Vida Midgelow


Dance Artist/Academic, Vida L Midgelow, joined Middlesex University as Professor in Dance and Choreographic Practices in 2012. Prior to this position, she was Professor and Director of Research at the University of Northampton where, over many years, she established the taught programmes in dance and performance studies and developed the postgraduate research provision  She has over 20 years experience facilitating and lecturing in performance and completed her doctoral research at Surrey University.Her movement and video work has been shown internationally and she publishes her research in professional, online and academic journals. As a movement artist her work currently focuses upon somatic approaches to dance training, improvisation and articulating choreographic processes. Recent works include: Home (a retracing); Skript; ScreenBody; Voice (a retracing) and Threshold : Fleshfold.Her book Reworking the ballet: Counter Narratives and Alternative Bodies was published by Routledge in 2007. In the same year the poetic and playful, TRACE: Improvisation in a box was published. For these projects she received funding from AHRC and Arts Council England. Recent essays include: Improvisation as paradigm for Phenomenology (forthcoming, 2017); Creative Articulations Process (CAP) (co-written with with J. Bacon, 2015); Nomadism and Ethics in/as Improvised Movement Practices (Critical Studies in Improvisation, 2012) and Sensualities: dancing/writing/experiencing, (New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 2013). She is currently editing an extensive volume on Dance Improvisation (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). She is the director of the Erasmus Plus funded 'Artistic Doctorates in Europe Project' and the 'Transdisciplinary Improvisation Network' (a research cluster based at Middelesex) and a member of the Choreography research cluster ( Midgelow also undertakes mentoring, dramaturgical, curatorial and consultancy roles for artists and organisations. These facilitative activities combine with her own research within the framework of the Choreographic Lab, of which she is co-director (with Professor Jane Bacon). The Choreographic Lab, based at Dance4, Nottingham, has sought to provide platforms for sharing choreographic practices and critical inquiry ( Extending these interests she conceptualized and is co-editor of the hybrid peer reviewed journal, Choreographic Practices, published with Intellect (,id=170/).
Professor Midgelow was Chair of 'The Standing Conference on Dance in Higher Education (DanceHE, UK)( ' (2010-13), served on the boards of 'The Society of Dance History Scholars (USA) for over 10 years ( and is currently vice-chair of the board at Dance4 ( In addition, she is a regular peer reviewer for several funding bodies (inc. Leverhulme, British Academy and Austrian Science Foundation) and for publishers/journals (inc. Routledge, Palgrave, Oxford University Press, Dance Research Journal and Theatre, Dance and Performance Training).

Abstract: In a solo performance/lecture Prof Vida L Midgelow eats her words, ingests knowledge, animates her dead self and dances everywhere and nowhere, whilst speaking about improvisation and the un/disciplinary in an ever so slightly ridiculous set of circumstances in which she struggles to stay on script and often fails to achieve the planned outcome.
She asks: What is the potential of improvisatory knowing? What are the recurring features of improvisation in dance performance? What are the critical, fluid, emergent and situated modes of knowledge that are operating within an improvised context?  What if improvisatory practices were considered as a way of going about things? For, as a generative, relational and temporal activity - improvisation is embedded in ‘the ways we work’ (Ingold 2007:3). Through leaky excessiveness disciplinary bounds are broken, as improvisation is understood here as un/disciplinary practice that proceeds toward a productive (un)knowing.

Moving between lecturing, dancing and other performance modalities this presentation uses the form a performative lecture to illuminate the significance the improvisatory, in and beyond dance, to reveal the epistemic work it embodies within our contemporary knowledge economy. 

Ajay Heble



Ajay Heble is Director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation and Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. He is the author or editor of several books, and a founding co-editor of the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation ( ). He is also Project Director for Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, a large-scale Major Collaborative Research Initiative, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. As the Founder and Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival, Heble has jolted the citizens of Guelph into an appreciation of improvised and avant-garde music and delighted aficionados from around the world with his innovative and daring programming. Under his visionary leadership, the Festival—winner of the prestigious Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2010), and a three-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award of the Arts (1997, 2000, 2001) —has achieved a rock-solid international reputation as one of the world’s most inspired and provocative musical events. Recent projects include two new books both published in 2013 by Duke University Press: People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz is Now (co-edited with Rob Wallace), and The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation (co-authored with Daniel Fischlin and George Lipsitz). As a pianist, he has released three CDs: Different Windows, a live recording of improvised music with percussionist Jesse Stewart (on the IntrepidEar label) and two recordings with his improvising quartet The Vertical Squirrels: Hold True / Accroche toi (on Ambiances Magnétiques) and Winter’s Gate (on Barcode Free).

George Lipsitz


George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Along with Daniel Fischlin and Ajay Heble he is the co-author of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation Rights and the Ethics of Co-Creation. Lipsitz has also authored (among other books) How Racism Takes Place, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, Time Passages, Dangerous Crossroads, Footsteps in the Dark, and Midnight at the Barrelhouse. Lipsitz is the editor of the Critical American Studies series at the University of Minnesota Press and is co-editor of the American Crossroads series at the University of California Press. He is active in struggles for educational equity and fair housing, and serves as President of the Board of Directors of the African American Policy Forum.


Frédérique Arroyas

Paper Title: Study abroad: Exploring intercultural understanding through Forum Theatre

Bio: Frederique Arroyas is an associate professor in French Studies at the University of Guelph where she coordinates the Canada-Nice (France) student exchange program. Her research focuses on the intersections of music and literature in contemporary French fiction, the heuristic use of musical models, and the mediation of musical meaning in literary works. She is the author of La lecture musico-littéraire (2001) and articles that span French literature, women’s studies, theatre and music. She is currently developing methodologies for practice-based research in the field of language acquisition and improvisation that will forge new insights into the nature of language acquisition. Dr. Arroyas is co-editor of the Journal Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation and Nouvelle Revue Synergies Canada. 

Abstract: Study abroad programs offer intrinsic benefits. Many studies cite how they positively impact the career path, world-view, and adaptability of students. The challenges faced by exchange students indeed and very often lead to transformation, through consciousness-raising experiences and critical reflection. This presentation will focus on questions of intercultural understanding through the lens of students from four Canadian universities participating in an eight month long exchange program in France. Students’ own perceptions of their intercultural development are examined as they engaged in a series of Boal-inspired “Forum Theater” workshops. Over the course of their academic year and as a form of critical inquiry, students were offered the opportunity to explore their emotions and judgements in dialogue with each other and to imagine new possibilities for acting within a context identified as culturally challenging. They drew on authentic experiences, but those experiences were rendered malleable via their imaginations and transformations. In this talk, I will take the opportunity to reflect on issues such as privilege, biases, and identity as they surfaced in our sessions in order to examine the effectiveness of  “Forum Theatre” for programs whose objectives are to promote mobility and  internationalisation.


Isabella Stefanescu (with Klaus Engel and Anne-Marie Donovan, and with performances by Helen Pridmore) 


Performance Title and topic of Artist Talk: Mirror

Description:  Mirror is a hybrid performance for soprano and visual artist, a dialogue on the shifting border between studio and stage, that integrates theatre and vocal improvisation with drawings created live by the visual artist, whose gestures manipulate the soprano’s voice in real time.

In a performance of Mirror, the visual artist draws the soprano, who reacts both to her emerging image and to the aleatory sound of the drawing.  The sampled voice of the soprano, both standard vocal sounds as well as extended vocal techniques, is manipulated in real time by the Euphonopen, an instrument created specifically for the live performance of drawing.

In Mirror technology is transparent, allowing the audience to become complicit in the fraught relationship of artist and model.  A meditation on the risk each one of us takes when presenting a "face" to the public, Mirror requires performers who are willing to take chances and leave themselves vulnerable in the very act of creating in public.

Bios:  Isabella Stefanescu is a visual and media artist based in Kitchener-Waterloo. Originally from Romania Stefanescu immigrated to Canada and continued her education in mathematics and fine arts at the University of Waterloo. She is artistic director of Inter Arts Matrix, and co-founder of Globe Studios, the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area (CAFKA). Stefanescu has been Artist in Residence at the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab in Toronto and the Banff New Media Institute. She was awarded the Ontario Arts Council K.M. Hunter Award for interdisciplinary art.

