking within the art and culture sector. 

I am the Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre and I serve as the Director of the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (C-SET) at the University of Regina. I am a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and the founding director of Theatre Emissary International (TEMi) in Nigeria and Canada. 

Relevant Links: Personal Website 

Luba Kozak
Research Assistant

I am an art historian, researcher, internationally published scholar, and animal liberation activist. I am a PhD student in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Regina/University of Sapienza and the topic of my doctoral research project (supervised by Dr. Randal Rogers and Dr. Francesco Freddolini) is about exotic pet animals in eighteenth-century British portraiture. My research interests include early modern European art, literature, and culture; philosophy; ethics; and animal studies/vegan theory.

As a Ukrainian/Canadian originally from Calgary (AB), I have experience working for non-profits and art sectors in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. I currently work as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (C-SET) and serve as a language editor for the academic journal, Open Cultural Studies, published by De Gruyter. As a small business entrepreneur myself, I am very excited to be part of this project that aims to spotlight the experiences of Indigenous, Black, and racialized cultural entrepreneurs. As a RA on this project, I hope to learn ethical interviewing techniques and advance my communication skills, in addition to expanding my knowledge of Canadian cultural policies.  

Fonon Nunghe
Research Assistant

I am an M.A candidate in the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University. I am also a communication professional with experience in organizational communication, research, writing, and digital communication and media technology.

My past research experience includes working as a research assistant on a study of young women and social media interaction in expressing friendship, which was conducted at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, under the tutelage of my undergraduate mentor, Dr. Marissa Doshi. I see this experience as a big influence on my graduate thesis project to study the impacts of computer mediated communication on in-person interactions in dating contexts. I am thrilled to be a part of a study like this, which explores the lived experiences of IBPoC cultural entrepreneurs.

Originally from Nigeria, I studied in the United States and Italy where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Communication. In addition to working as a Graduate Research Assistant, I am also the communications coordinator for a Victoria-based nonprofit organization called Parkinson Wellness Projects.

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This research project is supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council