Eight new faces join the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
The York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) welcomes eight new faculty members this fall.
“It is always a pleasure to welcome new colleagues who bring original ideas and diverse perspectives to AMPD and York University. This year’s cohort of incoming AMPD faculty members bring extensive international experience, research and artistic accolades, coupled with strong teaching and a commitment to the vision that excellence in arts education serves the greater common good. Their work is already making significant contributions toward the UN SDGs and will empower our students to develop their work beyond the classroom through robust connections to professional fields. I look forward to working with each of them over the coming year and beyond,”
Sarah Bay-Cheng, Dean, AMPD.
Jessica Campbell (she/her) joins AMPD in the Department of Visual Art & Art History, with expertise in drawing. She is an interdisciplinary artist with a wide range of influences, including science fiction, art world politics, and her evangelical upbringing. Her Chicago Works solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2018-2019 was reviewed in Art in America, Hyperallergic and Juxtapoz. She is the author of three graphic novels, including the recent Rave (Drawn and Quarterly, 2022), and her comics have been published by MoMA, the New Yorker and Hyperallergic, among other publications. She has forthcoming solo exhibitions at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2023) and SPACES in Cleveland (2024), and her work has been included in group shows at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin; the Art Gallery of Hamilton in Ontario; the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta; the Institute for Contemporary Art in Baltimore, MD; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Campbell has taught studio and art history courses at a variety of institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University and Saint Norbert College. She holds a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jackie Chau (she/her) joins AMPD in the Department of Theatre & Performance with expertise in set and costume design. She has designed over 200 productions and her work as a set and costume designer has toured across Canada and internationally. She has worked on many new and diverse Canadian plays and has done production design and art direction for film and television. The most recent short film she designed, One Small Visit – a true story of an immigrant Indian family who unexpectedly passes through the tiny Midwest hometown of Neil Armstrong in the wake of the ’69 moon landing – was screened at the Smithsonian, NASA and the Cannes Film Festival. Some of the theatre companies with which she has collaborated include Theatre Aquarius, Native Earth Performing Arts, One Little Goat, New Harlem Productions, Capitol Theatre (Port Hope), Can Stage, Factory Theatre, Fu-Gen, Prairie Theatre Exchange, GCTC, Buddies in Bad Times, Second City Chicago/Toronto, CBC Kids/Expect Theatre, ARC Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Soulpepper, Stratford Festival, Tapestry Opera, Soundstreams and Luminato.
Chau was named in NOW magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009, nominated for three Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Awards in Costume Design, for a Saskatoon Area Theatre (SAT) award, two Broadway World awards and nine Dora awards for outstanding set and costume design.
Chau has mentored many young designers over the years and has worked with other theatre departments such as Sheridan College, Humber College and George Brown. Before coming to York University, she taught Theatrical Design at the University of Toronto. She is excited to join the AMPD this fall and is looking forward to sharing her experiences with students at York.
Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster
Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster (she/her) joins the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies. She has been working in theatre, film and television for nearly 20 years. She is a founder of the collective The Howland Company, a former Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre and was a resident artist with Soulpepper Theatre Company for 7 years. Ch’ng Lancaster has performed with the Shaw Festival, Soulpepper, Public Recordings, Canadian Stage, Citadel Theatre, Blue Bridge Repertory, Cahoots, Native Earth, Tarragon and beyond.
Her theatre direction includes Three Women of Swatow (Tarragon, 4 Dora nominations), The Home Project, (Howland Company/Native Earth/Soulpepper, 5 Dora nominations), The Wolves (Howland/Crows – Outstanding Ensemble Win, Toronto Critics Awards, Outstanding Production – MyEntWorld), 52 Pick-Up (Howland – Best of Fringe) and Everybody (York University).
Ch’ng Lancaster is an alumna of the Loran Award and holds a BFA from the University of British Columbia and an MBA (Social Enterprise) from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Melissa Davis (she/her) joins AMPD in the Department of Music. A Canadian Mezzo Soprano, Davis is an active concert soloist, vocal professor, choral director and vocal clinician.
Awarded the distinguished Krannert Debut Artist Award by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Illinois, Davis has guest soloed with Grammy and Juno-award-winning choirs and orchestras throughout North America including the Buffalo Philharmonic and Thunder Bay Symphony orchestras.