Klaus Engel is a machine designer and media artist based in Waterloo Region, and Staff Scientist at Com Dev Honeywell Ltd. in Cambridge, Ontario. Over the past 35 years he has developed electromechanical systems for spacecraft supporting telecommunications, earth observation, and solar system exploration.  His creations are represented on 800 flying spacecraft, several dozen in the Atlantic Ocean, and one inadvertently impaled into the Martian surface. More recently he has brought his craft down to earth to create or enable multimedia and kinetic art.  He has collaborated on several interdisciplinary projects shown at Lennox Gallery in Toronto, Banff New Media Institute, CAFKA - Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area, Durham Art Gallery, Woodstock Art Gallery, Open Ears Festival of Sound and Music, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Anne-Marie Donovan is a theatre & opera director, performer and creator. Anne-Marie’s recent projects are Blue Bird, a new work of physical theatre co-created with Tawiah Ben M’Carthy and Brad Cook premiered in 2016 in Kitchener, Susannah at Long Reach Opera Workshop in Toronto, and Six Révolutions, a new opera by playwright Guillaume Côté and composer Tim Brady for L’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Anne-Marie founded Inter Arts Matrix in 2007 and served as its Artistic Director until 2014. She remains an Associate Artist at the company.
Helen Pridmore enjoys a career focused on contemporary scored music, experimental music and improvisation. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2012, performing the music of John Cage with the American Symphony Orchestra. Helen has also performed at The Music Gallery (Toronto), La chapelle du bon Pasteur (Montréal), Five Penny New Music Festival (Sudbury), Open Ears Festival (Kitchener), OK.Quoi?! Contemporary Arts Festival (Sackville, NB), Neutral Ground (Regina, SK), Edmonton New Music, Neworks Calgary, Western Front (Vancouver), Voice +++ (Victoria), Wayward Music Series (Seattle, WA), in Mexico City (with the multimedia opera GOYA) and many other venues in North America.  A frequent guest of Aventa Ensemble in Victoria, she has performed major works by Philippe Leroux and Michael Finnissy with the ensemble, and will premiere a new Finnissy work, written for her, in 2018.Helen is a member of the new music ensemble Motion2 and the voice/electronics improvisation duo Sbot N Wo; both ensembles perform and tour in Canada and Europe.  Sbot N Wo’s CD Songs was released in 2015.  Helen also released two CDs in 2013 on the Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs label:  Janet, featuring works for solo voice, and …between the shore and the ships… with clarinetist Wesley Ferreira, which won the 2013 East Coast Music Award for Best Classical Recording.Helen is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (MAP) at the University of Regina.  There, she continues her busy performing schedule while contributing to the university’s rich program of interdisciplinary studies, teaching in music and creative technologies

Elizabeth Jackson

Elizabeth Jackson is Community Engagement Officer for the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, and works at the University of Guelph. In this role, she develops and sustains creative research collaborations, working to plan, support, facilitate, and evaluate these initiatives. Her work in academic, non-profit, and activist contexts centres around ongoing struggles for social justice, and is informed by a commitment to ethical and sustained engagement with communities and collaborators.
Liz is a musician and a lover of stories, and continues to explore the use of music and story to support self-expression, community cohesion, and social change.

She will be moderating and chairing the Improvise &Mobilize sessions on Saturday, May 13th.



Cat Abenstein

Bio:  Cat Abenstein is a spoken word artist and community organizer born and raised in the Queen City. She believes strongly in the power of our self-reflection and accountability to our communities, and finds it difficult to believe one is possible without the other. She is often untangling her insight through words on napkins, post it notes, and until recently, the palms of her hands. Recently appointed General Manager of the Creative City Centre, Cat is an enthusiastic observer and appreciative encourager of arts, community and the dizzying magic found at its intersection.


Misty Wensel

Misty is a co- founder, dancer and choreographer with Regina based FadaDance Troupe. Dancing with this trio informs her creative spirit, while affording her the opportunity to create inquisitive & intuitive works of contemporary dance.

Misty, a University of Regina graduate with a B. Ed (Dance), has been sharing her craft with students and peers for two decades. In 2004, Misty established FadaDance, a contemporary dance school, the first of its kind in Regina, SK. Since then, she has had the opportunity to train and inspire dancers of all ages, while creating a platform for her troupe and her students that is truly unique.  Misty’s work with the FadaDance Troupe and youth company has taken her to stages across Canada, and as far as Jamaica, Brazil, Taiwan & Denmark. 

Misty spend a decade working at Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School as a drama educator.  In this position she work intensively with theatre and movement improv as she trained teams to perform in  the Canadian Improv Games model at both the provincial and national level.

As a solo artist Misty is working on new solo, Trails which fuses elements of contemporary dance, songwriting, music production, and theatre, through a collaboration with peers across disciplines.

Improvisation is a core practice to the way Misty builds new work and finds joy in this life.

Norman Adams


Performance and Artist Talk:  suddenlyLISTEN

Description: suddenlyLISTEN Music is a presenter and producer of improvised music in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Over the past 16 years, founding Artistic Director Norman Adams has gently guided and somewhat more forcefully pushed suddenlyLISTEN along, presenting over 100 concerts, workshops, tours and special projects of improvised music.At the IICSI Conference in Regina, I will tell the story of suddenlyLISTEN, and how we have shared our music, built community and exposed local musicians to international guest artists along the way.  As an added component to this presentation, I will bring a little suddenlyLISTEN to Regina by collaborating with local performers (and 2015 suddenlyLISTEN guest artists) Helen Pridmore and WL Altman in a mini concert of improvised music.The practice of improvisation is one that does not really depend on mobility, as improvisation already exists in many, if not all, cultures and communities.  Curation of the suddenlyLISTEN series does, however, depend on the mobility of artists.  The research into guests that are able to come and perform, who are affordable, and whose work is congruent (or quite different) with that of Halifax musicians is where the fun lies for suddenlyLISTEN's artistic team! I will also talk about the influences that inspired this endeavour, most notably Pauline Oliveros and Eddie Prevost, both of whom deeply impacted us, through their commitment to listening and community.

Bio: Norman Adams is Principal Cellist with Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Artistic Director of suddenlyLISTEN Music.  A student of Hans Jørgen Jensen, Bernard Greenhouse, and American new music pioneer Pauline Oliveros, Norman has been a soloist with SNS and Les Jeunes Virtuoses de Montréal.  He has been guest principal cellist for the National Arts Centre Orchestra,  and has performed chamber and improvised music throughout Canada, the US, France, and the UK.  His performances have been heard across the country on CBC Radio.  As an educator, Norman has been a faculty member at Acadia University, the Scotia Festival of Music, the Acadia Summer Strings Festival; and has led workshops at String Fest, Memorial University of Newfoundland, CPA Allen High School, for the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers' Association, and in schools around Nova Scotia. In addition to his work as a classical cellist, Norman is well known as an improviser and electronic musician, playing free and creative music across North America and Europe, and at festivals from New York City to Prince George, BC.  Norman has collaborated with many leading artists including Joëlle Léandre, Gerry Hemingway, Eddie Prévost, Pauline Oliveros, Xavier Charles, Marilyn Crispell and Evan Parker.  In 2016 Norm released two recordings of creative music:  Arrhythmia, featuring hermitofthewoods on the Endemik label, and Collateral with Tim Crofts and Sam Shalabi. Since 2000 Norman has been the Artistic Director and Producer of suddenlyLISTEN Music, an organization that presents an annual series of concerts of improvised music featuring a broad range of local, Canadian and international artists, and produces a wide range of other performance projects.  Norman is also dedicated to sharing music with all people, leading suddenlyLISTEN's Improvisation Workshops for the past 11 years. In 2010 Norman was awarded an Established Artist Award by the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council for his varied work.

WL Altman

Installation and Artist Talk:  Body Part Motet

Description:  "Body Part Motet" is an immersive, interactive work that makes music in response to physical movement with the aid of video-tracking technology. The participant who enters the interactive performance space perceives a direct correlation between body movements and sonic surroundings. Body movements elicit sounds in relation to qualities of gesture: location, speed, direction, extension, persistence or intermittence, smoothness or jaggedness. The artist will demonstrate how the piece is being designed for diverse bodies rather than presumed "normative" ones.  A novel environment responds to bodies in unexpected but kinetically connected ways. Body Part Motet will offer infinite combinations of sounds for bodies of differing range, speed, and strength of motion. The system is also conceived as a virtual prosthetic environment with a palette of sonic possibilities that affords liberation through musical improvisation.

Bio:  WL Altman is a composer, interdisciplinary artist and performer. His work includes concert music for instruments and voices with interactive technology, immersive installations, and performance art. He endeavours to escape the delineations of traditional art disciplines by constructing environments and situations that invite performers and audiences alike to play at the edges and intersections of traditional art forms and emerging technology.

