AMPD celebrates two Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients

August 2, 2017

AMPD celebrates two Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients

Two AMPD PhD students have been named Vanier Scholars, receiving $50,000 annually for up to three years to support their research. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.

“Vanier recipients are not merely scholars – beyond pushing the frontiers of knowledge production and learning, they also demonstrate a sincere commitment to providing service to our society,” says Fahim Quadir, interim dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

“Critical analysis around staging indigenous experience and exploring young creatives work within a range of digital environments like virtual reality, augmented reality and interactive documentary are excellent examples of the important research undertaken in AMPD. Congratulations Elan and Claudia, AMPD is proud to support and celebrate your work,” says Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, interim dean, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design.

Info about all five York PhD student recipients can be found in YFile. A full listing of recipients from across Canada can be found at Vanier Canada.

Elan Marchinko

Elan Marchinko

Theatre & Performance Studies

Performing “Truth and Reconciliation”: A Critical Analysis of Staging Indigenous Experience and Canadian Colonial Violence through Dance situates the ballets Going Home Star and The Ecstasy of Rita Joe by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet within contemporary intercultural and Indigenous works about Canadian colonial violence.

“Bringing these settler and Indigenous-produced works into dialogue, I am excavating the stakes and the stakeholders when settler bodies portray Indigenous characters; how particular performances Indigenize and make new worlds within proscenium theatres and within and against a hostile outside world,” said Marchinko about her research. “I am looking for strategies of performance creation that move the conversation from an oppression Olympics competition for resources, to a multidirectional one where groups find common ground through moving together.”

Through intercultural dance and performance, Marchinko highlights opportunities for collaboration between settler and Indigenous communities. “I’m asking how art moves settler Canadians to acknowledge our complicity in ongoing colonial violence and how it might mobilize us to do the work of inheritance of this difficult knowledge?” she said.

“I am thrilled to be part of the York University community,” said Marchinko. “Theatre and Performance Studies is a fantastic program led by generous and supportive professors. Practice-based research is a mainstay of the program, so I have been able to perform in and choreograph intercultural dance works while completing my academic courses and requirements.”

Claudia SicondolfoClaudia Sicondolfo

Cinema & Media Studies

“My dissertation project tries to understand how the concept of what I’m calling contemporary screen engagement is developed both for and by Canadian youth and young creatives within a range of digital environments like virtual reality, augmented reality and interactive documentary,” said Sicondolfo.

Her proposed thesis, Shifts in the Cinematic: Strategies of 21st Century Youth Engagement in Canadian Screen Communities, seeks to develop a theoretical application of “engagement” through spectatorship and reception theory, and to also explore current digital communities in relation to outreach and media.

“We’re living in a historical moment where Canadian cinema is being quickly influenced by changing forms of technological storytelling found in the increasing exhibition and production of shifting digital environments and experiences,” she said. “Still very much in an infancy stage, there is an increasing interest for Canadian digital screen-based institutions to adopt educational mandates for engaging youth audiences.”

The hope is to make recommendations for sustainable digital media programming that will adequately represent the technological and social needs of various Canadian screen communities.

“I am so thankful to be working within such a supportive graduate program at York University, and with such an accomplished supervision team,” she said. “My research project is ambitious and challenging in many ways, but because my learning and research environment is encouraging of my work, I feel I can pursue these questions with sustained guidance.”

Sicondolfo is a member of the Sensorium Lab and also serves as co-chair of the Toronto Film and Media Seminar, an initiative co-founded by York Cinema & Media Studies faculty.