A dynamic concert soloist, she has played principal roles in various concert and opera productions throughout Canada, the United States, France, the UK and the Caribbean. As the Canadian premiering artist of Peter Ashbourne’s Jamaican classical art song cycle, “Fi Mi Love Have Lion Heart,” Davis released her live solo debut album, City Called Heaven: An Evening of Songs and Spirituals, including the cycle in 2015.
Davis has served as vocal director for prominent theatre productions, vocal masterclass clinician and guest lecturer for numerous national and international conferences.
With a DMA in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois, an alumna of York University (BFA, Honours, Vocal Performance), she returns to York U as the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Vocal Performance.
Sue Johnson (she/they) joins AMPD in the Department of Cinema & Media Arts. She is a filmmaker and cinematographer who works primarily in long-form narrative and documentary film. A member of both I.A.T.S.E. 667 and the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, Johnson has been working at the intersection of industrial and independent production for over twenty years. Their recent projects include a feature-length documentary about Canadian experimental animator and activist James MacSwain (Celestial Queer) and research on film archives that depict early iterations of drag and gender play.
Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Fine Arts from Mount Allison University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media from Toronto Metropolitan University. She has taught previously at Toronto Metropolitan University, been a guest lecturer at both NSCAD and Mount Allison University, as well as hosted workshops for organizations such as Charles Street Video, Inside Out Film Festival, Centre for Art Tapes, Struts Gallery and Planet in Focus.
Fabio Montanari (he/him) also joins AMPD in the Department of Cinema & Media Arts. Montanari is a filmmaker and scholar who has written a number of series for top networks including Netflix, HBO and National Geographic. He is the creator of an original international fiction TV series that is currently being filmed for Amazon Prime Video.
As a Screenwriter and Director, Montanari’s independent work has been screened in over 50 film festivals around the world including Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, and São Paulo, where he was awarded Audience Favorite. He has created content in multiple markets including in the U.S., Argentina and Venezuela, as well as for Canadian companies like Banger Films and BBDO Agency. His mixed media stories have garnered awards including eight Cannes Lions, the CLIO and The One Club. Montanari holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University in New York (Fulbright scholar) and a BA in Journalism from the University of São Paulo. He also serves as a Mentor for Being Black in Canada (BBIC), Canada’s largest mentorship and training program for Black filmmakers.
Matthew I. Thompson (he/him) is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Arts at York University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto in 2020, and is currently working on a book project under contract with the University of Minnesota Press entitled On Life Support: The Dystopian Environmentalism of 1970s Ecocinema. On Life Support uses 1970s science fiction ecocinema as a lens through which to view the early environmental movement, a lens that exposes many of the assumptions that continue to influence environmental politics to the present. Other areas of interest include Indigenous futurism, critical animal studies and film philosophy.
Thompson has published in the journals Spectator, World Picture and The New Review of Film and Television Studies. This coming fall Thompson will be teaching Film Art: An Introduction, Film and Television as Mass Culture, 1920s-1960s and The Science Fiction Film.
Emilia White (she/they) is an assistant professor and program coordinator of Integrative Arts in the Department of Computational Arts. Previously, they taught at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design as one of the core faculty of the Interarts Performance program.
White holds a BFA in Theatre & Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts, and an MFA in Studio Arts from the Stamps School of Art & Design. Her current research focuses on an autoethnographic exploration of female embodiment and motherhood. They use humour to approach the grotesque, drawing from her background in theatre, playwriting, puppetry, video and animation.
White is currently working on a video animation based on their live performance 40 Year Old ZIT, which explores the awkward and humbling experience of aging, and a DIY publication about pregnancy loss and maternal health titled The Ugly Placenta.
White’s work has been presented throughout North America and abroad, primarily in Taiwan and Indonesia. A selection of venues includes Collar Works, Defibrillator Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Planet Ant Theater, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Dumbo Arts Festival, Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, Gallery Salihara, Lembaga Indonesia Perancis and Taman Budaya. She previously co-curated The Performance Laboratory in Detroit and was an active member of the political arts collective Taring Padi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. White was born in Northern California, USA, and is the parent of two wonderful kids.