Darci Anderson

Workshop: The Human Condition- Movement Workshop

Bio: Darci Anderson, MA is Principal and Director of Programming at Flux School of Human Movement. Darci completed her MA in Social and Political Thought at York University. She has been an interdisciplinary movement teacher for ten years in the following areas: gymnastics, mobility, capoeira, parkour, olympic weightlifting, dance, CrossFit, contact improvisation and low acrobatics. Her current research areas are movement, the politics of food, and urban ecology.

Workshop Description:

“We must pay attention to the gestures which make us who we are” Orhan Pamuk.

What does it mean to be a human animal and how does this inquiry relate to movement, culture, health and performance? The Human Condition workshop represents Flux’s open ended exploration and research on the human as a cultural animal. More and more, humans are yearning for and seeking out a more meaningful movement practice that goes beyond the artificial confines of exercise and fitness paradigms. Humans are also seeking out a deeper, more experience based connection with the natural world that connects, rather than separates their own well being with that of their ecology. Anyone who is interested in movement, longevity, ecology and sports performance will want to take part in this workshop. From the premise that humans are social creatures that best learn through situations that involve others, this workshop will emphasize partner work and games of improvisation.

Raymond Ambrosi


Paper Title: Merging Self, Body and Place:Improvisation in the teachings of martial arts sect in north China

My research explores how a martial arts system, meihuaquan, in north China functions as an improvisational training methods to prepare practitioners for a life in marginal social and ecological environments. Ethnographic participant observer research collected over a 24 year period suggests that physical training regimes fulfilled social requirements for leisure and for collective and personal self defense skills, but perhaps more importantly also served a broader function as embodied methods to merge the body-mind  by achieving a state of “wuji” --an undifferentiated state of potentiality and an intersubjective understanding of the self embedded in the natural and social environment. Training methods in meihuaquan emphasize the importance of releasing inhibitions and restrictions in the mind and engaging in intuitive fluid movement while moving through space. The use of martial improvisation detaches from conscious thought and physicality to create a body-mind union that serves as “pre-linguistic” form of body-focused communication (Jackson 1994:212).

Improvisational training strives for a condition in which neutrality of the mind is coordinated with movement/action and can spontaneously empower the martial artist to attend to any threat. However, rural practitioners believe this improvisational capacity extends beyond the physical training of the martial arts practice grounds. The body-mind union developed during martial training can be drawn upon to reach creative solutions not only for individual/family problems but, more importantly, for the resolution of collective social issues that rural communities face in the rapidly changing social and economic environment of contemporary north China.  Often misunderstood as a training regime for fighting, ethnographic research shows that meihuaquan relies on improvisational methods to intertwine body, mind and space to deal with the unpredictable complexities of daily life and build healthier communities.

Bio: Raymond Ambrosi’s sociology PhD, (Peking University 2013) examines the ways by which underground folk religion and martial arts organizations contribute to the formation of civil society and community development in rural north China. Having a thorough background in meihuaquan martial arts prior to undertaking field research was critical to Ambrosi’s successful participation in local village martial arts communities. PhD work expanded upon his geography Master’s thesis on sustainable rural development examining folk martial arts in cultural tourism, and later work in Japan on religious festivals, folk martial arts and community cohesion. Ambrosi worked for several years in government and research institutions in Canada. Ambrosi has taught meihuaquan for over a decade, establishing a meihuaquan practice community in Regina. Finding many overlaps between meihuaquan training methodologies and somatic practices, Ambrosi has performed in numerous modern dance works and taught a number of workshops to theatre and dance organizations.

Johanna Bundon

Bio: Johanna Bundon is an independent artist whose practice includes choreography, dance and theatre performance, teaching, and community arts.  Johanna is an artistic associate of Curtain Razors Theatre and one half of Dream Agreement, a creative venture with artist Jayden Pfeifer. As a collective, Dream Agreement explores production and creation, cultural ambassadorship, community outreach, and mentorship. At the heart of this collaboration is an interest in civic community, creation, and the guiding principles of improvisation. Johanna is currently pursuing somatic education through the Feldenkrais Method, under the guidance of Elizabeth Beringer.

Dominic Gregorio and I-Ying Wu

Performance Title: 無 un 意 conscious

Description: This performance is a collaboration by two artist/scholars from different fields and cultural backgrounds, exploring how meditation and performance inform each other.  Based in our common interest and practice of meditation, this improvisational work combines movement, sound and live audio.  We present various interpretations of our own meditative experiences -- a detachment process leading to a Daoist state of wu.

On this 30-minute improvisational meditative journey, free movement arises, a classical singing practice is broken and deconstructed, loopers capture, reconstruct, modulate and build sonic textures. In the spatio-temporal atmosphere, the artists are aware of encountering others, and a sense of inter-being, and inter-creating.

The work is a meditative process manifested as a performance of an individual and collective exploration of the self.  Through this form, the performance suggests that a practice of exploring the self can occur every moment and can take place through endless meditations.  This work explores a dissolution of boundaries, including the self, the self and the other, the performer and the audience, sound and movement, diverse cultural interpretations, various artistic areas, and practice and philosophy.

Bios: Dominic Gregorio is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Regina, conducting two choirs, leading a graduate program in Choral Conducting, teaching voice, and developing innovative new courses in Creative Technology.  Dr. Gregorio recently created and co-taught a course entitled "The Electronic Voice:  Beatbox, Looping, Improvisation, Soundscapes and Vocal FX".  Dominic is interested in new technology to augment the solo voice, and multidisciplinary performance involving choir, singers and technology, breaking down the walls between classical and popular idiom vocal technique.  Dominic is also a longtime meditation and yoga practitioner, and a new practitioner of somatic and authentic movement. 

I-Ying Wu is an improvisation practitioner and researcher.  She was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of Northampton, UK in 2014 and is doing her postdoctoral research at the Improvisation Studies Centre based in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina.  She developed an improvisational movement practice in her practice-led doctoral research from a Daoist perspective of qi -- a pathway towards Dao understood through improvised movement.  Informed by Chinese traditional advanced qigong and Daoist philosophy, her improvisation practice focuses on subtle awareness of the very moment when an improvisational phenomenon emerges.  To her, improvisation is itself interdisciplinary, or to be more exact, it is beyond any particular art form.

Bruno Hernani


Paper Title: When Engineering Meets Improvisation

Abstract: Engineering is a very precise discipline, where logic processes determine the final outcome, and which the engineer has control over.  The logical process to develop a solution, in particular in changeable environments, can be challenged to integrate new and innovative ways to deal with a particular problem.  Improvisation has the potential to improve creativity to solve problems by improvising random ideas during the development of engineering solutions.  Through my art practice, mainly painting with acrylics, I have been exploring this process.  This exploration has led me to the creation of paintings displaying new structures and patterns that are in agreeable harmony with reality.  It has also allowed me to connect different elements such as geometry, life, and music that were initially difficult to connect.  The same thinking process could be used in developing engineering solutions to create and design a new innovative project or technology that integrates better its structure and its possibilities for making greater contributions to society, the economy, and the environment.  The development of engineering innovative solutions can be explored through the improvisation process of pursuing random or even illogical ideas that could lead to new solutions that were never thought possible.  This presentation explores the benefits of the connection between the critical thinking in the development of engineering solutions and improvisation practice to create new and innovative ways to present ideas and reality.

Bio: Bruno Hernani is a Peruvian born artist and professional engineer.  He has lived in Canada for the last twelve years to pursue further studies and professional experience.  Bruno enjoys working on community development projects that promote arts, culture, and healthy environments.  He holds a Ph.D. in environmental systems engineering and sociology as an interdisciplinary degree from the University of Regina as well as a Master of Science in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering.  Bruno’s art is influenced by his passion for engineering, music, and the environment.  He focuses on the integration of these disciplines to create new structures and patterns that are in agreeable harmony with reality.  He emphasizes the use of numbers and geometry as mechanisms to connect different forms and languages.

Fleur Hughes


Paper Title: Mobility within the approach of community music therapy

Abstract: How does the process of group improvisation bring us all together?
This presentation will discuss how mobility takes place within community music therapy and within the framework of culture centred music therapy. How are we shaped through our cultural background? Which institutional, community, political or aesthetic beliefs do we bring in to our music therapy sessions? Does group improvisation lead us to engage with each other and break down preconceived barriers?

The presentation will include descriptions of Culture centred Music Therapy and Community Music Therapy. The presentation will discuss a model of the music therapy process when working with community groups or organisations.

I will demonstrate how group music therapy sessions can offer a framework for encouraging community access. And how group improvisation encourages individuals to build meaning social relationships through participating in Music Therapy groups. Vignettes and video examples from the presenter’s clinical work will be included.


