Julia Gray

Julia Gray
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Building HL 228


Julia Gray is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in health humanities in the Department of Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough.  She is an interdisciplinary cultural and performance studies scholar, artist-practitioner (playwright/theatre director) and critical social scientist.  Her program of research incorporates methodologies and theoretical bearings from the arts, humanities and social and health sciences to interrogate notions of inclusion related to aging and disability; she aims to bolster senses of belonging by engaging different ways of becoming and knowing through performance and the arts.   

Dr. Gray was originally trained as a playwright and theatre director, with a background in dance, and she is the playwright/director of several research-informed theatre projects.  She is a co-investigator and collaborator on several research projects in disability, aging, arts and social justice.   She was a 2020-21 Visiting Scholar at Sensorium, a creative research centre embedded in The School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University, and was a SSHRC-funded post-doctoral fellow at Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, working with Dr. Barbara Gibson. 

Current Projects

The Work of Arts Workers in Health Settings: Practice, Care, Service (2021 ongoing – project lead Gray, J.)

Movement & Difference: The Youth Mobility Project – SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2020-2021 – project lead Gibson, B.)

Medical Education and the Critical Turn in the Health Humanities: A Social History and Mapping Study (2022 – co-lead with Berkhout, S.)

Collaboration, creativity and power in interprofessional education in the health professions: insights from theatre (2022 – Co-lead with Whitehead, C., Paradis, E.)


• Ph.D., Adult Education, University of Toronto 

• M.A., Theatre Studies, York University 

• B.F.A. (Honors), Theatre, York University  



Scientist Associate, The Wilson Centre, University Health Network

Academic Fellow, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Theatre, York University

Teaching Interests

Health Humanities 

Performance & Cultural Theories 

Queer / Crip / Feminist Studies 

Aesthetic Philosophy 

Interpretive, arts-based (research-creation) and qualitative methods

Research Interests

Disability & Aging Inclusion 

Culture & Wellbeing 

Arts practices/work in health & community settings 

Theorizing performance, arts-based and critical qualitative methods

Awards and Grants

2018-2020 SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (Ranked 3rd by Fine Arts Committee)

2019 BRITE Award for Excellence in Peer Mentorship (Bloorview Research Institute Trainee Executive), Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

2017 Joan Eakin Award for Methodological Excellence in a Qualitative Doctoral Dissertation, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto

2012-2014 Doctoral Fellow in Health Care, Technology and Place, A CIHR Strategic Research Training Grant

2012 Doctoral Trainee Award, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute


Gray, J. (2022). Relational and aesthetic accountability: considerations of a research-based playwright. Qualitative Inquiry. Special Issue on Ethics in Research-based theatre: Stories from the field. Published on-line June 1, 2022. doi: 10.1177/10778004221098203

Wegrzyn, P.,* Evans, C., Janczyn, G., Judge, J., Lu, R., Manji, R., Gray, J., Smith, M., Nixon, S. (2021) “It is a reorientation of what you believe the profession is”: Increasing the Recruitment of Black Students into Canadian Physiotherapy Programs. The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation.

*indicates trainee mentorship

Gray, J., Donnelly, H. & Gibson, B.E. (2021) Seriously foolish and foolishly serious: The art and practice of clowns in children’s rehabilitation. Journal of Medical Humanities. 42, 453–469. doi:10.1007/s10912-019-09570-0 First on-line July 23, 2019

Gray, J., Dupuis, S.L., Kontos, P., Jonas-Simpson, C.& Mitchell, G. (2020). Knowledge as Embodied, Imaginative and Foolish Enactment: Exploring Dementia Experiences Through Theater [41 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(3), Art. 2, http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.3.3444.

Mitchell, G., Dupuis, S., Kontos, P., Jonas-Simpson, C., Gray, J. (2020) Disrupting the dehumanizing and intersecting patterns of modernity with a relational ethic of caring. International Practice Development Journal, 10(1), 1-15. doi: 10.19043/ipdj.101.002

Kontos, P., Grigorovich, A., Dupuis, S., Jonas-Simpson, C., Mitchell, G., Gray, J. (2020) Raising the curtain on dementia stigma: Fostering a new cultural imaginary for a more inclusive society. Critical Public Health. 30(1), 91-102. doi: 10.1080/09581596.2018.1508822

Gray, J., Kontos, P. (2019) Working at the margins: Theatre, social science and radical political engagement. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. Special Issue on Theatre and Performance vs the “Crisis in the Humanities”: Creative Pedagogies, Neoliberal Realities. 24(3), 204-207. doi: 10.1080/13569783.2019.1604125

Gray, J. (2019) Working within an aesthetic of relationality: Theoretical considerations of embodiment, imagination and foolishness as part of theatre making about dementia. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. Special Issue on Theatre, Dementia and Relationality, 24(1), 6-22. doi: 10.1080/13569783.2018.1535270

Gray, J. & Kontos, P. (2018) An aesthetic of relationality: embodiment, imagination and playing The Fool in research-informed theatre. Qualitative Inquiry. 24(7), 440-452.  doi: 10.1177/1077800417736331