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Rebecca Caines

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Rebecca Caines

Assistant Professor



Dr Rebecca Caines is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar, whose research crosses between creative technologies (including sound art, new media, and augmentation), and socially engaged art, with a special focus on improvisatory practices. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia; and completed two postdoctoral research fellowships at the University of Guelph, before moving to University of Regina to help build a new cross faculty program in Creative Technologies. From 2013-201 she was also the director of the Regina Improvisation Studies Centre, a partnered research site and faculty-based research centre at the University of Regina. She also serves on the executive of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, a long running, 2.5-million-dollar SSHRC Partnership.

Caines has completed large-scale community-based art and research projects in Australia, Northern Ireland, Canada, China, and the Netherlands. Her publications appear in journals such as Performance Research, Contemporary Music Review, The Canadian Journal of Action Research, Critical Studies in Improvisation, and M/C: Journal of Media and Culture. She also has chapters in several anthologies on performance, community-engagement, and improvisation, published by Duke, Routledge, and Bloomsbury. She is editor (with Ajay Heble) of Spontaneous Acts:  The Improvisation Studies Reader (Routledge, 2015).

Her recent projects include “ImprovEnabled”, a national art and research project with co-researchers and partners across Canada, Northern Ireland and Australia (see: This project investigates creative responses to social isolation and stigma surrounding people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, utilizing improvised digital art and strengths-based participatory research. In 2018, she completed a British Academy Visiting Research Fellowship at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, exploring socially responsive immersive audio technologies. She is currently leading the national art project "multiPLAY" focussed on new forms of digital community engagement with Canadian improvising artists (  Caines’ work investigates the role of art and technology in social justice, contemporary understandings of community, and the fragile promise of ethical connection offered through dialogic approaches. Caines looks forward to helping to build the brand-new Creative Technologies program at York University’s Markham Campus, opening Fall 2023.