1.    Understand terminology commonly presented in related literature, including Culture Centred Music Therapy and Community Music Therapy.
2.    Understand how the model of community music therapy process takes place within the music therapy session.

Bio: Fleur completed a Masters in Music Therapy through the University of West England in 2015. She is currently working on submitting a research proposal studying the effects of how group improvisation encourages well-being amongst adults with developmental disabilities.

Fleur's previous Music Therapy experience includes working with a wide range of individuals. These include children and adults who have a wide range of developmental, physical, learning and mental health needs. She has worked with individuals from various cultural traditions and social economic backgrounds. Within her work she is sensitive and supportive to the cultural needs of the individuals she works with.

Her approach to Music Therapy work is person centered and focuses on meeting the unique abilities and needs of the individuals she works with. During sessions she engages with the whole person looking at the physical, mental, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs of the person.

Kathleen Irwin and Traci Foster

Paper Title:  We Are All Involved in Disability Now

Abstract:   The impossibility of knowing anything with certainly was fundamental to the mechanics of a University of Regina Theatre class that opened its doors to anyone interested in exploring, in an inclusive manner, devising and collaborative techniques. “Anyone” meant a handful of Fine Arts and Education students, and students from Campus for All – “a four-year Inclusive Post-Secondary Education experience for adults with an intellectual disability.” The course targeted those who self-declare as otherwise-abled and anyone interested in exploring diversity through embodied means. Students were expected to think creatively, through writing, reading and creating while reflecting critically on theoretical articles. The class was led by professionals working in experimental voice and somatic techniques, dance, and improvisation. The course aimed for and arrived at a performance embedded in a public symposium exploring inclusive practice in the arts. From this experience came these research questions:
·       what are meaningful ways that institutions can respond to the needs of creation in the d/Deaf and disability arts?
·       how can we shift minds and policies towards the understanding that there is a culture here that requires protection and the opportunity to work together to build a stronger community?
·       How can we design creative processes for a range of bodies, minds and experiences to build a dialogue that honours everyone?
·       How can we change the ableist narrative about disability and simultaneously present the lived reality of some of our struggles with disability?
·       How we can support people with different abilities to become leaders?
This paper reflects on this experience.

Bios: Kathleen Irwin is Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Media Art and Performance. She is also the lead instructor in the collaboratively taught THEA 315 AB Devising Inclusive Performance, which inspired the Accessibility and Inclusivity in the Arts Mini- Symposium. She is an interdisciplinary scenographer, installation artist, writer and educator whose practical and theoretical research focuses on design for performative spaces, site-specific and food performance . She presents at national and international conferences, has given workshops at universities in Cardiff, Utrecht, Belgrade, Istanbul, Helsinki, and Melbourne, and has contributed articles and chapters to numerous Canadian and international publications and journals. She is past Canadian Education Commissioner  (OISTAT), Board Member with the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR/ ACTR) and co-editor of Sighting / Citing / Sighting, (Canadian Plains Research 2009). She is currently co-editing an anthology of writing called Performing Turtle Island (Univeristy of Regina Press).

Traci Foster is an inclusion focused multidisciplinary artist, educator, coach and director, who was Canada’s first certified Fitzmaurice Voicework™ instructor (2006) and is on of Canada’s lead practitioners of the work. She explores and develops her work through somatic arts with a focus on where awareness, intuition and action intersect. Traci is the recent and humbled recipient of the 2015 YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Jacqui Shumiatcher Arts Award.
Along with all the original members, she is the founder of Listen To Dis Community Arts Organization Inc. Her latest area of artistic focus is as co-creator and director of Sexuality and Circumstance, a theatre production done in collaboration with her company, The Other Ordinary and Listen To Dis’ Voice members.Traci maintains a private practice of teaching/coaching and conducts workshops in creative development through somatic art and Pochinko Clown in Regina, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.

Richard Kotowich

Bio: Rick's interest in improvisation as a methodology for personal growth and community development was initiated by the study of social therapeutics at the East Side Institute in New York City with the International Class (2009-10).  Subsequently he has practiced improv methods by organizing Poverty Talks potlucks to engage disempowered inner-city women, partnering to develop an Improvising with iPads research project involving persons with cognitive and physical disabilities, and supporting participant participation in an FASD exploratory research effort.  He regularly participates in a recreational improv group for adults in the city and also participates and partners in Regina Improvisation Studies Centre (RISC) activities.  Now retired, Rick remains keen to help create improvisation-based social engagement and learning opportunities in areas of health research, inter-agency collaboration, Truth and Reconciliation, and emerging positive social action. He believes that improvisational theory, principles and practices connect people and offers immediate and direct ways of achieving mutual understanding, bridges across differences, strengthened relationships and engaged community amongst diverse individuals within groups and organizations.

As a Cree Métis person, Rick is dedicated to the advancement of indigenous peoples and social justice. Rick holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Regina (1995) and has also taken French language courses. Throughout his forty-five year career in community education and community development he focused on engaging, learning from, and serving First Nations and Métis people and communities in northern, rural,  inner-city and First Nation communities in Saskatchewan and Northwest Ontario..  He has worked as a youth recreation organizer, adult education instructor, inner-city community school coordinator, and community development coordinator at a public health community centre.  Rick also served as an indigenous community researcher and report-writer regarding aboriginal health initiatives and as project manager.  Recently he retired from work in hospitals mediating and augmenting indigenous healthcare as a health educator.  Rick has served on many community-based committees, boards and councils and he has been a formal and informal resource person to several aboriginal initiatives. He served two terms as a board member for AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan and participated in Advisors' Circle of All Nations Hope AIDS Network in Saskatchewan.  From 2004 to 2010 he was the Métis Caucus Co-chair  on the National Aboriginal Council on HIV/AIDS advising the federal government on indigenous family and community approaches to end the pandemic.  For ten years he was a board member and chairperson of Commonweal Community Arts, a provincial organization linking artists and communities for social change; and a founding member of Creative Kids, a charitable foundation that encourages funding to children and youth who are pursuing artistic development.  Rick has also been called upon to support several community-based indigenous research projects and knowledge exchange as a research collaborator and peer reviewer of proposals.  Currently he is an active member of the National Aboriginal Research Advisory Committee (NARAC).

Mark Lomanno


Paper Title: Moan Flow:  Chronic Pain, Intimacy, and Modulating Flawed Bodies

Abstract: This presentation explores chronic pain as a disposition and delimiter of performance ethnography, specifically the incisive methodological creativity that results from an ethnographer-in-pain improvising a path toward productive performance at the piano bench and “in the field”.  Following previous scholarship on embodied pianism, jazz and disability, and anthropology of the senses, in this presentation I theorize the potential of what western medical science refers to as pathophysiological states – chronic tendinitis, in my case – to produce research methodologies grounded in markedly particular embodiments of self and community that include not just the idealized subjects that scholarship on embodiment can assume, but also those who work through capacities that are choked, rerouted, and misfired.  By highlighting the contingent and improvisatory processes of the subject-in-pain, I recast these negative connotations as generative moments that produce alternate forms of knowledge and interpersonal understanding than those informed by normative, ableist assumptions about access, mobility, perception, interaction, and “flawless” performance  Drawing on phenomenological interpretations of several performances in which I performed as a pianist during fieldwork in the Canary Islands and contextual examples from jazz master narratives, I highlight how the postures and collaborations of those with flawed bodies – particularly the tactics developed to deal with processural failure and the risks inherent in each performance for self-inflicting bodily harm – can shed new light on critiquing ableist assumptions of embodied ethnomusicological and jazz studies and provide valuable insight into “acoustemologies of intimacy” that address a wider spectrum of sensory and sensual perceptions and the articulated knowledges that they can produce.

Bio: Dr. Mark Lomanno, a visiting assistant professor of music at Northeastern University, teaches courses in jazz, ethnomusicology, popular music, and music of the African Diaspora.  His research focuses on how marginalized peoples utilize improvisation to create opportunities for self-advocacy, critical action, and social changes.  His current projects include ethnographic, archival, and performance work in the Canary Islands and a monograph on improvisation, intercultural collaboration, and interdisciplinary pedagogy.  He has also conducted ethnographic research and performance work in Brazil and Cuba.  Selected publications include:  articles in the journals Jazz Perspectives, Shima:  The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures, and Ethnomusicology Review; and forthcoming chapters in the volumes Sound Changes:  Improvisation, Social Practice, and Cultural Difference (Duke University Press); Sound, Sensation, Performance:  Reconfiguring the Boundaries of Ethnographic Experience (University of Illinois Press); and the Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies.  He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Improvisation Section and is co-editing a special issue of the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation on improvisation, interdisciplinarity, and the liberal arts.  In addition to a longtime trio project, Mark’s career as a jazz pianist includes the recent recordings Tales and Tongues with Le Monde Caché (a San Antonio-based jazz group that plays Brazilian, Afro-Latin and Jewish diasporic repertoire) and Celebrate Brooklyn II, a collaborative release with Canadian saxophonist Kike Perdomo.  He has been active in the New York City jazz scene for the last dozen years as a musician (at venues such as the 55 Bar and the Jazz Standard), club manager, writer, and educator.  Mark has premiered several compositions by the electro-acoustic composer Matthew McCabe and his performances of works by Cuban composers Ignacio Cervantes and Manuel Saumell are featured in the 2007 documentary Cuba:  Rhythm in Motion.  Mark brings all this work together in his blog, “The Rhythm of Study” (, an open-access site that focuses on  collaborative and interdisciplinary discussions of jazz and improvised music in the arts, academia, and activism. 

