Projects


My interdisciplinary research agenda has enabled me to direct or co-direct several exciting collaborative initiatives. Current and recent projects include:

Founding Director and Principal Investigator, SCOPE: The Health Humanities Learning Lab

  • SCOPE: The Health Humanities Learning Lab is a groundbreaking arts- and humanities-based research and education initiative at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Launched in Fall 2016, the SCOPE Lab’s current areas of research focus include: “Arts, Humanities, and the Public Imagination of Health,” “Health Humanities: Pedagogy, Values, Practice,” and “Age Studies Across the Life Course.” The SCOPE Lab engages the skills traditionally associated with humanities disciplines—including critical reading and thinking, close reading, oral and written communication, visual literacy, and narrative analysis—as a vital complement to more conventional disciplinary approaches to health knowledge, research, and learning. Graduate and postdoctoral researchers are warmly encouraged to get in touch to discuss possible research collaborations.

Director, “The Art and Science of Immunization” (funded by competition, 2016-17).

  • Immunization is one of the great successes of modern medicine, yet the success of immunization programs relies not only on the activities of scientists, policy makers, and clinicians, but also on the assumed confidence and voluntary participation of the public. This Jackman Humanities Institute Working Group brings together thought leaders in vastly different domains of health and immunization research, knowledge, and learning, including literature, anthropology, social work, public health, medicine, immunology, media, and the fine arts. The aim of this working group is to generate new thought and action on the major challenges facing immunization today, namely: the enhancement of communication about immunization and concrete, humanistically-inspired solutions to the urgent issue of vaccine hesitancy.

Primary Co-organizer, “International Health Film Series and Expo” (funded by competition, 2014-15).

  • This month-long initiative, selected for funding by the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) 50th Anniversary Legacy Fund, saw the screening of seven provocative health-related films during March 2015. Each film was selected to give a sense of 1) the role of film in communicating health-related issues, 2) the dynamic research agenda of UTSC researchers and educators in related areas, and 3) provide the broad UTSC community—its students, faculty, and members of the public—with a strong and festive sense of the role of film as a medium for the critical study of health, illness and society. The event drew over 600 people from the UTSC and Scarborough community.

Director, “Exploring Neuroculture: Science, Ethics, Humanities” (funded by competition, 2014-15). 

  • This radically interdisciplinary Working Group, funded by the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, investigates the powerful new role played by the “neuro” in multiple domains of contemporary life. Under what historical and cultural conditions has our contemporary “neuro” paradigm come to dominate the investigative impulse of not only the human brain but also the human condition itself? The three domains referenced in our title—science, ethics, humanities—comprise an integrative prism that inspires our a) monthly meetings, b) ongoing activities and invited speakers, and c) capstone event (a featured panel at the Rotman Brain Aging Conference, Toronto Convention Centre) held in March 2015.

Conference Director, “Health Humanities: Building the Future for Research and Teaching” April 2014

  • This two-day event at the University of Iowa brought together six keynote speakers at the forefront of the burgeoning field known as health humanities to critically assess the role of the humanities in the study of “health.” The symposium produced a range of media, resources, and action plans of relevance to researchers, teachers, and students interested in advancing health humanities initiatives. Click here for a comprehensive post-conference report at the major medical anthropology website Somatosphere.

Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies Working Group on “Understanding Late Life Across the Disciplines” (2013-14).

  • This group of artists, humanities scholars, social scientists, medical researchers, and elder care professionals in the University of Iowa community sought to synthesize and critique a landscape of networked stories in the form of histories, “commonsense” assertions, advertising, news, statistical claims, medical prognoses, bodily movement, and visual culture. Our activities culminated in a publically-engaged collaboration with a local Senior Center entitled “Textured Aging,” an interactive panel discussion about the multidisciplinary realities of age-based stereotyping.

Primary Conference Organizer, “Aging, Old Age, Memory, Aesthetics: An International and Interdisciplinary Conference,” March 25-27th, 2011.

  • An international and interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Toronto. This event resulted in the publication of a special issue of Stanford University’s open-access academic journal Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, which I also co-edited.

Co-Director, “Aging, Old Age, Memory, Aesthetics,” (funded by annual competition, 2010-13).

  • An interdisciplinary Working Group at the University of Toronto focused on academic and artistic responses to aging, old age, and age-related memory loss.