Jon Neher

Jon Neher is a multi-disciplinary artist, with a focus in music and sound. His musical education came about through the local Regina scene in the exemplary hidden jazz scene where his piano skills allowed him to play with the legendary Bob Moyer Big Band and it’s spiritual successor the Regina Jazz Orchestra. Jon continued to spread his wings playing with a variety of groups across diverse genres including Nick Faye and the Deputies, Orphan Mothers, and The Bureau. He also lends his musical talents to theatre and drama productions such as Tale of a Town: Regina, the monthly variety show Red Hot Riot, and Combat Improv. Jon Neher holds a B.Ed in Arts Education and B.A. of Music from the University of Regina.

Daya Madhur and Clinton Ackerman

Paper/Presentation Title:  Prairie Heartbeat

Abstract:  Living Heritage – A Prairie Heartbeat is a collaborative project between teaching artist Daya Madhur, Master’s student Clinton Ackerman, and the Grade 7/8 students at George Lee Elementary School and École Connaught Community School. Beginning life as a classroom unit where students exchanged handmade postcards and explored improv strategies as seen through music and movement, it evolved into a performance piece where themes such as immigration, racism, and worldview came to the forefront. Featuring edited student journal entries, soundscape recordings, and critical insight into the communities to which they feel a part of, this session includes a live performance as well as a talkback-session with all of the project’s collaborators. This project has brought many different worldview and perspectives of life in Saskatchewan together, with an honesty found only in the unfettered voices of youth.

Bios:  Daya Madhuris an Educational Ethnomusicologist whose work explores the impact of performance and cultural practices on fostering a sense of community and enhancing group dynamics in school-aged children. She explores how the fine arts and personal narratives can serve to create and encourage community-building inspired by interpersonal relationships with the objective to bridge between practical situations and academic literature. As an ethnomusicologist, Daya worked as an intern at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. for Folkways Recordings, coordinating the release of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music, and has worked as the Pedagogical and Community Outreach Coordinator for folkwaysAlive!, the Canadian satellite office for Smithsonian Recordings. She has led workshops for the Coalition for Music Education, received national recognition for her work within the classroom, and has presented her research at international conferences. Recently, Daya had the opportunity to be selected as one of the artists-in-residence for the University of Regina’s Socially Engaged Arts-Based Practice Initiative, and produced a piece centred around residential schools in Saskatchewan. She is currently working as an Arts Education specialist teacher within the Regina Public School System and as an artist in collaboration with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

Clinton Ackermanis a composer, sound designer, and music teacher based in Regina. He received a BFA in music composition from Simon Fraser University and moved to Regina shortly thereafter. He is currently working towards an MFA at the U of R in Interdisciplinary Studies. Clinton’s music has been read by the Victoria Symphony, performed by the Bozzini Quartet from Montreal, and has been a part of many interdisciplinary projects from Vancouver to Saskatoon. He has recently been involved in a project that brings classrooms from two different Regina public schools together titled Prairie Heartbeat with Daya Madhur. Upcoming and ongoing projects include a musical about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition aboard the Endurance, and sound design/composition for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan. Outside of music, Clinton has somehow managed to keep 5 houseplants alive over the winter and is hoping to cultivate his green thumb over the coming summer.

Charity Marsh

Dr. Marsh earned a BMUS in Musicology, Theory, and Performance (1996) as well as a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Women's Studies and a minor in German (1997) from the University of Ottawa. From York University she earned her MA (1998) in Women Studies problematizing the dynamic and contested relationship between nature and technology in Icelandic artist Björk's 1997 album Homogenic. In April 2005, Dr. Marsh successfully defended her thesis entitled, "Raving Cyborgs, Queering Practices, and Discourses of Freedom: The Search for Meaning in Toronto's Rave Culture", completing her PhD requirements for the doctoral program in Popular Music Studies and Ethnomusicology at York University. In July 2007, Dr. Marsh was awarded a Tier II Canada Research Chair position in Interactive Media and Performance. Her research program focused on interactive media and performance and how cultures and practices associated with this broad category contribute to dialogues concerning regionalism, cultural identity, and community, specifically within western and northern Canada, and more generally on a global scale. In 2007 Dr. Marsh was awarded a Canadian Foundation for Innovation Grant and a Saskatchewan Fund for Innovation and Science grant to develop the Interactive Media and Performance Labs as a way to support her ongoing research. With the development of IMP Labs at the University of Regina, the emphasis of her research and arts practices included the following areas: 1) Canadian (Indigenous) Hip Hop Cultures; 2) DJ Cultures including EDM, Club-Culture, Rave Culture, Techno, Psy-Trance, online, community, and pirate radio; and 3) Isolation, Identity, and Space: Production and Performance of Popular Music in Western and Northern Canada. In July 2012 Dr. Marsh was awarded a second term as a Tier II Canada Research Chair, this time in Interactive Media and Popular Music. The change in title takes into account the significance of popular music in Dr. Marsh’s new research program, and her emphasis on Hip Hop Cultures.In 2012-13 Dr. Marsh was awarded another Canada Foundation and Innovation grant to expand the IMP Labs to include the Centre for Indigenous Hip Hop Cultures and Community Research, as well as the Popular Music and Mobile Media Labs. In her artistic practices, Dr. Marsh continues to incorporate interdisciplinary approaches and multiple medias, including turntablism, video, radio broadcasting, text, and soundscape composition.

John McCallum and the recreational improv group

Bio and Description: Come Play With Our Merry Band of Improv'rs.

Our Merry Band regularly gathers to play improv games at a local recreation centre.on Saturday mornings.  We play for about two-hours just for fun but perhaps much more is happening for us on a deeper level.  Group improvisation games and scenes serve to unlock the power of the creative moment and togetherness.  Experienced group leader John McCallum will guide group play in a demonstration warm-up session involving seasoned participants: Rick Ast, Cathy Fenwick, Heather Getz, Rick Kotowich and Pat Robinson. We welcome conference attendees to join us in the Circle.  No experience necessary!  By doing improvisation we cultivate mindfulness in word and action and the practice seems to foster personal confidence, creativity, agency and a state of happiness.  Laughter is a hallmark of our practice; even when members 'mess-up', such 'failures' are celebrated!  By saying attenuating to one another and by saying “yes and...” to game and scenario “offers”, the sessions become occasions to appreciate each other and to learn by creative imitation.  The emerging improv practice encourages self-esteem and regard for others.  As our relationships grow stronger we have developed a sense of care and community that carries forward beyond the sessions.  Improvisation's challenges and rewards are best grasped by doing it!  Please come join us in the improv circle.  You will experience the exhilaration and immediacy of playful risk-taking, impromptu creativity, humorous lightheartedness, interpersonal connectivity, and the potentially transformative power of being in the moment.  The demo session will conclude with time for audience to ask questions and for participants to reflect on the benefits of recreational improv, as we consider whether playful activity can change your day, your week and even your life.

Chris Merk

Chris Merk, also known as Merky Waters, is a Regina Saskatchewan based Hip- Hop producer, DJ and educator. He has been DJing since 1998 and producing music since 2003, while both recording and performing on many platforms and as a part of various Hip-Hop collectives.  Most recently and notably, Merk performed with InfoRed as feature performers at the 2016 Saskatchewan Arts Awards, and Merk is set the release a new project along side Cristian Moya (Andino Suns) entitled Learners (May 16, 2017).  Along with his musical performance and production endeavors, Merk has recently found success as a University graduate earning Education and Fine Arts degrees with distinction, while remaining busy as a workshop facilitator, instructor, and teaching in both elementary and high school with the goal to bring Hip-Hop and the further inclusion of technology into music and arts education classrooms.
Merky Waters music can be found at... ,  and other online platforms including I-tunes and Spotify and googleplay.

Risa Payant

Bio: Risa Payant has been committed to community engagement in the arts for over 15 years. Since settling in Saskatchewan in 2008, she has supported the province’s vibrant arts ecology through positions at the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Regina Folk Festival, and MacKenzie Art Gallery. She has an urge to contribute through roles as an arts volunteer, audience member, and patron. She became involved in the cultural community as an Art History and Interdisciplinary Studio Art BFA student at the University of British Columbia. There, she immersed herself in roles at the Vancouver Art Gallery, ArtsStarts in Schools, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. She has created programming for diverse global communities, in addition to collaborating with companies such as Crayola and Nickelodeon. Risa does important work championing the arts across sectors and connecting artists to broader community-building efforts in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. She has been the Executive Director with Common Weal Community Arts since 2015.

Common Weal Community Arts is a provincial arts organization that collaboratively engages professional artists with communities to promote social change and cultural identity through creative expression. We strive to inspire ideas and empower people to tell their stories in their own voices. Place, shared identity, or interest may define the participating communities, the majority of which are marginalized, underserved, or historically misrepresented. Our projects are diverse in artistic discipline and approach including elements of traditional practice, site-specific work, residency and workshop activity, high profile events, and critical discourse on socially-engaged and community- based arts. We are a bridge between the artist and the community; the link that forges partnership and a legacy of social change.

Sheila Petty

Paper Title: Mapping Mobility as Migration, Displacement and Exile in the Video                                                     Installation Artwork of Nadia Seboussi

Abstract: The paper will explore the ways in which Seboussi borrows inspiration for her installations from Algerian-based narratives and draws on histories of immigrants who fled during the black decade, blending the personal and the abstract, in which remembrances in "one's own voice" are painstakingly pieced together to create documents of freedom of expression on the right to mobility and migration as a human right.  Seboussi investigates the spaces in between documentary video and the reified space of the art gallery.  These spaces become spaces of enactment and mobility in which the spectator must engage with the artist in participating in and creating new narrative structures.

Bio: Sheila Petty is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Regina.  She has written extensively on issues of cultural representation, identity and nation in African and African diasporic screen media, and has curated film, television and digital media exhibitions for galleries across Canada.  She is author of Contact Zones:  Memory, Origin and Discourses in Black Diaspora Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2008).  She is co-editor of the Directory of World Cinema:  Africa (Intellect Books, 2015).  Her current research focuses on transvergent African cinemas, new Maghreb cinemas and interpretive strategies for analyzing digital creative cultural practices.

Kathryn Ricketts

Performance Title: What is LUG?

Description: This performative and interactive presentation explores the connections to autobiographical and embodied forms of inquiry that excavate and express stories within our lives. Our individual narratives through improvisation become an invitation to further understanding within the fusion of spectator and performer as we enter into a comingled storytelling process.
Ricketts integrates the arts-based method of Embodied Poetic Narrative (EPN), to construct a shared improvisational and playful space rich in the details of our shared lives. EPN is a triangulation of body, story, and object in creative and shared play as a way to surface new understandings of self and other. This performative improvisational model carries multiple entry points whereby the participant can enter from creative writing and/or movement in combination with shared stories developed from objects of value.  With these imaginative explorations, Ricketts invites the body’s centre of gravity to shift and thereby provoke the axis of knowing to be disrupted.  This process results in lived experiences re-interpreted, re-storied, and then re-imagined with others.
 Central to this work is the relationship to the personal and universal, private and public, and how we collectively utter one another’s stories.  Questions asked within this work, “If I am a museum of lived experiences what are my artifacts?” and “How can co-authoring personal stories cultivate compassion within a community of practice and further a global community?”
This presentation will reference a range of examples from alternative schools in East London to shipping containers in the 2010 Olympics highlighting the attention to fostering a community of deep listening within sometimes silenced or muffled voices. EPN is a tool to create powerful, dynamic, playful and imaginative environments whereby forgotten or suppressed memories, can activate personal agency and self politicized action towards transformative learning.

Bio: Ricketts has been working for the past 35 years in the field of movement and visual arts, presenting throughout Europe, South America, Africa and Canada. Her work in schools, galleries and community centres focuses on social/political issues, using the languages of movement, creative writing and visual art. Her doctoral research furthered this into areas of literacy, embodiment and cultural studies with a method she has coined Embodied Poetic Narrative. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education in the University of Regina as the chair of the Dance area. She also also run The Listening Lab, a visual and performing arts ‘incubator’ exploring and generating new pedagogic strategies and languages with experimental arts practices. I am an artist/researcher in the SSHRC Partnership  PPAR Cluster #4: Community Engagement, Equity and Impacts.

Amanda Schenstead

Bio: Amanda’s interest in improvisation stems from her profession as a music therapist, her musical background and her theatre experience.  She graduated from Brandon University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music Degree, Majoring in Flute performance and Minoring in English and Theatre.  She also studied music composition during this time and wrote various works that involved a combination of musical and dramatic happenings which she performed with fellow musicians at recitals and New Music Festivals.  She then went on to study Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON and graduated with a Master of Music Therapy in 2009.  Her Master’s major research project was theatrical and improvisational in nature: an arts-based project in which she studied flute improvisation and presented a performance piece as a means of representing research results.  This piece entitled Performing musical liberation: The flute and the self in improvisation exploration and music therapy practice received the award for Master’s research upon her graduation and she has presented it at both national and international music therapy conferences.
Upon returning to Saskatchewan, Amanda became employed as a music therapist in the Veterans and Extended Care programs at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina.  She also has had experience working with a variety of client populations including Palliative Care, adult mental health, and children with Autism and global developmental delay.  Currently, she is part of a research team with the NICU at Regina General Hospital studying the effects of music therapy on pre-term infants.  Amanda has a great interest in interdisciplinary work and research.  She joined community partners Rick Kotowich and Rebecca Caines in the project: Improvising with iPads: A partnered inquiry into technology-based music therapy, improvisation and cultural expression in health settings which they have presented at various national conferences.  Amanda also recently co-presented a workshop at the CASC (Canadian Association for Spiritual Care Conference) conference alongside Rev. Jan Temple-Jones entitled: Bending In The Breeze: Providing Spiritual Care and Music Therapy to People Diagnosed with Dementia which highlights their work with Veterans of WWII and the Korean War.

Sara Schroeter

Bio: Sara Schroeter is an Assistant Professor in Drama Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. She has worked in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Dakar, Senegal as an informal educator with non-governmental organizations and drama facilitator in elementary and secondary schools. Sara’s research focuses primarily on difference, drama, and Theatre of the Oppressed in multiracial schools serving Francophone minority language students. Specifically, her work examines how drama might create spaces for broaching difficult topics such as racism, colonization, sexism, gender, and class. Sara enjoys working with youth and collaborating with classroom teachers and community workers.

Michelle Stewart

Michelle Stewart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies where she teaches in the area of social justice and research methods. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California Davis in 2011 where she focused on political and legal anthropology.  Her dissertation research explored contemporary policing practices in Canada with attention to programs and training that rely on collaborations between community, police and other agencies.  She has had this work presented in articles in Contemporary Justice Review and M/C.  She is currently revising this work into a book manuscript entitled Pedagogies of the State:  Capture, Collaboration and Contestation in Late Neoliberalism.

Her current research expands on her interest in the anthropology of the state to include medical anthropology with attention to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) where she investigates how FASD is understood in particular communities of practice.  The first phase of the project focused on the ways that police understand and mobilize understandings of FASD.  The second phase of her research will turn attention to the ways in which advocates and mentors mobilize health information about FASD in various settings (including social services, criminal justice, health, education and community settings).  Her research team has created a publicly-available resource page focused on disseminating research findings as well as FASD material for front-line workers with a peer-reviewed article forthcoming.  Click here to view the FASD Research Project web page:

Michelle is the Director of the Community Research Unit.  She is dedicated to community-engaged and publicly-available scholarship.  For more information about the Community Research Unit please visit: She has just joined the team as a researcher with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

Christina Stojanova and Sarah Ferguson


Paper Title: Conversations with the Divine Object:  Creative Improvisation, Surrealism, and the ideas of C.G. Jung 

Abstract: This paper will look at the art of improvisation or improvisation as art, in light of the cross-pollination of the ideas of C.G. Jung and Surrealist manifestos, letters, and other documents, paying specific attention to Max Ernst’s Une semaine de bonté as the ultimate work of the Surrealist “alchemical” imagination.  Through this grid, the paper will then focus on a pair of artifacts by Surrealist artist Sarah Ferguson, and – through her “conversations” with her materials and media – will analyze the complex interplay between artist, artifact, and the role of the collective unconscious in the creative process as well as in the interpretation of the artwork.

Bios: Dr. Christina Stojanova is Associate Professor at the Department of Film, University of Regina.  She contributes regularly to the specialized and academic print- and online media, and her writings are translated into many languages.  Co-editor of the critical anthologies Wittgenstein at the Movies (2011) and The Legacies of Jean-Luc Godard (2014), she is the editor of The New Romanian Cinema (2017) and – with Dr. Ian Germani – is co-editor of The Legacy of German Expressionism (2018).  Her monograph on Canadian animator Caroline Leaf is to be published in 2017.

Sarah Ferguson has been a practicing artist since 1996.  She has received both her BFA (2001) and recent interdisciplinary MFA (April 2017).  Currently, she works around hybridized notions of photography, sculpture, installation and performance, involving the psyche, the body, activism, queer theory, and feminism.  She is also a published poet and writer, holds a degree in journalism, and has worked as political, legal, military and arts writer in four different provinces over the past decade.

The Miller Team

Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School’s improv team, The Rowdy 3, are two-time provincial champions of the Regional Canadian Improv Games Tournament.  As a result, they have represented Saskatchewan in both the 2016 and 2017 National CIG Tournaments in Ottawa, Ontario. This team has been together since starting grade 9 at Miller in 2015.  In 2015, as a group of unknown grade 9 rookies, they made a spectacular debut by placing second in the Saskatchewan CIG Regional Tournament. In 2016, as a group of grade 10 students, this team, then known as NO NAME Brand Improv, swept all the province’s CIG accolades by winning both the Junior CIG title and the Senior CIG Regionals.  This year, as grade 11’s and calling themselves The Rowdy 3, they were able to successfully defend their Provincial title.
The Rowdy 3 consist of Josh Farris, Zak Lamont, Jayda Lang, Gabby Hillis, Hannah Polk, Kasia Wicijowski, Laikyn Schmalz, Jackson Brezinski, Sam Madsen, and Braxton Schlosser.  The coaches are Jill Belof and Cheryl Harvey (teacher coaches), and Jackson Brezinski (head coach).

Jaime Williams and William Smythe


Paper Title: Knowing the Unknowable

Abstract: This lecture-performance outlines our ongoing research engagement with nonconceptual knowledge, magic realism, and intuitive inquiry involving improvisation.  We are interested in translating information that could be gained in these areas to an academic discipline concerned mainly with explicitly-stated conceptual understanding.  As such, we begin with a conceptual system, describing our emerging theories about these three interconnected avenues, outlining an epistemological, ontological, and methodological basis for knowing the unknowable.  Then, turning our attention to a related construct, the unconscious as it is revealed by Carl Jung, we perform from his seminal text, The Red Book.  In this aspect, we enable constraints put onto the self through performative enactment of the dialogue between two characters in the chapter “The Magician”.  In this way, we exist in the liminal space between the conceptual and nonconceptual.  We end by becoming two unresolved halves of a whole:  the nonconceptual working from the linguistically-based conceptual.  In this final section, we question whether working together in this manner will result in integration of our diverse forms of being and ultimately, knowing the unknowable.

Bios: Jaime Williams is an artist and scholar, currently employed as an Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Regina.  She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Regina, her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art at Simon Fraser University, and her BFA in painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  Jaime is influenced by improvisation (painting and movement) and its effect on communication.  She hopes to bring the learning that she has acquired in art, physical movement, and psychology together to expand the borders of each discipline.

William E. Smythe is Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina, where he has taught since 1995, serving as Head of the Department of Psychology from 2001 to 2009.  He has held prior academic appointments at the University of Alberta, where he was a Killam Scholar and Canada Research Fellow and was affiliated with the Centre of Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology.  Dr Smythe's primary research interests are in theoretical psychology, psychology of narrative, and psychological hermeneutics.

Yi-Chen Wu, Yi-jung Wu, I-Ying Wu 


Panel Title: The   Encountering   Grounds   of   Dance   Improvisation:  Explorations through Studies in Culture, Performing Arts, and Dance Education

Paper 1 Title: A Qi worldview  on  the phenomenon of mobility in dance  improvisation:  Taking the technology of mapping (projection-based augmented reality) as an example
Yi-Chen Wu, Ph.D. Founder of the QimprovGround, Taiwan

Abstract: This paper applies  the  phenomenological  theories of technology to probe  possible connections between the use of mapping in dance improvisation and the tracing of Qi in traditional Chinese  paintings.  Revealing the connections  draws  a  comparison between two kinds of worldviews  affected  by  the concepts of phenomenology  and Chinese Qi, respectively.  With the help of phenomenology, it seems that mapping, which triggers the performative encounters between dancers/viewers and projected images, could lead to a kind of integration of the  mobilizing  subject  and  the  mobilized  object.  That is, through immersion into atmospheres created by projected images, a person is able to sense himself/herself embodying a certain process of “homecoming”.
However, I argue that this kind of immersion is different from the flowing of Qi in the Confucian interpretations of Qi.  Comparing this with the phenomenological worldview,   there is another kind of Qi worldview in which the Chinese see themselves as originally co-existing  with  various  other  beings  and  things in mixed reality. No empty space waits to be occupied by humans, because humans and various other beings and things  are seen as already “living  inside” each other in interwoven spaces and times from the very beginning. Thus, from such a Qi perspective I suggest to reconsider: Who/what obtains  the authority of improvised  mobility in the  imaging  process?  The  alternative  perspective might provide a fresh way of using mapping to constitute a world model, wherein the dancers/viewers and images they encounter are one in a Qi mode of unity, rather than a dualistic combination.

Bio: With an honour of distinction, in 2002, Yi-Chen Wu graduated from Trinity Laban wherein she studied scenography in dance.  Conducting research entitled “ The Embodiment Phenomenon of Qi in Taiwanese Hypermedial  Theatre,” she received a Ph.D. degree in Drama from the University of Exeter, UK, in 2016. Her experience in costume and stage design for performing arts is rich.  The core of her design is to trigger a kind of performative relationship  among  the  performer,  the viewer and multiple-media.  She has presented her research papers in various international academic conferences, such as PSi and SDHS.

Paper 2 Title:
Mobilization of College Dance Students from the Stage for Performing Artists to the   Stage   for   Dance   Educators   through   the   Mastery   of   Creative   Dance Pedagogy: A Critical Hermeneutic Study
Yi-jung Wu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of University of Taipei, Taiwan;  Advisor of the QimprovGround, Taiwan

Abstract: This study  investigated  how  professionally-trained  dance  students  experienced  a
challenging process while  learning creative dance pedagogy in college and how their views  and  approaches of dance  teaching  change  due to the  learning  experience. Creative dance refers to a dance teaching approach that stresses the process of guided discovery  for the  purpose of nurturing  the  learner’s capacities of self-expression  and communication. Improvisation and movement exploration are often incorporated into the learning activities of creative dance, through which young students select, manipulate, and organize movement materials under the teacher’s guidance.  Based on the perspective of critical hermeneutics,  this  case  study  interprets  the meaning-making  process of three  graduate  dance  students  who  practiced  creative dance pedagogy in their undergraduate internships. Data from in-depth interviews and class observations  was  collected, and the strategies of participant check and peer review were employed to enhance research trustworthiness.

In their interviews, the three students reflected on their experiences of learning creative dance pedagogy in comparison with their professional dance learning experiences as well as on their process of expanding or even  shaking  off  and  reconstructing  their  perceptions of dance teaching and learning.  In conclusion, teaching creative dance to children allows dance students to reconsider what dance means in their own life, how the quality of their own dancing lives could be  transformed, and how their professional development has experienced a mobilizing shift  from longing for the stage of performing arts to looking forward to the stage of dance education.

Bio: Yi-jung Wu received her PhD in dance and an emerging dance scholar award from Temple University, USA in 2005, as well as an MA in dance from Columbia University in 1998. Her research focuses on dance education for children, dance curriculum design, dance pedagogy, and education for dance teachers. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Dance at University of Taipei, Taiwan. Since 2004, she  has been greatly involved in Dance Research Society, Taiwan (DRST), by serving as a board  member, the executive secretary, and the chief editor of Taiwan Dance Research Journal (Issue 8), which is the only academic periodical in Taiwan that is dedicated to dance.  Her studies have been presented in books, academic periodicals, and conferences that were held in the United States, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, and Taiwan.

Paper 3 Title:
Being as a River of Timelessness:  A  Practice-based  Interpretation of Improvisation as a Journey from a Daoist Perspective of “Free Wandering”
I-Ying Wu (Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Regina Improvisation Studies Centre,  Faculty of Media, Art and Performance, University of Regina, Canada; Co-Founder of the QimprovGround)

Abstract: My study  rethinks  concepts of improvisation  by  employing  a  practice-as-research methodology  based in Daoist philosophy while maintaining awareness of influences from cultural, social, geographical and personal contexts that  fall within a theoretic framework of Cultural  Geography.  The discussion focuses on the mobility of improvisation through the concept of “wandering” —a  transformative  process or journey  revealed through improvisation in studio explorations, jams, and performances. My improvisation  practice,  informed  by  Western  movement-based  improvisation approaches rooted in the American postmodern dance period and strongly  influenced by Chinese  meditative  qigong, is now firmly  based in an interdisciplinary  field of meditation and improvisation.  I regard improvisation as sequential,  intuitive emergences  that spontaneously arise prior to conscious interpretation by the realization of a calm and relaxed  state of heightened  consciousness. My concept of improvisation  may be considered  a  manifestation of the  Daoist state of wu, a very beginning state of the heart/mind in which everything unidentified is still whole.

The Daoist concept of wu, particularly in terms of forgetting time and non-thinking, is paramount in my work to nurture  a  steady  stream of emergences that shift among diverse creative modes such as movement, sound, and non-language. This experience is articulated in the Daoist concept of “free  wandering” (you),  i.e.,  a  state of heightened  consciousness in which  detachment  enhances  the  mobile  emergence of free transformation.   The paper also reveals how my concept and practice of improvisation  based on Daoism has been inspired and transformed as I moved to different countries and lived in various places.

Bio: I-Ying Wu is an improvisation practitioner and researcher. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Northampton, UK in 2014 and is doing her postdoctoral research at the Improvisation Studies Centre based in the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance,  University of Regina, Canada.  She developed an improvisational movement practice in her practice-led doctoral research from a Daoist perspective of qi—a pathway towards Dao understood through improvised movement. Informed by Chinese traditional advanced qigong and Daoist philosophy, her improvisation practice focuses on subtle awareness of the very moment when an improvisational phenomenon emerges. To her, improvisation is itself interdisciplinary, or to be more exact, it is beyond any particular art form.

QimprovGround is a Taiwan-based performing arts group formed by a group of artists and educators who are devoted to interdisciplinary performing arts and research through the approach of Practice as Research (PaR). PaR is a way to investigate and explore  questions  through  art practice, including creation, rehearsing, performance, and other creative modes, so as to discover and develop new knowledge. This method of research taps deeper into the nature of art; the new knowledge this method generates is art  itself. Therefore, for us (this dance company),  art practice  and academic  research  are  equally  important  and  indivisible. We believe artists can do research as well, as long as they maintain the spirit of a researcher in their exploration for more possibilities in their practice. All the founding members of QimprovGround are artists/researchers and study Chinese  philosophies of qi in depth.  However, we research in different areas and specialize in different  art  forms. We hope to reconsider our different views of qi (Confucianism   and   Daoism)  and  cross  the boundaries between  our respective performing areas (visual-art-based and body-based improvisation), from which to find out our common  research  questions,  new  directions  for our creation, and potential modes  for  our  collaboration. Through PaR,  our direction of creation is based on the philosophical  theories and  concepts of qi, in order to explore and reinterpret the role of qi in contemporary  performing  arts.  Besides, we are highly interested in other subjects experimenting with Practice as Research.

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The University of Regina New Music Ensemble

Open to all -- students and members of the community -- The University of Regina New Music Ensemble studies and performs works by student composers, as well as experimental works from the 20th and 21st century repertoire.  The NME also explores and performs free improvisation. 


University of Regina Graduate Students

Clinton Ackerman

Clinton Ackerman is a composer, sound designer, and music teacher based in Regina. He received a BFA in music composition from Simon Fraser University and moved to Regina shortly thereafter. He is currently working towards an MFA at the U of R in Interdisciplinary Studies. Clinton’s music has been read by the Victoria Symphony, performed by the Bozzini Quartet from Montreal, and has been a part of many interdisciplinary projects from Vancouver to Saskatoon. He has recently been involved in a project that brings classrooms from two different Regina public schools together titled Prairie Heartbeat with Daya Madhur. Upcoming and ongoing projects include a musical about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition aboard the Endurance, and sound design/composition for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan. Outside of music, Clinton has somehow managed to keep 5 houseplants alive over the winter and is hoping to cultivate his green thumb over the coming summer.

Jason Cullimore

Title: Launch of New Works

Description: University of Regina Ph.D. candidate Jason Cullimore will introduce his new iPhone app, which supports a GPS-aware memory archive that iPhone users can interact with as they walk the halls of the U of R campus.  Users will discover an adaptive soundscape of music and narrated memories sourced from previous app users, which is instantiated in specific locations on campus.    In addition, Jason will exhibit selections from his library of original digital art, which links strongly to his practice as a composer.  Finally, Jason will officially release two CDs featuring his works:  "Axes and Ale:  A Gamer's Symphony", inspired by video games; and "Oceans of Europa", an electronic-instrumental album thematically related to the exhibited artworks.

Born and raised in Regina, Jason Cullimore is a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary program of the University of Regina's Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance.  He works in an interdisciplinary space between computer science and music, designing interactive composition systems and artworks that draw upon his knowledge and experience as a composer and programmer. Jason has won numerous awards for his composition work, including two Western Canadian Music Awards for his cinematic compositions inspired by video games and film.  He also recently composed a new concert score for the classic German Expressionist silent film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", which received an enthusiastic response at its premiere and screening in Regina, October 2016.  Jason's creative work is partly inspired by video games and the player-centred nature of many video game scores, and a key theme in his research involves exploring the transformative impact of computer-mediated interactivity upon composers and their audiences.

Jayden Pfeifer

Performance Title: What's At Hand

Description: Jayden Pfeifer will present a work in progress showing of his graduate work for his MFA, introducing concepts of vulnerability, audience engagement and an ethics of improvising. He is joined by long term collaborators Johanna Bundon and Jon Neher

Bio: Jayden Pfeifer is a Regina-based improviser, teacher, and comedian whose work in improvisation, as creator and performer, has spanned the last 20 years. He is the host and creator of Red Hot Riot with Jayden Pfeifer, a comedy variety show now in its 6th season, showcasing local artists and citizens through performance. He teaches improvisation at the University of Regina, where he is also pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies.  Much of his creative and community-based work is rooted in collaborative partnership with movement and improvisation artist Johanna Bundon, and their company Dream Agreement. Together, Jayden and Johanna created and performed Live Duet in October 2016 for Curtain Razors Theatre. Jayden most recently appeared in Curtain Razors' 2017 production of Bad Blood.

Garry Wasyliw

Paper Title: Layers of Perception:  Complexity and Simplicity
University of Regina MFA candidate Garry Wasyliw works in the areas of sound art and expanded cinema.  He will present work in progress:  a current piece involving projection and sound, with an improvisational session to follow.  He invites any sound and movement performers to participate in this session to explore the creation of material for further development of this project.

Bio: Garry Wasyliw is a MFA candidate studying in the Creative Technologies program at the University of Regina.  His current projects explore ways in which layers of perception can be observed to be formed through the addition of complexity into simple systems.  This is being developed through techniques of abstraction as applied to improvised performance.

Paula Weber

Paper Title: Embodying Female Resistance through Capoeira in North America

Abstract: This performative talk will explore a hybrid practice of capoeira, a martial art consisting of improvisation, movement, and music with a contemporary form of storytelling. Capoeira’s narrative of resistance will be a part of an exploration of arts-based research and its communicative power. Mixing elements of verbatim theater, interpretive ethnography, and improvisation, this project explores issues of female resilience in North America. Using and combining theories and practices of marginalized narratives, this performative talk explores a new and inclusive way of performative storytelling. This hybridization of capoeira with North American culture will hopefully show how the practice has changed, grown, and taken root beyond its native Brazil.

Bio: Paula Weber received extensive training while studying with Lynn Channing during her Bachelor of Music at the University of Regina (2013). Paula is currently continuing her studies at the U of R in the Master of Fine Arts program in Interdisciplinary studies; music and creative technologies, during which She had the opportunity to study extended vocal technique with Dr. Helen Pridmore, which concluded with an interdisciplinary performance featuring improvised movement and music. She currently has 25 students at the Conservatory of Performing Arts in Regina. She also conducts the Juventus Chorus, a non-auditioned tier of the Juventus choirs for young voices at the conservatory.

Visiting IICSI Bursary Graduate Students